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    15 People In Interracial Relationships Are Sharing The Biggest Challenges They And Their Partners Face

    "You find out just how many closeted racist people you know when you’re in an interracial relationship."

    I recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community who are in interracial relationships to tell me about the challenges they face that other people might not know about.

    Here are some of the responses I got:

    1. "My husband is Arab with a very Muslim name, and traveling with him opened my eyes to how terribly people like him are treated at customs, particularly in the US. We have to get to the airport extra early, and always buy the most expensive insurance to make sure we’re covered if we miss our flights. We nearly did one time because my husband was pulled into questioning because his name was similar to one on the no-fly list. It didn’t matter that he literally worked at the airport at that time and had RCMP clearance ID (we are Canadian and were passing through US customs in Toronto); American customs hauled us in anyway."

    "At the end of the whole ordeal, my sheltered white ass was rattled, and my husband admitted to me that they were nicer to him than they ever had been, probably because I had been there with him." 


    2. "I’m a white woman married to a Hispanic man. We’re both in our early 20s; he has long hair and dresses slightly out of the norm for our area (a small town in Georgia). We get looks a lot, which I didn’t even notice until he pointed it out to me."

    "I have seen tons of older white women clutch their purses walking by him while we’re at the store, but walking past young white men, they don’t do the same. I’ve also gotten the 'Your kids are going to be so cute' line so many times, and when I ask why, they think that they say it’s because they’re going to have his skin and my eyes, as if that’s the only ideal way for them to turn out.

    I think the biggest thing, though, has been our families. Most of my family is very accepting, but my grandmother has said things like, 'Oh, well his name doesn’t sound Mexican' (he’s Dominican and Puerto Rican), and she questioned me about whether or not he was 'legal' when she met him the first time, which was an eye opener for me. I won’t go into detail about the difficulties with his family because it’s not my place, but they’re there.

    Bottom line, you find out just how many closeted racist people you know when you’re in an interracial relationship." 


    3. "My girlfriend is Pakistani, and I’m white and Jewish. it’s difficult to find Halloween costumes because there is so little brown/Black representation in shows and movies. Also, if there is representation, there’s often not a blonde, white character as well. If anyone has any Halloween costume ideas, please let me know."


    4. "I feel like the obvious answer is racism. It always hurts to watch them endure racist situations. However, the racism is pervasive in US culture, so there's a second dimension not a lot of people understand or admit to."

    "I'm white. I grew up in the white mid-west. Racism is so pervasive. Even if you're aware of it, as a white person you don't always interrogate your own racist thought patterns or actions.

    For me, the hardest part of being in an interracial relationship is when that pervasive, indoctrinated racism comes out of me and hurts my husband. There have been a handful of times it has happened over the years, and it kills me every time that I could have so carelessly hurt him. We white people HAVE to do better in our own lives, with our friends, our family, and other white people. Call it out when you see it. We can't keep ignoring it in the name of 'civility.' It hurts too many people too deeply."


    5. "My husband is biracial, Black and white, and I am white. We have two biological children and two adopted children. Both our adopted kids are Black. In public, even if we're close together, people will often walk between my husband and I, or between us and our kids, as if we couldn't be together. Especially in lines, they'll get in right behind one of us and we'll have to say excuse me, that's the rest of my family, we're all together."

    "People will often assume I'm not my adopted kids' mom, and they will assume my husband is not my biological kids' dad, since their skin tone is lighter. White people who don't know me will say ignorant things in front of me assuming I agree, and Black people who don't know my husband will do the same. We are trying to raise our kids in a way that doesn't ignore this stuff, but equips them with tools to handle it when it happens. There is still a long way to go, but it is encouraging to see how far the world has come since my MIL and FIL were married." 


    6. "My boyfriend is Chinese; I am white. We have mostly found that people love to stare, usually older people. They have commented on us being together, especially post-COVID with the main comments asking me if I'm scared I'll get COVID from him. It sucks because I love him, and whilst he's strong and has such a beautiful mind, I'm always aware that this stuff has got to hurt. I am fortunate enough to be privy to his beautiful soul, and how he's made me see the world in such a beautiful way, but his experiences, especially post-COVID, have really shone a light on racism and the micro-aggressions people have toward others."


    7. "I'm white, and my boyfriend is Black. We live in New York City, and here, it's really not much of an issue. We took a road trip from Florida back up to the city a few months ago, and stopped at several gas stations in rural Southern towns on the way. There was an unspoken understanding between the two of us that we shouldn't walk in to the station together to minimize any risk of ugly language or violence. We've come a long way, but there are still huge swaths of this country where it doesn't feel safe for us. As much as I want to fight for change in places like that, I'm also not willing to risk our safety to do so."


    8. "I am Black, and my partner is white. My partner's family are obsessed with us having children for stereotypical reasons, like they will be good at sports, they will be tall, etc. It’s a little uncomfortable hearing conditional reasons why they will love our kids if we ever have them, and we are considering being child-free because of the complications that come with Black AFAB individuals giving birth. I am terrified of having children, and they just can’t understand why."


    9. "I am white and have dated Black men in the past. A kind of funny challenge is taking photos at night or on sunny days."

    "Some of the less funny challenges are when people ask or make comments about sexual stereotypes like the size of my boyfriend’s genitals. Or, people have asked if it bothers me that my kids wouldn’t look like me. Like, you’re a stranger, why are you asking about fictional future kids?" 


    10. "I am first-gen Asian, and my husband is Caucasian. We have two daughters and have been married for 20 years. Our small beach town is not diverse. I think the last census was 96% white/Caucasian and less than 1% Asian. Needless to say, we are a bit of a novelty in our town."

    "What bothers me the most is when we are clearly grocery shopping together and I am ordering at the deli. My husband will be standing very close to me, and we are chatting as the deli worker is preparing my order. As soon as I am done, the deli worker will look at my husband and ask, 'How can I help you?' And my husband answers, 'Oh, no. I'm with her.' ALL. THE. TIME.

    It's a small thing, but it hurts every single time. Too many times in public, people don't acknowledge we are a couple, and I don't know how to make it any clearer besides maybe jumping up and piggybacking him. I've told my girls that, as soon as they graduate from high school and college, to get out of this town and never come back. I will always love and support them, but this is not how the rest of the world looks, and they need to escape." 


    11. "I'm white British Jewish, and my husband is Filipino British. If I'm out with the kids on my own, people have asked if they're mine. When husband and I were first going out, I remember being asked what I saw in 'that Paki' (so wrong on so many levels). Someone wanted to start a fight with him once when we were getting something to eat. He was very calm about it but had to hold me back by the scruff of my neck from launching myself at that knob rag!"

    "And another thing: I have silver hair (had my unicorn hair since I was 25, just a genetic quirk that I have come to love with time). He looks younger than me, and I often get asked if I am the grandma of our kids. I don't have any lines on my face at all — people just see the hair and judge." 


    12. "I’m a white female; my husband is a Black man. 90% of the time when we’re out, retail store, bank, restaurant, etc., they will address me and keep eye contact with me over my husband. It makes him feel horrible, and I’m disgusted by how people can still be so ignorant in this day and age."


    13. "As with the many other people here, it's the racism. I'm white, and my husband is Chinese. We've had people intentionally push into us, shout things at us, and in the weirdest incident, a woman walked and stood in front of us and shouted 'interracial relationship' in my face. That one in particular weirded me out because it wasn't even an insult, it was just so bizarre."

    "On top of experiencing racism together, it also makes you more sensitive to hearing it. I had one lady who was absolutely lovely to me but didn't know about my husband start talking about how she wants to move to another city because it's mostly white and she no longer feels comfortable in her own city being surrounded by colored faces. I was gobsmacked. She had been so lovely and then came out with that and assumed I'd understand because I'm white — no, lady, you just hurt my heart because my husband is one of those faces making you want to move, and regardless, that's just an awful way to think." 


    14. "My partner and I live in the Southern US. He's of Chinese ethnicity (his family moved here when he was young), and I've lived in America my entire life, and I have Eastern European ancestry."

    "First off, people openly stare at us for long periods whenever we are out together. I'm talking stare at us and don't look away even if I look at them straight in their face. I've even had people straight up ask me why I'm with him...ugh. 

    Then, there's the cultural differences. I cook for us, and we have very different tastes, so that's been tough to navigate. He likes very salty and umami, I like sweeter and less salty, so most times, I make two different meals entirely or have to season our portions separately." 


    15. "I'm not currently in a relationship, but my daughter is biracial (white/Black). My biggest pet peeves are when: 1. People look at her and ask me when I adopted her (uh, I didn't. I gave birth to her by c-section)."

    2. So many forms (from school to medical) ask for demographic information like is she white? Is she Black?). Thankfully, in the last few years, paperwork is evolving to check multiple boxes, not making me decide between one or the other. 

    She is my daughter, and in my eyes, she is perfect, not a color. I have always reminded her that she doesn't need to choose what color she is as she's biracial and perfect as is." 


    If you're in (or have been in) an interracial relationship and want to share your experiences, sound off in the comments!