Have a Global Majority Partner?
5 valuable insights into their lived experience
Many of you will be aware that I have a white husband. That’s never been a secret. Some people have used that fact to try to discredit my focus on anti-racism (newsflash: I’m still a Black woman who’s spent a heck of a lot of years in white majority spaces, so you can miss me with that).
This isn’t the article where I deal with that bit of silliness (though it’s coming one day). Instead, today, I’m writing for all those like my hubs who have got involved with a person who is Black, Brown, Indigenous or of color, and who are about to have (or have already had) some experiences that are completely out of the norm for them. A kind of mini-guidebook, if you will. I’m going to base this both on the experiences I’ve had personally and those friends have shared with me. Here’s what your global majority* partners and significant others need you to know.
1. They will experience racism
First of all, no matter how much you think we’re approaching a post-racial society (we aren’t) and that things are getting better (maybe, but slowly, and there’s still WAY too much oppression and suffering around) your beloved partner is still going to experience racism. Some of it will be at a subtle level you can’t see or understand. If someone used a racial slur, you’d definitely notice, but you probably won’t spot the coded insults or challenges to their humanity.
The antidote: read up on dog whistles and microaggressions (nothing “micro” about them, really) to raise your awareness, then be alert for signs that they are happening.
2. They need you to believe them
I get it; you don’t want to believe that racism is as bad as your Black or Brown partner says it is. But you have to accept that you are living in different realities, and you need to believe them when they say something is racism. They have had years, even decades, of learning to identify the threat of racism as a potential issue of safety, both physical and emotional. Your racism spotting muscles simply aren’t as finely tuned.
What you need to do in these situations is trust that they know racism when they see it, and believe them without question. When you question it, you unintentionally ally yourself with the people oppressing them, and I know that’s not what you want to do. Which brings me to…