Question of the Week: Swirling and Racially Charged Subjects.

iStock_000015446890SmallIn light of the Trayvon Martin story and its aftermath a reader rena215 has made the following request:


I would love to see an article re: discussion (and possible disagreement) on racially-charged topics with your SO. My SO and I had a very heated argument after the verdict came out and didn’t speak for most of the day. 


What follows are some post from that conversation.  


My husband and I did not have that situation.  Quite frankly we would never get so worked up about a news story that it would interfere with our lives and cause a bunch of drama. I mean really.  Why?  That is silly?

Trayvon Martin is dead and the man who did it was acquitted.  What is there to argue about and cause a lot of grief in your own life? Did your argument change anything about the situation?  No. Was it worth it to your own situation to fight over? I doubt it.

Re. Racially charges subjects.  That is stuff we worked out years ago at the beginning of our relationship. Most of the stuff is just not that deep as far as he and I are concerned.   We approach each other as human beings first and foremost.  He is not responsible for all things “White” and I am not responsible for all things “Black”. 

We respect each other as people first and that means we take the time to listen to each other.  We do not overlay a whole lot of unnecessary “race” nonsense over what we are saying to each other and how we live our lives.  


This^^^^.  This is what must happen to have a successful relationship with a spouse or a partner.  Hubs and I have been together 24 years, married for 20.  We do talk about race and discuss issues because my husband wants to know but it is not at the forefront of our lives. 


Brenda55 Your point is well taken. The thing is, we are both very opinionated (and I am very passionate, epsecially on the topic of race relations in the US). We have debated before about various topics (I find that it’s the best way to get inside of a person’s head and really learn who they are and what drives them). Normally, these debates do not escalate to the point where we are upset, but like many people (of various races), I have particularly strong feeling about this particular trial.  That being said, we are in the beginning stages of our relationship, so I’m sure we will get to a point where we don’t let the these disagreements get out of hand. Your post highlights why I believe an article on this subject would be very helpful. IRRs are great, and expanding your dating options is a wonderful idea, but it is not without its challenges. 


“IRRs are great, and expanding your dating options is a wonderful idea, but it is not without its challenges.”

A word from a gal who has been at this a minute.   ALL relationships are a challenge.  IRRs are really no different. They are also what the couple makes of them. The couple can erect as many barriers as they want and add as much drama and complication as they choose …..or not.

The best advice I ever got was from a man who was long married.  He said “Remember you are not always right.”  That told me that I need to STFU sometimes, listen to my partner and take his opinion under fair consideration.  He has to do the same for me. All couples who want to be successful at their relationships have to do that. 

We will be having these “race” conflicts forever.  They do not have to seep into your relationship.  I do not do battle or choose to die on every hill that the public thinks I should. Neither does my husband.  I put this trial and the events surrounding it in that category. 


 Brenda55 I agree with you – IRRs are, at the end of the day, like any other relationships where two individuals (with their separate backgrounds and experiences and view of things) come together, there is the potential (or, rather, certainty) of there being some conflict. Learning how to deal with this conflict in a positive manner is crucial – no matter the racial makeup of the couple. Unlike other relationships, though, in IRRs, race is a difference between you and your SO that may (not always, but pretty likely) have an affect on how you view a particular issue/event. I just think this would be a good topic to discuss on a website that focuses on interacial dating. I think addressing the issue head on – some practical advice, anecdotes dealing with this very issue would be helpful.


Chris touches on these issues and how to navigate them in her book. “Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate. Mixing, Race, Culture and Creed beginning on page 197. (Hint: Click the link on this page to pick up your copy.)

So with out further ado I post rena215’s question for consideration by members of the community as well as those lurking the site. It would be especially helpful for those who have been in IRRs for a long time to tell their stories about how they handle situations like the current one rena215 is asking about.


Follow Christelyn on Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. And if you want to be a little more about this online dating thing, InterracialDatingCentral is the official dating site for this blog.