The challenges of an interracial marriage

family law

For all the progress that society has made in the last few decades in becoming more tolerant and accepting, there are some things that continue to be seen by some as controversial. Interracial marriages, while increasingly common, can still be seen as unusual.

So what are the biggest challenges of marrying someone from a different cultural or ethnic background? This was the topic of discussion on a popular thread on social media site Reddit.

A black woman who married a Korean man explained that they are often stared at when they go out in public. They “don’t even need to be doing anything special, just walking in the mall, or down the street” and people will “openly gawk” she wrote. However, a silver lining for the couple was that both families were open and respectful to their spouse.

Many users on the discussion thread claimed that people often assumed they were not with their spouse because of their different races. One man was told he was overpaying for a ticket to a museum when he was trying to pay for both him and his wife. Another user, a black woman married to a white man, wrote of a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, with her side of the family. Any time they were “in line and [it was their] turn for the ride, they always cut the line off when it got to him” even if he was in the middle of the group.

Other challenges were linguistic. One husband explained that his Tamil wife’s translations took some getting used to. He explained that a word in her native language literally translates as “useless” but “is often used colloquially to mean something closer to ‘not currently needed’” which can lead to his wife describing people, including him, as useless in front of them. She then wonders “why these people either get angry or just avoid her”. He also explained that many Tamil words are shortened to the equivalent of “thing”, which can be very confusing:

“I need a thing for this thing, it’s over by the thing, can you get it?” [Looks at me not moving] “You just going to stand there and be useless?”

Meanwhile some issues were not because of something major like social judgment or cultural misunderstandings but a little more every day. A white man who married a black woman said that selfies of the two of them when the sun was out was difficult because “the picture either turns out way too dark or way too bright”.

Photo by tanjila ahmed via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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