Have I betrayed my race by being in an interracial relationship?
As a black man in an interracial relationship, am I letting down the black community when I could instead be in a relationship that showcased a strong, black couple?
Being in an interracial relationship isn’t something I give much thought to, and I’d imagine that’s the case for most interracial couples. Sure, there are times where race plays a role in our relationship with our perspectives due to cultural nuances and experience. However, on the whole, my wife is my wife. She just happens to not be black.
While to us our interracial status is an incidental feature of our relationship, it’s understandably more apparent to others. For some, that’s little more than an obvious observation of us as a couple. For others, that can represent something much less superficial in a departure from our respective race in who we’ve decided to be in a relationship with.
For some, an interracial relationship is something fetishised and actively pursued. There’s the argument that for some this can essentially be one having a ‘type’, no different to being attracted to someone with a certain hair colour or body type, and that type happening to not be from your own race. But it can also cross a line of racist stereotyping, such as the view that all black men are well-endowed where it’s used to define and overly sexualises us above our actual character. Linford Christie wasn’t initially too mad at the Linford’s lunchbox jokes until they started getting more headlines than the fact that his hard work and talent had made him the fastest man on earth.
I don’t see anything wrong with having an attraction to a certain race. After all, everyone is entitled to their attraction as long as it’s legal. Yet for my wife and I, neither of us actively sought an interracial relationship as a prerequisite for a potential partner before we became a couple.
Despite this, some would view our relationship, and our choice of partner, representing us turning our backs on our own race. So as a black man, have I betrayed the black community by being in an interracial relationship?