Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Interracial Relationships Matter in America

I try to keep what I post here original pieces by me (or guest bloggers) however there are times when I come across something I want to share - and posting it to Facebook or twitter just won't cut it.

I'm not even sure how or why I received this email at work (I mean the obvious reason being that I do equity and inclusion work for my school) - I'm just glad I did. It's a beautifully written piece about interracial relationships and having cultural competency in relationships.

The article starts off with referring to a recent Cheerio commercial with an interracial family. In case you somehow missed it I'm sharing it here:



Here's the email I received in the mail today (it's long but worth the read):
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INTERRACIAL RELATIONSHIPS MATTER IN AMERICA .

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a lot of discussion and dialogue about the hateful comments that were used when General Mills featured an interracial couple on their Cheerios commercial on YouTube. According to David Olson, an online columnist, there were several racial slurs posted in the comments section and approximately 1,700 dislikes of video posted. As the child of interracial parents, on one hand, I was bothered by all the negative responses to the commercial. On the other hand, I was happy this issue was brought to the forefront because it's a huge issue that needs to be discussed as we talk about diversity and healthy relationships.


First, I believe this discussion has to be addressed more in the 21st Century because white supremacists are not the only group of people that disagrees with interracial relationships. Personally, I have witnessed, heard, and seen multiple cultures react negatively towards individuals that desire to create interracial relationships. I have also seen many ethnic leaders fight for multiculturalism and diversity within the workplace yet frown negatively upon men and women who desire to date or marry outside their culture. This begs the question how can we really fight for equality in the workplace when we refuse to use that rationale when it comes to interracial relationships.

Second, I believe this discussion has to be addressed more in the 21st Century because successful interracial relationships require both parties to develop understanding, knowledge, and a strong ability to adjust to cultural differences. This is so important because some interracial relationships fail because one of the relationships partners does not take the time to fully understand and embrace the culture of their significant other. For example, in a recent article on interracial relationships, two individuals were having various problems in their relationship because one of the relationship partners was insensitive to certain cultural issues. In essence, even though one of the relationship partners was fully in love with the other relationship partner, they still had some problems because one of the relationship partners did not take the time to fully understand the culture of their relationship partner.

Lastly, I believe this discussion has to be addressed more in the 21st Century because more people are getting involved in interracial relationships than ever before. For instance, according to the Census data, the number of families with married couples of different races and ethnicities rose 28 percent between 2000-2010 and now represents 10 percent of U.S. families. Unfortunately, with this rise of interracial relationships has come added pressure from various groups because of their disagreement with interracial marriages. In addition to these negative responses, interracial couples have to deal with discouraging statistics from the Associated Press stating that mixed couples have a 41 percent chance of separation or divorce compared to 31 percent of couples who are married within their race. Ultimately, just like any relationship, in order to create healthy and sustainable relationships, we must ALL do the best that we can to prepare ourselves for relationship success regardless of the differences we share.

To address some of these issues, I want to use my diversity expertise, relationship knowledge, and personal experience to provide you with five specific things that we can ALL do to help people create more healthy and sustainable interracial relationships in the 21st Century.

Cultural Competence is Mandatory for Relationship Success

As a national speaker on diversity, I have discovered that cultural competence is a skill set that must be developed in people because there is a process that everyone must experience in order to fully develop into a more culturally competent person.

Unfortunately, because we do not associate this skill set to romantic relationships, many people fail in their interracial relationships for not taking the time to develop the cultural competence needed to sustain a healthy and positive relationship with someone from another culture.

Relationship Advice: Take Cultural Competence serious if you want to develop a healthy and sustainable interracial relationship.

True Love Is Based on Values, not Culture

Although an individual's culture can have a huge impact on someone's value system, the reality is, true love is not formed because of a person's cultural background. It's formed because of the shared values that two people have for one another in a relationship.

For example, values such respect, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, long suffering, honesty, sacrifice for those you love, loyalty, faithfulness, and commitment are just some of the universal values that create healthy, positive, and sustainable relationships. Ultimately, the true love of two people will not be obtained in a relationship or marriage because of a person's cultural background, it will be attained because of the shared values.

Relationship Advice: Instead of expecting your future relationships to work because someone comes from the same cultural background as you, focus more on the shared values you have with a person instead. This is what leads to sustainable and healthy relationships.

True Love is Color-Blind

For the past year, I have made it a point to talk about the power of love in relation to diversity and social justice because I believe that if people lead and interact with others based upon the perspective of love, a lot of the social injustices connected to diversity will be solved.

Subsequently, during these engaging discussions on love, I have discovered that love is color-blind. In essence, true love has the power to create one of the greatest experiences in our lives, but when it comes to relationships, it is color blind. The color of a person's skin does not affect the impact that love can have on two people who care a lot for one another.

Therefore, if we are going to promote true love, then we have to understand that love comes in different forms. When there is true love between two people, the color or cultural background of a person will not matter!

Relationship Advice: True love comes in all different forms because it is color blind. Therefore, do not allow the color of someone's skin stop you from experiencing true love in a relationship or marriage.

True Love Overcomes ALL

As a child of an interracial relationship, I have heard and experienced several negative things because people have their own issues with interracial relationships. Thankfully, I have seen many people overcome these challenges because true love overcomes all.

In essence, if you decide to engage in an interracial relationship, you may face challenges, prejudices, and hostility because of your relationship. Remember that true love has the power to overcome the greatest challenges. Moreover, true love between two individuals is so powerful and has the ability to change the negative stereotypes, bias, and attitudes that some may have about interracial relationships.

Relationship Advice: True love has the power to overcome every obstacle and challenge. Therefore, do not allow the opinions, negative attitudes, and challenging situations created by family and friends stop you from experiencing the greatest love of your life!

True makes our Community, Nation, and World a Better Place

One of the main reasons I am so passionate about helping people create healthy relationships and marriages is because it's the answer to some of our greatest problems in the world today. For example, when you think about the negative issues affecting our communities and nation, I can almost guarantee you that a lot of the problems that we face can be linked back to some sort of relationship problem in an individual's life with their mother or father.

This is why I tell people that a strong relationship evolves into a strong marriage, a strong marriage develops into a powerful family, a powerful family becomes an amazing community, and an amazing community creates an extremely incredible nation to the rest of the world.

But, here's the catch. If romantic relationships are affected, everything else will be impacted as well. Therefore, moving forward, let's celebrate and encourage true love more than ever before regardless of the differences between two people because it leads to a better community, nation, and world.

Relationship Advice: True love makes our community, nation, and world a better place! So, if you desire to make our community, nation, and world a better place, you will embrace and encourage true love regardless of the differences between two people.

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Joshua Fredenburg is a National Speaker, Author, Leadership/Relationship Expert, and Generation Y Television Commentator that speaks on current issues and is on a mission as a National Speaker to empower at least 1 BILLION LEADERS WORLDWIDE with effective leadership strategies that will enable them to make a positive impact in their community, nation, and world and become one of America's Next Top Leaders!

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