Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Run, and Don't Look Back

Interracial relationships can be a blessing, can fill your life with new perspective and adventure, but they can also be hard. My experience in marriage has been pockets of time that, sometimes years in a row, where toxicity from external sources never pops up, only to be followed by an incident that brings the focus right back onto the differences and difficulties. We've been married for eleven years now, and, praise God, we've never had internal toxicity regarding race. But sometimes, I think that the long stretches of ease lull us into a false comfort zone that makes the racism and toxicity feel like it comes out of nowhere, when we probably should have been expecting it.

It could be a micro-aggression, a little snide remark or insinuation, especially hurtful if it's from someone who knows us. Or it could be full-blown hostility, especially with the way racial issues are ramping up these days, and especially in Florida. But, again, thank God, we have each others' backs. However, a recent story on Twitter reminded me that not everyone is so lucky.

Sometimes the call is coming from inside the house.

Reddit post entitled "My boyfriend called me the hard R." In short, a Black woman in a relationship with a white man accidentally dented his truck and he called her a racial slur. They've been together three years, apparently with no incident of racism, but he says that stress and anger caused him to slip and say it. He apologized afterwards and tried to be affectionate, but she's hurt and thinking of ending the relationship.

Sorry for the language there, but it really expresses her pain. I can't even imagine the hurt. I wonder if this woman had signs leading up to this, red flags that she either didn't see or ignored, and I remind myself that I've missed a few red billboards in the past, so no judgment. But, and I've said it before, interracial dating or marriage does not make one anti-racist. It doesn't even mean the person is simply not racist. There are a lot of reasons why a white person might choose to date or even marry outside of their race, and, as counterintuitive as it might sound, racism is one of them.

I actually hope that doesn't make sense to you. I hope that idea makes you scratch your head in bewilderment, because that might imply that the racist reasoning here is just irrational, and you're too good a person to think that way. But I've seen it so many times. Let me break it down.

If a person thinks of the romantic relationship as a partnership between equals, two souls connected by the bonds of love and attraction, together seeking mutual goals as well as supporting each other as individuals, then the idea of choosing a mate with racist intentions seems stupid, counterproductive, as well as obviously evil. On the other hand, consider that not everyone approaches relationships that way. There are a lot of wicked folks out there whose primary goal in dating or marriage is finding someone they can dominate. If that's their mindset, then it makes perfect (evil) sense for them to choose someone they think is inferior, beneath them.

In the situation this woman posted, she's been dating this man for three years, and yet it took this accident to really bring out the racism in him. He reacted harshly, not just with anger for someone who damaged a possession of his, but with the full force of his racism poured out on someone he thinks of as inferior. Nobody says that racial slur out of anger who hasn't already said it many times out of a racist mentality.

Here's the punchy pull quote in case you're just skimming this post:

Nobody says that racial slur out of anger who hasn't already said it many times out of a racist mentality.

The fact that this bullet is loaded in the chamber means it's already part of his arsenal. The girlfriend says that this guy has never said anything racist before in three years of dating, but I'd bet, at least I hope, that she's been replaying a lot of conversations in her mind lately to test that theory. Even if it wasn't specifically racist, how can she get away from the idea that he thinks of her as inferior? 

So here's my advice to this woman, this child of God, and anyone in the same predicament:

Turn that ship around and head back to port, because you're just seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Run, and don't look back.

Head for the hills, whence cometh your help.


She's not married to this person, and doesn't seem to have any kids for him, which is a blessing. Otherwise, it would be a whole lot more complicated. As it is, she can break up with him, block his number and socials, and knock the dust of him off her feet. 

To be clear, it is not her job to fix this, if it can be fixed at all. It is not incumbent upon her to put herself in the way of emotional danger one second more. She doesn't have to figure out how to let him down easy, or weigh the pros and cons, because, I guarantee, she hasn't seen even half the cons yet. It takes a few seconds to break up with someone who isn't your spouse, and there's a whole lot of life on the other side of that conversation, too much to spend one more minute attached to him. I'm not saying it would be easy. If they're living together, I hope she's got family or friends, a place to go immediately for shelter and encouragement enough to face the days ahead. 

Some might point to his excuse about stress, and I would refer them to the classy pull quote in the box above. Even if I bought that line, which I do not, why would I want to be involved, maybe even married, to someone whose go-to reaction to stress is to pour racist vitriol on their partner? Over a truck? Others might point to how sorry he was afterwards, how affectionate. Of course he is, because that's classic abusive behavior. They brutalize someone, and then stroke the wounds they inflicted to keep the victim on the hook. What really happened is a racist, abusive partner dropped the facade a little too soon, before he had a firm legal grip on her, and she got a glimpse of what he really is. The proper reaction when you see the wolf's teeth sticking out from under the sheep's skin is not to consider your options, or to try to look at it from the wolf's perspective, with all the stress he's under. The proper response is to run, rabbit, run. 

Lastly, for anyone considering getting into an interracial relationship, I want to emphasize that this is not normal. There will be plenty of issues and obstacles, but this ain't supposed to be one of them. This is not something to work through, or go to counseling together to resolve. This is a dealbreaker, something to flee from. There are too many threats from outside to have to worry about threats from the person who's supposed to be fighting for and beside you.

No comments:

Post a Comment