I have been in an interracial relationship for almost 6 years. I am a 25-year-old Indian-American woman from New Jersey and my husband is a 25-year-old African-American man from a small town in Arkansas. In pictures and on paper we could not appear to be any more different. But in reality, we could not be any more in sync with each other. Here's how interracial relationships help give you a better perspective:
1. You appreciate a different culture.
I grew up as Hindu and was born to parents who immigrated to the United States in the 1980s. My husband grew up Baptist and was born to African-American parents in the deep south. We did not grow up on the same advice. Our family structure, parents' careers, and our genetics are all wildly different. Our backgrounds, ancestors, and beliefs are all different. One of my favorite parts about being with my husband is getting to learn about his heritage and the traditions he grew up with. Learning, valuing, and understanding where another individual comes from is essential in order to appreciate them. Being able to mesh our cultures and belief systems together has been the greatest part of our relationship. It has made us more understanding and more accepting of people who live very different lives than us. It has given us a raw perspective where we see the world in a different light and truly believe that it is possible to live in harmony.
2. You see places you normally would never see.
Being in an interracial relationship has allowed my husband and I to see places we would have never even thought about going to. I have been able to travel to India with my husband and introduce him to my extended family. We have visited Hindu temples and explored my motherland together. On the other hand, my husband has been able to show me the real south of the United States. Staying in Arkansas and meeting my husband's family has changed my outlook on this region. He has shown me what it is like to attend church on Sundays and what rich history lies in the southern region of the United States. We even took a trip to Africa because we wanted to further explore the culture and see the ties African-Americans have to the continent. We have exchanged cultures at the root and opened each other's eyes to the issues both of our ethnic groups face. These are life-changing experiences that make you appreciate people that are different than you. Introducing each other to new places from a different view has been such an insightful adventure.
3. You become more open-minded.
There are so many new things I have tried because I am in an interracial relationship. I have become more comfortable with putting myself out there and experiencing things I would never think to do and honestly, it has been more fun. My appreciation of different food, music, films, books, clothing, etc., has inevitably opened my mind. I have found a new respect for various interests and I believe it has made me understand society that much more. Sharing your interests and hobbies with your significant other when you are in an interracial relationship becomes a part of daily life. Over time, you get insight into another culture in a unique way that makes you treasure the human race, as a whole. The perspective gained from interracial relationships allows you to better understand where a dissimilar individual is coming from. It feels like you can actually wear a different lens and truly walk a mile in someone else's shoes.
4. You aren't afraid to challenge the status quo.
I am not saying that interracial relationships are the only way to achieve the things I mentioned above. However, I encourage you to not limit yourself when it comes to relationships. Don't just write people off because they aren't the same race as you and you are scared of how your family and/or society may treat you. Yes, interracial relationships are definitely harder and there is a lot more crap you have to deal with, but ultimately this is how the world advances — through the exchange and value of different beliefs and ideas coming together. We need more people uniting races, ethnicities, and belief systems. As a young woman in a strong, interracial marriage, I live my life constantly going against the grain by just being in the relationship that I am happily in. But this has given me a different way of looking at life. It has allowed me to open my eyes, in the sense that I am unafraid to question the stereotypical way of living. Challenging norms and society, in general, is how change and progress occur.
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