1) Define an interracial relationship?
Ok so to me an interracial relationship is a relationship between two different races; black with white or Asian and white for example.
2) Tell me about your experience as a mixed race child growing up in an interracial family?
Growing up as a mixed race child in an interracial family was weird sometimes but I was happy. I was never raised with my African family although my mother did make a conscious effort to make sure I spent as much as I could with them. With them I felt super comfortable simply because my cousins and my aunties looked more similar to me. Whereas with my mums family, I always felt like I stood out like a sore thumb! Everyone was 100% Portuguese and then you had me, curly Afro and a skin complexion which wasn’t white or black. My dad wasn’t always around but when he was, he would tell me about his country, their food and culture. I experienced racism as a child from other children, simply because they didn’t understand why mum was white and I wasn’t like her. People would also ask my mum if she adopted me.
3) What are some of the strengths and challenges you faced within your home as two integrating races?
Challenges and strengths that I experienced in an integrated home…humm, well my mum loves black culture so she always played African music even reggae. Even the decor in the house was kind of African, she always wanted me to feel like I belonged. However, whenever she or another white family member felt some type of way or wanted to say racist comments they always felt comfortable telling it and then excuse it by saying ‘ur not really black’ this still annoys me till this day! The assumption that because I am both races I won’t get offended or I don’t count as one or the other.
4) Tell me about some of the challenges/strengths you faced as a mixed race child within the black community?
In the black community I experienced some challenges and some strength. Challenges were that, I am lighter and mixed with white so I get a lot of remarks that, I think I am better than everyone else or that my hair is better and just this constant reminder that I am not fully black so I don’t really belong and I can’t relate which is simply not true. I also experienced many strengths! The black community can also be so accepting, telling me that I am viewed as a black woman which can be very empowering.
5) Tell me about some of the challenges/strengths you faced as a mixed raced child within the white community?
The white community like to move like my white family sometimes, I was told I wasn’t black and I should forget that mentality. But then they love to say my hair and my features are beautiful which is a contradiction because my hair and my features are all part of my mix! I wouldn’t have the hair I have if it wasn’t for my black genes! Also the white community feel more comfortable telling me racist jokes which is totally awkward.
6) Do you think there is a link between identity and persons from a mixed heritage? If so why?
Yes defo! I feel like being mixed can be so confusing, simply because society makes it confusing. I feel like I am not a black woman nor am I a white woman, I am a mixed race woman and that is my identity. I feel this way because all my life I have felt like both sides have tried to claim me and tell me to disregard my other half, which isn’t right. I wouldn’t be me if it wasn’t for both sides. And to be honest when you think about it. I don’t look black and I don’t look white I look mixed!
7) Can you tell me about some differences in experiences for mixed race children in today’s society in comparison to your own experiences?
I don’t think there are a lot of differences from when I was a child. However I feel like the Internet has a massive influence on children from early ages. I feel like the world right now is more pro black and just pro diversity so I guess a mixed race child now a days might not feel as confused or feel like they need to pick a side.
8) Why do you think interracial relationships within the BME community is seen as “stepping out” or disrespecting a race?
Because it’s different, because you are not keeping to your community. It’s like you feel like you can’t find someone that looks like you to be with, or you are not attracted to your own people…which isn’t always the case. Love is love no matter what colour, creed or religion you are.
9) In your view, why do you think BME communities are more accepting of black males entering relationships with other races in comparison to black females?
It all comes back to men wanting to do whatever they feel like while women have boundaries and rules they can’t disrespect! It’s outdated and sexist. It can also be seen from a different perspective; from example, if a woman dates a white man and has children with him those children won’t have a strong black male figure only a female… So what? A woman can also be a strong black influence in her child’s life…personally I think its sexist… ‘I can leave you for a white woman because she has less attitude but don’t you dare leave me for a Tom or Harry who probably has better credit than me’ it’s dumb.
10) What challenges have you encountered as a mixed race adult in regards to dating/relationships?
White men hardly ever approach me! I always get black men’s interest even Chinese men!! But never white men. Weird isn’t it. One white guy actually approached me and he was Portuguese. They will watch and check me out but never approach. It’s not really a challenge to be honest because I actually prefer black men…but it’s something I have noticed.
11) How have you managed some of the challenges/negative experiences faced as a mixed raced individual?
I have just fallen in love with me and the way I look. At the end of the day people will always have something negative to say. It’s important to remember your positives as a mixed race person, there are loads of positives!!
12) What advice would you give to individuals stigmatised for being in an interracial relationship.
If you are in an interracial relationship don’t let people get in the way of it… If you really love each other that’s what matters. You can make both cultures work, trust me people have done it. I know it’s hard especially if your family is against it. But hey, they aren’t the ones in the relationship. It’s you two!. Your children will have the best of both worlds!
Daniella, London UK