Now I’m probably going to say something you’ve no doubt considered throughout your relationship, but it has to be stated: all relationships are hard. When you add different races into the mix it gets harder. And when you add different religions on top of that it’s even harder. Get the help.
I say this as a black Jewish woman in an eight year relationship (we’re getting married in September of next year) with a white Jewish woman. We experience the world differently because of the color of our skin, and it’s something that has continued to come up in our relationship.
I am always aware of how the world sees me. As the number of deaths of black children, men and women continues to rise at the hands of law enforcement, I can’t not think of what that means for the safety of our future children. This is something that pains her as well, but in a different way.
She doesn’t automatically wonder if she’s being followed at a store or notice when people change to the other side of the sidewalk or clutch their purses when she walks down the street. This hasn’t been her life experience, and even though she tries hard to understand and is aware of her privilege, she will never really understand what I go through.
Like you, we entered our relationship with an open-mind about these issues. But feelings and experiences come up that you just can’t anticipate. If you can get some extra help now, what can it hurt?
Erika Davis writes about the intersections of race, sexual orientation and religion on her blog Black, Gay and Jewish. She is a board member of the Jewish Multiracial Network and is passionate about making the Jewish community a welcoming place for Jews of Color and Multiracial Jewish families. She lives in Tacoma, WA with her partner and their cats.