Changing toxic societal narratives with accountable interracial relationships

This essay is the second in a series on having conversations about the legacy of oppression, confessing complicity, reducing the harm we cause others, assimilation racism, building emotional resilience, and the practice of knowing and telling the larger experiences of our lives. The authors founded a consulting group focused on identity in 2014. “We are going to split up.”

During an anti-racism training some years ago, we learned a lesson that deeply informed our work as educators, creators, passionate critical thinkers and specialists in the field of interracial relationship studies. We’d come to the point of the training where the conversation turned to an in-depth examination of how white people and Black people have internalized racial superiority and inferiority, respectively, and would split into racial affinity groups to safely have this conversation. White-identified people were instructed to go in one room, breaking down the lyrics of the Macklemore song “White Privilege.” People of color were instructed to break down the lyrics of “All Falls Down” by Kanye West.

The Cover Up: On being a prop in the system we claimed to dismantle

This essay is the first in a series on having conversations about legacy oppression, confessing complicity, reducing the harm we cause others, assimilation racism, building emotional resilience, and the practice of knowing and telling the larger experiences of our lives. The authors founded a consulting group focused on identity in 2014. In our work, we seek to differentiate ourselves from “diversity and inclusion” consultants by expanding the definition of interracial relationships as a way to address societal inequity. We believe in order to create safe and equitable spaces, it is essential to first be present and connected with our own experience of the world and understand the way our identity (race, gender, class, ability, family, etc.) impacts how we move through it. Diversity and inclusion trainings often review definitions and information without asking for behavioral change.

I’m black. My parents are white. But it’s not a simple black-and-white issue.

I was raised in Wilkinsburg. And my parents are white. I point out their skin color as different than mine often, and it matters. Don't get me wrong. I am a huge fan of interracial relationships of all kinds, but what I have learned is that the depth of all relationships that cross racial lines rely on true love, the flexibility for growth, deep education and mutual respect.