Love is Blind, but is it Colorblind?
March 15, 2013 § 3 Comments
People tell stories about how love can triumph through any challenge and any hardship. They say that true love can make it through anything. People even say time and time again that love is blind; people say love is blind to age, race, nationality and political affiliation. But is it really? To be even more specific, is love really truly blind in the instance of race?
Interracial relationships have always been a topic of discussion. Even now in 2013 there are still many people who are against the “mixing of races”. The question is: how common is it? How common is this resistance to procreate with members of an outside race?
As a young female with parents of two different races (My dad is African American and my mom is Filipino) I have always had a passion and love for diversity. I grew up with the idea that race doesn’t matter when it comes to love. I grew up with parents who constantly assured me that I was free to love whomever I choose–whether he (or she in the case that I was a lesbian) was Asian, White, Black or even Indian.
I am currently involved in a relationship with a man outside of my race. He is white, and his family is white and there is no trace of Interracial mingling anywhere on his family tree (My family tree is saturated with interracial couples). Recently we visited his family and I was lucky enough to meet his maternal grandparents. After meeting them I asked him what they thought about his girlfriend being black (I didn’t think to ask about their opinion on my being Asian–I look predominantly black, and so most people associate me with such). Much to my surprise (because I really wasn’t expecting it to be an issue at all) he told me that his grandparents don’t agree with mixed-raced relationships.
I was shocked.
I mean, it makes sense. They grew up in a different time and they were taught a different set of values. They grew up as Southern, Wealthy Caucasians in a time where segregation was still prevalent–how could I expect anything different? Yet, I still sat there beside him with a sudden churning deep in the pit of my stomach, because even though I knew all of these things I still couldn’t help but feel taken aback.
This was the year of 2013 for crying out loud!
We sat there in a silence as I tried to work through what it was I had been feeling. Anger, annoyance, worry and disappointment coursed through me simultaneously. How could these people be so ignorant and stubborn? To still be against interracial relationships after all of these years? And when I met them they smiled at me and spoke to me as in the sweetest and most cordial of ways! Were they secretly damning me to hell beneath their breath?! I knew I was being unfair by being so upset at them, but at the same time I couldn’t help but feel that I had every right to be.
After recollecting myself I dared to ask the one question I already knew I would hate the answer to: Did his grandparents’ opinion on interracial relationships have any affect on him? And at the end of every day did he say to himself, “She’s still black and I’m still white”?
His answer was the very answer I never in my life thought I would hear from anyone.
After a moment of thinking about his response he shrugged a shoulder and told me straight out (as he always does in his honest moments): My grandparents’ opinions will always affect me. And race does cross my mind from time to time when I think about the continuation of the bloodline.
Although he didn’t say it outright, I could easily read between the lines. In short, he wasn’t sure he wanted to change things up on the family tree.
As ashamed as I am to admit it, this was the first moment that I had ever truly, deeply been embarrassed by the color of my skin; the color of my parents’ skin. This was the first moment that I felt less than worthy of something simply because of my race. And in that moment I knew: Segregation still existed in the world, and it certainly still existed in the hearts of some people.
I just couldn’t really believe any of the things I was hearing. For months, race didn’t seem to be a factor in the relationship. His best friend is black, for crying out lout! Every time we hang out there is no resistance and no hesitation. He laughs with me, plays with me and shares his thoughts with me. He takes me places and talks about me to his friends. He even outright considers me his “girlfriend”. It is clear that we both enjoy one another’s company. So how is it possible that my race could still matter even after all this time? It just doesn’t make any sense.
Even now, days later, I still can’t push that conversation from my mind. Even now, as he continues to laugh with me, joke with me and share his time with me I still can’t help but to feel like maybe I’m spending all of this time in vain. As time continues to pass and our relationship continues to grow, will the color of my skin still matter? Will I still be considered a possible “hindrance” to the family tree? Or will he love me just as he would love any other woman (dare I say it, white woman) he may meet in his life?
And now, knowing that race is a factor (minor or major, does it even matter? The fact that it’s a factor at all is major enough for me), should I cut my losses and give up now? Or should I push forward, proving to him and his family and most importantly myself that love truly can conquer any hardship? Should I push forward and prove to him that the color of my skin has no effect on my successes and accomplishments as a fully capable and confident woman?