Lets get right into it.
If you read the title, then you might be able to see why we needed to address this is a topic. We have touched up on what it’s like to be an interracial couple before on our blog, but we feel there are some very important questions and topics that need to be addressed. These might be questions some of you may have thought about before. Some of them are questions we hear ourselves as an interracial couple. We live in a society where people can and do feel afraid to ask questions.
When it comes to sensitive topics such as racial issues, culture and politics. Asking questions shouldn’t be banned, but we do recommend thinking before speaking. We’re humans, we don’t always have the answers which is why we ask questions. But like we mentioned, if you truly want a question that you may feel afraid to ask because of its sensitivity, try researching your question, get some background information on the topic of the question. If you’re still not satisfied with the information, feel free to ask someone you’re familiar with.
The truth is, a lot of questions can’t be answered through research.
Sometimes you really do need to talk to someone to get that clarity about a topic, sensitive or not. But we can still try to make the internet a fruitful place for information, so we thought we would address some more nuanced questions about the “sensitive” parts of interracial relationships that may or may not get answered otherwise. Let’s be real, with the social and political climate of our country, it’s important that we talk.
How do you manage a healthy relationship with the current political climate?
Y’all already saw this question coming. We have never been asked this question directly, but we often wonder if others think about it. With all of the talk about racial tensions all over the country, wouldn’t it follow that people are curious about how that tension might affect an interracial relationship? We definitely would wonder the same thing if we weren’t a part of one ourselves!
We always say that the key to our relationship is communication. And honestly, managing a healthy relationship in any climate is all about talking. We value each other’s thoughts about current events, and we’re often on the same side. Respect is a huge part of our relationship as well. We don’t see one another as parts of a group, we each see the other person as who they are. We talk a lot about race and we are both aware of our respective races. However, when we talk about “Black” and “white”, we’re not really talking about each other. When we have conversations about white people and Black people, the topic is more about society as a whole, not about Ariana the Black person and Hannah the white person.
At the end of the day, it comes down to seeing each other as people, and not demographics. We look at each other and see beyond race, but we also keep race in mind in order to respect each other, strengthen our relationship, and support each other through the current political climate.
How do you deal with racial sensitivities? Politically incorrect statements/sensitivities.
This question really has to do with one person bringing up a racially sensitive topic, like “does it bother you when I touch your hair?” Touching Black women’s hair is a sensitive topic, mostly because strangers have a really weird urge to reach out and touch curly or braided hair…or voice their opinion about wanting to, making it awkward af. But anyways, in regards to our relationship, we don’t shy away from questions like that. This is actually a question that I have asked Ariana before. I think the key is to be respectful. Questions should come from a place of care, and I only ask questions that I really want to know the answer to.
When I ask questions, I know that I need to be ready to listen with open ears and an open mind. Those intentions are really important, because sometimes people just ask questions to be hurtful, or simply to argue. I try to never ask something with these intentions, and I know Ariana does the same thing. Being open with each other goes both ways, and openness on her end should be met with openness on my end as well.
We’ve never offended each other because we always enter sensitive conversations with respect and openness. That’s really all there is to it!
How will your kids know who they are?
Eduction is key! We will tell them who they are, we don’t have kids yet, but we will someday. Teaching our kids who they are, whether it comes up naturally or we think they’re at an appropriate age, is definitely our goal. We plan to teach them who we are as their parents, and what that means for them. That’s another reason why we were so excited to take DNA tests, because we can explore that with our kids and that will help teach them who they are. Honestly, we plan to make learning about ethnicity and culture into something fun and engaging for our kids. We plan on exploring their identities and emphasizing culture and history, so our kids can have a sense of connection and pride.
How will Hannah know what to do with your future kids’ Blackness? (hair, bullying, racism, identity).
First of all, I love Shea Moisture for myself, so y’all know damn well I’m going to know what to do with my babies’ hair. As I’m writing this, Ariana’s talking about “like how do people know how to cook? It’s the same thing… they read directions!” If it ever really comes down to it, I’ll turn the bottle over and read the instructions. But I also plan on asking my wife! Like… I’m not too concerned about that part. (really though I feel like I’m getting fairly educated about natural hair through Ariana, so by the time we have kids I should be a pro!)
The other three are much bigger challenges that we both foresee. We already talked about education being really important for our parenting style, and how we’re going to teach our kids about their identity. We’d both like to think that by teaching and instilling pride into our kids, we’ll be able to prevent a lot of the self-hate that can happen when kids feel different or out of place. We also plan on choosing diverse schools, and reinforcing their confidence and knowledge about themselves at home.
Ultimately, I think parenting will be mostly improv. When tough situations come up that have to do with bullying or an identity crisis, I plan on listening first and trying to get to the root of what’s happening for my kid. And when times get real tough, we’ll just put on Black Panther and let it work its magic.
Do you disagree about race related things?
We don’t. We both feel like right is right and wrong is wrong, and there is usually a clear right and wrong in most situations that we encounter. Don’t get us wrong, we’re very aware of shades of grey and that the world is bigger than what we’ve been exposed to, but we respect the world and the people in it. If it ever gets to the point where we do disagree, we will unpack it together. We will both share our opinions, and we’ll get to the bottom of why we’re disagreeing, just like we do about disagreements that aren’t race related.
Is it more difficult than dating someone of your own race?
I personally do not understand this questions. I suppose I can understand why people would think so, but as mentioned earlier in this post, Hannah and I look at each other as people. No, we do not ignore race but we like each other as humans. As a black woman, I hear a lot about other Black women feeling like they can’t date outside of our race for many reasons. People who are not Black don’t understand what it’s like to be Black, and this can mean that Black people in interracial relationships feel misunderstood, not supported, and even victimized by your partner’s ignorance. I’ve been there, and it’s extremely damaging to feel that way in your relationship.
For people who are open to dating outside of your race, it’s important to date someone who supports you, all of you. Race, religion, and culture are included in that. If they’re not, you need to reevaluate the person you’re dating, not the race of the person you’re dating. I’ve dated white girls before, and my experience was bad enough that I could have stopped dating outside of my race altogether, but then Hannah and I would have never met.
For me, it’s not more difficult because I’m in a relationship where I feel supported, respected, and listened to. I never feel like any of my feelings are invalid. This is what I expect out of a relationship, which is why I’m in a happy one. Keep your expectations high regardless of race – it works!
If you guys want to share your experiences, or even have other questions, we want to talk! Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Until next time,
Ariana & Hannah