Self-Appreciation Saturdays

Self-Appreciation Saturday. (3/18/17)

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I grew up in a neighborhood where people of different races were happily together, and lived on with their lives like normal people because they were normal people. 

My father is a Hispanic man. My mother is a white woman. They came together and had me and my sister; Latina & White. But that seems to be a normality in society. Hispanic people and White people being together aren’t quickly looked at as weird because skin-color wise, they aren’t that far apart. 

My partner is a black man. I am a White Hispanic woman. We get our fair shares of stares whenever we are interacting together in public, especially around “Gentrification Brooklyn”. We’ve both notice the distaste glances that people give us, as if we are living in a world where black and white people can’t be in relationships.

There’s always this stigma that society has on interracial couples that it’s not necessarily “right-looking”. I had a conversation with my partner the other day about this one time we were on the G train together and he started to notice a lot of people staring at us sitting together. Now, I don’t normally notice these things because, you know, I’m too busy being blind, but I can understand why people would stare in the first place.

Interracial Couples

I would like to say that I don’t look and stare at interracial couples, but the truth is that I do. I would look at black men with white women and think “huh, you don’t see this much in public.” I would also look at black woman with white men and think the same thing. It should be a completely normal thing to see in today’s society. It baffles me; we don’t look twice at couples who are close in skin complexion, but why do we do that with interracial couples? The truth of the matter is, we’re somehow programmed to look at the “peculiar” or the unusual. In society, we assume that Asians are suppose to date other Asians, black people are suppose to date other black people, Mexicans are suppose to date other Mexicans and so on. When you see two people who physically look nothing like, people tend to stare (It happens also when a skinny person is dating a fat person; somehow people find that weird as well).

I’ve had people look at me twice and what they’re thinking is written all over their faces: why is she with a black man, *insert stereotype of black men in here*. I see people look at my partner with what they’re thinking all over their faces as well: what is he doing with a white woman, *insert stereotype of white women in here*. It gets annoying to always see at least one person staring at you weirdly and making you feel uncomfortable. I know that after awhile, it once made me think shit, maybe we are weird looking together or maybe I’m not right for him because of the way I look and I can say it happens to the opposite sex as well.

So, how do you prevent it?

Sadly, you can’t stop people from looking at you and you can’t stop people from thinking what they think; there’s no gray in a world where people always assume everything is black and white. While there will be people telling you that you and your partner look “weird together” or they widen their eyes when you introduce your partner to friends and family, there’s really no way to prevent it unless you guys have each other’s back when shit like that happens.

Lemme give you guys an example.

Although I am a Latina, I don’t usually see that side of my family where it’s remotely diverse in races and such. I’m closer to my mother’s side of the family, who in a way are not so diverse. In other words, my mother’s side of the family married within the same ethnicity; Italian (my mother was an exception). Like I said earlier, people don’t necessarily question a couple when their close in skin complexion, and my parents are pretty close in skin color. What my mother’s side of the family doesn’t really have are family members in interracial relationships. Technically, I’d be the first. So my partner and I haven’t met extended family yet because we just aren’t at that stage of things yet (we take things extremely slow). I know when the time comes where my partner is going to have to meet extended family as such, things are going to personally feel really awkward for me, because Italian personalities are just… extra. Without even acknowledging it, there’s a slight chance someone might say something that has racist undertones, and I personally don’t know how I will handle it because we, as a couple, never had to deal with something like that. What I do know, though, is that I’m going to stick up for my partner if something like that were to happen, because people love to fuck things up and watch it fall. 

The reality and truth of it all is that if people see gaps and spaces in something, they will try to poke in it and see how far they can intrude before it ultimately breaks. People will say white men and white women “could do better than dating a black man/woman” due to whatever nonsense they believe about black people. People will also say that black men and black women “should avoid dating outside their race because white people are ruining black men/women”. Whatever the nonsense may be, as an interracial couple you have to have your shit put together and stick together so well, that the people you interact with wouldn’t dare try to ruin things.

And it’s extremely important to be put together in today’s America.

In a world where racism rises more and more each day like it’s the fucking 1950’s all over again, you and your partner need to be there for each other. I am extremely protective of my partner in a sense where if someone tries to say some racist shit or spit out a stereotypical statement, I’m coming for you. Black people, specifically black men, have such a stigma forever stamped on their backs for being “thugs” or “troublemakers” that people will try to throw in your face to “look out for you” when really they’re just undeniably racist.

I once had a white friend tell me once that my partner wasn’t right for me for “reasons” after expressing my partner numerous time to this person. This friend didn’t need to say anything more when they automatically assumed something about my partner because of his skin color. Some people are just close-minded as fuck. 

Interracial couples are just always going to be that thing in the list of “peculiar things” because of the stigma that people believe about it. The only thing people will praise about it is the “biracial babies that look exotic and beautiful”. Girl, if you don’t go somewhere with that mess…

But I digress.

Interracial dating is a beautiful thing, and I can speak through experience. You begin to try new things and explore new places. I can definitely say that my partner has showed me a lot of music and genres of it that I didn’t know prior to him, and I think I can say the same thing for him. For other couples, it could be new exploration in culture, tradition, food, manners, religion – pretty much anything. Combining people of different backgrounds is always a great thing to experience, so why not do it with the person you love?

I know I am. ♥

-Liz (:

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