Amidst all the social-justicey conversations that circulate through the blogosphere and social media, interracial dating isn’t a very popular topic. I’m white, and a few years ago when I introduced my friends and family to my boyfriend, who is black, no one batted an eye. It was when we were in the process of moving to Philadelphia that I had my first real eye-opening experience. We’d been driving for a long time and were trying to make it to New Orleans by nightfall, so yes, I was speeding—I explained as much to the cop.
Of course I was nervous—a man with a gun was accusing me of illegal activity for no apparent reason. Since then, I’ve learned you should never consent to an unwarranted search, and I’m glad the officer didn’t plant drugs on us to justify his actions. Elyse Hauser is a Seattle-based writer and editor with a Master’s in Writing Studies from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. A quick Google search reveals plenty of online dating sites for those interested in an interracial relationship, but very few articles or blog posts. There were occasional naive, cringe-inducing remarks, usually along the lines of “Can I touch your hair?” But no one gave any sign that they disapproved of the relationship.
He made me get out of the car and talk to him on the side of the road, which seemed weird, but I thought maybe it was just a safety measure.

I was exasperated, exhausted, and a little afraid someone was going to get shot—I couldn’t see any way out of the situation besides letting him do the search.
I wish I could say it was an isolated experience, but my interactions with and observations of authority figures since then have corroborated it—though, thankfully, most of them have been much less dramatic.
I’m a white girl with loads of privilege, and it would be absurd if I tried to lay claim to the experience and struggle of racial minorities in America.
In addition to the written word, she loves social justice, fashion, philosophy, and travel. This was exactly what I expected: I lived in a liberal part of notoriously liberal Washington State at the time, and most of my friends and family members held the progressive viewpoints that typify the area.
Texas, with a road that never curved and a landscape that looked like the moon, was by far the most mind-numbingly boring stretch of the drive. But he hardly let me finish my sentence before he said, “You’ve got weed in your glovebox, don’t you?” It was such an oddly specific accusation that I had no idea what to say. Instead, I stood outside in the blistering heat while the state trooper turned his attention to my boyfriend, whom he seemed to be convinced was a drug dealer transporting weed across state lines. Whether it’s the atmosphere of other supposedly routine traffic stops, or the SEPTA cop whom I heard tell a packed train of mostly non-white passengers that she shouldn’t bother with them because they “probably can’t speak English anyway”, law enforcement has demonstrated the most blatant racism I’ve ever observed.
Of course, nowhere in America is free from race issues, and it’s important not to be lulled into a false sense of security because you live in a “liberal” place.

Early one morning, I was behind the wheel when the mundane journey was interrupted by the flashing lights of a state trooper in my rearview. It would have been hilarious if the officer hadn’t had his hand on the handle of his own weapon. He looked downright crestfallen when he didn’t find any weed in my car after all (but he didn’t forget to write me a speeding ticket before he let us go). But the issue clearly goes beyond our own social circles, because if you’re in an interracial relationship, you’ve still got to go out there and face the rest of the world. The number of interracial marriages has been rising steadily in recent years, and that’s indicative of progress. And if that Texas cop has kids, what do you think would happen if one of them brought home a lover who wasn’t white?
This is made even worse by the fact that they have friends and family members who either think the same way as they do, or have to put up with the bullshit too.

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