5 Things You Experience in an Interracial Relationship
Growing up, I lived in a town with next to zero racial diversity. The population was comprised of nearly 100% White Americans–if I remember correctly, it has a racial make-up of 98% Caucasians. Being in an interracial was an experience I thought about as teenager and young adult, but the odds were small due to the lack of diversity in my rural community. Then I got into my mid-twenties and out of a seven year relationship with my high school sweet heart. I joined the online dating scene and not long after met Efren. The duration of our relationship has brought us through some unusual (sometimes comedic) challenges and adventures…here are 5 of them.
1.Taking a “good” picture brings on a whole new meaning. I am a fare skinned, blonde haired, green eyed American; Efren is Mexican, has dark hair, eyes and darker skin. When taking a picture, getting the contrast correct is challenging. When the contrast is correct for him, I look like a ghost. When the contrast is correct for me, he looks like a shadow. These two pictures attempt to illatrate my point. The first I look “normal”, he does not. The second he looks “normal”, I do not (notice the color difference between my face and hand, my face is washed out) *Also see pumpkin picture shown later, he looks like a shadow*
2. Contractions in speech stop existing. It is safe to say that there is a little bit of a language barrier. I am monolingual, only speaking English with a strong northern accent. Efren is bilingual, speaking Spanish as his first language, English as his second. As time passes, the barrier minimizes as we learn each other’s speech patterns; however, we learned quickly minute differences in word meaning–like contractions– are difficult to understand. We have stopped using them all together for the sake of misunderstanding avoidance.
3. You may need an interpreter to visit your in-laws . Efren’s parents not only live in another country, but they don’t speak or understand any English (I do not speak or understand any Spanish). During FaceTime sessions, Efren must translate both ways. It changes the conversational dynamic, creating a choppier feel. I have yet to visit them in person, but I can only imagine in person will be a similar experience.
4. You get to experience another culture in it’s most authentic form . I have had an absolute blast sharing my culture with Efren. We have gotten to share so many small things with each other that maybe mundane to us, but is completely new to the other person. I have shared tiny experiences such as: making cookie cutouts, carving a pumpkin, peanut butter apples, going to the apple orchard, and visiting a fully automated dairy farm (I grew up on said farm). He has shared: rosca de reyes, new food (like plantain, tres leches, yuca & jicama) , and Cinco De Mayo.
5. Body Language becomes accompanied by verbal ques. Simply put…normative body language in our individual cultures is drastically different. This has created some challenging experiences. You begin to reflect on the sheer amount of unspoken communication that occurs within a single interaction.
˅˅˅˅Comment below some challenges you have experienced ˅˅˅˅