Before I begin, I know that I am the polar opposite of the The Mix-Up‘s usual audience. I’m a hairy arsed white guy from deepest darkest Saaf’ London (South London if you don’t know the lingo). However I feel that I can offer an insight from the other side of the coin to being in an interracial relationship.
Just over 7 months ago I started dating a woman who I am very lucky and blessed to have in my life. She is mixed race with British and Jamaican roots which was apparent at first sight in her complexion and bundles of curly hair.
Before now, I had never dated someone who was mixed race. When we started dating I didn’t really take it into account, I couldn’t care less if she was blue! I was smitten.
When we officially became a couple, I spoke about her and showed what she looked like to close friends. On most occasions I’d hear the question, “Where is she from?” or the obvious statement “She’s black”.
Addressing the first question my reply would be her hometown in the UK, then the follow up question of “Where is she from originally?” would be snapped back at me.
I’d reply she’s ‘half Jamaican’ and nothing more would be said. This is something that always perplexes me…perhaps because I’ve never had this asked of me before. My pasty white complexion and Danny Dyer accent, being the obvious giveaways.
To have your identity challenged all of the time must be nothing short of infuriating and to have where you are from doubted is something I’ve taken for granted before now.
As for the second statement, “she’s black”, my hometown is in rural Somerset so I guessed that this was something that people round there weren’t used to. But to state the obvious seemed bizarre to me. To make a point of it didn’t sit right with me, but yet again this is something I’ve taken for granted before now.
Also, on more than one occasion I’ve been told of racist abuse my girlfriend has received since we’ve been together. Notably not one instance when with me. It’s disgusting. To have someone you love to be abused simply because of the colour of their skin, brings an anger and emotion I’ve never felt before.
I was aware that things like this happened, but I was shocked to how often and aggressive the manner of it has been to my partner. All of this to a woman just minding her own business by herself is worrying for me.
Getting away from the negative and addressing the title I’d say it’s like any other relationship anyone has. We both come from very different backgrounds and have different interests which in turn allow us to experience everything from fantastic Jamaican food to cold rainy days watching Crystal Palace (The best team in South London).
I’ll never know what it is like to be a mixed race woman, but with one playing such an important role in my life it has opened my eyes to a whole different perspective.
– Chris Bell