With me being a white guy and my wife a black woman, we form an interracial couple. It really hasn’t been a big issue for us at all. The other day however, I happened to catch a movie on tv about an interracial couple who suffered all sorts of prejudice and problems because of their relationship, so I thought I’d write a bit about my own experience.
Far right racism
Now, the movie was set somewhere in southern United States during the 1960’s, while we live in Northern Europe in 2018 – obviously two very different times and very different societies. So far, we have run into very few problems. Having said that, during the last couple of years, racism has been on the rise in Europe and has to some extent become more accepted here in Sweden. People who want to throw out all immigrants and especially those with a different skin colour (including for example my wife, who is from Brazil) are showing themselves much more openly on the internet and even as elected officials, than just a a couple of years ago. In last week’s election here in Sweden, a party founded by real life nazis in the 1990’s got 17,5% of the votes. Some of their voters and many of their politicians view white people who marry people of other races as traitors to the white race. Though these views – so far – are basically confined to rage tweets or hateful rants on Facebook, it is still a sad and scary trend.
The most racist comment about my relationship that anyone has said straight “to my face” however actually came from a Russian woman attempting to flirt with me. When I told her I already had a girlfriend and showed her a picture, she said:
“What?! How can you date a BLACK girl!? She is very lucky”…
Hearing that, honestly, I just felt pity for her.
Though not at all as dangerous and hateful as the far right activists and racists, I have found that everyday prejudice, stereotypes and preconceived ideas from people – some of whom view themselves as conscious “anti-racists” – can be quite the nuisance. When we visit Brazil, my wife has noticed some people assume that she, as a black woman dating a white foreign man, is a “gold digger”. Here in Sweden, it’s not completely uncommon – especially for leftist leaning persons – to assume that a woman who came here from a South American country with “less white” people, is somehow by definition a victim and in constant need of help, support and protection from the government. Apparently, to these people, being a woman and being black makes you a “minority” and therefor automatically an oppressed victim. To a very independent and strong woman like my wife, this is quite insulting and it has annoyed her ever since she came here as a 14 year old girl, almost 10 years ago.
At the same time, from the same kind of people, I myself have met insinuations that the reason I got in a relationship with a Brazilian woman and not Swedish woman must be that I don’t want equality in a relationship, but rather a woman that I can dominate and oppress. A bizarre accusation that manages to be highly offensive both towards me and to my wife – and based on the ridiculous assumption that South American women are by in large oppressed victims.
I have to say, the positive reactions have by far outweighed the negative ones though.