The Assumptions and Normalization of Interracial Relationships
In my article I Don’t Appreciate Interracial Couples In Commercials- And Not for the Reason You Think. My argument is that interracial couples have not been normalized and that normalization occurs through profound acts of validation. This is in direct response to someone who asked me “What does that look like?”
“Great question and that is a whole other article 😂”, I began. So here it is, with more elaboration.
First of all we as a society have not even come to grips with the fact that interracial relationships are still frowned upon. At least in Black spaces, we are STILL having these tired discussions on “what are your thoughts on interracial relationships?”. Black people are quite outspoken about their thoughts on having interracial FRIENDSHIPS- let alone romantic partnerships now more than ever. We are more than justified given our lived experiences. However, we’re not having critical enough discussions about race in any capacity because these discussions end in avoidance as a solution. An example of what this might look like: White people are fragile, pasty, colonizers and there’s no point in trying to form meaningful bonds with them because they’ll never understand. It’s getting to the point where people are avoiding speaking to each other because they know wholeheartedly that the other party either won’t understand or that they’ll be misunderstood.
In Black spaces we also have nuanced aspects of interracial romances that- again- go erased when you just shove interracial couples in commercials like mascots for a post-racial utopia. For example, the constant antagonizing from Black men about Black women’s hair maintenance being the reason why they chose to be with a white woman. Or the antagonizing of Black women for “caring so much” about when we “lose a Black man” to a white woman (we don’t). Or how there are Black women are so obsessed with how a Black man in their life hurt them being their primary motivation for dating outside their race. Black women who claim they can’t stand Black men and want to date out, yet how Black men failed them is all they choose to focus on.
And then of course you have the people who write off all interracial relationships as inherently anti-black. Black people in interracial relationships and friendships have “Stockholm Syndrome” because they identify with the oppressor. They don’t want to be Black anymore, and reject all things related to where they come from. They definitely can’t be themselves around a white partner. And a white person couldn’t genuinely love a Black person beyond a sexual fetish. And a Black person couldn’t genuinely love a white person beyond wanting financial or social gain. For all of these reasons, when you’re a Black person in an interracial relationship in a Black space, they immediately either want you to “explain yourself” or they’ve already got a preconcieved notion of your “reason” for dating outside your race- even if there is none in particular. And white people- they just assume people date outside their race to either prove how not-racist they are or for better sex. The issue here is that people who do not engage with people outside their race on a meaningful level, apply their perspective of that race and assume the same dynamic is there in a romantic relationship.
We also can’t seem to escape the colorism involved when people say they “want mixed babies”. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me “you should have kids. They’d be so cute.”, because my partner was white- not realizing that they’re perpetuating anti-Blackness. Or worse- acusing me of being in an interracial relationship because I “want mixed babies”- when the fact is that I don’t want kids at all and if I did- I would want them to be at least brown if we’re being perfectly honest. In fact i’ve come across many Black women in interracial marriages who have had children who say “I want my brown baby. I want a baby my complexion”. I am not gonna put them on blast, but again- you’re assuming that Black women “breed” out of their race due to anti-Blackness and this dismantles that argument. What I have found, however, is Black lesbians and single women going out of their way to get non-Black sperm for artificial insemination. Take the notorious “Sperminator” Ari Nagel, 44 who has an estimated 78 children through artificial insemination and all from Black women in Harlem. This has nothing to do with partnership or friendship and everything to do with breeding.
The desire to be around like-minded people of course is very natural. But the wedge between white people and Black people understanding each other is getting convoluted by focusing on our differences. And it’s extremely important to understand our differences, but it would be more unifying to discover our **commonalities** and that is the key to dismantling individual racism. But white people have to let go of their sense of superiority and black people have to be willing to engage with white people on a meaningful level in order for that to happen .
However as of late it’s become exhausting for Black people to even speak with white people- because the typical reaction is a dismissal of our lived experiences or being spoken over. For example there was a (white) guy who commented on this post who said his wife was Black. He proceeded to tell me not to be a “victim” and how I should approach my feelings toward this. Well that is a cardinal rule against true allyship- don’t tell Black people how to feel when they verbalize their lived experiences. I told him that he was out of line. He then proceeded to gaslight me by saying I should be “grateful” to receive such advice, that he loves Black women and he’s on my side. Lol I told him “Instead of focusing on ALL black women, focus on your wife. Not all of us ask for or request your help.” Of course because of his white male fragility, he was offended.
True allyship is extremely rare to find- it requires a lot of work on white people’s part to not only overcome their fragility but to know when and when not to overstep. A white man with a Black wife should not use that as a credential to be so entitled to have access to all Black women. And he should definitely not assume that because he gives a Black woman some basic acknowledgment that she’s going to be “grateful” for his insight, wisdom and attention. That is a form of superiority and people like that should be schooled before they try to apply their dynamic with their Black partner to other Black people. To an extent, I understand why white people may find navigating this exhausting. But it still doesn’t beat the exhaustion from simply existing in a Black body. And that’s the other point- the obvious power dynamic needs to be acknowleged. Of course we are all equal, but in a social construct, we are not. And so there cannot be merely friendships with white people, only allyships and this is the biggest barrier to even platonic interracial relationships. Without allyship, there is no friendship. And some Black people strictly want allies and don’t see the point in trying to form a friendship, and that’s ok. Because there are white people who want to be allies but can’t be friends. At the very least, they have an understanding of the imbalanced power dynamic and want to do something about it.