“Does skin color matter?”
When I was a young girl, I found myself typing this into Google. I felt like maybe there was something I had to be missing. I grew up in a country and society that, like many 3rd world countries, had an obsession with the West and everything all-American. Countless Disney movies (with the exception perhaps of Aladdin) taught me that marrying a Caucasian guy with flowing locks was a prize to be valued above all else.
Flash forward some 15 years or so, and I am now in an interracial marriage. In this day and age, it is difficult to grapple with the fact that we still have this distinction, but we do. It is funny however, to note how the times have changed. Once, the idea of an interracial couple was considered appalling and, at times, downright unconstitutional. Though long gone are the days when the sight of my husband and me would lead to public protest, it seems that, the population has garnered a whole new set of passive-aggressive ways in which to allude to their discomfort upon seeing us hand in hand. From the well meaning “I bet your babies will be adorable!” to the audacious “well, good for you!” there never seems to be an end to the steady stream of comments we get.
1. “I bet your babies will be adorable!”
What I hear: “Don’t worry! Your children won’t have to deal with Asian eyes or skin that is too dark. Basically, all the so-called imperfections and physical short-comings that I am judging you on will be corrected in your offspring. Yay!”
I don’t know who said it first, but somewhere, somehow, as a society, we decided that it was okay to tell interracial couples of their duty to humanity to have super-beautiful, hybrid offspring. Not only are you assuming that I want to have kids, but you are also assuming that I can have kids. What if I am unable to conceive, did you ever think about that? Someone’s decision and ability to have a child is such a deeply personal thing and I don’t know why strangers think they have the right to compliment me on my unborn children.
If my husband and I decide to have a family, it is because we love each other, and not because we think we will have supposedly genetically advantageous babies.
2. “Do you have a thing for dark guys?”
What I hear: “I envisioned you with someone with your exact same skin-tone and racial features, now that I see this is not the case, I’m taken aback and can’t hide my reaction. I must say something to mask what I am really thinking.”
Do me a favor, will you? The next time someone you know is about to show you their partner for the first time, stop, take the first image that comes to mind, admit to yourself that you are prejudice, and then force yourself to imagine the exact opposite. No, I don’t like “dark guys,” I just like guys.
[bctt tweet=”If my husband and I decide to have a family, it is because we love each other.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Yes, the one I am with now happens to be some shades darker than me, but that is not the reason why I am with him. Since when was love not reason enough to be with someone? Accusing me of having some kind of fetish or “thing” for a certain race merely exemplifies your preference, not mine.
3. “What a lovely couple, good for you!”
What I hear: “Well, good for you! I can’t imagine what it must be like everyday for an interracial couple. The fact that you and your partner are different colours must come up in every aspect of your relationship. It must be exhausting. I champion your valiance, march on!”
The truth? Sure, superficial things like looks come up at the initial stages of dating and getting to know one another, but once you get up and close, these things could hardly matter less. I know you probably mean well when you stop to compliment me on my progressive relationship, but I can claim no nobility or sociopolitical accolades for my marriage.
[bctt tweet=”If my husband and I decide to have a family, it is because we love each other” username=”wearethetempest”]
I was not, and am not trying to make a statement. I simply fell in love. So the next time you see my husband and I, hand in hand, ask yourself this, are we really that charming? Or do you just feel silly for having noticed something so mundane that you had to alleviate your guilt by complimenting a stranger? I will probably just say “thank you” and be on my way, but know this, I didn’t mean it, and neither did you!
People often ask me if color-blindness really exists in interracial relationships. Most outside the situation might deem it a lie told to avoid dealing with a touchy subject. However, I can now attest that it does exist, but only in one place; in love. All superficialities appear to melt away through the lens of love, which ultimately, is the only aperture through which we should be viewing the world.