„The only reason you say that race was not an issue is because you wish it was not. We all wish it was not. But it’s a lie. I came from a country where race was not an issue; i did not think of myself as black and I only became black when I came to America. When you are black in America and you fall in love with a white person, race doesn’t matter when you’re alone together because it’s just you and your love. But the minute you step outside, race matters. But we don’t talk about it. We don’t even tell our white partners the small things that piss us off and the things we wish they understood better, because we’re worried the will say we’re overreacting, or we’re being to sensitive.“
(Adichie: Americanah 2013, p. 290)
Adichie is describing love between two human beings, between an American and a Nigerian, between a black and a white person, between a man and a woman, between people from two different cultures. Her point of few is the Nigerian girl in America.
Your origin is a topic, especially when you are obviously from different cultures. (That means people see it with their eyes!) The quotation says very well, that the topic might not matter between the lovers as long as they are alone, but the moment you step out, it becomes an issue. Wether we are in Cameroon or in Germany, with friends or family, at work or in the neighborhood – the topic is there. People have cliches in their minds, people are interested in your story, people heard something about “such” couples, people are happy to see something different, people like to gossip, people like to share.
Being from two obvious different cultures gives you sometimes more possibilities to define yourselves and your love, sometimes it demands a lot of strength to keep racism outside of your emotional sphere.
A lot of people don’t measure your relationship and judge as they do with others. Because they don’t know what is normal or strange for your situation.
Family just observes first, to get to know the new member. You are not necessarily forced into same traditional rituals and if you miss a nice gesture, probably you didn’t know about it. That’s the good case. If you have your family behind you, you are already an a good way…
You really get into another culture. It’s not just a visit to a new place, but if you open up you will be invited to enter the other culture. And than you should also talk about the things, which piss you off.
Already in bureaucracy you meet a lot of problems. A Cameroonian needs a visa for Germany, which is not as easy to get as a Visa for Cameroon. While I just need to send my documents and for sure I have to pay the visa, my love has to fill in a lot of documents, fight for a date to apply for the visa, he has to feel that he is not really wanted in our country and that he will be considered as a suspect from the moment he crosses the border.
Sometimes when he comes to Germany people ask him, if they can send something to his family like cloths or drugs. They don’t mean to be rude, but it is. It’s the only idea a lot of people have about Africans, that they are poor.
It gets really dirty, when people approach you with the prejudices: You are just a couple because of the papers for Europe. The white person brings the money and gets sex. Actually I read once that about 80% of marriages in Europe are motivated by the financial aspect. And I mean white-white couples.
Don’t let it get to you! Don’t let it get between you! Talk about your feelings, even the littlest feeling! Don’t attack your partner!
Talk to each other and talk to people about how it feels. In my eyes, there is no other way to overcome the cliches and prejudices which come with such a love. However it should never rule your relationship.