What it is like being in an interracial relationship

As the times progress, interracial relationships are becoming more common, despite the current racial war taking place in our country right now. Since 1980, those who marry someone of a different race has more than tripled from 5 percent to 18 percent. However, there are still certain generations that just can’t seem to ignore making passive aggressive comments.

I have never considered race a qualifier when it comes to who I decide to be with or who I am attracted to. Another individual’s skin color has never bothered me. Love is blind and it sees no color.

In middle school was when I entered my first interracial relationship. It wasn’t serious as we were just kids, but boy did we think it was. That was almost a decade ago, and the way people get perceived by being in an interracial relationship still hasn’t changed very much.

I was bullied and called names for it. I could never understand why it was such a big deal. The comments would always focus on the stereotypical aspects of interracial relationships. I was always the girl who was “stealing” the boys from the women of another race or got called a “snow bunny.” I still hear these comments today.

My boyfriend, Trey, and I celebrating my 21st birthday. Photo by Cierra Southard.

I am now 21 and have been in an interracial relationship for over two years now and for practically my whole college experience. My boyfriend is biracial himself, both white and African American and I am white. We live our lives together as normal as we can and continuously make memories together.

A selfie of us at an Eagles tailgate last season during the playoffs. Photo by Cierra Southard

Lucky enough, I have never experienced any rudeness out in public with my boyfriend like many said I would. Do bystanders who see us out in public look at us differently? Probably. Do I notice? No, I can’t honestly say that I do. I don’t care how others look at me or us, their opinions do not affect my relationship. I’ve decided I am not going to deny myself happiness for the sake of other people’s feelings by ignoring my own.

A shot of us Trey and I at an outside event this spring. Photo by Cierra Southard

 

 

Dating someone outside of your race forces you to grow as a person. It pushes you to continuously learn about their culture and experiences. Personally, my eyes have been opened to the racial injustices that many encounter. I now have to be more open about looking at racial issues a different way if they are going to affect my boyfriend, such as how the police would treat me compared to him. We face challenges as a couple, which is to be expected, but we still respect each other.

One of my best friends, Kirstyn McNamara, has been with her African American boyfriend for three years now. “The environment of your relationship depends on where you are and the people that surround you,” she said. “Where I go to college [Lebanon Valley College], people will look at you like you have two heads, but when I visit him in Florida, there’s none of that. You can walk around like normal, and normal is what an interracial relationship should feel like.”

A picture to help us remember celebrating our second New Year’s Eve together. Photo by Cierra Southard.

To be in this type of relationship, it’s important to have a strong back bone. It’s not easy. I have had family members make numerous amounts of comments to me. I remember being told by my relatives, “it’s just how we were raised, it wasn’t generally accepted.” But then I realized and made a choice for myself that I didn’t have to continue that trend. I had to face people that are very close to me who didn’t support a relationship that I was in. Fortunately, now as I got older and they became more educated on the topic, they now accept and love anyone that I am with, regardless of race.

Though being in an interracial relationship, that does not mean I am single-handedly “solving” racism on my own. However, the growth of these relationships throughout the years has shown that we are making the right step towards accepting these relationships, and to me that is a big win.