Lessons for Couples in Interracial Relationships
Gina Florio [pictured] is half Korean - half Italian. She has been in interracial relationships all her adult life. What saddens her is that "we're stuck" - people still pick on and discriminate against interracial couples. And apparently the comments got harsher based on the differences between the physical features and skin color of the person she was dating. And its not just the strangers. She has had to get into verbal altercations even with her friends and family because of her interracial dating.
All is not lost though because much as she has had to endure all that negativity, it has boosted her self confidence and reassurance. She shares with us the 7 things she has learned from being in interracial relationships:
The right partner will always defend you and stand up for you.
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More often than not, interracial couples draw attention from people mainly because they look different. And with this attention comes, inappropriate and ignorant questions and remarks from people around; be it friends, family members and strangers. When this happens, is your partner the kind of person who will stand up for you or do they only react when the comments are thrown their way?
Well, these are the signs that will automatically let you know whether he or she is a keeper or not. If you feel they don't take these remarks seriously especially when they are hurting your feelings, at least have a talk with them. Its the only way to know whether they are fully invested in you or just having fun.
Real friends will stand up for you too.
Much as most people may ignore and do nothing when racists are having a shot at your interracial relationship, real friends will speak up for you. They wont just stand there and let people make a mockery of your relationship.
Florio says: "There have been quite a few friendships in my life that have gradually faded. This happened because they just didn’t care how rude people were to me, and they were too scared — for whatever reason — to stand alongside me in public and call out the racist comments that flew my way. If you’ve got a friend who isn’t stepping up to the plate, they may not be your true bestie after all."
Laughing off racist remarks only means you are OK with it
"...and if you’re uncomfortable, you don’t want to send that message", says Florio.
Some people may laugh off comments hurled at them because they make them uncomfortable... they just wont speak up. This may however send the message that you are OK and find the remarks funny. So what's to make them stop? Even if you wont speak up, give them the look that will make them realize their remarks are simply not welcome or simply walk away.
Families members are not always right.
Our families should always come first, right? This however doesn't make their opinions right. The thing with family is when you let them, they can steer your relationship down the failure road. According to Florio, her family has been wrong about some of her relationships before. Some of their opinions can be too old fashioned so they should not be things you take to heart.
Try and strike a balance. If their opinion makes sense, then listen. If not, then let them know how much you want them in your life and just how much being against your relationship without good reason will make that impossible. Stand your ground and stand up for your relationship whenever you have to. Once they realize how serious you are about it, they will compromise too.
Sometimes walking away from nasty comments is the best approach.
When someone hurls racist remarks at you in public, humiliating as it may be on your end, blowing up or fighting back is not always the best solution. It only causes a scene thereby bringing more public attention your way. And when this happens, you are bound to feel worse.
Learn to pick your battles. There are times that you can fight back and other times, fighting back just brings more embarrassment your way, especially when you are dealing with ignorant or highly prejudicial individuals. Sometimes, walking away or avoiding friends and places that have racist individuals is the best thing to do. Dont let racists have a field day by fighting back and giving them more power over you. Walking away shows strength and that you really dont give a rat's a** about what they think of your interracial relationship.
"Not everyone is trying to be mean — they might just be ignorant."
"I’m not claiming that being ignorant gives people a free pass to be inappropriate toward you — not at all. But there are people out there who truly do mean well, they just have no idea how to approach the subject of interracial dating. You’ll eventually be able to effortlessly decipher between those individuals and the ones who are just plain mean," says Florio.
And if ignorance is their deal, then shouting back at them wont solve this. Explain yourself softly and firmly and walk away. You might find that you have schooled someone if they care at all. If not, we win some and lose some. You can't please everyone. That's just how this life works.
The only people's opinions that should matter are yours and your partner's.
"This is the most important lesson of all. Because no matter how many people chime in with advice and guidance, you and your S.O. are the ones who will ultimately decide how you feel about each other, and how to move forward with your relationship. I’ve found that people are much quicker to give their two cents about my partner and me than they would be with a single-raced couple... Easier said than done, but try to block out all the nonsense, and just feel it out with each other," concludes Florio.
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