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Should we celebrate interracial relationships?

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EACH WEEK we ask two writers with contrasting opinions to debate the question

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NO
YOVANKA PAQUETE PERDIGAO

ONE NIGHT, I was sitting in the student bar with friends. We had achieved nothing in the week but nonetheless felt it necessary to celebrate the fact that it was Friday night. Sat next to me was a “mixed” couple, she was a black woman and he was a white man.

They seemed lovely but in the next ten minutes in their company I was left completely baffled. Through their incessant questions they found out I spoke Portuguese. They told me it was in their plans to settle in Brazil because it was “post-racial” given all the mixes of races.

My lusophone blood began boiling at the centuries of colonial rape that produced this mix. The girl confided in me how mixed people were more intelligent and strong. To say that I was shock was an understatement, and it’s because of such ignorance that I am not for inter-racial relationships.

Most people that I’ve met in “mixed” relationships, clearly infatuated by their different melanin always manage to slander their own race, and look forward to producing “beautiful” mixed race kids. It is highly problematic to base your relationship around race. Sure, it is important but what do we even really mean by “mixed relationships”?

Loving and healthy relationships are based on love, trust and respect.

Not on stereotypes of race, and certainly not on the prospect of having mixed race kids with blonde hair, light skin, green eyes. We don’t need to and should not celebrate mixed relations, what we need is to celebrate love between two people no matter their beliefs, backgrounds, and race.

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YES
ELLA ACHOLA

AS THE product of an interracial relationship, I am by nature in favour of ‘mixed relationships’.

Also, as a ‘mixed race’ person I will always be in ‘mixed relationships’ by default so how could I not be? Nonetheless, there are some issues here to unpack.

What does it mean to be in a mixed relationship? We are programmed to assume this always involves white with non-white couples but we need to transcend this dichotomy and see that most relationships are likely to involve some sort of mix. 

Additionally, I don’t believe that we should “celebrate” mixed relationships any more than we do other relationships. We should not put them on a pedestal as a manifestation of some sort of post-racial utopia but celebrate what is hopefully a genuine love, one that did not grow from fetishism or the desire for status.

Instead, any love should grow from a decolonised mind and an open heart. It might just be my personal wish to live in a world where we can love freely that inspires this (somewhat sappy) take but I do believe genuine mixed relationships exist so I refuse to believe that they are problematic from the outset.

Always reinforcing racial boundaries we never drew and insisting on ‘sticking to our kind’ is becoming increasingly unfeasible and is not progressive, which is why I believe you should follow where love takes you.

And if that is across some socially constructed racial divide and you are conscious of its implications, go for it and we will celebrate.

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