Engagements

The Struggles Newly Engaged Interracial Couples Face

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Shopping for an Engagement Ring

Shopping for an engagement ring should be easy. You and your partner walk into a shop, view their collection, try stuff on, be congratulated, and walk out with a beautiful ring. Engagement rings in San Diego can be individually designed for a one-of-a-kind ring and can be purchased online if you really want to avoid a face-to-face interaction. However, you shouldn’t have to avoid shops because they’re rude or don’t know how to handle your relationship.

A microaggression is a subtle discrimination, and many interracial couples face this discrimination while shopping. An example of this is when someone asks where a person of color is from. The answer may be, “here” or “New York,” but the shopkeeper takes it a step further and asks, “No, where are you really from?” Although it may be unintentional, microaggressions are not okay and you shouldn’t have to deal with them.

Other things shopkeepers may say to you, but shouldn’t, include: “You’re going to make the most beautiful mixed babies,” or “You guys are so brave.” If someone speaks to you this way, don’t be afraid to correct them. If you’re nonconfrontational, then walk out. They don’t deserve your business. Sometimes, the microaggression can be a lot worse, such as when someone says, “You don’t like dating people in your own race?” If this is the case, ask for a manager or call the store later to report it. Never be afraid to call out racism and bigoted microaggressions.

The Engagement Party

You want to shout your engagement from the rooftop, and you deserve your loved ones to be proud and supportive of your relationships. Yet, some members of your family are less than thrilled.

To be clear: this is racism.

Whether it’s parental disapproval or some other family member’s judgment, their reaction is not okay. Their bigotry is unfair to you. Unfortunately, sometimes this judgment comes as a complete surprise. You may be expecting your entire family to view your engagement as a joyous occasion, and then someone ruins it with unkindness.

Basically, you’re looking at two scenarios.

1) You know who is bigoted in your family, in which case don’t invite them. If your parents (or whoever else) can’t support your relationship, they don’t belong at your pre-wedding events. If this gets them down, have a talk with them about their attitudes. If a change of heart occurs, you can invite them to the subsequent events. Sometimes, uninviting someone is the simplest way to change their attitudes. If they won’t change, then focus on those family members who do support you.

2. You didn’t realize someone was bigoted, and they show up to your engagement party and make rude comments. Or, worse, they make a huge scene. If someone is speaking rudely about race, ask a member of the wedding party to excuse them. It is especially important that partners stick up for each other. Psychology Today warns that “a white partner’s silence, or lack of affirmation, may serve to reinforce” the racism. This works both ways. Neither partner should suffer the ignorance of the other’s family, and those family members should be excused from all wedding events.

Everything Else

In a New York Times article, Katy Pitt and Rajeev Khurana recounted their post-engagement experiences. At one party, an intoxicated man asked, “So, you’re getting married? Wow! When did you realize that he wasn’t a terrorist?” No one could have blamed Katy for throwing a drink in his face, but instead, she calmly told him, “I think what you meant to say was congratulations on your recent engagement.” Suffice to say, he didn’t get an invitation to their wedding, and nor should anyone who is rude to you as a couple.

Your wedding is more than just one day. It’s a sequence of important events, including but not limited to the bridal shower, bachelorette party, bachelor party, and rehearsal dinner. During this time, you do not deserve to deal with racism, but the unfortunate truth is that you are likely to experience it in some form. This is not okay for any reason, but to successfully navigate this, you’ll need to be firm with rude and/or ignorant people.

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