One of the major questions that Rachel’s family has for Nick during his visit is about his perspective on dating a Black woman. In true form, Nick’s approach is a mixture between clueless and charming. He clings tightly to his main talking point which is that he likes Rachel for who she is as a person. In other words, he looks past her race to see the real Rachel. It’s a cute sentiment, but it’s not enough. And luckily, Rachel’s family willing to remind him of that.
Rachel’s older sister, who is also in an interracial relationship (her husband is white and pretty funny) says this in response to Nick’s stance on Rachel’s race: “As nice as that sounds, right now with this climate that we’re in I feel like you’ve seen more racism come out. So he does need to be more aware.” Asking Nick to be more aware of anything feels like it might overwhelm him. She goes on, “It’s not something that you can just hide and ignore and… just live in your own bubble. You have to know how to navigate that path in a relationship.” Rachel’s mother lays it out in even simpler terms to Nick during their one on one conversation, “It’s about you two. But society will see it.”
It seemed like Nick was very intent on proving that he wasn’t racist, when Rachel’s family actually wanted to know whether or not he would be a good ally to his partner in a world that isn’t set up in her favor. It’s an easy trap to fall into. But Rachel’s big sister was right — we’re in a climate of heightened racial tensions. People with privilege should be leveraging it to help those who don’t, instead of trying to convince those people that they won’t misuse it.