Today I was thinking about making a t-shirt that says, “My family is not a cause.©” Just because my wife and I are of different races, that doesn’t mean that our marriage is a racial issue. I’m really tired of my marriage being discussed in terms of pain, proprietorship and power dynamics; in terms of race itself. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems like we can’t see life in anything but those terms.
Our marriage is about the same things that any marriage is about: mutual respect and devotion; spiritual intimacy and unity; and our children’s future. The existence of racial problems doesn’t mean that my family life is inherently problematic. None of the things that an interracial relationship is commonly said to signify represent who we are. We’re not the result of an identity crisis. We’re not turning our back on our heritage. We’re not revolting against society’s norms. Nor are we even necessarily a sign of progress. We are simply a man and a woman who have to contend with all those assumptions as we love one another. If the fact of our racial diversity has given our marriage any particular distinction, it lies in that necessity.
While it’s true that we’re obliged to travel on the same pitted and broken racial road that everyone else is, and to try to repair it to the extent that we’re able, that’s not in itself the purpose of our life together. Far from it. Our purpose is to build a loving union that will outlast our brief lives in this world. Whatever significance our marriage may have lies in that goal, and we’re determined to go on pursuing it together, no matter who it might pain or please.
Theme: Finley Quaye, “The Emperor”