Introducing your partner to your family can always be a bit daunting, whether on your end or your partner's end. However, there can be a bit more complexity around it when you're in an interracial relationship.
To talk a bit more about the challenges and non-issues interracial couples have faced around their family, I asked people who are in (or have been in) interracial relationships to share what it was like either introducing their partner to their family or meeting their partner's family for the first time. Here are 24 of their stories:
1."I, a white woman, dated a Black man for a year. He came to visit me and met my parents and grandparents two years before we even started dating (back when we were still friends with benefits). They still adore him. I didn't meet his mom and sister until we had been dating for nine months. The impression I got from him was that, at one time, his parents may have been deeply concerned about my race, but now, they just want him to find his person. His mom is absolutely lovely and still checks up on me from time to time."
"I have still never met his dad. I think that has a lot more to do with his personality than our races, although I'm sure he was concerned about the prospect of bringing a white girl home to his immigrant parents."
2."I'm mixed race: half Punjabi Indian and half white. My husband is Black. It was pretty nerve-wracking to meeting his family for the first time, but overall uneventful. We talked, and I asked a few questions, but they didn't ask me any. The chaos ensued once we got engaged. The day after our engagement, my husband’s mother called him — assuming I wouldn't be with him — and claimed I was marrying him for money. (We both work full-time, and I make more than him.) His dad said since I seemed reserved, I must be hiding something and could not be trusted. There was no effort to get to me or my culture. It was just assumed I was an untrustworthy gold-digger because I'm half white. Now, we have an okay relationship, but, needless to say, we have strict boundaries with his family."
"For a while, his dad was not going to attend our wedding. However, all of my family members love my husband, and we have a great, very close relationship with all of them."
3."My parents are an interracial couple as well, so it was no big deal on my family's end! My grandparents were also interracial couples, so I am about 10 different ethnicities. When my family first met my 100% Filipino boyfriend, we had a family dinner, and they cooked classic Filipino dishes (pancit, adobo, garlic rice, sinigang soup) to show how happy and supportive they were to finally meet him."
"My parents know how to cook many, many foods of different cultures, lol!"
4."My ex is Black, and I'm Mexican American. The anti-Blackness in our culture is so prevalent, and I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't prepare my partner for the way my family would react to our relationship. Even though my parents said they were accepting, they never showed interest in getting to know my partner. On multiple occasions, they asked why I wasn't interested in someone 'more like us.' On the flip side, my partner's family was so warm and welcoming to me. Though they were also surprised, they made the effort to get to understand and love me. Despite our relationship being over, in thinking about the way my family reacted, I wish I had defended my ex and set a boundary with my family: Either accept my partner or fuck off."
5."When I first met his family, I was wearing a polka dot shirt. My now father-in-law told me, 'Nice balls.' Thanks, language barrier."
6."I'm a white woman in a loving relationship with a wonderful Black man. We grew up and met in a racist area of Texas. My family and I are aware of our privilege as white people, and I was taught all people are equal. So, I was shocked when I brought my partner home and my family acted brand new — not disrespectfully but like heightened versions of themselves, like in Get Out when Bradley Whitford's character randomly says, 'I would've voted for Obama for a third term if I could have.' My parents and sisters have Black best friends and act completely normal around Black people but felt like they had to 'impress' my boyfriend. When I met his family, I did the exact same thing. It was a combination of really wanting them to like me and using humor as a coping mechanism. I look back and am so ashamed. We've been together for four years, so we've been around each other's families plenty, and it's been completely normal."
"If you've seen You People, when Jonah Hill's character meets Eddie Murphy's and Nia Long's, he starts blurting 'I'm not racist,' white apologist nonsense. That was me meeting his family!
I'm extremely blessed to say there was never any tension, and everyone (who we care about) has been supportive of us. A lot of people say he hates himself or doesn't love his mother because he's with a white woman. We've talked about our identities, and he's told me, 'Being Black is dope, I love being Black,' and I know firsthand he is a mama's boy, so miss me with those assumptions.
His mother is pure love personified and could not be a more caring individual. And my niece and nephew (5 and 3) adore him so much that we're at my sister's house almost every weekend. We're blessed to have support around us."
7."My husband, who's Black, waited six months to introduce me to his mother and another four to anyone else. He warned me about his mother upfront: She's a traditionalist and not keen that I'm white. What he didn’t warn me about was that I'd be referred to as 'the white girlfriend,' even now, six years and three sons later. He didn't let me know his mother would refuse to keep our kids because 'they don't look like her!' or how selfish she is. She pays for her other grandsons' parties every year but always forgets our sons' birthdays. I used to ignore, but it became so blatant that I started to hurt for my kids. They deserve so much better. I started to resent my husband. Why the hell doesn't this bother him? Why is he okay with his entire family having nothing to do with our children? With them being treated so differently to their faces? We're still in the middle of this, and I feel like I'm falling apart."
"It's made me lose a lot of respect I had for him."
8."I always say I thought I understood white people until I married my husband. I'm Puerto Rican and an Army brat; he's a white dude from the rural Midwest. We've been married for 13 years and together for 14. For the first six years, my father-in-law would tell me all about my husband's (white) high school and college girlfriends and how much he liked them. He also made comments about how he preferred Mexican culture to Chinese culture as if either culture 1) had anything to do with me and 2) needed his approval to exist as a valid and important culture. Our daughter is an adoptee, and she's Black and Filipina. When we were talking about raising her bilingual (Spanish and English) and taking her to Tagalog lessons, my FIL asked if we were also planning to teach her 'Ebonics.' We've had to have some serious conversations with him, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law because of these types of comments."
"I get that they grew up in the whitest possible place and haven't had to think about other cultures for most of their lives. No one is born an antiracist. However, I draw the line at being unwilling to learn.
Thankfully, his parents have apologized for the things they've said and have committed to doing the work of unlearning their biases, but my sister-in-law is angrier that she’s been told that some of her words and actions are racist than about her actual racism. We don’t have contact with her anymore."
9."My parents are fine, but my paternal aunts are so uncomfortable with the notion of dating someone outside of our race — the audacity. I'm Asian, and they said it would be better if 'we keep it clean.' What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"
10."I'm white, and my partner is Black — second-generation Haitian. The experience was very positive and warm. I was mostly anxious because I was the first girlfriend he ever brought home to his mom. She's a single mother, and he's her only child. She was so happy to meet me and made me feel welcomed — to the point where she always texts me first when she wants to come by or invite us for dinner (apparently, I respond faster than her son). As for my family, they were also extremely happy that I found someone who is kind and makes me happy. They also welcomed my mother-in-law to the family with open arms. She bonded quickly with my younger sister and even always makes an extra share of food for her when she cooks (to my sister's delight). Now, we spend holidays together and summer days at my parents' house."
"My partner and I have been a couple since 2015 and now have two wonderful children. When they were born, we actually had to have a talk with our parents because they were spoiling our kids. We have a great relationship with them, and we are so lucky they are involved firsthand in their grandchildren's lives."
11."My white husband's (then new-boyfriend's) ex-Amish grandfather threatened to disown him and not show up for Thanksgiving if I, a Black woman, was there — this would have been my first time meeting his grandparents. They ended up showing up anyway, and it was awkward as fuck. A few years later, my husband's mom thought it was a great idea to tell me her father called our child a 'n***** baby.' Why would she tell me this? What good would this do for me to know this? His grandfather never apologized to me or my husband, but apparently, he did apologize to my husband's mom, so that 'made it okay.' Our oldest is almost 9, and I've never forgiven him and never will."
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12."I'm white as can be, and my boyfriend is half white and half Native American. Neither of our families are outwardly hostile toward us, but my parents still make microaggressions. For instance, they refuse to stop referring to the Washington Commanders as the Redskins even though I've explained a thousand times why it's offensive. When I went to his family's reservation for Thanksgiving, I felt extremely out of place. It felt like no one wanted me there even though nobody outright said anything. It could definitely be worse, but there have been some aspects that are more difficult than I expected."
13."I'm Indian, and my partner is Mexican. Introducing him to my family was definitely nerve-wracking. Everyone in my family is married to someone of Indian or South Asian descent, so I was one of the first to bring home a partner of a different ethnicity. It ended up going really well, and they embraced him with open arms! He's learned so much about my culture and embraced the food and traditions that come with it. Sometimes, I do struggle because I feel like my mom doesn't bond with him as much as she does other partners in our family who are Indian. I know she probably wishes I had ended up with someone from our culture. I even internalize that by feeling like I am betraying my lineage by being with someone outside of my race. But at the end of the day, I know all that matters is how he treats me and how much we care about each other. He's the best partner I could have asked for, and I know that coming from different backgrounds only makes us even stronger!"
14."Being as white as bread, I was a little nervous to tell my family that my boyfriend (now husband) is Mexican. When I told my parents I was dating, they asked the typical question, 'What is he like?' I said, 'Oh, you know, he's a sweetheart, thoughtful, and very Mexican.' My dad whipped around and said, 'Finally, someone to add some salsa to this bland of a family! Tell him I need a good mole recipe! Also, is he good with a saw? I need to get rid of some power tools!' If that didn’t make me excited to bring him home, I don't know what would have!"
"It's good to have some salsa added to the corn chip, lol!"
15."My ex-boyfriend and I grew up down the street together, so his mom had met me before. When we started dating at the end of high school, she would constantly give me negative 'advice' about my hair and comment on my clothing. His step-family called me 'the Black girlfriend.' We ended up breaking up because his mom was crazy and influenced every little portion of his life, including his relationships."
16."My husband and I met in college. We were best friends before we started dating, so we actually met each other's parents well before we got together. His parents are Sudanese immigrants, while my parents are white. Both of our families have been nothing but accepting and encouraging. During our wedding, we included a Sudanese ritual and danced to Arabic music, along with songs by OutKast and Lizzo. Our daughter has an Arabic first name and an English middle name. We enjoy sharing foods from each other's cultures (for instance, I got to introduce him to the joys of North Carolina barbecue) and learning about our respective backgrounds and how they inform our attitudes and behavior."
"His side of the family has quite a few mixed-race partnerships already, and my family has welcomed my husband with no reservations. I love our blended family!"
17."I am African American and was married to a Hispanic man. The first time I met his mother, it was in a small town in Texas. She had pictures of slaves in fields and a whole collection of mammy figurines in her house. She then told me she thought she was Black in a former life because one of her favorite foods was fried chicken. I was just at a loss for words! She eventually got rid of them all (she really was a sweet but misguided woman), and we had a very good relationship after that. On the other hand, I had to spend the next 15 years listening to his older brother ask if I put a voodoo spell on him to get him to marry me. Needless to say, we are not together anymore."
"I still miss his mother, though..."
18."I am white American, and my husband was born and raised in Senegal. He came to the states in his 20s. It wasn't a big deal for him to meet my family because there are several relatives who've been in interracial relationships. However, I knew if his parents — particularly his mother — didn't like me, then the relationship would be over. I kept saying how nervous I was and told him I was scared his parents wouldn't like me, but he kept reassuring me they would love me. Thank God he was right."
"I met them two months after we started dating, and we got married seven years later. I have seen what his mother can do to someone she does not like, and let's just say I can see she loves me!"
—Samantha, New Jersey
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19."I'm white British, and my ex is Filipino — they were born in the Philippines but moved to the UK as a kid. I met their entire family at their birthday party, where they sat me in a corner with their aunties and abandoned me all night. When their extended family went home, I thought we were leaving, too. I hadn't been told we were staying over, so I'm at their family's house for the first time without any clothes or pajamas or toothbrush. My partner's younger relatives played drinking games but only spoke in Tagalog to each other. I know it's their first language, but my partner's sibling's girlfriend spoke neither Tagalog or English, so she and I just sat at opposite corners of the room. It was very awkward. The next morning, their family was nice and offered to loan me clothes, but I was taller than everyone, so my ankles and wrists stuck out. When I told my partner I was going home (I had work the next day), they got mad at me for leaving."
"I never met their parents again, but I met their brothers a few more times in various pubs. Ultimately, my partner and I broke up about a month after their birthday party because I found them too clingy."
—Anonymous, United Kingdom
20."I'm white and grew up in an EXTREMELY racist household. I heard slurs and derogatory terms for various races every single day, and my mom has never gotten past her prejudices. When I was 16, I brought home my new boyfriend, who was Puerto Rican. He was also 20. Instead of being upset that I was being groomed, my mother was upset that I was 'dating outside my race.' After he had left, she looked at me and said, 'I told you to never bring home a n*****, but I thought you knew that extended to Mexicans. You know better than to date outside your race. A white man would treat you better.' I was with him for nearly two years, and my mom never warmed up to him. But it was never because he groomed me or because he abused me or cheated on me (all things he did), it was only ever because he wasn't a white Christian man."
"Since then, I've converted to Judaism and come out as a gay trans man, and the relationship with her continues to be strained. However, she was elated when she found out my current partner is white. She refuses to see past her racism and tells me it's a 'product of her upbringing.' I'm just glad I was able to unlearn all the harmful and hateful ideologies she tried to instill in me."
21."I'm white, and my partner is Black. His family was so kind when I was introduced at Thanksgiving. I was one of two white people there, and it was my first time meeting everyone except his mom. I think everyone was just happy that he brought a partner to dinner. We traveled to see my family about a year into our relationship. I talked to my mom beforehand because she had previously re-posted political things on social media that encouraged me to talk with her before we arrived. Surprisingly, the conversation went well. My parents have always been supportive of whoever I bring home, but I always want to be sure my partner is comfortable."
"Obviously, Grandma was won over instantly because he is kind and charming."
22."My husband is Dominican. His family was excited to have 'white blood' in the family. Meanwhile, my very conservative grandmother asked him if he was 'a Black' when they met. We took it in stride and laugh about how ridiculous it is, but I think we were both uncomfortable. I will say, it also taught us that not everyone is going to look at our relationship and family the way we do, and we need to just focus on us and what matters."
23."I am white; my boyfriend is Puerto Rican. He's only met my mom and grandmother so far. My grandmother doesn't say stuff to someone's face if she doesn't know them well but can be brutal. I was worried she'd say something, but she didn't, thankfully (that I know of anyway). My mom claims not to be racist but, well, is. She was nice when she met him. Then, on New Year's Eve, I was going to his grandparents' house, and my mom saw my outfit. I wore blue skinny jeans and a black crop top with red heels. I felt pretty and cleared the outfit with my boyfriend since I wasn't completely comfortable around his extended family yet and wanted to be respectful. She asked me if his family would approve, and I told her that his aunt wears stuff like this all of time. She scoffed and said, 'Most Hispanics are like that, so I guess it's fine.' I was furious with her. Now, my mom finally accepts the relationship and is happy that I am happy."
"She refuses to let me speak Spanish around her or even to my dog, though. I want to become fluent, and my boyfriend and I speak Spanish together so I can practice. There are lots of microaggressions. My mom was briefly married to a Black man, and lots of my family were straight-up mad. I'm very nervous for my boyfriend to meet that part of my family (plus, he goes against gender norms in many ways, but that's a different post).
My cousin is getting married in March, and my boyfriend is coming with me and my mom. I'm very nervous for him to meet everyone. The family I am close to isn't racist, but the rest of my family is. For instance, one of my cousins married a biracial woman, and they have three beautiful boys. Our uncle hated her for the longest time and referred to her by the n-word behind her back.
It was different when I met his family. The only issue with us being interracial is the language barrier. Again, I'm learning Spanish, but it's very poor right now. His family loves me, and they love teaching me their language and culture. Honestly, his family just treats me as another relative. I love being with his family."
24."I'm a white woman, and my husband is Black. I met his family on our fifth date at his family reunion at an HBCU in Alabama. We stayed in the same house with his mom, stepfather, sister, nieces, and nephews. We all got to know each other real fast, and his mother started introducing me to relatives — some even my husband didn't know — as her daughter-in-law! By the time we were leaving, his mother and I both really liked each other and hoped we would see each other again. I soon moved in with my husband after dating for two months, and his family soon became my family."
"We are so blessed to be surrounded by such a loving family on both sides."