A few weeks ago, I was in Mumbai for work. Though a thriving and buzzing city, Mumbai still has a long way to go before it becomes a truly Cosmopolitan city, striding with the likes of Singapore or Hong Kong in Asia. At the hotel that I normally stay in, you do see people from different countries and nationalities as they pass by on various ventures. However, black people in India are quite a rare sighting. So when I visited the pool, I noticed the two black men lying there. Along with these men, there were several white women – some young and some old, and a few children the race of whom was ambiguous but I could not be certain that they were together.
The next morning at breakfast, I saw the same two black men with three white women and the children and it became quite clear to me that they were one big family. My heart filled with joy to see this complete mix of people, travelling together and being a family.
Why was my heart filling with joy I wondered! It was simple – In this family, I had witnessed a unity consciousness which is not a common sighting in our current society. While many of us have come far along the global cosmopolitan route – too large a number of relationships, marriages still end up in a same race/ culture/ religion category.
A white friend of mine recently told me that he was on a date with a white woman and in the discussion that ensued, she laid down very plainly – “I do not date Asians or any other non-Caucasians, as I do not believe in diluting my genes”. This, as she works and earns her living in Singapore, an Asian country. The statement was jarring to say the least. I could not fathom that in this day and age, in a city like this, an educated person can actually make a statement like that. These attitudes, I am assuming are much more rampant in any non-cosmopolitan city/ country/ culture.
Let’s face it – Relationships are hard work even when both parties are from the same race/ religion and cultural background so interracial couples have an additional amount of hard work cut out for them. I have been on both sides of the fence, having been in same race and an interracial relationships. However, It was the mixed (up) relationship that made me grow up and widen my perspective to a much larger degree than, if I never had an interracial relationship. It challenged so many of my thought systems and conditioning that I had grown up with, and forced me to face them head on.
Apart from the trials and tribulation which any normal relationship has, below is a list of some of the greatest challenges that come with being in an interracial relationship.
1. The obvious stares – Interracial couples look different. I am brown, he was a pale white blonde, so stares and social taboos to go with the stares were common. The judging, questioning looks of why these two obviously different people have come together were pretty obvious. It took us both a while to even get comfortable being with each other in public and get over what people were thinking.
2. Social misconceptions – example the Asian woman, white man taboo where people assume that the woman is with the man for his money. Obviously in their heads, the white men have money whereas us poor Asian women don’t :).. I remember the first time I met one of his friends back in his home country, she snidely remarked how I must be a very smart girl to have picked him. On my side, Indian women rarely end up with men of different races so I was seen as somewhat of an alien within my own circles.
3. Language Barriers – If you come from different cultural backgrounds, despite a common language, it is likely that your original social circles converse in a different language than the one that is common to the couple. For example, when it was my (Indian) friends, quite often they would break into Hindi after a few drinks, and this would put my mate in a sullen mood, being unsure and unable to fully immerse in the dialogue. On his side, it was mostly Dutch, and there were times, when there was not even a common language so smiles and nods had to do.
4. Children – If either of you have children from a previous relationship, which are not mixed, it makes the whole situation even more complicated. The one time we all traveled together, the obviously White man in the otherwise brown family stuck out and made him extremely uncomfortable. This caused so much strain in our relationship. If you will have mixed children then how will you decide whose religion/ culture will be dominant in the children and how do you decide on the upbringing?
5. Cultural Differences – Different cultures have different expectations from a relationship point of view. As an example, for me the normal (definite) culmination to a happy relationship was marriage. He being from a European background did not consider it so. These varying thought systems, which are a result of social conditioning can cause much havoc in the relationship. As I broke out of my social conditioning, I was able to see how I was straining the relationship because of “in the box” thinking.
6. Money matters – Culturally, women in India are not primary breadwinners or even equal breadwinners. I was brought up with a strong pre-conditioning that as a woman, I did not have to be a primary breadwinner and my role was to be a caretaker. While this role was further ingrained in me in my same race relationship (and I was already rebelling against it) but still carrying the burden of the bias in my mind. It was a real point of contention with my partner, who thought that where possible, both men and women should contribute equally to the material wealth of the family. Again, as I grew and became more empowered as a woman, I was able to break out of yet another false premise created by conditioning and realized that men and women have in fact equal share in both aspects of a family – material well-being and care taking. Each partner must start from an equal footing before taking on a greater part of any particular part of the responsibility and that should be a matter of choice not pre-defined roles.
7. Family conditioning and Biases – Interracial couples, have to overcome our families conditioning and biases on the race that our partner belongs to. I had to deal with alarmist comments from my family and I am certain he had to deal with his own set.
There are many more trials, however, I know that what keeps a mixed race couple together is a pure unadulterated, unconditional form of love, which has the strength and tenacity to overcome all the pre-conditioning and cultural frameworks (which really is a lot to overcome). Even if the couple don’t survive the challenges, if the relationship was serious and long term enough, it would have led to significant growth in both partners.
When two people from different backgrounds stay together, it is a victory for each of them personally and a victory for the energy of unconditional love, over the rules and norms created by society. Many Twin flame relationships involve two people from widely different backgrounds. Whenever an interracial couple comes together, the universe rejoices in their courage and they elevate the unity consciousness of the planet by a bit. I used to always wonder why mixed race children were so beautiful and I believe that it is as if the universe is rejoicing in the coming together of the two people and therefore rewarding the offspring.
On that note, I offer my salutes and respects to all the beautiful men and women, from different cultural backgrounds, that are trying, or have successfully held on to a partnership, that our societal baggage and planetary consciousness of separation works so hard to restrict.
May the forces of Unconditional Love reign more and more.