The union of two cultures coming together destroy the human-made barriers of religion, cast, colour and anything bias that divide us, humans. We share and accept our differences instead of being hateful leading to the birth of racism and segregation within our society. London is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. Therefore, it’s inevitable for there to be a spike in the number of interracial relationships who have been able to break down barriers of the social norm.
Dating in 2018 is crazy – deciding whether to swipe left or swipe right, letting apps like Tinder and Bumble dictate our candidates or relying on horoscopes and personality tests to see if we’re compatible with our partners. Relationships already take work, that’s a given but what shouldn’t be a given is criticism for choosing to be with someone outside of our race. After much research and diving into the history of my relationship here are the obstacles, interracial relationships have encountered.
1. When literally no one thinks you’re together.
I, myself am in one of those “interracial relationships”, and one of the first things I hear is; “I didn’t expect him to look like that” – oh? You mean he’s not a brown-skinned guy? Stereotypes are misleading. People are different, and there is more to us than meets the eye, and it’s foolish to make assumptions about an interracial couple’s motivations and struggles without hearing it from them.
2. Sugar coated Racism
I have experienced dirty looks, looks that lasted way too long for my liking, discrimination and subtle racism for being in an interracial relationship. I have received questions like; “Really? Why don’t you date brown guys?” or “How did your parents react?”. I honestly don’t know how to respond to comments and remarks of people with such a backward mindset, and I know interracial relationships aren’t the magical cure to racism, but that doesn’t give the excuse to say something offensive.
3. We look “odd” together
It’s no shocker when your South-Indian and your partner is a 50-50 combination of Irish and Filipino, being accepted is going to be a little tricky. At first, many people are gonna wanna know what we saw in each other, how we met and how “it works” – but to be honest, every relationship has the same foundation: communication, understanding, and luck and with this in mind, any connection will be able to be forged.
4. The pressure to date/marry someone within your race is real
I’m honest; the pressure comes from parents more than society. Assuming every relationship with a non-brown guy is considered a “time pass” or “fling” is frustrating and it’s difficult to create a severe conversation with parents.
5. Anatomical Stereotypes
In the most subtle way possible, there are outliers and anomalies of every stereotype. There are many graphs on the internet and vivid images for comparisons, however, they’re deemed to be unscientific, vulgar and racist.
6. Linguistic Differences
The vernacular of an individual is a combination of their culture, mother-tongue and environment. One of the many problems couples will come to face is understanding each other’s dialect, especially when around your partner’s family. However, over time these linguistical obstacles will no longer be obstacles because we don’t have to be fluent in the language, but paying attention to a person’s tone and facial expression, we can have a general understanding of how an individual is feeling.
7. Lack of Support
Racism is one thing and being hostile is another. Not liking someone just by appearing different or standing out amongst the crowd isn’t an excuse to intimidate and isolate someone. Things have changed; however, there are the odd few within the society where people are unwilling to integrate, due to prejudice, ignorance, or lack of exposure.
8. Cultural Loss
One of the unfortunate strains in an interracial relationship is the inability to spend the holiday season with family due to legal constraints, for example, an interracial couple (an American woman and an Iranian man) were unable to travel to Iran for the holidays as the feared the fluctuating immigration policies between the two countries.
9. Interracial and Gay
Thankfully the LGBT community is no longer isolated, and with this in mind, interracial couples aren’t always straight, and some individuals have a volatile combination of being racist and homophobic that offend, disregard and are hostile to gay interracial couples as they are a small minority within our society.
10. The children have an identity crisis!
When relationships have flourished and grown, in the future children may have a difficult time identifying themselves. For instance, if both parents are of different religions and ethnicities, how do the children identify themselves? What religion do they follow? All these questions do arise at some point in the relationship, and it’s easy to say let the children decide when they’re older, but are you enabling them to make a choice or disconnecting them from both cultures? With clashes like this, there is a probability that the prospective children can feel outcasted.
Cupid’s bow has no bias.
I’m not saying it’s more difficult if you’re in an interracial relationship. However, the barriers of culture and religion aren’t impossible to overcome, but for some it is. Regardless, every relationship has their struggles and, you’ll learn to remember that you’re not tied down to each other’s family and culture and that people’s attitude and opinions can never overpower the happiness you bring to each other.
Have you experienced any of these dilemmas within interracial relationships? Let us know in the comment section below!
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Currently a student at Kings College London, without too much waffle, I thought I’d pour my love for photography, makeup and fashion, food and travelling here!