Yvette Jarvis from Greece is just phenomenal.  One description of goddess is a woman of great beauty or grace. Yvette M. Jarvis far surpasses this description being so many things to so many. Mother, politician, activist, model, singer, actress, entertainer and presently special advisor on Immigration to the mayor of Athens, Greece still somehow barely scratches the surface of this beautiful and ultra talented woman of the world.  Yvette and I recently discussed her feelings on interracial marriage. She has an added aspect of living abroad and offers a fresh and wonderful perspective. Yvette is also a member of the Black Women In Europe Social Network.  Yvette’s Website is in English and Greek.

What is your husband’s ethnicity?
Caucasian American

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

When were you married?
July 14 1995

Was this your first interracial relationship?
No

How did you feel about interracial marriage relationships before you were in one?
I never had a problem with interracial relationships. I found myself attracted to other races from very early on, as early as elementary school.

Do you feel any different about interracial marriage and relationships now?

Not one iota different. I truly believe people are people. There are cultural differences that can bring difficulties to a relationship but the truth is we are all children of God.

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

At the very beginning when I announced my upcoming marriage to my first husband who was Greek, my Father and Brother had problems with the relationship. They quickly got over their bad feelings once they got to know Stelios better.

My friends on the other hand who knew my dating habits in college were not fazed at all. Although my Black girlfriends always expressed their curiosity about how I did it and their doubts as to whether they could cross date. Most of my friends and family were more concerned with my moving to Greece than anything else.

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

My very first interracial crush was 6th grade. My sisters teased me for a bit but they found George very handsome. In College I introduced my Father to my Chinese boyfriend and he remarked “When are you going to bring home an Eskimo?” yvette 3

What about your husband’s family? Did you or he face any criticism from them? If so, how was it handled?

I first met John’s nephews and nieces who came to visit us at our home in Greece. They fell in love with me and when they arrived home they bragged and bragged about “Aunt” Yvette without ever mentioning once my race. His one Sister I had met on vacation and the other one met me over the phone. Both Sisters knew that I was Black and never thought twice about it.

Now with John’s parents (2nd husband) there were some misgivings at first. He got into a terrible fight with his Father over my being Black. It almost kept him from going to his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. I insisted that he attend even if I had to stay back at the hotel. Of course all’s well that ends well. They both came to love me and admire me for the person I am and not my race.

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

No I can’t say that I have.

Do you feel that there are societal criticisms (in America and Greece) and pressures concerning interracial relationships from both the blacks and whites?

For sure in America there are social pressures depending upon where you live. New York is different from the Mid West or the South. However whenever John and I go home with our Son, we travel through our different family’s neighborhoods and we don’t think twice about it. We refuse to let whomever’s opinion damage the harmony we have in our family. African American women in the black community have often been described as hesitant or resistant to interracial relationships in general. African, Caribbean and other women of African descent don’t to seem to have these issues.

yvette 2Do you think this is related to the history of slavery in America and the negative images still prevalent in our communities?

I am sure subconsciously a case could be made for that. I honestly don’t know why my friends were/are so different from me. It could just simply be a matter of taste in Men!

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

I dislike giving personal advice because everyone is different and what works for you may not work for someone else, but for the sake of your article I’ll say, acquire a thick skin. Be certain of why you love your partner and of what brought you together. Have a sense of humor about everything, even race. Be sure you are honest about your feelings about race and have conversations about it and get it out of the way for the two of you so that others can’t bring it up to separate you.

Thank you!