Last week my husband and I were in the DMV, seated right next to each other on a bench waiting for Hearing Room # 3 to open when a guy walked by, looked me dead in the eyes winked at me and smiled. Greg, my husband, saw the entire thing and shot the guy an annoyed ‘Dude, I dare you to try it’ look. I just shook my head. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that this is something that happens to us all the time, despite sitting or standing next to each other, somehow people never ever think we are together; simply because my husband is White and I am Black.
I know this guy wasn’t being facetious, he just assumed, like most people do, that Greg and I were not a couple even though we were actually physically together. No matter how close we are to each other, even when we are in deep conversation, short of us holding hands or being loving with each other, people will assume we are not a couple. The dating and marrying outside our race have brought with it a mixture of comical, unbelievable, amusing sometimes even inconceivable experiences. It’s been 5 and a half years in total since we’ve been together and the weirdness still persists.
No One Ever Thinks We’re Together
It has become quite comical to us that no one ever thinks we are together, but depending on the situation it can also be annoying that people refuse to ask the pertinent questions but instead will just go with their assumptions.
Recently Greg let me off to go into the doctor’s office while he went to park the car. After checking in with the receptionist, letting her know who I was, I went to the ladies room. Greg arrived inside the doctor’s office less than 5 minutes afterward, he looked around the waiting room and didn’t see me so he asked the receptionist if “his wife” had just walked in. The receptionist without even asking Greg his wife’s name or asking for a description of his wife said, “No.” Greg asked her, “Are you sure, she should have just come in?” The woman again said, “No.” I walked out of the ladies’ room saw Greg at the receptionist desk and said, “Hi Babe, you found a parking spot fast, huh?” The receptionist turned bright red with embarrassment trying to explain herself. What I really wanted to ask her was why she would choose to go with her ignorant assumption that I was not Greg’s wife instead of asking him his wife’s name; but Greg wouldn’t let me, he told me to behave myself and let it be, after all, we should be used to it by now.
Things People Say to Us
The most common one we get is the inquiry as to what our respective families said or thought when we first started dating. Honestly, nothing. My parents thought nothing of me bringing home a white guy and vice versa. It really was not a big deal. My parents liked Greg because, according to them, they could see how much he cared for me. My mother liked the fact that Greg hung onto every word I said and looked lovingly at me each time I spoke and my father liked the fact that on the numerous occasions we all went out that weekend Greg paid for everything despite him (my father) being there. They embraced and love him.
As for my mother-in-law, sometimes I wonder if she even notices that I am not white. She has never mentioned anything about the color of my skin to Greg. She has been nothing but warm and kind to me from the very first day I met her, which was a few months into our relationship. She is extremely sweet to me and always ensures that she sends me a birthday card every year with a nice handwritten message inside.
People also ask us a lot about procreating, even strangers. The most common query we get when people do realize that we are in fact together is about babies. People are constantly asking us if we have any children together and when we say no then the next question is usually when are we going to have one, followed by the statement that we would make “some beautiful babies”; and yes they are very certain about this. Apparently, interracial couples never make unattractive babies.
One Sunday afternoon as we rode the subway into the city, an elderly woman sat across from us. I caught her staring at us several times so I finally smiled at her and that’s when she spoke. She commented on how nice we looked together, asked how long we had been together and advised us to have a baby. Before she exited the train she told us that she hopes that when I get pregnant it will be a girl because “she would be absolutely stunning”.
Then there are also the “jokes” bordering on snide remarks that people make. The one about “why couldn’t you date a black man / white girl instead” or the assumption that we could not find someone who is our own race, makes my blood boil. Are you kidding me? My husband and I have amazing chemistry that’s why we are with each other. Not because a guy is black does not mean I will have chemistry with him and it goes the same for my husband with his white female counterparts. The worst jokes and remarks though are the ones with the negative stereotype. Or the one about our time together having an expiration date because either one of us must have a “fetish” or might be going through “a phase”. Yeah, people go there, especially when one or the other of us is not around and they perceive that we are close enough to them for them to go there.
Not Black Enough
Apparently, there are varying levels of being black and I am not black enough or can’t possibly be down with the struggle of my people because I am married to a white man. Yes, people have said that. It’s harrowing how much people think they know about you based on who you married. I can assure you that my being married to Greg doesn’t make me any less vested in the issues that affect my community. Guess what people? I can still be “woke” and love my caucasian man. I will continue to speak out against oppression and racism and fight the good fight, and trust and believe my husband will be there right alongside me fighting with me. I am 100% sure of that! I didn’t lose my love for my race and my culture because I fell in love with someone who is not black and the implication that I did is ludicrous. Again, ignorance!
Greg and I are a strong, confident couple, who are able to stand up to the social biases that still prevail in our society even though it’s the year 2018. We are open-minded, compassionate people, who embrace each other’s differences and idiosyncrasies. Whatever squabbles and or disagreements we may have are the usual disagreements that occur in same race relationships, like why in the world he won’t bring the toilet seat down after he uses it, that still irks me. Similarly, it boggles his mind and annoys him when he has to wait for me because it takes me 2 hours to get ready whenever we are going out. We are the same as any other couple and the sooner society’s naysayers recognize that the sooner we can eliminate the struggles that seem to automatically comes when one dates or marry outside one’s race.