Lately it seems my relationship has had many challenges. Some of them are your normal relationship obstacles, but a lot of them seem to be stemming from another source: race and cultural differences.
My boyfriend is Peruvian. I’m white. His entire family speaks predominately Spanish. I speak English and next to no Spanish. He speaks English too and some of his family does, however, things are still difficult.
Recently, I was at one of his family events. It was a beautiful event – but I had the worst time. Most of the night I stood alone watching everyone else dancing, talking, and sharing smiles. All I wanted to do was cry because I felt like I couldn’t interact with everyone the way I wanted to. I was the only white person there besides his one sisters boyfriend (who is very quiet and keeps to himself).
As I sat in the cool metal chair alone, I realized something I’ve always wanted was coming true. I always wanted to know what it was like to be a minority growing up. I used to think, I wish I was a minority just to be able to see life through a different lens.
I got my wish. It wasn’t how I had imagined it at all. I felt as if I couldn’t to talk to anyone because of the language barrier or be a part of the event at all. All I wanted to do was dance with my man and his family but I couldn’t because I don’t know how to dance bachata. Second thought, I don’t even know how to dance period.
I felt so disappointed in myself and for the first time, I saw what it must have been like for non-whites trying to be a part of a predominately white culture.
Lonely, depressed, and down on myself, I figured removing myself from the situation would be best. Why ruin everyone else’s time because of my own insecurities? I told my boyfriend that I was going to leave. Immediately he asked why and tried to help me and understand.
I felt horrible because I ruined his time. He was having such a good time and I had to ruin it with my stupidity. Still, I feel horrible me for it and should have just left quietly without telling him. However, he probably would have been angry with me for doing that. He knows what I’m going g through because he went through it himself when he came to the United States after being raised in Peru. Nonetheless, I wish I hadn’t ruined his time.
He encouraged me and said everything will take time. It’s very frustrating for me because I feel like he deserves so much better. Although I love and embrace his culture, I don’t want to completely forget about mine.
Being in an interracial relationship has its ups and downs like every relationship. We laugh, cry, and fight just like everyone else. We just have an extra factor when it comes to certain things and that’s cultural differences.
Sometimes we get looks from people (mostly older generations). Every now and again we have communication misunderstandings. In my opinion, we have a great relationship – we just come from different places. But then again, who doesn’t?
Never in a million years would I ever have thought I’d finally find out my wish as a child of what it must be like to be a minority. Now I’m finding out slowly and I have to say, it’s very hard. I have an entirely new respect for anyone struggling with blending into a new culture.
I think the important thing to remember is that even though we are all different, we are all human beings with feelings just trying to live the best life we can each day with the ones we love.
Love knows no color or hue.