Navigating Social Media while in an Interracial Marriage has been a Struggle during this Racial Chaos
One of my wife’s friends on Facebook made the poignant point that none of her friends in interracial marriages have said anything on Facebook. My wife (white) showed me the post and we both shared a nod of understanding. I looked at her and said, “No shit. I ain’t pissing off your family and friends and I kind of feel like a fraud going full black power as I lay here with my white wife.” And that’s why I haven’t posted much on Facebook or Instagram about recent events.
That’s the dichotomy I live. I am black. My new born daughter is black. My wife is not. My son is Mexican and yeah, it’s a real melting pot. This feeling I feel is nothing new, it’s just heightened in these moments where public declarations of wherever one might stand on the murder of George Floyd is an expectation. My viewpoints are clear but I would be lying if I said I went to my in-laws house talking about how much I love Obama and think Trump and the MAGA movement might be problematic. I’ve learned how to voice my feelings and navigate those conversations over the years but these hyper emotional moments in the country make it so difficult.
It’s not just my in-law that I struggle to talk with and share in these moments with, it’s also my black peers. I work at an Historically Black College and have been black for all of my life. I am intimately aware of how divisive interracial marriages can be in the black community, and rightfully so. I am also well aware that if I say something on Facebook that some of my black friends don’t agree with they will immediately invalidate my opinion (and existence) by reminding me that I am a fraud and turned my back on my community by marrying a white women. I wish those moments didn’t have an impact on me but they do. Sometimes I really do feel like a fraud. Who AM I to talk about the plight of the black community when I live in the suburbs with a white woman? That’s my daily mental conundrum. My career has been intimately woven with racial justice work and my passion is advocating for racial justice where I can. One of the reasons I work at an HBCU is because I felt like I wasn’t making a real impact helping my community be successful in higher education while working at a predominately white institution. Sometimes I don’t want to have to prove my blackness every time I make statement about racism.
The internal struggle doesn’t end there. Even though my in-laws and some of my white peers have differing political opinions than me I know they love me. My father-in-law treats me like family and has helped me financially. As a black person who grew up in the South and Midwest, I can feel when somebody doesn’t like me especially if it’s racially motivated. My son’s scout troop reaches out to me and treats me well. This may not sound like much but racist people don’t put in that effort. It’s hard right now because I see some of them posting things on Facebook that I personally find abhorrent, but I also see them genuinely loving my family and including us in their community.
Every time I type up some powerful Facebook status or some Earth-shattering Instagram post that will surely turn the tides on racism in America I read it and then delete it. I don’t feel empowered or in a position to make those statements. I’m not ready for that smoke from both sides. I’ve found ways to reach out to my family and peers on a more personal level but the public declarations on Facebook and Instagram are on hold right now. I guess what I am saying is, my silence on social media right now is not thoughtless or unintentional. It’s hard enough navigating my day, debating wearing a mask because I don’t really want my face covered if I get pulled over right now and adding the stress of social media to that is just too much. George Floyd was murdered and the police who killed him should face justice. In case you wonder where I stand. For my other peers in interracial relationships, how are you navigating these times on social media?