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Personal Essay by a Black Woman Married to a White Man

An Open Letter to Black Women in Interracial Relationships

I met Jimmy at a New Year's Eve party in Malibu in 2013. He was quite charming and had a sweet smile that piqued my curiosity. We talked for hours before the ball dropped, and at midnight, he kissed me and literally swept me off my feet, carrying me to my friend's car. That was the moment my modern-day fairy tale began. He soon embraced my big family, expressed unconditional love for me, helped me to become a better version of myself, and showed me it was truly possible to build a beautiful life with another human. Though I knew we had come from contrasting worlds and were practically opposites, those differences only drove us closer together. This marvelous man, who I'm blessed to now call my husband, just happens to be of a different race.

Through my entire relationship with my now husband, I've been ridiculed, teased, and bullied for choosing him. Before people even take a moment to get to know us and what we stand for, they've already passed judgment. Isn't that what we are fighting against in this world? Being labeled before you even have a chance to show your heart as a Black human being? It's ugly, nasty, despicable, and not OK with me.

By choosing to blend my life with someone who is not Black, I have not become any less Black.
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I want to be an advocate for change. I want to be the change this world needs to see. I want to shine my light, and I want to stand up for Black people — but how am I supposed to do that when I'm being told that I'm a traitor and pushed out of my own supposed circles? I want to be clear: I believe Black love is so beautiful. I love celebrating and supporting my Black friends and family members' love stories. But I appreciate it when others support and celebrate my love story, too.

In the past, I've dated Black men, biracial men, and white men, and though I learned a lot from each relationship, none of them ended in marriage. Contrary to the hateful opinions of others, love always wins. My husband was the man who loved me unconditionally, understood me, supported me, stood by me, and accepted me most — and he just happens to be a white man.

I am not ashamed to say this is who I have fallen in love with, this is who I will continue to build a life with, this is who I've chosen to build a family with, and I will not allow others to tear him down just as I know he would never allow anyone to harm me. I'm tired of not being considered "Black enough" because I have a white husband. From this day forward, I've made a new vow to myself to speak up, stand up for everything I believe in, and never hide my truth or play it safe for the fear of being criticized.

To other Black women in an interracial relationship: I know you are finding it tough to navigate through this time we are living in. In an episode of Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man with Emmanuel Acho, one of his guests, Rachel Lindsay, a Black woman, said one of the biggest struggles she had when she began to date outside of her race was the ideology that as a Black woman, "no one can understand me like a Black man can." When I chose Jimmy to be my life partner, I knew he would never see the world through the same lens I do. What I was able to do in choosing him was share a new perspective, grow with another beautiful human, and embrace change within ourselves and the world we live in. By choosing to blend my life with someone who is not Black, I have not become any less Black. What I have become is someone who has been given the chance to share the Black experience with those who may not have had an opportunity to experience it and all of its splendor otherwise. I want you to know you are not alone. I also want you to know that being married to or in a relationship with a white man does not negate your Blackness. You are strong, you are powerful, you are beautiful, and you are still Black.

Just as the late, great Martin Luther King Jr. said: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." We have chosen to love with our whole hearts, and we should never be ashamed of that. Don't be afraid to speak up and speak out on everything you believe in. Let no one cast you out or shut you down, because your Black voice matters, too. Continue to love, grow, prosper, and protect your love as you find peace within your power. You deserve to be proud, stand tall, and remember that you, too, have a place in this fight.

Image Source: Photos courtesy Deja Riley
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