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Pet Sins July 2000 Issue
Unequal Access in interracial marriage and friendship

Fictional depictions of interracial couples are often romanticized images of two open-minded people who overcome social opposition to find "true love" with each other. The reality is much different.

Some of us indulge in unconscious self-flattery by dating the lightest-skinned person of color we can find, and then imagining ourselves "open and sophisticated" for that. Some of us think of ourselves as having moved a mountain just by being in an IR, while in reality we encountered very little opposition, if any, while some segments of society fawns over us for getting a partner of a specific 'popular' race.

Some of us deny the fact that the social opposition to our relationships would have been much more intense if we didn't have racial or skin color privilege. Perhaps our beloved partners and friends would not even have considered being with us if we had been of a different race, all other factors remaining equal. Some of us deny the discrimination faced by other less privileged groups in building interracial friendships or marriages because we want to feel that we deserve the social comforts that we have, or that we don't have an unfair advantage that we did not earn.

If you're doing that, please consider stopping that head-in-the-sand approach. Your privilege, which you did not choose to have, is not your fault, but to actively deny its existence and the oppressive social attitudes that prop up and perpetuate your privilege is to do a disservice to those who suffer daily from those prejudices that don't affect you. By all means enjoy the relationships you gained by your racial privilege, but also take the steps to dismantle your privilege by educating your significant others, in-laws and friends to view all people, regardless of race, as positively as they view you.