Today we try a new format for the blog and speak to Stacey, who wants to share her thoughts on being in a relationship with a mixed raced guy. I’m lucky enough to be that guy, and you can imagine how strange this was effectively interviewing my partner at the table when we’d usually be sitting in front of the TV all night! This is the first time I’ve written something like this, there was no script, and I’ve only added a few words to what Stacey has said for clarity.
Stacey is my nearest and dearest, my partner in crime, and my world!
She fits into the ‘White British’ classification, and grew up in what appeared toa multi-cultural area.
Stacey is a financial assistant in clinical trials, and when she gets a spare moment to herself she loves nothing better than to swim, binge on Netflix shows, or play games. She also validates everything I write on here prior to publishing, and I can’t thank her enough!
Let’s Get Started!
Aaron: Let’s not pretend this isn’t weird to discuss my skin colour in so much depth, why did you want to contribute to the blog?
Stacey: I thought it would be good to have an outsiders view, being a white female who is apart of the larger majority in this country, soon to be married to a mixed raced guy. I often witness things that happen around us that make me extremely angry, especially now that we have our daughter.
Aaron: My next point was going to be exactly that – you always seem to notice these small occurrences more than I do, and it mostly seems to impact you more. Can you explain?
Stacey: I tend to get frustrated because you don’t. A good example is when we went for breakfast in a local café, and that old white man kept staring at me, then you, and shaking his head. I wanted to scream in his face! But you stayed completely quiet.
Aaron: Well for me, this is nothing new. If I got angry or caused a disturbance the only one that would be impacted is me, or us, and he would leave with the perception that his stereotypes were correct. You know, the whole ‘see what I mean’ thing.
Stacey: I understand where you’re coming from, but it makes me mad that this has to be the case – you shouldn’t have to put up with it and it shouldn’t be the norm.
Aaron: I agree, but I don’t see it getting any better. Do you feel that society has become more or less accepting over time?
Stacey: If you compare historically, I think things have definitely improved. If you’re asking me about personal experience, I think what I’ve seen has actually gotten worse since I was a teenager. Even back then, if I was attracted to anyone that wasn’t white at school, I’d have the ‘cool kids’ ripping into me for it. It was made a statement that ‘Stacey likes a black guy’ as if it was a bad thing. I also overhead comments as people started walking away saying ‘why can’t you stick with your own?!’.
Aaron: Wow, I must admit my experience at school was entirely different. My school was mostly people of colour, so although there weren’t many black or mixed people there, I think my experience was better than yours, and ironically you’re the person that is in the majority! I think I’d agree with what you say about the world becoming better or worse. I felt most accepted around 10 years ago, and I’m sorry to bring it up, but in the last 4 years since Brexit became everyone’s favourite ‘B’ word in the UK, I’ve become extremely uncomfortable. I’m not sure if this is new though, or whether I’m noticing it more because the focus has been on anyone of colour. Before all of this, ‘not all Muslims are terrorists’ was a common phrase used to counteract racism following several high profile terrorist attacks – I’m not sure whether racism has increased in recent years, or whether the focus has shifted to another ethnic minority.
Stacey: That’s a very good question, and I definitely think that racism has increased, particularly surrounding the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (and many more!). They shouldn’t have gone through this for awareness of racism around the world to be highlighted with such significance, and it’s almost bittersweet that the awareness created surrounding the injustices these victims have faced, has also invited the more extreme racist views to surface from underground in order to create a worldwide debate on whether black people should be accepted or not.
Aaron: I’m saying this a lot, but I completely agree. So what do you see happening from here, both in context of hope and reality, and how do you feel about our daughter growing up in the world as we see it today?
Stacey: It goes without saying that I hope Isla grows up being treated equally when compared to her peers, not put into categories such as ‘Other’, and I’d at least love for justice to be served for families that have lost loved ones in race-related crimes where their stories have been brushed under the carpet. In reality, I don’t expect much to change, and if anything I think things will get worse before they get even slightly better. It is inevitable that at least once, Isla will receive some form of stereotype in her life and it’s a horrible thought. How do you feel about this?
Aaron: Good question. I expect that in the short term I will continue to feel uncomfortable quite often when I leave the house, but I have better hopes for the medium term. For me, it’s about going on holiday and not sticking out like a sore thumb, and I feel much more equal in these situations than when I was growing up. I pray that things are better when Isla becomes aware of the world as we know it, and I count my blessings that she’s too young to know what’s really going on in the world just yet. Going (let’s say) 6 months consistently without feeling ‘different’ in an unexpected situation doesn’t feel like too much to ask for, and yet that feels so far away from where we are now.
Stacey: Exactly. Quite frankly, I can’t imagine having to think that about myself. I’m obviously impacted indirectly by what I see you go through, and you shouldn’t have to hope for those things. You’re human.
Aaron: Let’s be fair though, I want to keep this in context and let everyone know that largely, I feel comfortable most days. We used to have a joke at school and call ourselves Hovis: Best of Both, and there are so many great things about being mixed! The pros almost always outweigh the cons.
Stacey: For Isla, I feel like she’s extremely lucky to have a mixture of cultures in her family. I’ve never seen someone of colour as being any less of a person than someone who is white, but I guess it’s ignorance, in the sense that I also didn’t realise how much can happen to someone just because of the colour of their skin.
Aaron: ..and that’s why I’m a mixed raced guy in a mixed up world!
Stacey: Oh dear, that’s far too cheesy!
Aaron: Well how else am I going to end this blog post?! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Stace, let’s go and watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine!