Interracial Couples Reveal The Biggest Cultural Adjustments They Overcame
Cultural stereotypes, and the judgments that accompany them, still present challenges for interracial couples. But dating someone from another culture has its perks too - different food, family celebrations, holiday traditions - all help to enrich our relationships. It's not always easy, though, as people still like to judge.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
The Chinese ex was doing it right. Unopened and uneaten? Mine.
My ex-boyfriend of two years was Chinese, and I'm white (and Southern, while he'd lived most of his life in Chicago). We had some minor things like he would make fun of how much cheese I ate and I made fun of how much he learned to love sweet iced tea. But the one cultural norm we didn't even realize we didn't have in common was taking food home from special events. For white people, food left at the end of a wedding/event/banquet is for the host (whoever's paid for it) to dispose of/dispense how they like. In Chinese culture, mass to-go boxes are distributed and everyone takes home whatever they want. I remember being mortified at a wedding when my bf just snagged an entire, unopened box of cupcakes to take when we left. In my mind, he just stole cupcakes. What was so remarkable was that I thought he was being cheap and he thought I was being paranoid, and we never ever chalked it up to cultural norms. Learned this from a totally different (also Chinese) friend after we'd broken up.
Edit: I'm speaking of fancy or formal events specifically, not all get-togethers with food.
This seems like an easy adjustment.
So. Many. Hugs.
Family is family is family.
One I can answer!
My partner is from Zimbabwe. I'm from Scotland.
The biggest culture shock by far is how every older woman is called mbuya (gran) and every older man sekuru (grandpa). From what I understand their language (Shona) doesn't seem to have a word for aunties, uncles or cousins: everyone is just your sibling, parent, grandparent or a stranger. Makes it a nightmare to work out what the 'real' relations are.
Saying "I'm full" is a no-no in many cultures, and there's always so much food.
Not a current relationship but a previous one. I'm white and he's Hispanic. Meeting his family was really when the cultural differences showed. His entire family was super welcoming, immediately I was included in everything and made to feel like part of the family, that was definitely not the norm in my other relationships.
I found out that even if I'm stuffed full if his mom or aunt offered me food, I better take it. To refuse for any reason was extremely rude.
Authentic Mexican food is amazing.
We did go to a Hispanic dance club together once and I was treated like trash by everyone present because of being white, but that was the only occasion of people disapproving.
We broke up because he's a terrible person, but I still miss his family.
Celebrating for no reason? Sounds like a great adjustment.
My fiancée is black, I'm white/Asian. Everyone from her family is very loud but in a loving way, especially in public. So much laughing and clapping for no reason, I love it so much. My wasian family is very quiet and reserved and doesn't show much affection. Being in public and getting stared at is the biggest adjustment. Also the food. Anyone else love neckbone?
Well, this is different, and certainly an adjustment.
I am dating a girl whose parents are from East Boston. They call pasta "macaroni" and red sauce/pasta sauce "gravy." WTF
Doesn't seem like much adjustment is needed here, everyone is really well-rounded.
Meeting her family: lots of hugs, the family is important, you always compliment how beautiful the mom is and eat all of her cooking, when the dad drinks then you must drink, anytime they invite you to an event then you drop everything and go or witness their wrath.
Her meeting my family: shoes come off the second you enter the house, be prepared to gossip with the mom, constantly receive a small sentence of wisdom from the dad.
I am Vietnamese and she is Venezuelan. Both families agree we would have beautiful children.
Edit: RIP inbox. y'all some amazing people: ;)
Mothers-in-law take a lot of adjusting.
White male married to a black woman here. We have been together since 1988 and have a 19 yo daughter.
I am not sure there were any real cultural adjustments. I have read about people in interracial relationships getting all kinds of blowback/disapproval but we've not experienced anything significant.
My MIL finds fault with virtually anything but that does not seem cultural though.
Tearing down cultural stereotypes is a necessary adjustment.
My ex-boyfriend is Japanese. He and his family were very very proper, clean, and etiquette. The biggest thing was they were never really satisfied with his accomplishments. Every time he did something good they would always want more from him.
Edit: One thing I forgot to mention was that I'm Hispanic, and his family had some misconceived views on Hispanic/Latino people. The sister and dad thought I was going to be some sort of drug dealer or a gang member and were scared of me at first. His mom and brother thought I was going to be loud, good at dancing, and always say something in Spanish after every sentence. They were very interesting...
Learning your partner's native language shows immense dedication, and is a really noble adjustment.
Learning Spanish. I married a Peruvian who speaks perfect English and so I have trouble remembering what I learn.
I like the sound of the wild Christmas.
My husband is Mexican and I am white. The biggest thing we genuinely notice and laugh about is how Christmas is handled.
His family - mass chaos, everyone opens presents all at the same time. There is literally trash and Christmas paper EVERYWHERE.
My family - slow, meticulous, everyone patiently waits their turn to open their gift. We legitimately have someone assigned to trash bag duty.
This happens far too often - skin color shouldn't define love.
It's weird getting racist side-eyes from people of the same race as me.
Whether it's interracial or sexuality, let's not judge others on how and whom they love.
My interracial relationship isn't an issue with most people. They normally just are disgusted because we're gay.
Hot take: visits are one thing, but having the whole family in a hospital room is really uncomfortable. It was for me.
I'm Hispanic, my husband is Caucasian. When someone in my family is sick, the whole family shows up. We all sit in the waiting room for a surgery, come by the house with food during a recovery. When his own father had a cardiac cath my husband didn't go with him even though he had the day off work. I went with his father and his mother and he thought it was so extra for me to go. His mentality is that I can't do anything if something goes wrong. He said if something did go wrong his mother would call him. In my family, it's a show of love, respect, and support to be at someone's sick bed, even for a routine medical procedure. His mother didn't find it strange, his sister didn't go either. It's just weird to me. When his grandma had a hip replaced he went to visit her in rehab only one time and she was there for two weeks. If it was my family, we would take shifts so she would have at least one visitor per day and one home-cooked meal.
Oh, white people...
Black man with a white ex here. I have plenty of these types of scenarios. My favorite is the white people who assumed we weren't together when we walked into a restaurant. My ex was absolutely incensed! I laughed because I've dealt with that ignorance on more than one occasion.
Parties for everything? Why not?!
White trash married into a Hispanic household.
Everything is different.
They throw parties for everything. High school graduation was a huge deal, I had to convince my parents to come because I needed a ride home afterward. His family was shocked.
We don't cook when people come over. Just buy some pizza. His mom might kill me if I throw a party without cooking a bunch of homemade food.
Sleepovers, family coming over? Then it's assumed they will stay the night. Totally threw me off. Our family barely visits and when they do it's for a few hours then they're gone.
Is someone pregnant? Awesome huge parties and lots of gifts. My family? That sucks better figure out what you're gonna do.
Kids party? Lots of games n food n cake and gifts. My family, oh cool here's a t-shirt I have work so I'm gonna leave now.
A family member needs help? They're family best go help. My side? The most you'll get is a 'that sucks' there's no helping each other.
Been about 6 years now and I'm still learning.
The concept of "on time" varies greatly from culture to culture.
Different understanding of time.
Edit: to be clear she is latina and I am white. Doesn't make me mad, it's just a difference in culture. It's an adjustment I have to make.
It takes a lot of courage to stand up to white supremacy. Sounds like the stepdad needs the adjustment.
I'm black and I'm currently dating a white guy. His stepdad is a white supremacist, so going to his house always feels a little awkward.
Expanding your taste in food is one of the best ways to experience other cultures.
When I'm in a relationship I tend to eat less Asian foods to accommodate their tastes. I'm Asian-American and grew up eating a variety of foods. It was hard to adjust in the beginning because the people I tend to date (primarily small-town White-Americans) have a limited food palette.
Right now my current S/O has a very wide range of palette which I'm super duper grateful for. We've eaten a large array of ethnic foods compared to my previous relationships, but just not Asian dishes yet lol. Mostly due to us not traveling out of the city, where it primarily dominated by Thai, to the suburbs where there different facets of Chinese cuisines.
It's fascinating that dancing never caught on as part of American culture. But it's never too late to try!
I'm a boring white American and my fiance is Puerto Rican. Everyone dances, and dances well, except for me of course.
Sometimes you just don't have any money and you have to make it work. I learned how to make the most out of bargains at the grocery store and know how to make food that is hearty and will last more than a day or two. Beans and rice are your friends, by the way. You'd be surprised by how many delicious meals you can make with just these two basic ingredients.
Being poor requires you to be creative.
Penny pinching is an art, as we were so deftly reminded after Redditor naranja_cheese asked the online community,
"What is the most penny pinching you've ever done?"
"I used to steal..."
"I used to steal half-used rolls of tp when I was a janitor. Lived off white rice and Worcestershire sauce for months. Got a job as a cook & always saved a few scraps while plating people's food so I would have something to eat without paying for a meal. Also worked at a butcher shop& would take home bones to roast and make a stew with. I can share hundreds of things like this."
"I worked part-time..."
"I worked part-time in school, but was pretty broke. I wasn't being paid until the following day, and I needed soy sauce for my extra super tasty stir fry. I literally had negative funds in my account. So I went to the grocery store, grabbed a sushi tray, threw a ton of packets of soy sauce in my pocket (they don't charge you for these), wandered a bit, pretended I changed my mind, and left."
"While at the grocery store..."
"While at the grocery store, putting back that pack of chicken breast that cost $2.98 for the other pack of chicken breast that cost $2.95."
"Things were insanely tight..."
"Used to make my own laundry detergent during a time when we had relocated and our prior home had not sold so we had rent on top of a mortgage for 18 months. Things were insanely tight in those days, to say the least."
I definitely know what this is like.
"I took some cedar boards..."
"I had no money for Christmas gifts. I only had enough to pay rent. I took some cedar boards in the backyard, cut them, burnt them a little black as I had no money to finish them. Then I passed them off as cutting boards."
"One Friday night..."
"One Friday night in college, my two buddies and I had a grand total of $3 to our names. I bought a box of Mac 'n Cheese, a can(!) of escargot, and three Lil' Debbie Star Crunches. We had a full meal with starch, protein, and dessert."
"I lived on pasta..."
"When I was at university my entire budget was less than £40 a week. I lived on pasta and stolen sauce packets from the Students Union. The cafeteria ladies would always take pity on me at closing time and give me free burgers."
"I lost my job..."
"I lost my job and lived in a $1400/month apartment where electricity (which included heat) and internet were ludicrously expensive. $400-450 a month in the winter because the building was an old mill with huge windows and no insulation. Fortunately, gas and water were free."
"I only turned on my lights when I had to, turned off the heat entirely, and heated my apartment by boiling a huge pot of water on the gas stove 24 hours a day and going to the business center to use the free DSL connection to apply for jobs. I ate rice with frozen vegetables and spices for three months."
"It sucked, but I got by."
Hopefully things are much better now.
"If I ate fast food..."
"If I ate fast food or takeout food, I would ask for extra sauce packets or garnishes that they give out for free. I would stock up on them, use them when I cook instead of buying the stuff from the store. For example, a $1 box of pasta, a clove of garlic, and 2-3 ramekins of parm cheese, half ramekin of chili flakes, and a pinch of Italian herbs I got from a pizza place makes a quick meal."
"My local mall..."
"My local mall used to do paid surveys, you'd watch a video or try some new soda or whatever and they'd give you a couple of dollars. Then I'd use that to buy a meal."
Sometimes you've just gotta do what you've gotta do. It's not easy.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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Now, this isn't going to be a long, "Let's all pile on how bad the internet is and only think about the good ol' days when the rocks were soft and we could only communicate using cans with string."
People old enough to remember life pre-Internet, what are some less obvious things you miss about that time?
Many habits we used to possess were made completely irrelevant thanks to the internet. Not that we didn't enjoy doing them, we just started asking ourselves, "What's the point?"
Completely Devoid Of Technological Interference
"Leaving home and just being gone for the day. No cell phones. If there were cameras, it was really different. You used them to take pictures of things or had people take pictures of you. But there was no social media to preoccupy your mind. It was just doing something. And whoever you were with, was who you were with."
No One Needs 24 Hours Of Nonsense
"News only being on at 6pm. That was it. Now we have 6 hours of local news and 24 hours of cable news. Not being bombarded all day with "news." And when you saw "Breaking News" on the screen you knew something serious went down."
You Mean We Actually Have To Go?
"It used to be a lot harder to bail on things. You'd have to call the person at home and tell them yourself, or at least leave a message if you wanted to be risky. Typically if you were gonna bail you'd give at least 24 hours notice. Nowadays people can let you know they're bailing last second since you're always reachable."
"RSVPing mattered. If you said you were going to be there, you made sure to be there. None of this facebook invites that everyone blows off without any form of social repercussions. If you said you were going to go and didn't go, you were the a--hole and everyone knew it."
You can get almost anything on the internet. Almost. Still no sign of real working Lightsabers anywhere out there, but the internet has eliminated many of our purchasing practices.
Just In Time For The Holidays!
"The Sears catalog. That was how I found out about all the cool new toys."
"Catalogs in general, for me. Before the internet made mindless browsing of stuff you didn't need ~really~ easy to do, we still liked doing this without having to drive to the mall. The solution? Sign your mom up for those cool seed catalogs, those not safe to browse at the office gag gift catalogs and then everything in between. That stuff was really nice to have when you grew up somewhere that was not even cable ready."
1 Good Song Out Of 15
"When you bought new music you just had to hope it was good. The single might be popular but otherwise unless someone had it you just bought it and hoped for the best."
"There was so much excitement to going to a cd store to buy an album that you only knew one song of or the band/artist name and just listening to that entire cd over and over again picking out which tracks were your favorite while still learning every lyric to all the songs on the album.
Building a cd collection was also fun."
Talk About The "Immediate Gratification" Generation, Huh?
"The instant win bottle caps / candy / chocolate bar wrappers where you could turn them back into the store and immediately get a free one. Now it's just codes you have to register on their website so they can get your info, i don't even bother anymore."
Finally, there's these activities, to difficult to explain to anyone who wasn't there. How do you get someone to understand that not having a supercomputer in your pocket at all hours of the day radically changed your life?
Keeping It In Front Of You
"I miss having an attention span of more than three seconds"
"It's so weird. I can only vaguely remember what it feels like to not have a smartphone and to be alone and think.
Wondering what my friends are doing and if they'd like to do something on the weekend. We'd have to talk during lunch break at school and plan it...
Trying to find the answer to a math problem... Having to figure it out by re-reading the problem and explanations 5 times."
There Used To Be A Time When You Couldn't Play Everything
"Not being overwhelmed by choice.
Don't get me wrong, having nearly every form of media downloadable is great, but back in the day, i rented a video game and i played that video game as much as i could.
Now, its hard to give it more than 2 seconds before i try one of the 20,000 games i have access to.
New game plus used to be cool. Now, I'm happy if just beat the game"
Floundering. Just A Little.
"My formative years were the 1980s. I remember like yesterday going to study in Paris my junior year of college. I got off the plane with no cell phone, no internet, a Let's Go Paris book, and just a hostel address written on a piece of paper I'd stuck in a French dictionary. I did not know a single person in all of France.
I had $500 of cash stuck in a money belt. The belt was tight and sweaty but that money had to last me for at least a month until I could find a part-time job with my lousy French. My "credit card" was my father's credit card numbers written down on a piece of paper. He told me I could only use it to buy a plane ticket home in an emergency.
I remember standing in the airport and having this powerful emotion of being 21 years old, scared sh-tless, but in absolutely completely control of my own destiny. There was absolutely nobody who could come rushing to my aid if I needed it. I was 100% on my own.
I'm actually very thankful for that experience. I found the hostel. I found a job. I made friends. I learned French. I made it all on my own which was just a big boost in life confidence.
I have no doubt if I'd had a cell phone I would've called my parents on Day 2, told them it was too hard, and been on the next plane home. But I had no other choice but to succeed."
We can never go back. Not really, anyway. The only way is to keep going forward, be aware of the effect the internet has on us, and do our best to not let it take away the things that really matter in our lives.
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Look, unless you enjoy cooking, no one likes spending time in the kitchen longer than they have to in order to whip up something mediocre to eat.
Ordering food or, for the time being, enjoying a socially distanced lunch at an establishment is convenient, but it can take a toll on your wallet.
So what options are there?
Fortunately, there are plenty of them that do not involve nuking a frozen entree.
"What's your go-to under 5 minute meal?"
These dinner selections are super sufficient.
A Loaded Course
"Two hotdogs and a side of judgement from my fiancé"
In Case You Didn't Know
"Quesadilla. super quick and easy to make and there's a ton of ingredients that you can add without much effort that will make it even better."
"Ramen and an egg, but not the traditional way."
- "Boil roughly half an inch of water (we want just enough water to boil the noodles, with very little water left over when it's done boiling)."
- "Smash up the ramen noodles, while still in the package (optional but cooks MUCH faster)."
- "Open the package and remove the seasoning."
- "Dump the noodles in."
- "While boiling, crack an egg and whisk in a small bowl."
- "Noodles should be done and almost all the water should be gone, if not strain out some.
- Remove from the heat."
- "Slowly pour in the egg while mixing very quickly, try not to let the egg touch the pan."
- "Mix as much of the seasoning packet as you like (I prefer 1/2 - 3/4 because I usually add a salty component at the end.)"
- "Add to bowl and top with some chives, thinly sliced, ripped up ham/salami and/or parsley. Leftover bacon or pancetta are fantastic crunchy components to dial up the texture."
"Easy, fast and checks so many of the 'munchie' boxes for me."
Don't Underestimate Soups
"Tomato soup and add tortellini. I like the spinach ones from Trader Joe's and Progreso creamy tomato with basil. It's bomb and it really makes a decent meal."
For people in a rush, these tasty snacks would suffice.
Goes Well With Veggies And Cheese
"Hummus is such an underrated food. It goes well with a lot of veggies and breads and chips or heck even cheese. All the time I hear hummus being listed as one of those weird, gross foods when its actually an amazing snack, or a meal if done correctly. It's not really unhealthy, either, especially if eaten with veggies (celery and carrots go great with hummus)."
Ready In Seconds
"All I do is get a paper towel, and put 5 Oreos on it."
"Then go back and get the whole package."
Peanut Butter Fantasies
"Peanut butter sandwich."
"If I'm feeling extra froggy I'll add nutella to the peanut butter and honey sandwich and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Goes down about as well as a popeye's biscuit though."
"It's like cheating the system. You eat sweets and call it healthy."
Start your day without all the hassle of a fancy breakfast.
Put It In A Bowl
"Oatmeal or cereal."
"Cereal is definitely underrated as a meal outside of the breakfast dynamic."
"A very simple recipe my grandma prepared for me when i was a kid."
"It's basically scrambled eggs...but before adding the egg she would cook sweetcorn (from a can) with a little bit of butter, add the eggs and then when the eggs were almost ready, add small cubes of cheese and cook for a minute or until the cheese start to melt (she was using fontal, but any swiss or white cheddar will do). Just a little black pepper and salt."
"Takes 5 minutes to do but it's absolutely delicious, fill you up, not so unhealthy and I feel my late grandma with me."
'I tried variations with chives or spring onions, paprika or other stuff. Still good but nothing as good as a simple "uova strapazzate con mais e formaggio.'"
I consider yogurt a healthy snack/lunch option.
I like having a bowl of non-fat plain Greek yogurt with raspberries, blueberries, sprinkled with granola and drizzled with honey.
It's packed with nutrients and gives me a nice boost of energy.
Yogurt also makes for a perfect chip dip. I sprinkle some onion soup mix and stir in the mixture. Who knew quick and easy food prep could be so delicious?
We all like to assume that a big old scar has an amazing, hardcore story behind it: maybe a valiant fight or some life threatening-escape.
But despite what Hollywood would have us think, that is so rarely the case.
Usually, some kind of bizarre accident leaves us with the biggest scar of our life. There's no action movie story behind it, just a careful mixture of foolishness and bad luck.
Clearly not put off by some gruesome anecdotes, Redditor fluffybear45 asked:
"People with scars, how did you get them?"
For many, it was the wild antics of childhood that left them slightly maimed. With many years now separating the Redditor from the event, these were pretty hilarious.
Out of Nowhere!
"I was playing on a swing and then my leg got stuck in barbed wire." -- Soviet_God-Emperor
"I feel like we missed a couple steps here, or your local park had some serious issues." -- Henfrid
"Yo that went from 0 to 100 real fast" -- IHaveButt
"2nd grade, defective slip-n-slide." -- AdmiralAkbar1
"I'm pretty sure the general design of the slip'n'slide was defective. Those stakes weren't covered originally, so you had to be straight down the middle of the slide or else....." -- Q-burt
"Could you refer to this incident in a gravely voice while staring into the middle distance, pausing only to shudder and sip your scotch?" -- CaptValentine
That's Why You Need an Axe Yard
"My dad hit me with an axe (bladed side) in the face. Stupid 10 yo me just had to look over his shoulder while he was hammering in herrings for our tent."
Others talked about freak accidents that came not from the stupidity of childhood, but the bad luck of mistakes made as an adult.
Bad Conditions for Practice
"Dad gave me a folding knife for Christmas"
"I read online that you could flick it open with one hand"
"So I practiced it, after my hands were greasy from eating a burger"
Take Your Pick
"Multiple long scars on my back are from falling onto a old soviet steel welcome mat ( i dont know how to describe it in english but its meant to wipe dirt of your shoes with triangle shaped steel beams."
"Medium sized one on my forearm is from a barbed wire fence, another one next to it is from a motorcycle accident and one on the base on my thumb is from a cars hood slipping and cutting me."
One Heck Of a Fall
" 'This one is from a skateboard, this one was a truck accident, and this one was a fire hydrant.' "
" 'Oh really? I bet each one has a very unique story.' "
" 'Not really, I skateboarded off of a truck into a fire hydrant.' "
Last, some people talked about the medical procedures that left them with the big gash. These stories had some ninth grade words and not nearly as much stupidity.
"A rare auto immune disorder called pyoderma gangrenosum twice... Don't google If you don't like gore... I had to have daily wound care and high doses of medical steroids"
"My intestines telescoped on themselves 8" scar on my belly." -- Anom8675309
"I never wanted to see the words 'intestines' and 'telescoped' together. Ouch." -- LadySygerrik
"I was born 2 months premature. I wasn't born with an esophagus so drs. cut my stomach open and used parts of my colon or intestines and created a new one for me. I have a huge scar on my neck and my stomach is one big scar. Also had a stomach feeding tube for quite a bit and heart surgery at 2 days old."
"I love science. I wouldn't have experienced life if it hadn't been for advances in medical science."
So if you've been sitting on an embarrassing backstory for one of your scars, feel free to share. You're hardly alone.
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