It is no secret we are living through a very hard time. As a Black woman these times are not only hard but scary. I am seeing my brothers and sisters killed constantly and these videos are something we can not escape. From the news, to my social platforms, I am constantly reminded. Yesterday, I took the time to connect with some of my males friends and family members - this included the dudes on my block list. I truly think that this is not the time for petty actions and feelings. While someone may have hurt you in the past I do think we should at least check in on those we care/cared for.
This brings me to the talk. I was inspired by the recent episode of The Joe Budden Podcast. Joe stated that last year when Nipsey Hustle died his partner did not ask him how he felt about it. This got me to thinking. Do we ever ask our partners about how they feel about worldly events? If it is not important to you, do we ask if it is important to them? With the media constantly showing these videos of the deaths of our Black men & women, do you take a second to ask “Babe, are you okay viewing all of this?”. Yes, you may be able to turn it off and if you are like me you make sure to not watch these videos - but can you partner do this?
Which then got me to thinking about those in interracial relationships, how does this impact your relationship? As a partner, it is your job to educate yourself about your lover, but do people really do this? While you may love your partner, do you love he or she with all they come with? I read a tweet that said, “your white friends love you, not the entire race”. That sentence alone hit me hard. When you are in a relationship you are not just dating your partner, you are dating everyone and everything around them. Do you remember this?
While we are living in heavy times, it is extremely important to not only repost on social or donate - but to ASK and CHECK-IN with your lovers and loved ones. People deal with grief very differently so don’t just assume that everyone is okay.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS:
STOP ASSUMING - TALK AND LISTEN
Seems very easy but the older I get the more I see that people actually don’t listen to understand. Talking isn’t just about bouncing ideas off of each other, talking is actually listening to the other side. Whether you agree or disagree, when you speak to love ones you must have empathy. Especially now, ask your partner how he or she is feeling. Ask without wanting a response. Ask even if he or she says they are okay. Keep asking. It is really time to show you partner that you are there, no matter what.
CREATE A SAFE SPACE
I think what is really important in all of this is making sure you let your partner know that you are providing them with a safe space to express themselves. I shut down when I feel like I am not being heard like many people. Again, why you may not understand where he or she is coming from - you need to let them know that they can feel the way they feel without being judged.
Research sounds like a class project but educating yourself is extremely important. Learning about your partner’s history not only helps you understand where they come from but also help with understanding why they act the way they act. For example, I grew up with my mom showing me affection, constantly. I thought this was the norm so when I dated men who didn’t constantly want hugs & kisses I interpreted that they didn’t like me. It took one many to actually let me know that him providing was his way of showing he loved me. Ask, listen & research your partner - this will lead you to know what your partner needs and how they communicate.
REMIND YOUR PARTNER YOU ARE ON THE SAME TEAM
A lot of times we forget that relationships are teams. Like any professional team you must have goals & strategies. Especially now, remind your partner that he or she is not alone in this and that regardless of what the media may be showing, what he or she may be feeling and thinking - you are their biggest fan. Time to remind them that you have their back regardless.
ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU MAY NOT FEEL GREAT AFTER
This is very simple everyone who is not Black will feel uncomfortable about these conversations - and you should. Imagine how we feel.
With everything happening, the narrative comes to be that all white people suck or all police officers suck. This got me to thinking about the interracial couples or the “good cops” because while some do bad, there are still good people in the world.
For the interracial couples, while you may love and respect your partner others that look like you do not feel that way. When your partner is talking, do not take it personal - it is not personal to you. Take those feelings and try to effect change. I always think about the SNL skit that spoke on how everyone loves Beyonce but forgets that she is Black. You would be surprised that some of your counterparts see your partner as your lover & forget everything else. It’s okay to feel hurt after your partner expresses themselves but remember that right now this is not about you, it is about them.
Good cop vs. bad cop - this really is a thing. There are many police officers around the world that are good and make it their duty to invoke change & speak to the youth. Then there are others who are the problem. If you are an officer, have a family member in the force and/or aspire to become a police - take these conversations to cause change, simple. These conversations will make you uncomfortable but that feeling makes people want to change and change is what we need now more then ever.
Stay Focused In The Moment
While you are listening remember this moment - remember how your partner feels, remember how you felt listening, remember the state of the world & remember that this is not right. Do not make this a one time conversation - make this a common conversation. Take what you learn from your partner and educate another. This is how we not only spread the word but we also change the situations. When you are exposing yourself to another cultures it is your responsibility to learn it.