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My Husband Is White But Sometimes Traveling With Him Makes Me Feel Uncomfortable

Travel journalist Oneika Raymond discusses why sometimes her husband’s privilege can make exploring the world a challenge. I love my husband, but honestly, sometimes I don’t like traveling with him. Traveling as an interr-acial couple, particularly one where the man is white and the woman is of color, for some reason, allows people to make so many judgments and assumptions about us.

He’s paying for everything or he’s my “come up”

Bruh. Before we were married we s-plit all of our travel costs 50/50. Moreover, I have three degrees and have been very successful in my careers. I’ve ALWAYS been able to finance my travels/lifestyle (with lots of coins to spare). I’ve never needed him, or anyone else for that matter, to do so.

He’s “showing me the world”

Wrong again.Not only have I been to more countries than he has, but I also started traveling internationally long before I knew he existed. I had already lived and worked in 4 different countries on 3 different continents before we met.

He’s “legit” and I’m not

Going through passport control with my tall, white, European-looking husband can be an infuriating experience. He skates through immigration with nary an inspection, while my bags and documentation are gone through with a fine tooth comb. Whether in certain airports or in certain streets, my appearance will elicit suspicion, while he won’t set off any red flags.

He’s more authoritative, “intelligent,” respectable

Government officials, servers, receptionists, storekeepers, etc. will always address him first, if they address me at all. White and male is the default for money, power, respect, and knowledge. However, the script is totally flipped when we travel to places like El Salvador, where people defer to me since I speak Spanish and he does not.

Basically, traveling with my husband reinforces the inherent privilege he experiences as a white male from Germany and underscores the inherent discrimination and stereotypes I experience as a Black woman. Some people online have said that I shouldn’t be bothered by these occurrences because I chose to marry my husband, and who cares what others think. However, I am indeed irritated by these occurrences and don’t see why I shouldn’t be.

Why should I be inconvenienced by additional searches at immigration because of r-acial profiling? Why should I accept being disrespected in establishments where I’m spending my time and money, whether it’s because of my Black skin or my female re-productive or-gans? Why should I accept being perceived as “lesser than” because of my gender and my skin color?

Personally, I find it unfortunate that women of color like myself are expected to accept unfair treatment because “that’s the way the world is.” On a larger scale, this disc-riminatory treatment doesn’t just affect the way we feel, it affects our career trajectories/salary (hello, glass ceiling!), overall quality of life, etc., and I refuse to accept this.

While it bothers me, I’m glad that my significant other gets to see and understand first-hand how he is perceived vis à vis his Black wife. It’s something we discuss as well as something he has learned to identify, acknowledge, and help me combat – and that’s the first step to making a difference.

This Story Was Originally Published On “essence.com”

Written by Diana

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