Red Flags in Interracial Relationships

red-flags-in-interracial-relationshipsInterracial relationships, while essentially like any other type of relationship, come with their unique joys and difficulties. The addition of different cultural backgrounds and appearance creates circumstances which are less likely to occur in intracial relationships.

Some of the less obvious red flags a person may be tempted to ignore or may not realize are warning signs. So by request, here are some of these red flags in interracial relationships.

1. You haven’t met your partner’s family and close friends

If after several months (or years) you haven’t even made plans to meet your partner’s parents, siblings, immediate family members, or closest friends, this may be an indication that your partner doesn’t want you to meet them. He or she may be afraid of their reaction, embarrassed of you, or may not have told them they were in a relationship, much less an interracial one.

2. Your partner says “I only date [your race/ethnicity here]”

To some this may not at first seem like a red flag. However, if your partner is only interested in dating people of your perceived race or ethnicity, it’s a hint that he or she has less of an interest in you as a person and more of an attraction to your race. In other words, you are easily replaceable — one size fits all. In addition, it shows they hold preconceived notions about the characteristics of people of your race.

3. Your partner consistently makes negative remarks about the opposite gender of your race

You may or may not take these remarks personally, but if your partner makes a habit of this, its an indication that he or she holds some prejudices about the people of your perceived race. What happens if or when you have children and they are considered to be or identify with the group that your partner thinks so little of?

4. Your partner refuses to participate in your cultural events

If you participate in events specific to your culture (holidays, foods, etc) and your partner is reluctant to go along with you, you may not think much of it. But you should — later on it may cause problems in the relationship or with family members when cultural considerations become more important.

5. Your partner wishes your children look like them (or expresses disappointment that they look like you)

Beyond mere vanity, if your partner shows a strong desire to have any children you have together look like them, or more particularly, less like you, they may not want children of your perceived ethnicity or race. It may not be obvious at first, after all they are in a relationship with you, right? But your partner may not see you as an extension of them, which is how they undoubtedly will view any children they have.

6. Your partner says, “You act [their race/ethnicity here]” or “You aren’t like most [your race/ethnicity here]”

While not necessarily a deal breaker, statements such as “You act black” or “You aren’t like most Asian men” shows that your partner may have prejudiced ideas about members of your racial or ethnic group. You should probably discuss this issue with your partner if it comes up.

7. Your partner worships you due to your racial or ethnic traits

Related to #2, if your partner places strong emphasis on your race or attributes common to your race as reasons you are attractive to them, this just might be a red flag. It may mean they don’t see you as you, just their Hispanic/Asian/white lover to show off. Don’t allow yourself to be a fetish.

8. Your partner encourages you to change your appearance

If your partner is eager to make you over, it’s a bad sign in any relationship. But it’s even moreso in an interracial relationship because of the racial implications. If your partner make direct or indirect suggestions about you changing features common to your ethnic or racial group, it may mean they don’t find these features appealing or prefer others. Who wants to be with someone who thinks their curly hair or almond-shaped eyes aren’t attractive just as they are?

9. Your partner doesn’t like to be seen in public with you or distances themselves from you in public

No explanation needed.

10. You and/or your Partner avoid ever talking about race

What are you afraid of? Your relationship shouldn’t center on race (in fact, if it does, that may be a red flag), but you should have discussed race and its implications for your relationship at least once. Whether or not you and your partner want to or do live in a “color blind” world, the chance that the construct of race will have an effect on your relationship and [future] children is very high. You should understand where you both stand when it comes to race.

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11 thoughts on “Red Flags in Interracial Relationships

  1. I always enjoy reading what you write. This is a very good post and helpful post for girls who are date out 🙂

    1. You Haven’t Met Your Partner’s Family and Close Friends

    Yeah you should probably ask why you haven’t met his parents or family if it has gone months or years (!).

    2. Your Partner Says “I Only Date [Your Race/Ethnicity Here]”

    Well, I don’t really know what to say about that. I know I’m the only black woman my husband has dated.

    3. Your Partner Consistently Makes Negative Remarks About the Opposite Gender of Your Race

    If he’s generalizing or stereotyping I would call him on it.

    4. Your Partner Refuses to Participate in Your Cultural Events

    Not sure how much this effect you American girls since from what I have seen there’s not THAT much difference. My husband killed a cow on our south African wedding (We had two, one in Sweden and one in south Africa). You can’t get more committed than that. Though I have to admit that I asked my family not to do the cow thing, but since they think I am such a “gem of the family” they would go all out on the wedding and brought one in without my knowledge.

    5. Your Partner Wishes Your Children To Look Like Them (Or Expresses Disappoint That They Look Like You)

    Ehm that is a bit weird TBH, people should know that there’s the “risk” of the children taking after one side or another if you’re making babies.

    For me there’s really not an issue of them thinking themselves as black or white and my husband don’t care either way, but I’m going to try to raise them as biracial so they don’t dismiss a part of themselves and it would be easier if they saw themselves like that when they visit their other home country. In my country if you mixed your coloured and your children will be coloured as well, they got their own culture like a tribe and people are very proud of being coloured.

    6. Your Partner Says, “You Act [Their Race/Ethnicity Here]” or “You Aren’t Like Most [Your Race/Ethnicity Here]“

    Yes that shows ignorance. Though I never had anyone say something like that to me in Sweden.

    7. Your Partner Worships You Due to Your Race or Ethnic Traits

    That’s also a bit weird, it’s like when black men say they will get a white woman because they are more obedience or stuff like that, I think that is part of why they got such a big divorce rate. Can’t build a relationship on that ground.

    8. Your Partner Encourages You to Change Your Appearance

    Yes over eagerness is always bad, but I don’t think small comments like “Could you wear that dress, it makes you look so beautiful” is bad. But if he insists on you start changing your hairstyle to straight or something like that it could be a bad sign.

    9. Your Partner Doesn’t Like To Be Seen In Public With You or Distances Themself From You in Public

    Yes that shows pretty early on I would think.

    10. You and/or Your Partner Avoid Ever Talking About Race

    Not afraid to talk about it, it’s a not issue for my husband since he sees me like just another woman. I prefer being seen as just a woman in my relationship not as a BLACK woman since I have to be a black woman in so many other things.

    Not that I don’t bring up the issue once in a while, he nods and really tries to understand my feelings and such, but swedes are so naive about race and there’s so much other things to think about 🙂

    Like I stumble on this old video that was a big news story in SA a couple of years ago and I showed it to my husband a few weeks ago.

    (very disgusting and ignore that wacko who uploaded it)

    He might not totally understand how that makes me feel, but he tries. I’m old enough to have memories from my childhood in apartheid SA. Heck even you younger American girls might not totally feel the same way since you probably did not experience this in your lifetime.

    But race seems to be a non issue for Africans from example Ghana or Kenya when they date out here, but they don’t got the same experience.

    Wow that was a long one. Ignore my spelling and grammar errors please and I’m speaking as a woman across the pond 🙂

  2. About #8, I feel I could go either way. Sure, I don’t want someone to make me into their ideal of beauty — I should be good-looking enough already, right? — but at the same time, I know in my relationship I’ve encouraged my girlfriend to “go natural” because I have a strong preference for partners with “natural features”. (Little to no makeup, no fake breasts, no hair extensions/weaves/relaxers, and especially no nose-jobs. They remind me of Michael Jackson meets trashy bimbo models from my hometown.)

    So where do we draw the line when it comes to talking to your partner/encouraging them about their looks? Personally, I think it’s okay as long as you aren’t trying to make your partner do something/change something they’re strongly opposed to. But in my case, my girlfriend was already interested in trying natural hair, so I didn’t feel my encouragement was negative or trying to change her.

  3. These are quite good. I’d just like to point out 4 ( Your Partner Refuses to Participate in Your Cultural Events) and, possibly, many others, work just as well in interethnic (is this even a word?) relationships, and not just interracial ones. You two can still be of the same race,b ut different ethnic groups, so these problems might arise (at least that’s how it is in Europe).

    And what about “I’ve never dated a person of your race before?” Some people say they would consider that a red flag. While I can understand it (WHY didn’t you date any people of my race before?), I don’t think it’s as dangerous as “I only date people of your race”. You never know; maybe they simply never got a chance (never met many people of your race), but are genuinely interested in you. In fact, fetishist are easy to spot, I think, because they don’t think what they do is a bad thing, so they won’t hide it.

    Another potential red flag: Talking extremely bad about people of their own race but opposite gender. (Or their own gender)

    As for (changing) the appearance, call me shallow, but I think your partner should be attracted to you personally. It’s not what makes a working relationship, but it’s never a good idea to date people who don’t find you, or people who look like you, attractive. Screw “I like your personality” argument. Of course your partner should like your personality; there’s no relationship without it. But if you see (s)he strongly prefers a type that is not yours, it’s not a good thing, I think. This happens outside interracial relationships, though.

    The kids? Well, most of the people want their kids to look at least a bit like them, but it’s ok, because most of the times they do. But it’s racist (no other way to put it) to think your child wouldn’t look like you if she has a different skin shade or hair type. It’s basically all down to “all X look alike”.

  4. Yeah, I’d agree with those red flags. I know some people welcome certain kind of challenges in relationships *cough*. I think all the difficulties of interracial relationships are less hard on the people involved than, getting cheated on, for instance.

  5. Zek,

    Well I would say that’s different because I decided to go natural before you gave your opinion. It would be like if you decided to grow a beard and I said I would like it; I’d be a supporter of your decision, but not it’s originator. I think the example Alee provided (saying straight hair would look better) was a good one, but you already knew that. 😛

  6. Nkosazana,

    “I always enjoy reading what you write. This is a very good post and helpful post for girls who are date out”

    Thanks. 🙂

    “Not sure how much this effect you American girls since from what I have seen there’s not THAT much difference.”

    Ha. This mainly applies to those who have a culture which deviates from the more mainstream American culture. Like a Creole black woman I know who is with a Northeastern white guy — very different cultures.

    “Yes over eagerness is always bad, but I don’t think small comments like “Could you wear that dress, it makes you look so beautiful” is bad.”

    Oh yes, I was more talking about traits that are common to people of your ancestry.

    “Ignore my spelling and grammar errors please and I’m speaking as a woman across the pond”

    What errors? 🙂

    I like hearing about experiences from other parts of the world. Keep talking.

    zek,

    That was meant to be more about changing features that are common to your ethnic group. I was going to add “ethnic” in there, but then we’d have to get into what ethnic features are, etc. I might have to go back and edit that since some are confused by what I meant.

  7. Mira,

    “These are quite good. I’d just like to point out 4 ( Your Partner Refuses to Participate in Your Cultural Events) and, possibly, many others, work just as well in interethnic (is this even a word?) relationships, and not just interracial ones.”

    Yes, definitely. Actually, it was meant more for the interracial/intercultural relationships rather than just the interracial ones. Many times, a couple can be interracial and have a similar cultural background.

    “And what about “I’ve never dated a person of your race before?” Some people say they would consider that a red flag. While I can understand it (WHY didn’t you date any people of my race before?), I don’t think it’s as dangerous as “I only date people of your race”.”

    No, I wouldn’t consider that a red flag. In the U.S. and Canada, especially, people are still separated by race. So, like you said, they might not have had the chance to date someone of your race before. I’d only be suspicious if the person had ample opportunity and still hadn’t done so.

    “In fact, fetishist are easy to spot, I think, because they don’t think what they do is a bad thing, so they won’t hide it.”

    Lol. Very, very true.

    “Another potential red flag: Talking extremely bad about people of their own race but opposite gender. (Or their own gender)”

    Yes… they might have some unresolved issues.

    “As for (changing) the appearance, call me shallow, but I think your partner should be attracted to you personally”

    They definitely should.

    “Well, most of the people want their kids to look at least a bit like them, but it’s ok, because most of the times they do. But it’s racist (no other way to put it) to think your child wouldn’t look like you if she has a different skin shade or hair type.”

    True. Too many people don’t realize. I’ve rarely seen a mixed person that doesn’t share some resemblance to both of their parents or parent’s family.

    AJ,

    “I think all the difficulties of interracial relationships are less hard on the people involved than, getting cheated on, for instance.”

    Well, that depends on the person. But, frankly, if a relationship has too many of these red flags, I think the people or person should just call it quits.

    Jasmin,

    Yup. 🙂

  8. No, I wouldn’t consider that a red flag. In the U.S. and Canada, especially, people are still separated by race. So, like you said, they might not have had the chance to date someone of your race before. I’d only be suspicious if the person had ample opportunity and still hadn’t done so.

    I agree. However, if the person wistfully declares that s/he “always wanted to date someone of your race, but never had the chance”, I’d be suspicious. That tugging at the heartstrings is off-putting to me.

  9. Jasmin, that would be a potential red flag — “I’ve always wanted to date a ___ (wo)man.” That ties into number 2 and 7; every person of your gender/race would fit the bill, and thus you should be wary about the person stereotyping and/or fetishizing you.

  10. ^^^Very true, plus the person is likely to be disappointed if you aren’t a “true” ___ (wo)man (insert stereotype). I couldn’t date someone who viewed our relationship as a necessary “experience”, like bungee-jumping or visiting a foreign country.

  11. Jasmin,

    “…plus the person is likely to be disappointed if you aren’t a “true” ___ (wo)man (insert stereotype).”

    Then it’s “You aren’t like most ___!”

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