Should a black man get out to get blackberries in the country? Should his white wife do the dealings for safety’s sake? These are some questions those in interracial relationships might ask themselves… at least I know I have.
My husband and I have been together for 14 years; since we were teenagers. So we have grown up together and built a life together. To me he is my handsome, funny husband. But every once and awhile I get reminded he is a black man living in America. Such as the recent election and all the news of black men being shot by police. But even then… that is usually a bit removed from us and our specific everyday lives (not really… but you know what I mean… I hope).
We live in an area that we specifically chose to raise our children in because it is diverse not only with race but also socioeconomic status. We both grew up in the hood area of town and on the lower end of the economic scale (me more so than him). We used to hear a lot more crap when we were younger in regards to our relationship but things have either started to change… or we got better at ignoring it.
Recently my husband and I have come across some situations that have reminded me that we are a black man and a white woman in a relationship raising multiracial kids. We have made it a point to try to do more things with our kids and family this summer so we have gone out of our little diverse bubble more. This has led to me remembering how potentially racist the world we live in is.
Every summer for the last 7 or so years (we missed last year though!) we have been going camping with my husband’s side of the family. At this point they know us but usually we are the only family of color there. We really haven’t had any issues there (that I’m aware of) but there is this Farmers Stand at the exit we get off that we like to stop at to get fruit… and fudge! I usually feel a bit uneasy with how others there look at my family. I have noticed the staff treating my husband markedly different than they did the previous white customer. Maybe they knew them? Maybe my husband’s politeness is off-putting? Or maybe…. its subtle racism.
We recently took a drive out to the Explore & More Children’s Museum that is sort of at the edge of the country outside of our city. My husband is crazy and wanted to stop at a “Made in America” store on the way back that we saw but I just felt this nervousness in my chest. Would there be “MAGA” loving white people in there? Would they treat us badly? Would they say something to my husband/kids that would make me go into protective mother and wife mode? I was really nervous about this but didn’t say it to my husband.
We ended up taking a different route home because we were going to grab something to eat. I was really glad. But we ended up driving through this sort of rural area and we passed a sign that said “Fresh Blackberries.” My husband and kids love fruit and berries so of course he wanted to stop. We turned around and started driving down this long road that made us both nervous. I swear it was like that road in “Get Out” and I thought I was going to have to fight for my families life. We joked about it but I really was feeling a bit uneasy. We finally get to the little stand way in the back in front of a little farm house. My husband starts to get out and I ask him, “wait, should I get out instead?”
He is confident in his ability to win people over and not letting anybody control what he does so he was all fine with getting out and interacting with the older white woman who drove up on a little four-wheeler to sell him the blackberries. I sat with my window open trying to hear if she was being nice to him. She had that awkward, trying to be friendly voice and demeanor that people get when they aren’t used to dealing with POC. I see it semi-frequently when my husband and I are around other white people that I know aren’t used to interacting with black men. I haven’t asked my husband if he notices it… but I probably should.
The most recent situation that reminded me was the funeral of a friends family member. Now don’t get me wrong… everybody was friendly and cordial. I grew up with a lot of the people in attendance and they are like family. But there were a lot of people I have never met before. The entire room was Caucasian… except for my husband. Like I said I grew up with a lot of the family and they treat my husband like family. But I always get this weird feeling in situations like that where we are surrounded by folks from the suburbs and country. I worried what were people thinking? Were they making comments on the side to each other? These could’ve all be extreme overthinking on my part (especially since they were probably preoccupied with the passing of their loved one), but it represented situations that my husband and I find ourselves in at times and real concerns I have.
Now don’t get me wrong. This can go the other way as well when the situations are flipped. I wonder are people talking under their breathe about the “white girl with the black guy”, “what does she think she is doing with him”, “why is he with her”, and other related comments when we are in a group where I am the only white person.
What kind of funky situations have you found yourself in? Any outwardly racist experiences? What about dealing with subtle racism? I would love to hear your stories. Let me know down below in the comments.
Thanks for reading,
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Check out my previous post –> Explore and More Children’s Museum – Family Fridays.