When I was a little girl in Northern Ontario, there were few visible minorities. Once, at a cottage, we had gone by boat to the convenience store. Another boat pulled up with a mixed couple in it. He was black, she was white. They had three adorable little boys. The Dad had no shirt on. He was gorgeous! When we told our families about what we had seen, they said,'You shouldn't marry them.' I remember thinking that there didn't seem to be anything wrong with marrying them. The only reason I stared, as a kid, was the novelty,the Dad's looks, and the cute kids. Anyway, fast forward. When I was twenty, I moved to Toronto. It was my first real exposure to visible minorities, having grown up mostly in the Finnish community.
I met my husband at our summer job in a hospital. He is from Jamaica. We were attracted to each other. The only thing I cared about was whether or not he was a Christian. I think the fact that we both grew up in Canada makes a difference, too, since we have a similar culture. If one of us was a new immigrant, there would be some issues and we would probably approach things differently. We were married two years later. That was in the mid-eighties. Toronto is very multicultural. When we were dating, I would say there were only five incidents; comments, looks, discrimination, etc. Nothing since. In fact, no one bats an eye now. There are many mixed couples in Toronto. As a problem, I would say that considering where to travel is an issue. South Florida and the Caribbean are okay for travelling, but my husband is not willing to go to the southern states because of the anticipated reactions we'd rather just avoid. As for us, race has never been an issue. Before we were married, a friend asked me, 'Aren't you worried that when you two argue, you'll call him a name?' That shocked me, because I guess that's in her mind. She saw him as a black man, I saw him as a man. I said, 'If I get mad at him, it'll be over what he says or does, not who he is.' We have several cultures in our family. We eat Jamaican food, Finnish food and everything else. Our family gatherings are louder with the Jamaican side,and more subdued with the Finnish side, and somewhere in between when we're all together. About our kids, people often ask what we tell them when they ask if they are black or white. We tell them they are mixed. We even gave it a name: Finnaican. When our oldest daughter was young, she used to tell people she was half Finnish, half Jamaican, and half Canadian. So she didn't understand fractions...at least she knew who she was. We have two beautiful daughters. They have had very little racism to face in their lives; a great deal less than my husband or mother-in-law faced when they came to Canada in the early seventies. We have been happily married for over twenty years. Race is not an issue in our marriage. We only deal with the usual stresses and conflicts in marriage. We have since had many more interracial marriages within our family. I guess we broke the ice. Our family members don't seem to have a problem with it. There were adjustments at the beginning of our courtship, but they've since been supportive. Overall, I have no problems with interracial marriages. I think there are more important things in which you need to be compatible, like faith. Externals are not an issue.
(This was originally published on helium.com)