Relationships

INTERRACIAL RELATIONSHIPS + #BLACKLIVESMATTER

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you’re actively choosing to ignore what’s happening, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster the last few weeks. The death of George Floyd sparked protests across the world, demanding for justice for his family and the countless families who have lost loved ones to police brutality.

If you read my previous post, it gives you a glimpse into the dynamics of our home the last couple of weeks. But I thought I would elaborate on our experience. The wrongful killing of a black person at the hands of the police isn’t a new narrative to us. We watched it happen to Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Botham Jean…the list goes on. And with each story hitting the news, we’ve found ourselves having to navigate through a process full of sadness, anger, despair, and hopelessness.

I’ve been thinking about sharing what our process looks like as an interracial couple whenever we hear news of another black man or woman being wrongfully killed. I’ve been grappling with the reason why I want to share and what I want to share. At the end of the day, there is no scientific process to navigating such a tragedy. But I do think it’s incredibly important to process it intentionally and wholeheartedly. There is no running from it, especially if you are a non-black person dating a black person. It’s like I said in my previous post, if you can’t confront racial injustice as an interracial couple, then it’s negligence and irresponsible.

So, I’m sharing our most recent experience. Not because we have all of the answers, but because I want to encourage you: If you’re in an interracial relationship, you need to be intentional and vigilant in confronting this in your relationship.

George Floyd was killed on Monday, May 25. We didn’t really take in the news until that Wednesday and for the next few days, there was just a spirit of discomfort and uneasiness in our home. Andrel went to go see his best friend on Friday and spent the night hanging out with him. I know the importance of him being with other black men in general, but especially in times like these. While we’re both minorities living in a predominantly white province and working in predominantly white spaces, our experiences still vastly vary. There are things about Andrel’s reality I will never understand, no matter how hard I try. He is a black man. To be around other black men gives him the ability to not only fully be himself, but to have conversations with people who can fully understand. That weekend, he spent time with men that could truly empathize with the internal struggle he was going through.

When he came back home, we continued to have multiple conversations about how he was feeling and what he was thinking. He was exhausted. He was tired. He didn’t want to have to explain anything to anyone, especially people who were all of a sudden waking up. An experience we’ve gone through so many times in the last decade was all of a sudden on the radar of mainstream social media. And Andrel was over it. He wasn’t in the space to educate anyone and catch them up. So, I took up the task for him, pointing people in the direction of resources. I opened myself up to the questions: I responded to people who slid into my DMs and texts; I replied to posts from friends who may be missing the point; and I told my friends who were also tired to tag me. Not only was Andrel expressing how tired he was having to explain himself, but plenty of my black friends were expressing the same sentiment: Go search it up on Google—we’re tired, we’re traumatized, we’re hurting.

Social media was exhausting that week. From reading reports about how protestors were being treated by police to newly “woke” white people berating others for not being as woke to people just lost on where to start…It was exhausting. And Andrel consumed every single bit of it on his Twitter timeline. I could feel my husband’s vibe shift. He didn’t have to say a word and I could feel the heaviness of his mind and the hurt in his heart. I begged him to get off social media and turn off his phone because he didn’t need to read about the black experience on his timeline—The black experience is his reality every day. And thus began his Angry Birds marathon. Whenever he felt the urge to open Twitter, he opened Angry Birds instead, mindlessly flicking that slingshot of angry birds at rocks and stones and pig-like creatures. He stayed off social media for a week as he processed what was going on around him and inside him.

It’s almost a full month now since George Floyd was killed. It’s almost a full month since protests started around the world. For the first time in a month, Andrel sighed a breath of release during our walk the other day. He said, “I feel like I’m finding my balance again.” We still have some days here and there. The death of Rayshard Brooks last weekend reopened the hurt. Breona Taylor’s killers are still walking free. Some days justice feels so far from reach. I don’t know how to end this post. I think I’ve rewritten it a hundred times.

If you’re in an interracial relationship, be intentional and vigilant. His struggle is your struggle. His pain is your pain. His fight is your fight. There is no one right way to process what’s going on to black and brown people in North America. But there is a wrong way: not processing it at all, not confronting it at all, not acknowledging it at all. If you’re in an interracial relationship, it is your responsible to face it head-on.

That’s how I’m choosing to end this post, but the conversation keeps going.

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