There is evidence that interracial relationship/marriages challenges the barriers of racial identity. Not only does it oftentimes result in mixed-race children who defy these barriers, but it also could cause those who engage to either challenge or recognize their racial identities. According to studies and polling, this can mean different things for different races. For African-Americans, for example, they are likely to be treated as though they are going against the principles of their racial identities. Whites in an interracial relationship are also reported to feel as though they are more likely to recognize their own racial identity in a way they didn’t before. This could mean that interracial marriage has an effect on racial construction itself.
It’s not uncommon for an Asian man to date a Brazilian woman, or an Indian woman to be in a relationship with a Caucasian woman. Interracial relationships come with their own unique set of hurdles that couples might run into
Interracial relationships are becoming increasingly common. These relationships are no longer just African American and Caucasian, either. Instead, we have people from various races and ethnicities all together in this world, and in relationships.
Inter-Racial Relationship Problems
- Different Culture and Values :When couples have different values, it often leads to one person in the interracial relationship being confused about the other one, if not both people. Some people value the creation of wealth over anything else while others value family life and quality time together over anything else. This can create tension inside an interracial marriage.
This doesn’t mean that two people with different values cannot be together, however. If both people are able to respect what the other one values, this relationship will work out just fine. For example, the person that values money should work more to feel proud of themselves while the other should do what makes them happy.
- Racism:A lot of couples attempt to ignore racism. They brush off comments from other people. They ignore the distasteful glares and turn their head. However, this hot topic is in the life of someone you love. That means that it should not be ignored. We all face stereotypes and racism at some point in our lives. However, we don’t understand the struggles that other races go through.In interracial relationships, it’s important not to shut down or ignore racism. Instead, discuss this with your partner. Let them open up about how they feel dealing with racism, and try to genuinely understand their struggles. Last, don’t act like you know what other people go through, and do not stereotype people of different races. This is beyond offensive.
This can also open up the conversation about what you will deal with throughout the relationship if you are new to interracial relationships. It can be hard to deal with snide remarks, public discrimination, or disapproval from family/friends. In these situations, your spouse will be your biggest supporter, so you should feel comfortable discussing your concerns and any type of conflict with them.
- Do Not Stereotype Your Partner :Do not stereotype your partner. Imagine that someone brought you Starbucks every day because you’re a Caucasian girl. Personally, I love Starbucks, but someone that doesn’t would be offended by the stereotype.African American people do not all love watermelon. Indian people do not instantly enjoy curry. Germans don’t instantly drink beer all day. These are common stereotypes and can be offensive. Instead of making assumptions based on race, genuinely get to know your partner.
Also, try to let stereotypes slide a little bit in the beginning. Some people might make a joke thinking it is funny, but this doesn’t mean they are racist. Often, people can do this unintentionally. Instead, use this as an opportunity to educate them or discuss your histories together
. Be prepared for hostile family members
Older members of the family are often set in their ways. This means that they like traditional dishes their family cooks, and they might not agree with interracial marriage. While this does not apply to all families, it is definitely something that an interracial couple might have to deal with at some point.
If you already know that your family will feel some type of way about your partner, don’t let them find out on their own. Instead, have a very real conversation about this. Also, speak with your family regarding your own view on being an interracial couple, how times have changed, and tell them that you expect them to respect your boyfriend or girlfriend. If your partner feels respected and supported by you, it will make a world of difference.
It’s also important to have a conversation with your partner about this. Discuss your different backgrounds, and the views that your family had on ethnicity growing up. If there was prejudice present, don’t try to hide it. Instead, bring that into the discussion as well.
In my experience, most people don’t care if your family was racist generations ago. Instead, they care about how that has impacted you, and what your feelings are.
- Avoid Relationships where one Partner Acts Superior:While this is not always going to happen in an interracial relationship, it can. Some people tend to act superior because of the stereotypes that their race has, such as black men being better in bed or white men being the superior race.If your partner makes comments about this, it’s a red flag, even if they’re joking about it. Have a serious conversation about how this makes you feel. If the behavior doesn’t change, it is not a good sign for interracial couples.
Likewise, watch out for those that make comments regarding your skin color. For example, the classic “you’re pretty for a black girl” comment. Comments like these might seem like they were intended as a compliment, but if you hear them enough it will breed resentment
Raising lads together
While many cultural differences will come up throughout an interracial marriage, one of the primary problems a couple will face is a difference of opinion regarding raising children, and a complete lack of knowledge regarding what to do when it comes to their race.
We see this when a person has an African American child but doesn’t understand what to do with their hair texture. An Asian woman won’t know to teach a child of a different race about how to deal with the specific racism that they will face in the world.
Not only are there differences about how they will have to deal with the world, but there are cultural differences that couples will deal with in everyday life.
For example, Latino mothers often give young children coffee at a young age. Other parents might frown upon giving any child under twelve a cup packed with caffeine and sugar. It’s important to discuss these differences openly before having children, and while raising children. Communication and compromise are key to making an interracial marriage work.
7. Lack of communication can break an interracial relationship
Communication is extremely important in any relationship, but it can break apart one of these relationships. Communicating about key cultural differences that couples are bound to run into is extremely important for interracial couples. Interracial couples should discuss topics that cultures often disagree on, such as religion, children, birth control, finances, family life, sex, and even holidays.
8 Public harassmentPublic harassment is not as bad as it was years ago, but it still runs rampant. Those that have never been a part of an interracial couple will be appalled by the treatment of both themselves and their partner. Those in interracial marriages have told tales of being spit on, beaten up, and even pulled over by the police simply because of the color of their partner’s skin. This remains a problem that interracial couples are bound to have to deal with.
9 Know Your Differences
It is important to become intimate with your partner and share your vulnerabilities in any romantic relationship. This is especially true for interracial couples, as one partner may experience hardships that the other has not had to face.
For instance, if a person of color has a partner who is a white person, they may talk about the negative stereotypes, discrimination, and racism that the one partner might experience on a regular basis; although the partner who is white doesn’t have first-hand experience being discriminated against because of their race, this partner can be open, focus on listening, and further develop their own empathy.
Asking your partner, “How can I support you?” is never a bad idea when it comes to showing your willingness to understand them and give them strength.
If there are cultural differences regarding topics such as religion, diet, birth control, parenting preferences, grief, finances, sex, extended family relationships, gender roles, communication styles, and traditions, discuss these and be open.
The racial and cultural differences in your interracial marriage won’t necessarily cause your relationship to fail. What can cause an interracial marriage to fall apart is the inability of a couple to handle their differences and a failure to talk about the stresses one or both of them are experiencing.
If you find that some counseling with a third party would help you iron some of these concerns out, by all means, seek out a licensed couples counselor. There are therapists who also specialize in interracial couples.