Tropes we need: Black interethnic couples

Maybe I’m coining this, but by Black interethnic relationships, I mean people who are dating that may be the same “race” but different ethnicities or even tribal groups.

There are Nollywood movies on this subject, where people from different tribes meet and marry, but here in the States, we have very few stories about this.

In many stories, we’ll have an African American character and Jaimacan character dating or married the end. We never talk about the differences of those two cultures, we pretend that Blackness and we pretend as if Blackness is a monolith when it’s not.

 Everything’s good, their both Black, right?

You don’t see stories about an African American man meeting a Kenyan woman and then falling in love and the cultural differences that come with that. The stereotypes both West Africans and African Americans have about each other, the bullying by some Black children to 1st generation African children. The trauma that gives that lives on with some people as they grow up, about just being from somewhere else. And African Americans who didn’t grow up around anyone of immediate African descent, learning about the “African booty scratcher” taunts, and feeling ashamed, even though they weren’t involved. There are so many storylines to draw into a romance.

I need stories where a Caribbean woman falls for a man from a West African man. Or a Black Brazilian woman meets a man from Harlem and about their love story. Their language difference, their cultural differences.

There are many stories about interracial couples. 

But there are a lot of stories that we are just ignoring because we want to pretend that Black is Black regardless of culture, continent, and religion.

We are different, and that is ok.

For example, let’s have a Xhosa woman. She is working on her doctorate in the U.S., and she meets a man from Atlanta who works I.T. at her university. They meet at a party and they have a lot of mutual friends. She didn’t know much about Black American culture aside from what she sees on social media, and all he knows about South Africa is apartheid. They teach each other. He’s southern, his family loves greens and ox tales (there aren’t many African American families who cook them, but they exist, my family is one). She teaches him about umphokoqo and Inyama yenkomo, and how things were as she grew up. And they bond over stories of their lives. She sadly realizes what his grandparents and parents went through is eerily similar to her childhood and the life of her parents. She never imagined anyone outside of those back home would be able to relate. He grew up thinking Black is Black but loves how proud she is of who she is, and those differences make him love her more. And it makes him embrace what he is more than he ever had before.

Their parents grew up with negative stereotypes of the other, so they object. The story is just about our couple but two cultures exploring and coming together.

As a person who is in one of these relationships, I look for media that tells my story. But I can’t find anything.

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