How to Be an Ally For Your Partner and Their Kids – When You’re White and They’re Black
Being in a relationship with two different cultures is a blessing and a challenge. Same goes for being in a relationship with someone when there are children from a former relationship. Now mix the two. Being in a relationship with someone with a different cultural background AND children from a former relationship. Next, place on top of all these blessings and challenges the fact that they are black and you are white.
We have come a long way since 1967 when exogamy (marriage outside a specific social group for example race or radicalized ethnicities) was legalized by the supreme court case Loving v. Virginia. Yes we have come a long way, but still not enough. Couples/Families that are interracial encounter discrimination in all areas of their life. Still to this day discrimination happens in housing, acceptance by some family members, employment, various social settings, and the list goes on. But what about being the ally for your loved one and their kids? Being the white person in the relationship still gives you privilege in your daily experience that they don’t get.
First, if you have not done so, or if it just didn’t occur to you until now with all that is happening with todays movement, get to really know your partner and their kids’ experience through their eyes. Ask them specific questions about times they have felt treated different. The key word is listen. Remember, you are asking them about their experience in the world.
Second, get to know their family culture, community culture, and religious culture. It does not matter if both of you are from upper middle class families from Kentucky that were raised Baptist. Your family of origin, the neighborhood, and specific church y’all were raised in can be very similar or in fact very different. If things were very different then get to know it. Take a field trip to memory lane and get to know their background.
Third, and probably the most important in my opinion. Speak up. Speak up against comments you hear from others. Speak up to mistreatment or discrimination you see out in the world. Speak up with your vote that you feel would marginalize the black community that your loved one is a part of. Speak up when they are around, but even more importantly when they are not around.
Being an ally for your partner and kids when you’re white and they’re black means the same love you have for them gets to branch out. It gets to embrace the whole community each and every time you are out and about.
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