When Kim Sitler, a 19-year-old sophomore, first met MSU graduate Bassey Eno-idem, 22, upon moving into her apartment, she saw a cute boy. And Bassey, in return, saw a girl with “really pretty eyes.” They bumped into one another from time to time around the apartment complex, and before long, they were acquaintances. They connected, and it seemed completely natural to both when their friendship began to develop into something more. However, there are those that might consider Kim’s and Bassey’s involvement to be controversial. Why? She is 5’2″, with blonde hair, blue eyes and is white, and he is 6’8″, with chocolate hair and eyes and is black.
“[Bassey’s] race was never really an issue, personally – it didn’t matter to me,” Sitler said.
But not everyone has been as color-blind. “Friends have made ignorant comments, [using the n-word]… I was …embarrassed that [they] would act so disrespectfully.” And although Eno-idem’s friends and family in particular did not have a problem with him dating Sitler, many loved ones of minorities do. They see the choice to date outside the race as a betrayal.
Sylvia Ranspech, a 20-year-old junior at MSU has experienced this discrimination firsthand. She has been dating 21-year-old senior Henry Dean for about a year and a half, and has still never met his parents. They refuse to be introduced to her. “They have practically disowned [him],” Ranspech said. This is due in large part to his choice to date outside his own race. “He’ll go home for the holidays, but he’s not invited on vacations,” she added.
[friends] Using racial slurs is a bit extreme, but Dr. Barnaby Barratt, a psychotherapist in Farmington Hills who has dealt with quite a number of partner problems of this nature, said that hesitance amongst friends and families of interracial couples is not uncommon. “Even friends and family members that are pleased with the relationship still worry about the prejudice [the couple will most likely face],” Barratt said.
Why would perfect strangers be tempted to make the inevitable snide remark or prolonged stare? Barratt attributes this response to misconceptual fantasies between the races of a sexual nature. He continued to say that both races tend to have “animate viewpoints … and myths of [one another’s] sexuality… it tends to stir up people’s emotions.”
However, black and white couples are not the only ones with issues. Mixed couples of all nationalities face these problems as well. The point remains, however, that whether or not these so-called “stereotypes” are fact or fiction, they tend to stick in our minds, often with negative repercussion. Ranspech recalls being kicked out of a restaurant with her boyfriend Henry. “People were just staring,” Ranspech said, until finally the couple decided to leave.
With so much backlash, is there any hope for an interracial couple to seem more accepted by our society? Can one learn to deal with the added stress? Barratt says yes, because complications in any relationship can be overcome, but you have to keep in mind that if you love you each other, that’s all that really matters.
“…It doesn’t really matter what other people think, as long as you make [yourself] happy,” Sitler advised. Bassey added that sometimes its necessary to tell people “…to fuck off. It’s not their business.”

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