One of the ideas that's being emphasised right now is that being silent around the topics of racism, privilege, and police brutality is not a neutral action — it's actively harmful. So, many of us have been talking about race. On social media, while marching.
To family, to friends, to significant others. For people in interracial relationships, these difficult but important conversations are nothing new — nor have they been seen as anything but essential. "I'm willing to listen," says Aimee, about the conversations she has with her wife. "It’s about showing up for D’shara through thick and thin." "I told [Campbell] if this relationship was going to be serious that he had to educate himself about racial injustice in America and be a vocal ally against racial injustice," says Cambria, about her partner. Now Campbell agrees that these conversations are "crucial." Refinery29 caught up with four interracial couples to ask them how they talk about race. Their responses highlight the importance of rejecting silence, are illuminating for anyone who's trying to be an ally. Billy + Taylor "I don’t think I find it hard to talk about race with Billy, but I always have a conscious thought process before going into the topic," Taylor, 24, tells Refinery29. "I want to make sure that I’m creating an open conversation and accepting of both of our views, but that we’re trying to learn from each other and listen." Taylor says that their conversations have become more intense over the last several months. Billy is former military and police, Taylor says, and they've disagreed about the idea of "good cops" and how they've viewed protesters. Some of their talks have become charged, she says, and they've taken a beat to "mentally process" the other person's point of view. "Billy is a very accepting and loving person, and that actually makes it harder," she says. "Since he had never treated someone differently because of race, he believes in good cops, which there are. But, the topics that took time to get through were that people aren’t causing violence just to cause violence, it’s a statement of getting attention to many issues overlooked. And although he may not have personally witnessed issues while on duty, there are still bad cops continuously causing detrimental effects on the Black community," Taylor says. "We’ve gone to protest and movements together and it has helped me see a different perspective and things in a new light and has even pushed me to learn more about unfair treatment and police brutality," Billy, 31, adds. "I believe Taylor and I are on the same page, and she continues to help me grow. I believe that we are successful in our relationship because we understand we come from different cultures but have enough love in our hearts to understand each other and evolve." Photo: Courtesy of Stephan George. More Nicole + Dalante "When Nicole and I first started dating it was hard for me to explain what I had experienced as a child growing up due to race and decisions my parents made," Dalante, 26, tells Refinery29. "Ultimately as time went on she started to understand more things, although it is all very new to her." "I think the part I find hard isn't as much talking about it. In a relationship you always want to protect the person you love and shield them from pain, or at least I do. So to hear about experiences and mistreatment of my partner due to race is infuriating," Nicole, 23, says. "Loving someone so much and knowing that the system we live in benefits me and not him is the hard part, and then trying to figure out how to change it and make it better." Nicole views her self-education as a gesture of love. "I think my way of supporting him is by continuing to learn and challenge myself with conversations about race," she says. "We have different lived experiences, so I want to be there for him and be someone he can talk to about that." "Nothing has really changed as it relates to how we talk because we are both very open," Dalante says. "We are having discussions about the injustices and what we can do to change the world so our kids don’t have to see this this first hand. I really think Nicole tries to listen and understand my circumstances before she passes judgement and that’s the biggest thing anyone can ask for. She’s a great ally and partner to be with during all of this." Photo: Courtesy of Nicole Valente. More Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? Layla Saad On BLM, Allyship, & Racist Workplaces How To Talk About Race & Racism With Your Partner "Say I Do": 8 Couples, 8 Sweet Love Stories