Do white people feel they have to walk on eggshells in interracial relationships?
I am sure most us can confess to having had to tread carefully in our conversations and behavior when it comes to our romantic relationships. It surprises me how naturally it comes. But much as we all do it sometimes, I assume it is more pronounced for people who are interracial relationships.
In a recent interview on Cincinnati radio show, J.C. Davies, author of the interracial relationship book “I Got the Fever: Love, What’s Race Gotta Do with It?” said a lot of white people she interviewed confessed to being "afraid" of dating interracially… Not afraid of what people might say about them, but “afraid they might say or do the wrong thing.”
It’s hard to bring up race when you are white. Most of my white friends have admitted to feeling like they are in the wrong whenever they make a comment that touches on race. The thing is, words like “white supremacy”, “stereotypes”, “racist” have for a long time been conversation killers. And this is why whites are assumed to be the most politically correct race. This could be the reason why those interviewees tend to feel they are not supposed to talk about certain stuff especially in their interracial relationships… the reason they might feel the pressure to carry themselves in a particular manner when in the presence of family of their interracial love.
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We have seen toes being stepped on…feelings getting hurt whenever questions like "Do [race] people do this", "Is doing this [race] enough"? arise. It’s like anything that touches on race automatically spirals into some unproductive arguments. But does this mean some topics should automatically be taboo when it concerns interracial relationships .... especially with whites?
For any relationship to thrive, couples need to feel comfortable enough to ask or talk about anything. I think it’s important for anyone in an interracial relationship to do the best they can to know and appreciate the culture of their mate instead of automatically assuming that some topics are taboo based on stereotypes that exist within our society because of the racism that existed so many years ago. And the appreciation of other cultures can only start with feeling free to ask any question as opposed to tiptoeing around topics.
Davies says: “When people feel like they have to walk on eggshells around their mate or his family, that relationship is likely to be short lived.” That I totally agree with. However, there is something she said on the issue that felt like she was implying that the non-white spouses are to blame for this “fear”. Having dated black men, Asian men, Hispanic men and now, a Jewish man, she says she is “under attack a lot of the times solely because” she is white. She adds: “So I implore you: don’t pick on whitey. Encourage your white significant other to express his or her opinion and use humor to defuse any racial tensions.”
Does this mean other races are to blame for this "fear" of speech and action? Do non-white people also feel the need to tiptoe around every conversation or everything they do in their interracial relationships?
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