“Love doesn’t see the colour of your skin, but through the pigment of your heart.”
23 Years into democracy and yet our interracial couples still face discrimination. The millennial age teaches us how to be more modern, more savvy, more open to ideas and to be brave to try new things, yet we’re still stuck in the debacle that is racism. We are living in the era of virtual relationships, limited to no family interaction and a suitcase lifestyle. We have equipped ourselves by stepping up to the plate and surrendering to the new age developments that exist. The transition to the digital age was vast, but we understood that the benefits outweighed the cons even with the reservations that we had. Yet we take no shame in staring at an interracial couple with judgment without even trying to appreciate the beauty of it. There is still such a high degree of hostility towards interracial couples.
Personally, I find it difficult enough in this world for people to find love and still have the time to nurture their relationship, yet there is still time and energy wasted on criticizing the fact that their desired partner is not of their ethnic group.
Here is what we need to understand. Love is involuntary. Love does not see race, size or shape. Love is chemistry. It is a connection that your soul so deeply craves. We cannot help whom we fall in love with; we cannot control how our hearts can recognize a connection before our minds even do.
“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds – The Notebook.”
After trying to correlate the different experiences and understandings from the various interracial couples I had sought advice from I learnt a few hard truths.
Here are some experiences that I gathered:
- Judgement: Being in an interracial relationship can feel like you are on some sort of slideshow display. Everyone stares at you, people whisper as they walk past you or even while looking at you while sitting in a restaurant. Some have the audacity to be candid about it while others sheepishly think that staring you into oblivion will make you and your open-minded self disappear with this horrendous act you are a part of. Sadly, sometimes your own family and friends judge you the most. Questioning your reasons, trying to understand if you are going through a phase, being a rebel or just being a “hippie” carefree child.
- Racial discrimination: Many couples are viewed with scorn and dislike from society, particularly the older generation. Acts include not being served in a restaurant by a waiter or being turned down to purchase something from a store with your own money simply because you’re a part of this interracial union. People actually question you for why you think you’re allowed to shop in certain area’s (of a predominant race).
- Harassment: Unfortunately, some people still come from families who firmly disagree with any form of interracial relationship. Couples are bombarded with questions like, why would you choose to date out of your race when there are so many potential partners available for you. What are your kids going to look like? How will you raise them culturally/religiously? An example I picked up while doing some online research was that for people of colour, the question arises of how you can chose to love the people of the oppressors. For whites, it may seem that their child is acting out of rebellion or that they believe they have something against their own kind based on previous history. The pressure received from society and/or family can actually break up a happy relationship, as the stress is daunting. It is simply too much to handle.
Now I’m not saying any of the above is everyone’s truth, I am simply sharing my insight gained from various forms of research. My personal opinion is that these concepts does nothing but support segregation and hinder progress in the world.
Sometimes though, it’s done right.
I had the opportunity to witness the union of a beautiful interracial couple that had unwavering support from their friends and family. The foundation that they have built has molded them to be resilient toward racial discrimination and focus on the beauty that love is.
Here is what I learnt from them:
- Respect and understanding: Growing up in your respective homes you tend to learn and develop your own habits. Your own neurosis about how the toothpaste should be used or which way the toilet paper should be rolled. It’s these small tendencies that you have to learn to adapt to when you’re living with someone else. Character building and tolerance are learnt behaviours that make this work, despite all odds.
- Relativism: Although they have ultimately decided to have one culture/religious practice in their marriage, they still decided to honour each other and their families by showing respect to culture and tradition. Their choice showed such a deep display of understanding and acceptance of one another’s backgrounds.
- Education: Education never ends. We learn all the time. One does not need to physically study a book to increase their knowledge. People learn from one another. This couple made the choice to be life time students of each other. To practice in each others traditions and teach one another their quirky ways of life.
If you ask me, the bravest thing a person can do is go against all odds and serve the fuel of desire that your heart craves. There is no person that can ever have the power to command love into your life. Suggestions, blind dates, arranged marriages all revert to an organized companionship. But the best companionship is the one you never see coming. The one that has you in a beautiful mess. If the only reason you would chose to not be in an interracial relationship is a fear of what others say, then the real problem isn’t society, its YOU.