Life for Interracial Couples in D.C.

Matt Radick / Flickr

Last week, we wrote about the rise of interracial marriage and asked how tolerant D.C. is of mixed-race couples. Many of you responded that you sometimes receive stares or negative comments, while others wrote their experiences have been mostly positive.

Admittedly, these stories can’t fully capture every experience, but they do provide some insights into what life is like for interracial couples in D.C. If you’d like to share your story, contribute by posting a comment below.

Luis writes that “the more interracial couples feel comfortable out in the world, the better chances we have of building a world defined by our common humanity rather than our race:”

When I mentioned this article to my wife, she asked if I was going to comment on it. “Wait, we’re interracial, right?” she had to double-check. We often forget. When it comes to our relationship I don’t really see race. We haven’t been in DC that long, but most places we’ve been, we are pretty comfortable in public…

Commenter NotSquare, a white woman in D.C. dating a black man, writes that she’s learned to “tune out” the stares she receives, “but I find anywhere I go people, even people close to me make the ‘color’ jokes in regards to my relationship.”

Riotsnotdiets writes that she still gets plenty of odd looks from passersby:

I’m a white woman dating a black man in DC, and I was completely shocked when we started dating at how many stares, glares, shaking heads, and sometimes even comments we get when we’re walking together in DC.  Now, I certainly haven’t done any scientific study or compared reactions in different neighborhoods, and one couple is a very small sample size, but I have to say that when we visit New York it’s a totally different vibe.
But some feel that D.C. is very accepting of mixed-race couples. On our Facebook page, Shea Bennett-Callen writes:
I lived in Ohio for several years with an ex (who is black and Arab), and we lived here for about 2 years, we never had any negative experiences in DC like we did in ohio. particularly in restaurants, in Ohio, we’d often get stares and sometimes comments from entire tables but here no one seemed to give a crap. It was pretty awesome.
Jason Hawke shared a similar experience on DCentric’s Facebook wall:
… a couple of years ago I was at a restaurant in NJ where my girl friend and I actually had trouble getting a table – they actually tried to refuse us. Both of us being stubborn we stayed and they eventually served us. I would never expect anything like that to happen in DC.
Commenter Frenchie posted a suggestion that we run an experiment with black-white couples holding hands in different D.C. neighborhoods, and report on people’s reactions. “You’d get more information on race in DC than any NPR article” by doing so, she concludes.  On her blog, Frenchie has written on about street harassment she’s experienced when walking around D.C. with her white boyfriend (she is black:)
I refuse to allow my relationship to become a political statement. I am far more concerned with the harassment we receive then [sic] what people think they know about our relationship based solely on skin color.
A footnote: we write about race and class. Do any of you have anything to say about dating or marrying across class lines? Do you find it’s a bigger taboo to date someone of a different class than a different race?
  • LadyDiDC

    I am white, my boyfriend is black. Perhaps I’m completely oblivious (very possible), but I’ve never had an negative experiences in DC like the ones some people describe. I honestly though that in 2011 in the nation’s capital, this type of thing didn’t happen all that much. I guess I have just  been lucky? Maybe because I don’t really notice it or see it as any kind of issue, I am more unaware of others who may have a problem with it. On the very rare occasion I’ve seen someone make a face, I assumed it was because my bf and I were being “schmoopy” in public and the person didn’t care for PDAs.

  • Tbfldftba

    My boyfriend and I haven’t recieved any negative feedback that I can recall. We’ve even gotten warm smiles from starngers (sometimes even older couples.)
    He’s even somewhat effeminate, and is mistaken for a woman from ti/e to time so there are people out there who think we’re an interracial and lesbian couple, and even from those people we’ve never gotten rude treatment. When he and I first started dating I did think we might have to put up with negativtity from some people, but it hasn’t happened yet, in nearly 2 years.