"Yes, I'm in an interracial relationship. Thank you for noticing."

Interracial relationships.

You’d think that by now, people would see them as normal. But it’s not considered “normal”. People still look at or speak about interracial couples strangely.

Apparently, your skin colour MUST be the same for a couple to be genuinely compatible. It’s often overlooked, forgotten about and simply ignored by the couples themselves, as well as everyone around them. It’s like we’ve all become immune to it.

Rather than interracial couples being “normal”, negative and uncomfortable reactions to them seems to be the norm. But Arkansas-based photographer and professor Donna Pinckley has brought this all to light with her series “Sticks and Stones”.

"Interracial relationships. You’d think that by now, people would see them as normal." Image via Instagram.

She’s photographed a number of interracial couples and asked them to write down an insult they’ve been given from someone else, stranger or family. And some of the insults hurled at them are just gross. But not unfamiliar. I’ve heard people say it before. I’ve seen the way some people look at interracial couples.

Some of the comments include, “Wouldn’t you rather date someone your own race?” and “What’s wrong with American women? Do you not like American women?”

It’s heartbreaking to read some of the comments. And they come from people both from ethnic backgrounds and who are Caucasian. So it shows that interracial relationships still have a long way to go before being accepted and not considered out of the ordinary.

Interracial relationships. You’d think that by now, people would see them as normal.

And of course, there are the stereotypes attached to interracial couples. One couple, an Asian woman and Caucasian man, wrote “all she wants from you is your green card”.

To be honest, in my relationship with my boyfriend, we’ve never been subject to blatant comments like these. But certainly, more nuanced comments and looks have been thrown my way.


Things like, “Do your parents know? Are they okay with him being white?”

I often wonder if people would be asking me the same questions had my boyfriend also been Korean, or even from any other Asian background. They might still ask if my parents know, but I highly, HIGHLY doubt they’d ask me if they’re okay with his race.

Heidi Klum and Seal.

People joke about my boyfriend having “yellow fever” and me being a “banana” (yellow on the outside, white on the inside). And usually, we both just pass them off as jokes – I know our friends don’t have bad intentions, and I know they think we don’t take life too seriously and can take a joke.

But the truth is, sometimes, I can’t.

It is hurtful to think that people think there’s something wrong with my relationship…something odd. For them to think it’s something that should be pointed out. To be labelled.

The fact that even in my own writing, I’m referring to these relationships as “interracial”, and not just ordinary relationships. Yet I’ve never heard people label mono-racial relationships as such…

Harnsle and her boyfriend. Image supplied.

For people to assume his family must not like me because I’m Asian, and often feel the need to ask me if I get along with them, if they’re okay with my background. Because I never thought of these problems until people made them for me.

You’d think that in 2015, especially in multicultural societies like the US and Australia, an interracial relationship would be normal. Just another couple in love.

But unfortunately, it seems we’re still not quite there yet.

Have you ever experienced racism?