Interracial Couples Reveal The Biggest Cultural Adjustments They Overcame[rebelmouse-image 18351636 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351637 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351638 is_animated_gif=
So. Many. Hugs.
Family is family is family.[rebelmouse-image 18351639 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351642 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351643 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351644 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351645 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351647 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351648 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351649 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351651 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351653 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351654 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351655 is_animated_gif=
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...[rebelmouse-image 18351656 is_animated_gif=
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?![rebelmouse-image 18351658 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351659 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18351660 is_animated_gif=
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.[rebelmouse-image 18349417 is_animated_gif=
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![rebelmouse-image 18351661 is_animated_gif=
I'm a boring white American and my fiance is Puerto Rican. Everyone dances, and dances well, except for me of course.
The US is represented in the majority of some of the biggest films recognized worldwide–from iconic movies like American Grafitti to The Color Purple, to recent critically-acclaimed films like Minari and Moonlight.
Even classic American sitcoms like Friends are known the world over as the ultimate example of American comedy.
But there are plenty of misconceptions about American culture seen in some of these entertainment offerings that foreign audiences seem to miss, and it's time to set the record straight.
For starters, an apartment in New York City is not at all spacious like the one that was inhabited by Ross, Rachel, Joey, Phoebe, and Chandler. So there's that.
Curious to hear more examples of what our friends across the Atlantic could stand to learn, Redditor Jazzlike_Fondant_518 asked:
"Americans, what’s something Europeans need to hear?"
American Redditors had a thing or two to say about how we roll here in the States.
"Free, clean, omnipresent public restrooms are indeed possible."
Vouching For The Myth
"As a British person who now lives in the US I would say public toilets is something the US does really well. They are everywhere, accessible and usually very clean. Europe definitely needs to catch up on this."
Driving In Circles
"We have roundabouts here. They exist. Stop claiming we don't."
Preconceived notions can be bye-bye.
Nothing Cool About This
"The flavor of America is not cool ranch."
Maintaining Best Indoor Air Quality
"Invest in hvac and soon cause it won't get cheaper or cooler."
"A large portion of Americans are rational and moderate people, and what you see on the television isn't indicative of every American you meet."
"America isn't the only country with racial issues."
Europeans, take note.
"It’s past time you take James Corden back."
It's A Big Problem
"Europe is getting fat too."
Kernel Of Truth
"Putting corn on pizza doesn't make it 'American pizza'. It just makes it disgusting."
"A good looking guy smoking a cigarette is not a movie."
Despite everything in the news happening in the States creating division and leaving people feeling dejected, a good majority of US citizens are not jerks.
There are loads of kind, considerate, empathetic, and well-behaved people living here.
Europeans often don't get to hear this since much of the media focuses on iniquitous behavior.
Humanity is still intact here.
At least that's what I still believe.
I admit, and this might as well be heresy to lots of people, that I just don't like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
I know ya'll love it, but there's very little about it that I feel accurately captures the feeling of magic and whimsy that I experienced while I read Road Dahl's stellar book.
Before you get on my case, I'll emphatically deny liking Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... because it's also terrible.
You just can't please some people (namely me), right?
People shared their thoughts with us after Redditor Dame87 asked the online community,
"What is a film that gets a huge amount of praise but you think is awful?"
Paranormal Activity (2007)
"Paranormal Activity. I've seen scarier crap in a public toilet."
When it came out it was pretty freaky and I still wasn't in love with it. It's the definition of average.
The Notebook (2004)
"The Notebook. Both leads are so unlikeable and horrible to each other it's not even enjoyable in a 'so bad it's good' way."
"Especially when she actually breaks up with him, gets in a stable relationship with another guy who's not awful...and then ditches that guy to get back with the main love interest because respectful relationships are sooo boring, everyone real love requires being unable to be in the same room without coming to literal screaming matches."
Honestly, aside from some very good acting, the script of this film is pretty terrible.
But it's Nicholas Sparks, we're talking about.
The Blind Side (2009)
"The Blind Side. They turned an interesting real life story into Hollywood crap."
Even the film's subject dislikes it.
Sandra Bullock beating her competition for THAT? She was much better in Gravity.
"Frozen. I hate it too much, but I can’t help it. People kept saying how it was the best Disney movie ever and it wasn’t even top ten."
Disney really did this film a disservice by shoving it down everyone's throats for much of the last decade.
Les Miserables (2012)
"I know Les Misérables was super acclaimed and all that, but it was really nothing like the book. It made me sad."
It wasn't meant to be an adaptation of the book, it was meant to be an adaptation of the musical (which a lot of people don't like because it condenses many of the elements from the book).
That said, I can't stand this film either. It's horribly directed.
"Crash won Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing awards. Received six Academy Award nominations. I thought it sucked."
You mean the film in which Sandra Bullock is cured of her racism after she falls down the stairs?
"Grease. I HATED it. I can appreciate the choreography, but the storyline is awful, cheesy (not to mention misogynistic, which at my first viewing I didn’t know what that was). Couldn’t stand Stockard Channing’s character. Really bad acting too."
It's just a bit too hokey for my taste – it makes it difficult to enjoy.
I did see a stage production years ago that was a lot more fun.
Black Panther (2018)
"It has a nice looking setting, and it was good to see a movie featuring a majority black cast with a positive/comic book storyline rather than the stereotypical urban/hang setting. So to that end it read a good movie."
"At the same time, it was also just yet another unmemorable marvel movie - I know I have seen it, but I have no memory of what actually happened in it. Remove the political/seeing element of it and it gets completely lost in the crowd."
Considering that Marvel films do absolutely nothing for me, I was not surprised by Black Panther or the fact that it was more of the same.
Meet the Parents (2000)
"Meet the Parents. It’s just two hours of being vicariously stressed out and embarrassed for Ben Stiller."
Something tells me this movie likely has not aged well. It would not surprise me at all if this turned out to be the case.
"Avatar. It's just Pocahontas in space, God dammit."
I prefer Dances with Wolves in space myself.
I rewatched this earlier during lockdown and dropped my DVD off at a local community center afterward. And who the hell asked for three more sequels?
We all have our tastes, sorry to disappoint. Besides, we're certain that you have a film or two you dislike in your arsenal.
Have thoughts about other films that are not included here? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
Even though many of us have interesting events in our lives to share at a get-together, there is always someone who can top your story with a life event that can be a little too zany to be believed.
"What’s your wildest story that sounds too far-fetched to be true?"
Redditors' interactions with animals were either empowering or terrifying.
A Chihuahua's Hero
"Mine is when I was in high school I lived out in the countryside of Central Texas. I was just kind of bumbling around on the property and my mom's little chihuahua was tagging along. I heard a bird, saw a fast moving shadow, and threw my arm out, slapping a hawk out of the sky as it tried to get my mom's chihuahua."
"Cut my arm pretty good, but saved that little rat of a dog. The chihuahua went on to pass away at a smooth 19 years old."
Brush With An Owl
"I worked nights in college. I'd always take my two dogs out to pee when I got home and one late night an owl tried to snatch my Chihuahua but thankfully missed. My golden retriever ran back inside like the owl was going to somehow take his 60lb a** but my chi stood his ground like he could take it on. I got him inside and was much more careful after that. He, too, passed at 19. I miss him."
"I was almost drowned by a pod of dolphins while surfing at Salt Creek, Orange County, CA. I got up on a wave and one of them knocked me over, 2 wave pin down on a 5-7 ft day."
These could be plot points in a movie.
"I was surfing in Santa Barbara County when I was a kid, maybe 14 or 15. When I would come in from a surf, I had the habit of undoing my leash from my leg while I was walking in the shallow water. Unbeknownst to me, the other side of the leash that connects to the board had come off. I lost my leash. I searched around the tidal zone but no luck. I was bummed but I just moved on."
"Three weeks later, I was surfing in Ventura county, and as I was walking in from the surf, a piece of kelp wrapped around my leg. I reached down to pull it off. It wasn’t kelp, it was my leash I’d lost a dozen miles north a few weeks back. It had algae and stuff growing on it, but no mistaking it was absolutely my leash."
The Origin Of Love
"When my dad and step-mom met, my dad swore he’d met her before, but couldn’t remember when or where. Eventually, he decided he’d seen her in Cody, Wyoming, the town where he grew up. She swore she’d never even been to Wyoming (she’s from Oregon and that’s where they met)."
"Several years later, after they’d been married a while, step-mom mentions to her mom that my dad swears he met her in Cody, but she’s never been there. Her mom says 'Yes, you have,' and pulls out a photograph from 1956 of her, age 9, riding on a mechanical horse (a kid one) and in the background, standing around in the crowd, is my dad and his two brothers, ages 8, 10, and 11."
"She submitted the story to a local magazine for a Valentine’s Day contest one year and won a trip to a resort."
"Some honorable mentions: By the time I was 20, I was 1 degree of separation away from 5 different people who’d been murdered by 3 different serial killers (gotta love the PNW), and I almost hit Bob Dylan with my car once."
"First time I ever smoked pot a police helicopter hovered above me and my friend and hit us with the spotlight. They were looking for someone else apparently because they immediately moved on. Nonetheless…"
"I took my VW to the dealer to get some work done. The service rep at the counter was so hung over (possibly still intoxicated) that he couldn’t handle completing the paper work. He told the tech that I was a VIP, specifically 'Britni Spears’s brother' and that he owed me a favor, so the work was on the house and they just never did any paperwork, didn’t charge me a dime, did the work, handed me the keys, and away I drove."
These Redditors couldn't believe their luck.
"I won a two week cruise vacation for two in a contest."
"I never entered the contest."
"I was convinced I was being scammed."
"Even from the beaches of the Caribbean, I still wasn't convinced."
The Generous Friend
"Was in Vegas for a work thing. I was not happy about being there because it was a tough time in my life, money was really tight and Vegas is the last place you want to be when money is tight."
"I was telling my buddy about it and he says, 'Im going to pay pal you $150. Go play the poker tournament at the Venetian at night. You can drink for free and hopefully you last long. If you win anything, pay me back, if not, no worries.'"
"So I did. Won the tournament! $3200."
"The second night, I went off to play some craps alone one night because I did not like the work people and did not want to hang with them."
"Started with $200. 45 minuted later I 7’d out and had $37,000. Cashed out and told no one!"
"On the drive back (I lived in Phoenix) I called my buddy and told him (only) about it. I sent him $2500."
"The one time I went to Vegas at the proper age of 21, I won $2000 on my first spin on the 25c slot machine. I didn't gamble the rest of the time and enjoyed the fact that my trip paid for itself. Came home with all the money I left with and an extra $800. Didn't tell my bf I was with at the time either; he would have tried to spend my money."
Given A Second Chance
"I went jogging one night and came across a lady laid out face first. No heart beat. Started doing cpr. Never saw another person was able to call 911 while doing cpr. Kept at it twenty Minutes till FD got there. She made a full recovery. They said cpr that long has a 95% fail rate."
A friend back in high school told me he was a vampire when he dropped me off from band practice.
This was at a time when Anne Rice was super popular and everyone was reading the Lestat books.
Being an impressionable 15-year-old at the time, I believed him, because he warned me that if I ever revealed his identity to anyone, "I will find you."
A couple of years ago, I reunited with a mutual friend and I joked about how I believed so-and-so was a creature of the night. We nervously laughed.
Whether my blood-thirsty friend was weighing on my conscience or not, I've been visited by him in COUNTLESS dreams ever since I told my friend about him.
Call it what you want–paranoia or self-fulfilling prophecy–but there are some things in this realm I will never be able to explain.
I'm just glad I'm still here to talk about it now that I let the proverbial cat out of the bag.
When you're younger, you might think you come from a great family. But as a kid, you miss out on a lot of nuance. You do not see all the drama the adults around you are involved in. And when you do eventually notice it, you start to realize that maybe few—if any—of your family members actually like each other. So why put up with all those tense family holiday dinners?
This isn't to say that all families are like this. Absolutely not. There are some very happy and wonderful families out there. But seeing families hurt each other is enough to teach you that maybe that age old tradition of getting together for Christmas dinner might not be in everyone's best interest.
People shared their thoughts with us after Redditor captrober157 asked the online community,
"What family tradition ends with you?"
"Being an alcoholic."
"Being an alcoholic. My dad is an alcoholic. Both my grandfathers were alcoholics, which is what killed them. One of my grandmothers used to be an alcoholic and the other one still is. I could go on and on."
Be strong and bold man, don't let the family pressure get to you!
"200 years of living in London and my kids will never be able to afford to rent or buy here."
200 years of living anywhere, it seems. It's insane.
"My dad interrupting dinner..."
"My dad interrupting dinner, so we can CALL LONG DISTANCE to relatives who couldn’t travel to the event. Then we’d have to pass the phone around the table for brief, superficial greetings as our food went cold. Yikes."
Ummm... what? No, thank you. There's no way!
"Expecting the oldest child..."
"Expecting the oldest child to parent the younger one and getting pissed off when the oldest ends up acting like a parent. My younger brother is eight years younger than me. I stopped being a kid by the age of 8.5."
Very frustrating and sadly the case for many families out there, especially those of more limited means.
"Expecting my son..."
"Expecting my son to join the military. Almost every male family member on my father's side have fought in every conflict since WW1. I did two tours in Afghanistan and I never want him to experience anything like that."
War is traumatic and ideally, no one should ever have to experience it.
"Being hush hush..."
"Being hush hush about mental health related topics and untrusting of medicine in general."
It's great to see the younger generation be so open about mental health and fighting the stigma!
"Telling the boys..."
"Telling the boys to not cry. To push it down. Going to let my kid cry and talk about his feelings as much as he damn well pleases."
This is so important — young boys need to grow up knowing that their feelings are valid.
"Arranged marriage. Should have ended that tradition myself but was too much of a coward."
The best time was for yourself. The second best will be for your kids.
"Massive extended family gatherings. Not practical. Besides, grandma kicked the bucket 10 years ago."
Often, families splinter once a matriarch or patriarch dies and people realize that they were the glue keeping everyone together.
"I'm the first..."
"Living below the poverty line. I'm the first member of my family to be middle class."
Fantastic! Break the cycle!
It takes a lot of courage to break from your family, especially if they've always done things a certain way. A lot of respect to people who decide to and are able to create new lives for themselves!
What does breaking the cycle mean to you? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!