Displaying diversity through intimacy
If you are in an interracial relationship at Seattle Pacific University, you may be used to the looks and stares of onlookers, both glances of polite interest and others whose vacant stares would suggest that their brain has short fused.
If you are not in an interracial relationship, you may have seen interracial couples and stared a little too long.
In the United States there is still a lingering sentiment of disapproval for interracial couples. However, at SPU it is actually beneficial to advertise an interracial relationship.
With a student body committed to displaying a high degree of “wokeness,” where everyone wants to show how far left they can swing, being in an interracial relationship is actually “cool.”
I can explain.
As mentioned earlier, in many societies interracial relationships are still sources of some controversy.
When Meghan Markle married Prince Harry in May, the main thing British tabloids focused on was figuring out how black Markle is.
Meanwhile, within the US, interracial marriage has only been fully legal since 1967 when Loving vs Virginia ruled that laws barring interracial marriages are unconstitutional.
It is not just white people who are opposed to interracial relationships. Close-minded people of all colors hold the belief that people should date within their own race.
Meanwhile, SPU wants to present an contrasting image, of being as open minded and accepting as possible.
To do so, a student must display what I call SPU cultural capital.
SPU cultural capital is anything that promotes an image of social awareness and inclusivity. Examples of which include, but are not limited to, metal water bottles, a Black Lives Matter sticker, an Equals Sign sticker, taking a selfie at a political rally (but not a conservative rally) and, if you’re really cool, an Impeach Trump sticker.
As a Christian campus, part of presenting the “liberal” SPU Christian student is to illustrate a theme of acceptance and love.
In order to present oneself as a real socially conscious hero, all it takes is the advertisement. It’s not actually necessary to embody the social justice warrior.
Advertising can be done through Instagram, Facebook or shiny stickers.
Essentially, each sticker and Instagram post goes toward proving beyond a doubt that the person is socially aware and responsible.
None of these things are necessarily bad. On the contrary, they are representative of important social movements that I would consider worthwhile. Who can say no to diversity? It’s not difficult to say that racial equality, gender equality and political activism are inherently good things.
However, what is notable is that one of the best way to promote yourself as accepting is to surround yourself with human diversity, the ultimate SPU cultural capital.
Usually, this takes the form of having ethnic friends, or, more commonly, a token ethnic friend. What is even more valuable at SPU is being in an interracial relationship.
What is usually more frightening to advertise outside of Seattle Pacific is actually beneficial to advertise within campus, as it implicitly illustrates one’s acceptance of other races and cultures.
It contains an authenticity of acceptance that is far greater than having an ethnic friend. An interracial relationship has a higher degree of intimacy that a normal friendship would not normally contain.
I am not saying that there is absolutely no legitimacy in an interracial relationship at SPU. I don’t think that there are many people at SPU that would enter an intimate interracial relationship with the sole objective of showing off.
But on our campus, it is significantly beneficial to display your partner as SPU cultural capital as direct proof of inclusivity.
Having experience being in an interracial relationship, and being the child of an interracial marriage, I fear that someone would treat their partner as a sticker, as an advertisement. If you are accepting, put into genuine action through your attitudes and actions, not just your outward appearance.
And this goes for every other display of SPU’s brand of cultural capital. If you love your neighbor as you love yourself, put this Christian attitude into action. Don’t just buy a sticker for your water bottle.