black + white = ?

What do you see when you see a coloured person and a white person together out and about or holding hands?

Your answer to this question will depend on your life experiences, your culture, your values, your environment and a number of other factors.

My answer: I see two people enjoying themselves. They might love each other. They may like each others company. But that's it. I don't see two coloured people. I just see two people.

I've never really thought about this before but being in South Africa at the moment, well it still seems to be a big deal in society here.

I read an article in the latest SA Marie Claire this morning that celebrated and looked at "interracial relationships". They asked these couples if they have come across any prejudice and how they came to be in that relationship. To be fair, the people in the article say they haven't met much judgement and discussed more the cultural issue they faced.

The nature of the article struck me by surprise. Although I think it was more the fact that they have even done an article on this topic that surprised me.

At home, on the Gold Coast, I like to think we are a multicultural society. I know Australia has a bad wrap for being an extremely racist country, however for the most part, we are nothing compared to what I have experienced here. Maybe it's just a different form of racism, but either way, apartheid is still prevalent. And like, this is a multicultural place. It's a very multicultural place.

I was in the supermarket with my brother in law the other day. We walked up to the check out together and put our things down. The check-out lady asked me if she could put everything through together. I didn't really understand what she was saying or what she was really getting at. After i asked her to repeat herself, I said yeah, put them together, and watched her look backwards and forwards between us. It was only then that I realised she was asking if because he is black and because I am white, did we want our stuff in the same packet (that's a plastic bag) and on the same receipt, even though we walked up to the register together and put our stuff down together and planned to pay together.

It really surprised me but Abisha (my brother in law) says he and my sister get it all the time.

Their Pick & Pay (equivalent to Coles or woolies) ads show whites, darks and coloureds (thats a different race here) all barbecuing together and it's almost in your face and a very purposeful and concentrated effort to say "we are okay with "interracial relationships".

While I was thinking about this this morning I then realised my husband and I are in an interracial relationship. It hadn't even occured to me! He is brazilian and i am australian/English. Yes I struggle with cultural differences between us and I hope that our babies get his olive skin, not my English skin but it had never been made apparent to me.

I suppose that is the difference between home and here. At home we can all live pretty much free to live the life we choose without having it questioned, where as here, people appear to be silently judging your actions.

I have sat on this post for a couple of days now and have really observed relationships and people around me. It really interests me. I find it bizarre but I find it intriguing in the same respect.

This post is based entirely on my observations while I've been here and the experiences I've had. I have tried hard to not stereotype or insult any race/culture but this is how I've observed it.

Tara Louise.

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