One of the biggest misconceptions people can have about interracial relationships has to deal with attractiveness. About the only thing I’ve learned is, chances are, if someone is willing to look outside of their race what they are attracted to in other races is not the same thing that they would be attracted to within their own race. So it is not so much a question of people being unattractive as it is, “Oh, well I never would have thought that combination would work out”. Too often we transpose our ideas about what someone should be attracted to, within their own race, to interracial situations, and the truth of that matter is that where we think someone should be coming from, and where people often do come from, are two totally different things.
Interpersonal relationships are not any different. We’re all alike but we express ourselves in different ways. How many times did you think, had you met that individual under different circumstances or there was not a common thread tying you to that individual, this is someone you would ever be friends with? If you want to address racism, people of different races with similar backgrounds, occupations, and artistic interests should be placed in situations where they have to interact with each other. The criteria should not be, the race of the individual, but where that individual fits into a larger collective goal. When people discover what they have in common, their emphasis on race begins to fade away and other criteria begins to come to the forefront.
One of the issues Blacks have, and one of the reasons they find themselves in interracial relationships, is because, after some artistic, professional, intellectual and financial achievement, they often find that there are not as many of them around as there were before. Its not a bad thing; this is one of the reasons our forefathers fought as hard as they did for equality, because they knew that once we lifted ourselves out of our situation the world would become a better place and we would have more opportunities and resources made available to us. But in the execution of the plan, we are often the only Black person, in a myriad of situations.
Depending on how we act, what our characteristics are, and how we feel about where we came from, we might be accused of acting White, or being bourgeois; a term that is often used inappropriately to express our hostility towards individuals that feel as though they have arrived. So we wanted these freedoms, and we won, but with those freedoms come a number of idiosyncrasies no one ever took into consideration because we were so diligently working to get at that table. Is the race weaker because of it? Are our institutions as important today as they were then or were we better off in the same situation where we were forced to deal with each other?
The idealization, nostalgia, and romanticism of an earlier modern and premodern times do not always reconcile with the truth. There were different stories, and it is so much easier to believe that everything was one way because it makes me feel good about myself. I do not have to look at all of the factors, just those that make that earlier time preferable to the way that things are today. I can conveniently exclude or include this or that and point the finger at another Black person. Yet the truth is always more complex than anything I am ready to accept or anything I can feel good about; just so that I have to look deeper within myself for answers, or look at life from a spiritual perspective.
It may never be perfect, and that is okay for me. I don’t think our struggle was about some utopia where there was a world without problems. But I often wonder, if interracial relationships, whatever they are, or whatever they’re for, heighten awareness because it is a reminder of how far we’ve come, and what the future may be. If race becomes a construct of our past, then what is our future?