How to Deal With Racism in an Interracial Relationship

Every new couple experiences good ‘firsts’  and bad ‘firsts’ in a budding relationship.  My girlfriend and I have experienced saying the “L” word to each other for the first time and shared sex facts and our sexual histories with one another (well, she read mine on here) that actually made us laugh for the first time rather than wanting to curl up in a little ball and die.

However, when you are in an interracial relationship, you will experience the inevitable “first” that will always shock and disappoint you no matter how prepared you are for it—racist assh*les.

Although I live in one of the most multicultural cities in the world, it’s a shame that I have to deal with racism on an occasional basis.   I’m white and my girlfriend is biracial and besides the goofy nicknames like ‘Robin Thicke and Paula Patton’ or ‘Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens’ we get from our pals, we have generally avoided any direct attacks of ignorance.

Unfortunately, we weren’t this lucky this weekend.

On Friday, my father, “Papa C” came down to Toronto to visit and to meet Sabrina for the first time. It was the perfect time for him to come up because I had such bad writer’s block for future Personal Facts blogs and I needed a good distraction. (Especially if it could better my relationship.)   As soon as he met her, he took out a bottle of his finest scotch and three cigars and we celebrated the fact that I ended up with a smart, scotch-drinking, cigar-smoking and beautiful girl that looked like Vanity circa 1982.

No joke.

It was starting out to be a great night.  My father was getting along with my girlfriend.  My girlfriend was happy that she was meeting my father and it was an amazing and peaceful feeling…that was until I suggested to go to my fave spot, Joe Mama’s so I could take Papa C  and Sabrina out for a night of great Cajun dishes and live soul music.

While enjoying the live neo-soul playing on stage, I had excused myself to go to the bar to get my father and my girlfriend some much needed drinks.

While ordering my drinks, I had a blonde girl come up to me.  I had seen this girl eye-balling me from across the room since the moment I walked in.  However, I forgot about her after watching all the guys eye-balling Sabrina and watching them shake their heads when they saw a white guy like me was her date.   So I had forgotten about the blonde–until now.

“How are you surviving?” she asked with a flirty smile.

I glanced her once in my peripheral vision and looked ahead at the bartender making my drinks.  She was obviously trying to break the ice by insulting one of my favorite spots in the city. Already, I should have known.

“Surviving? I’m living it up.” I said as I grabbed my drinks.

“Really? I so rather be at Lee’s Palace right now.”

Lee’s Palace is a rock and punk bar in the Annex area of Toronto.  This girl was obviously trying to find something we could relate to–wasn’t going to happen.

“I wouldn’t be caught dead in Lee’s Palace.” I retorted.

“Oh, you actually LIKE this music? I’m only here because one of my girlfriends swears by this place.  No cute guys here whatsoever, well except for you of course.” she said as she gave me drunken bedroom eyes.

I scanned the room and at that time, I was the only white guy in sight. Figures.

“So what are you drinking, handsome?”

“Teddy Pendergrass.”

“Oh, I’ve never heard of that.” she replied.

“That’s a shocker.” I muttered under my breath.

“So are you here with your friend and her father , I presume?” she said pointing at the table I was sitting at trying hard not to stifle a laugh.

“Actually I’m here with my GIRLFRIEND and my FATHER.” I angrily replied.

“Oh! Really? But he’s black.”

“Gee, I hadn’t noticed that.” I replied.

“So, he’s your mother’s boyfriend or something?” she asked.

“He’s been my father since I was a baby.” I could feel my face turning red with anger.

“Wow. That’s impressive. A black guy actually committing to raising a white child.  I guess that’s why you’re with that girl. Are you trying to impress your daddy?” she laughed.

At that point, I could only say what I was thinking in the nicest way possible.

“I’m sorry, but what the f*ck is your problem?” I said as I turned to face her.

The sick thing was I could see she was getting turned on.  This racist exchange was her sick version of foreplay.

“Nothing is my problem.” she said this as she ran her fingers along my arm. ” I just think it’s tragic, that’s all. Such a great looking guy like you being turned off by someone you could truly be compatible with. I’m just a firm believer that if a person was meant to mate with someone of another race, they would have been born that other race, why do you think there are two sexes per race ?”

If there was ever an appropriate time to smack a woman across the face–this would have been it.  However, I am a gentleman, so I smacked her with my words.

“You think I would be more compatible with YOU? You come up to me wearing your Lulu Lemon sweats in a classy bar and have the audacity to think that we could make a connection by suggesting I would rather be at a punk and rock bar because I’m white?  Then you insult my family and my girlfriend, who is ten times the woman you’ll ever be by the way and expect me to go home with you?  Have another drink, “Penny Lane” and get the f*ck out of my face.”

Before I could turn around, there was Sabrina holding one of the “Teddy Pendergrass-inspired cocktails” in her hand and she threw it the racist blonde’s face.

Now that’s what I call a LOVE TKO.

We of course were kicked out and Sabrina and I never felt worse.  While we were walking to the nearest cab, my father burst out laughing.  With his infectious laughter, it had effectively broken the tension and then we all started laughing.

“You remind me of my wife, Sabrina. Keep this one, boy. She’s a keeper.”

With just those words, my father reminded us how lucky we are even if we have to deal with racist jerks from time to time.

The truth is that we live in a world that is THOUGHT to be free of racism, however the only thing that has truly changed is that people have learned to condition and hide their unjustified hate towards others.

When it comes to love–there is no right or wrong–black or white–it just IS.  There are always going to be people that are against your relationship–even if you’re not in an interracial one.  The important thing is to stay strong and remind yourself why you’re together in the first place and that YOU are the only one who lives your life.  Be with whomever makes you the happiest and you will succeed where other ignorant degenerates fail.

Originally appeared at Personals Facts.

—Photo www.charlesthompsonphotography.com/Flickr

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About Jimmy Jacob

Jimmy Jacob is the head writer over at Personal Facts (http://personalsfacts.com), a blog about online dating, sex, love and personal ancedotes of Jimmy's dating woes and successes. You can also connect with him on twitter @personalsfacts (http://twitter.com/personalsfacts.com).

Comments

  1. Thanks Jimmy. I especially appreciated this: “When it comes to love–there is no right or wrong–black or white–it just IS. There are always going to be people that are against your relationship–even if you’re not in an interracial one. The important thing is to stay strong and remind yourself why you’re together in the first place and that YOU are the only one who lives your life. Be with whomever makes you the happiest and you will succeed where other ignorant degenerates fail.”

    That’s so cool. Have been in a few interracial relationships, the love has been there, and sometimes many challenges with racism, but f*ck, if I love the person the racism isn’t going to stop me. When a situation like you described happens it can be very painful, but I loved how you, your girl and your dad, just let it go. Thanks again.

    • Jimmy Jacob says:

      Hi Sherri!

      Thanks for the comment and I agree. Racism should never stop you from loving someone. The fact is that every relationship has its own challenges. :) Thanks again!

  2. I am Asian and my husband is Jewish and we have an 11 year old son…we have been together over 2 decades….everyone has some racist or biased beliefs that they have grown up with or heard…

    Good for you for presenting a united front….hate comes in so many forms….you have to fight it every day….

    I look at my son, who is so lovely and funny…and I know for his sake there has to be a better way than to let haters get the best of you….Maybe the haters hate something inside themselves…it’s not about you….that girl probably has real self-esteem issues if she has to put down some stranger….

    • Jimmy Jacob says:

      Hey Leia!

      Thanks for the comment and it sounds like you have a really great family. Unfortunately, racism is something every interracial family has to deal with at some point or another, but trust me, your son will be able to get through it and he will probably have a lot of women fighting over him when he gets older too! ;)

      Thanks again!

  3. That Guy says:

    The woman at the bar was an idiot. It just happened to be that the racist part of her idiocy presented itself first. If you were not in an interracial relationship it would have been something else – your girlfriend is too fat for you, why are you drinking those weird drinks, a college education is a waste of time, getting drunk is the funnest thing I do, etc. She was already far over the line by making a pass at you with your girlfriend sitting right there.

    Definitely racist, but a lot of that behavior is just old-fashioned assholishness.

  4. I am Hispanic but don’t date Hispanic men. I am attracted to anything opposite. Its more of a cultural thing than a race thing per se. My first boyfriend was a foreign exchange student from Japan. I have also dated black and white Americans, Europeans and Africans. I don’t like dating people with my same complexion, either lighter or darker and foreign is a plus. My degree is in foreign language and literature; the joke when graduating was that my degree should have been in foreign lovers and liquors. I just find the cultural and physical differences fascinating. Luckily, I never had to deal with any open racism and I live in the deep South. lol. I have actually dated a few southern boys. Sorry you had to experience that!

    • Jimmy Jacob says:

      Hey JR,

      Glad to hear about how open you are with dating different races! I am a white guy and I have rarely dated white women. Your life sounds fascinating by the way. :)

  5. At my age, people’s presjudices shouldn’t surprise me, but they always manage to. I have mixed reactions to how you reacted to the situation Jimmy but I know you were sticking up for the people you love. Prejudice doesn’t just come in the form of race. People will build perceptions and negative stereotypes of you based on your religion, height or even your hair color.

    • Jimmy Jacob says:

      Hey Erin,

      You’re right…I may not have handled the situation the best I could have. I could have just walked away and ignored it once I got my drinks, but I was raised better than that. I just wish she was too.

  6. Dinomax says:

    Good post, I’ve been there, it’s important that both parties in an interracial relationship are on the same page with regards to dealing with racist incidents like that one. I’ve had many ‘record scratch’ moments when I’ve having a good time with someone only for some fool to impose his her beliefs on the situation..

  7. Peter Houlihan says:

    Holy crap, these people exist! Shame you and your girlfriend had to deal with that.

    I do have to wonder though, racist white girl in a (mostly) black bar… what was she trying to prove? I’m guessing theres a story there.

  8. Megalodon says:

    Misleading title. This was just about encountering racism from people outside the relationship. “Racism IN an Interracial Relationship” suggested that the issue would be about participants in an interracial relationship exhibiting racism towards each other, which would have been a more original and challenging subject.

    • Jimmy Jacob says:

      Sure that would have been more challenging…except, why would you be with someone if you were racist? That’s an article I would like to read myself.

      • Megalodon says:

        “except, why would you be with someone if you were racist?”

        You think that because someone may seek sexual congress with a person of another race, then that means the person must NOT be racist?

        • Megalodon,
          Yeah one can have sexual congress with just about anyone regardless of racist beliefs. It doesn’t take much for people to engage in sexual congress. But his relationship is more than just sexual. They have an actual friendship and loving relationship too. I can see a racist person merely sleeping with someone of a different race. However, the chance of an actual relationship forming is rather slim. He is not saying if a racist person is in a relationship then ” that means the person must NOT be racist” as you have implied. He is questioning the absurdity in the racist mind to date someone of another race. Is he/she trying to cure him or herself of racism by loving someone of an opposite race?

          Here is a better example; someone can have a homosexual encounter without being homosexual, just as someone can be racist and have sexual congress with someone of a different race. However, if the person who doesn’t claim to be homosexual were in a committed long-term homosexual relationship that extends beyond sex, wouldn’t it be rather absurd for this person to say he/she is not homosexual? It would be rather absurd, not impossible, for someone to claim he/she is racist but be in a long-term committed loving relationship with a person of a different race.

          Are you referring to cultural differences encountered when dealing with someone of an opposite race? I have encountered conflicts due to cultural differences when dating interracially. However, I can say that I have dated enough interracial people and even same sex partners to tell you that most relationship problems are the same. Fear of commitment, distrust, lack of communication, dishonesty, clinginess, and all the other conflicts that arise while attempting to love someone are pretty much the same in any relationship.

          • Megalodon says:

            “He is questioning the absurdity in the racist mind to date someone of another race. Is he/she trying to cure him or herself of racism by loving someone of an opposite race?”

            Absurdity is the name of the game when it comes to copulation behavior. Perhaps “curing” oneself of racism is one ridiculous motive that such a person can have. Other motives may be more nefarious. I knew a person who had a great affinity for Nazi Germany, saying certain German phrases, making anti-Semitic remarks and making Holocaust jokes. But for some reason, he also had a preference to fraternize and form relationships with Jewish women. One such association of his ended abruptly because the woman saw an item of memorabilia which he neglected to conceal before she came to his room. My guess is that he thought he was somehow fooling, infiltrating or degrading his partners.

            “However, if the person who doesn’t claim to be homosexual were in a committed long-term homosexual relationship that extends beyond sex, wouldn’t it be rather absurd for this person to say he/she is not homosexual?”

            Stephen Daldry identifies as homosexual but is in a heterosexual marriage to a woman and has sired daughter and declared that he remains faithful to his female wife. It is absurd, but it happens.

            “It would be rather absurd, not impossible, for someone to claim he/she is racist but be in a long-term committed loving relationship with a person of a different race.”

            People do not have to be avowed racists in order to have and express racist sentiment.

            “Are you referring to cultural differences encountered when dealing with someone of an opposite race? I have encountered conflicts due to cultural differences when dating interracially.”

            No, I am not just referring to cultural differences or cultural conflicts or even fetishization. I am talking about instances in which somebody’s repressed or controlled racism comes to the surface within the relationship. Like any other relationship, interracial relationships can become hostile or deteriorate. Partners become hostile and angry and hurl verbal abuse (or worse). And in some interracial relationships, during a hostile phase, one partner may hurl racial abuse at the other partner, as an additional weapon in the verbal arsenal. Perhaps there is some notion that no matter how hostile or angry people become in a relationship, they would never resort to saying racist things. But in a world where relationships within any race can escalate physical or lethal violence, that is a naïve hope.

  9. Your girlfriend rocks! I can’t believe that girl, but it never fails to shock me when people are that ignorant. My aunt married a black man, and my cousins don’t look mixed. They’re actually darker than most other African Americans, and there’s usually at least one or two comments whenever we go anywhere with each other. It’s disgusting.

  10. For years, the only men to ask me out on a proper date have been white men. Black men never approach me. Still, when I’m out with my white date or white boyfriend, black men are the first to have some comment about my loyalty to black men. It drives me crazy.

    To be fair, I live in the midwest. Maybe if I move out of here, I’ll find more dating opportunities from all races of men.

    I’ve heard from some white men I date, they’ve gotten the same thing from white women. All I can see it, if I’d been around when they were dealing with the crap, those women would’ve gotten a cocktail to the face too.

  11. wellokaythen says:

    Overpriced drinks gone to waste — the drinks down her throat and the drink in her face. Such a waste of perfectly good alcohol. Always order some ice water with your drinks. Much more cost-effective…. : – )

    • wellokaythen says:

      I meant that it’s better to throw a free beverage in someone’s face than an expensive one.

  12. Great read, man. Sorry it had to go down the way it went down, but she DEFINITELY had it coming.

    But yeah, as part of an interracial married couple in Toronto, I will say that there’s a slight amount of shock that this kind of ignorance and idiocy exists in our city, but it’s a good reminder that even the most multicultural of societies aren’t immune from racism. Or any of the isms for that matter. It makes me wonder what can be actively done to wash the crap out of our society.

    With that said, she IS a keeper. Anyone who’s willing to stand for basic human decency and rights is a winner in my book.

    But I’m just going to assume that you already knew that :)

    –case p.

  13. Megalodon’s angry-seeming comment actually touches on valid point in that people that allow themselves to be racist (sorry, I don’t buy that it can be taught anymore, so I also echo That Guy that trolls often just lazily add racist to their arse-enal) those types of people probably do entertain fantasies of sexually humiliating another race.

    That said, it’s still going to take a while before people consider ‘mixed’ a valid identity. The good news is that every mixed relationship helps us get one step closer.

  14. We’re living in the era of the hipster racist. Somehow, the social media generation has managed to conjure a very peculiar form of supremacist ideology. One we’re supposed to dismiss as the vacuous nature of life-sized, comment-section social interaction while simultaneously accepting bigotry as an appropriate approach to metropolitan life – as long as it exhibits some (often loose and unexplainable) form of paradox.

    So, basically, that blonde was a very rude and despicable person. That said, we’re living in rude and despicable times. I’ve met women twice as bad as the one from this article who actively, vocally and exclusively pursue black men. How is that for paradox?

    Its a weird time to be experimenting with your ethno-sexual barometer. Not really much of a problem for me and my girlfriend since we’re one of the last black couples left in the city. LOL.

  15. Christina Johnson says:

    I like your blog, i am black and my boyfriend is white. And its always weird when we go out you see people giving us a weird look as to why is she dating him, he’s not her color. I just don’t understand what does color have to do with it. Its my preference and even if he looked like an avatar if i was attracted to him i would still go for it no matter what. I am having the same problem with my roomate, and he’s black and he have a super crush on me but i don’t like him and for some reason he thinks its funny for him to make racist jokes and comments about caucasian guys and always on my case as to why i don’t stick with my own race and always putting what about me, why wont you date me. I’m black your black thing and we are compatible thing just pisses me off really bad. I really hate it. People need to learn that we arein the 21st century, everyone is human and if your blood is running red no matter what skin color you are if you like someone from a difference race it shouldn’t be a problem,

  16. Hi,
    Its an inspiring story, I am an Indian and my wife is American being of Afro-Caribbean decent. We live in Dubai were there is much racism which is classed based on the nationality one has more than the color of your skin.

    Indians are treated with contempt and humiliation, while Americans are treated with respect and dignity. My wife is a home maker by choice and I bring bread to the family, hence i face racism and abuses on a daily basis here. But when my wife goes for shopping and groceries she gets treated as a queen.

    When i complain about racism to my wife, my wife believes i am exaggerating or being silly, she never understands my point of view. This is causing a lot of strain in our marriage and i feel she is being more unsympathetic to me. The funny thing is it is well documented about the abuses and racism directed at Indians here but my wife simply chooses to ignore it.

    The fact that having to meet a unsympathetic wife at evening after a day long of abuse makes me more miserable.

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