Nathan and Rita

 Rita G.  is an outgoing, ambitious, and down to earth woman who believes in fulfilling her dreams. In fact Rita never looked back when she headed west to the state with 10,000 lakes.  In Minnesota, she met and married one of her dreams — Nathan, a very special, high quality man who happens to be white.  Rita has a practical yet no-nonsense philosophy and her story is truly intriguing and inspirational.

Where were you born?

United States, in Northeastern Ohio

What is your husband’s ethnicity? 

His heritage is German, Welsh, Danish and English but he is commonly and unfortunately referred to as “white”.

How did you meet?

We met at the Mall of America but had spoken on the phone through a mutual connection for sometime before actually meeting.

And how long had you known him when you got married?

Close to 6 years.

When were you married? 

June of 2000.

 Was this your first interracial relationship?  

Yes.  There were other flirtations, ridiculous crushes and unrealistic fantasies, but he was the first non Black I actually dated.

How did you feel about interracial marriage and relationships before you were in one?

I was always open to it but was not actively seeking one.  I sometimes thought that non Black men were not sincerely interested in marrying Black women.   I was on my guard in thinking most were not openly pursuing us for genuine relationships, and only sought to have a sexual experience with us.   I saw how many Black men were ignoring, disrespecting and using Black women.  The writing was on the wall back in the mid 1980’s and I began thinking there just may not be enough quality Black men to go around to all of us quality sisters (or “sistahs” as Rita prefers to say).  So I was mindful of keeping my options open. Plenty of Black men were (and are still) are putting any woman they could find on a pedestal except for us.  Then there are those who are only using the non Black females for a meal ticket.

To be perfectly honest, I still struggle, to a degree, when I see a Black man who appears to be a quality, educated, law abiding man with a non Black woman.  But if it appears a relationship is on legitimate, equal footing where mutual respect and genuine friendship and love exist, I’m more accepting of it.  There is no real way to know just by looking, but there is a possibility of true love with everyone.  I am more concerned with Black women finding high caliber, sincere and worthy husbands wherever they may find him, whatever ethnicity he may be.

I appreciate your honestly.    Do you feel any different about interracial marriage and relationships now? 

I’ve learned that whether most non Black men approach Black women depends upon his upbringing, geographic location and ultimately, his sense of independence and confidence.  Black women have to be more open to non Black men who may want to ask them out on a date.  Some sistahs may be missing out on a very happy life with a loving, supportive, quality mate.  That being said, I am acutely more aware of couples that look like me and my husband.  I believe this number will continue to grow exponentially as sistahs are waking up, so to speak.

Did you face skeptics and criticism from friends and/or family about your interracial marriage?

Not from my immediate family but there were some disappointing comments from acquaintances with whom I was and still am friendly.

Do you recall how you first informed your friends and family of your interracial relationship and subsequent marriage?

Yes, I just told them he is white or simply showed them his picture.

What about your husband’s family —- did you or he face any criticism from them? 

No, there had already been some interracial marriages in his family.  His grandmother blazed a trail when she married interracially 40 years ago with her 2nd husband.   Previously, my husband (a military man) dated what I call a “rainbow coalition” of women, including Black women.  By the time I came along, there were no issues and I was warmly welcomed.

Have you ever felt pressure or experienced a significant difference between your non interracial and interracial relationships? 

Before I met my husband, I really did not date much. Unfortunately, far too often Black men I met were intimidated by me and were below my standards, values, morals etc. Let me be clear.  I’m not saying all Black men are in that category–just some that I met.  The ones that were good catches were already married. The other scenario was the Black men did not want a monogamous relationship and I refused to share a man.

As a Christian woman, I felt pressure at church.  The dominant mindset implied we should wait on a Black man.  One difference is in culture nuances that are inherently understood by most Black people, but completely unknown to most non Blacks.   Those things have to be explained. Personally, I feel more of a pull to connect with other couples like us, for obvious reasons.

Do you feel that there are societal criticisms and pressures concerning interracial relationships in the US?

Yes.  In my experience this has ironically happened and still happens at houses of worship. Though we are both Christians, we have differing worship styles and needs in a church.    Most of the churches we have visited so far are either predominantly black or white.  It’s discouraging not to find a more racially mixed church.  We will keep looking.  Also, Black women are still not fully viewed by the “mainstream” as the standard of beauty.

Do you attribute this to negative images of blacks from slavery or something else? 

It is my strong belief that almost everything negative that we as a people feel say or do, whether it be consciously or unconsciously, has its roots in the ugly legacy of slavery.  Running parallel to that thought is that the same truth exists for non Blacks.

I also think the various forms of media hype and it’s negative depiction of Black women contribute to us not being considered as desirable by all men — period.

Do you have children?

No.  We are parents to our pets (smiling).

Where do you live?

We live in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

Do you think the Twin Cities area of Minnesota in general is a good place for interracial couples and families?

Absolutely – especially within the Twin Cities metro area.   When I moved here almost 15 years ago, I was approached by many more non Black men than ever before.  Almost everywhere I looked there were visibly multi-ethnic families and couples. It was a cultural shift in thinking.

What do you do for fun?

There is something for everyone here as the Twin Cities metro is a unique arts and cultural Mecca and there is much to do and see.  But we are mostly homebodies.  We like simple things but I like to shop, surf online and eat out.  I like to read magazines and I love working as a makeup artist helping women look and feel gorgeous with the looks they have!  I truly enjoy making new friends with like-minded women.

Do you have any suggestions for black women just entering interracial relationships?

Yes.  Recognize and respect the strength and sense of self it takes to be in a serious interracial relationship.  Do NOT let others’ disapproving opinion about dating non Black men prevent you from pursuing and participating in a genuine, fulfilling, healthy connection, subsequent relationship and potential marriage. To my Christian sisters, the disapproval can come thru the “Black Church”.  God made woman for man and vice versa. Nowhere in the Bible does it state Black woman for Black man, etcetera. Ultimately, if he is the man for you and you are the woman for him; that is what God has ordained and that is all that matters.

Seek out and connect with other sisters in interracial relationships, wherever they may be.  Don’t ever be ashamed of loving a man who loves you.   You never know who may be inspired just by watching you and your non Black husband or mate.  In those cases, actions speak volumes over words.  Life is too short to be unhappy and miserable trying to meet someone else’s standard. Don’t choose a Black man just simply on the basis of him being a Black man.  Make sure whoever you are with is a good, smart man equal to yourself, considerate of your needs and wants — and worthy of your time.  Live well and be happy.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my insight.  I welcome the chance to connect with your readers.

Thank you!

Originally posted on Black Women Deserve Better