Some of the most beautiful things in the world are the result of a mixture of colors. Sunsets, paintings, nature, and for me, neapolitan ice cream. However, when it comes to the mixture of skin colors in relationships, the line between beauty and beast becomes a little muddied.
The United States legalized interracial relationships in 1967 when the Supreme Court ruled the banning of such marriages unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia. First, it’s shocking to realize that this ruling is younger than my parents, who raised four mixed children together. Second, it’s ridiculous that some people carry on the idea that being part of an interracial relationship is a corruption of character.
Being raised by my Black father and half-white, half-hispanic mother, I’ve never given a second thought to interracial relationships. My father grew up in the predominantly Black city of St. Louis while my mother grew up 34 miles northeast of Maryville, where her father was the most color the town had witnessed. Despite the odd demographic pairing, my parents are the most loving people I know, with no corruption due to their relationship.
As I became old enough to take relationships seriously, I was quickly labeled the “white girls only” guy because, at the time, I was dating a white girl. I thought nothing of it because I knew I had feelings for this girl, even if her skin was paler. However, it wasn’t until after that relationship ended that I fully understood the dirty expressions and surprise I received when I told people my girlfriend was white.
There’s this idea that dating outside of your race means you find your own culture unattractive, that somehow love can’t exist unless you find somebody who shares your generational trauma. So, why is this a thing?
The problem doesn’t just stem from the idea that interracial couples are bad, but from people believing that they’re more desirable. There is a horrifying trend of Black men deeming white women more attractive, simply because they’re not Black.
It’s the same premise as cultural appropriation or just blatant racism. I’ve heard from multiple Black men that Black women have too much of an attitude to be attractive or that they just aren’t as physically appealing as white women. Even as subjective as these claims are, they’re both wrong. There’s nothing unattractive about big hair, big personalities, big lips or beautiful brown skin. These unwarranted claims of unattractive nature creates a negative image of Black women that distorts the loving intentions of interracial relationships.
Similarly, Black men can become the object of fetishism. Time after time, I’ve heard white women claim their attraction to Black men, but only emphasize the idea of having mixed babies with light eyes and loose curls. Black men are more than just a means to an end. We’re humans that deserve the same love, respect and treatment as somebody who doesn’t have the gift of melanin.
All of these are things I’ve seen in cisgender, heterosexual, interracial relationships from the Black man’s perspective. LGBTQ+ relationships, as well as women in interracial relationships, have undoubtedly countless other stereotypes and obstacles to overcome.
It’s destructive to have these surface level evaluations when developing intimate relationships, especially with someone of a different race. I think people need to be aware that interracial relationships are under constant scrutiny solely because of the generational trauma that racism in America has caused.
Being with somebody of another race doesn’t strip you of your cultural background. There’s been so much harm done to the Black community, it’s just hard to fully buy into white people truly giving love and understanding to a person of color.
With that being said, nobody should ever feel like they shouldn’t love who they want. It’s not wrong to date outside of your race. It’s not wrong to learn how your significant other is different and how they deserve to be treated. For a lot of people, it’s just hard to accept, but is that anything new in America?