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The Real Housewives of Potomac's Candiace Dillard Basset still thinks it's "wild" that as recently as 1967 interracial marriage was still illegal. It was that year that the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that it was unconstitutional for laws in Virginia to prohibit interracial marriage based on the case of Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter. For Candiace, this is a personal topic as she is a Black woman married to a white man.
Candiace married Chris Bassett in August 2018, and she opened up about their relationship during Amplify Our Voices: An Open Dialogue on Racial Inequality in America, moderated by Justin Sylvester, the host of E’s Daily Pop!.
"So I will start by saying that I never saw myself being with someone, dating outside my race," she said during the June 29 conversation. "I always thought that my father is Black, my stepfather is Black, that I would end up with a Black man."
She said that in the Black community dating someone from outside the Black community is a "big deal," but "not so much in my home." From there, she opened up about how her Southern family reacted to the news that she was dating someone white.
"You know southern people ... they are a little slower to get on the train of progression and I was nervous about bringing my white boyfriend down to the country, honey," she said. "And having him make it through and be received and accepted by my uncles and cousins, but my family is, they are who they are, but they're accepting and they're loving and if he's a good person, if they're good people, my family accepts them — and my husband is an amazing person. He has a beautiful spirit and they accepted him. Plus, he brought beer and they love beer. So that was the end of that; it was done."
From there, Candiace elaborated on if she and Chris have received any prejudice because of their relationship. She noted that living in the Washington D.C. area means they haven't experienced much prejudice from persons outside their relationship.
"My husband and I never really truly experienced any hardcore discrimination because of who we are and being seen as a Black woman-white man couple," she said — though she noted the Loving case made them think.
"But when we read the history, we would talk about the history of the Loving Supreme Court ruling and all that that entailed and the fact that it was very much illegal for couples that were not of the same race to marry just 50-something years ago, it does enrage you," she said. "And make you want to throw something and be mad at this society and the systems that are put in place that exist in every facet, in every part of the make-up of this country, you cannot take two steps in this country without finding some roadblock for people of color — down to who you love — and that is wild to me."
Having a public platform like RHOP also means that Candiace can educate people about interracial relationships.
"Since I've been on my show, I've had a lot of Black women write me and ask me what is it like to be a with a white man: 'I'm considering dating outside my race' [and they ask me questions]," she said, noting that "it's so strange" even in 2020 she gets these kind of queries.
"And even my aunts ask, 'So, what is it like?' as if I'm dating a frog. No, he's a human. He has flesh and bones and blood and cries. He's a human man — and just happens to be white. For us, and I get this a lot from people who don't understand what it's like to be with a white man as a Black woman who is very I'm blackity black black, OK? I don't apologize for that... I don't hold back when I speak on the things that I feel white people can do better or do differently. I don't hold back on my critiques of our white cousins or our white people and people will ask me, 'Does that make your husband uncomfortable?'"
The answer to that question is "no," and Candiace explained why.
"If it did, he wouldn't be my husband 'cause the things that I speak on are essentially are the things that we are all openly talking about because it has now become the trend, and prayer, becomes less of a trend and more of a habit," she said. "I'm talking about things that need to be discussed and my husband is a white man, but he's also an ally to our community. And I think that is the most important thing about interacting with people who are not like you and I, it's important that we have people in our corner, who are going to speak up for us."
For Candiace, it's about allyship in her marriage — and for the Black Lives Matter movement on a larger basis: "It's time for our white people, our white allies, to do their part to continue to dismantle these crazy walls and this crazy system and oppressive ways."
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