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Colour My World: An Inspirational Interracial Love Story
Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

Written by a member or members of the Editorial Team.
Editorial Staff

We begin the new year with a love story that truly inspires us. We are in awe of Patricia for being such a strong advocate for herself, her life, and her family.

As we read Patricia’s responses to our questions, we were drawn into her family’s story, the challenges they faced along the way, the ways in which they were overcome, and her commitment to raising a biracial son with a strong sense of identity. 

Patricia has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and in African-American studies from the University of Virginia and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from George Washington University. She is currently a Dean of Students at a New England boarding school in the US. She is also a two times Emmy Nominee and a 2006 Emmy winner for ESPN Winter X Games. She enjoys traveling, volleyball, reading, watching television and movies, dancing, and making the most of the cultural activities around her.

Wyatt, Patricia’s husband, has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication  with a concentration Film & TV from Southern Connecticut State University. He is an avid hiker and sports fan (UNC Basketball, SF Giants, Boston Celtics, just to name a few).



Over to Patricia (and Wyatt):

1. If your love story was to be made into a movie, what would you call it? 

Colour My World (like the Song by the band Chicago)

2. How did you meet? What were your first impressions – What attracted you to each other? 

Wyatt and I met in a tape room at ESPN. He was the tech helping me clip video and I was a production assistant. He had nice kind eyes and we would just chat. I’m a curious person so I ask people questions to learn who they are. He was dating someone so I had no interests in him as anything more than a friend. He thought I was nice and liked that I had a genuine interest in getting to know him beyond his job. The transition from friends started happening after he was out of the other relationship and we made a bet on our teams playing each other. Whoever won treated the other to a meal. So win, win.

I come from a bicultural home raised by my Black American mom and my Nigerian dad. My mom was a US diplomat so my brothers, sister, and I grew up overseas in Nigeria, Haiti, and Niger.

3. Tell us about you and your partner’s cultural backgrounds.

We are very different. I come from a bicultural home raised by my Black American mom and my Nigerian dad. My mom was a US diplomat so my brothers, sister, and I grew up overseas. I lived in Nigeria, Haiti, and Niger from ages 6 to 13 at which time I went to a boarding school while my parents and younger brother remained overseas. Wyatt grew up in the same very white small town in southeastern Connecticut his whole life and then stayed in CT for college as well.

Patricia Sasser

Photo Courtesy: Patricia Sasser. Patricia and Wyatt at the Hamilton musical.

 

4. Tell us about the dating challenges you may have faced. What were your parents’/family/relatives/friends’ thoughts about you dating/being in a relationship? What did you think about being part of an interracial/international couple?




When his parents found out I was black, they refused to meet me. I eventually met them three months after we got engaged. Click To Tweet

The dating challenges we faced were from Wyatt’s parents. When they learned I was black, they refused to meet me for about three years. They knew nothing more about me besides my race and were not interested in learning anything more. I did not end up meeting them until three months after we got engaged. We did not know if they were going to attend our wedding until two months prior. My family was much more accepting of Wyatt and I had dated out of my race before. When they learned about his parents feelings they were naturally concerned about me and the toll it would take. 

We focused on celebrating our love and I made sure to make a very ready toast during the reception to all those people who supported us through everything.

5. Related to # 4 – Did your families approve/not approve of each other (include any memorable first meeting memories) and what you did/didn’t do about it? 

Our parents did not meet until the rehearsal dinner. Wyatt was super stressed about it. I was not, as I wasn’t going to let anything take away from our day, plus I had already had a conversation with my parents about being on their best behavior for Wyatt’s sake. No one wants their child hurt the way I was by Wyatt’s parents. We did not incorporate a father/daughter or a mother/son dance into our wedding since we were not sure if his parents were coming; I know it would be awkward and sad if I had my dance and he did have one. So we focused on celebrating our love and I made sure to make a very ready toast during the reception to all those people who supported us through everything.

We did not incorporate a father/daughter or a mother/son dance into our wedding since we were not sure if his parents were coming. Click To Tweet




6. How did you/your partner propose? 

So when you love surprises and stories, what do you do? You propose to your man. So that's what I did. Click To Tweet

We both come from pretty traditional families. With that said, my father barely proposed to my mom and I’m kind of a romantic who loves surprises. So when you love surprises and stories, what do you do? You propose to your man. So that’s what I did.

We were going to Bar Harbor for vacation and I decided it was the perfect place to propose. We were going to make a trip up Cadillac mountain at sunrise while we were there and since Wyatt loves hiking and mountains I felt it was perfect. I bought him a ring (which burned a whole in my bag for days). We drove to the top of the mountain the day after we arrived to see the sunrise. Wyatt is not showy and does not like attention so the sun rose and I waited until most people had left. I gave him a card I had written but left unsigned (meaning there was more to say). When he was done, he said thank you and I said there’s more. Then I asked him if he’d marry me. He paused and asked me if I was sure I didn’t want to be proposed to. I said, “this is even better because I have a story.” And with that he said yes.

Solidarity w Charlottesville

Patricia with her son, Pierce, at the Walk for Solidarity with Charlottesville – August 2017 in West Hartford. The two have also attended the Women’s march in Hartford.

 

7. What were your ideas of an ideal mate before you met your significant other and how have these ideals evolved with your relationship?

I didn’t have any grand ideals about the perfect mate, I just believed that a relationship should be built on a foundation of friendship and strengthen from there and that’s what I got.

8. What have been the cultural challenges, if any, that you have faced in the course of your relationship? 




Our families operate differently. My family is much more communicative and willing to discuss difficult topics and like to know what’s going on in each others’ lives. We’re used to being spread out in different regions, but connected. We are also a relatively direct family. We’ll tell it like it is and up front with each other.

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9. What kind of a wedding did you have? Any arguments about what traditions/customs would be followed or not?  

So as I mentioned before we did not do those dances for the reason stated above. We also didn’t do the bouquet or garter toss. I gave my bouquet to the longest married woman in the room which was my godmother who had made the trip up from Baltimore. We also surprised my parents with an African drummer and dancers who performed for the wedding party entrance. Also, Wyatt arrived to the aisle with his groomsman by boat (he thought it would be cool and since we were unsure of his parents coming, I made it happen). I walked down the aisle to ‘At Last’ by Etta James which was a song that was special to us and our first dance was to the song ‘By Your Side’ by Nigerian artist Sade.

Patricia Wyatt Cover

 

10. Your favorite memories that pertain to cultural integration (generally in your relationship and not just wedding related)?

She wanted Wyatt to recognize how I exist in the world and what it’s like to be the only or one of few in a space.

So, I brought Wyatt home to meet my extended family in Baltimore. I’m very close to my aunt (mom’s sister) and my cousins. I also love Maryland steamed crabs. So, my aunt and cousins took Wyatt and I out to a crab house in Baltimore. It was delicious and everyone there was African-American minus Wyatt and one waitress. My aunt didn’t tell me until later that she brought us here on purpose. She wanted Wyatt to recognize how I exist in the world and what it’s like to be the only or one of few in a space.

11. How do you (or don’t) try to integrate your different cultures/festivities/holidays/etc into your everyday life?

Something that is very important to me is that my son have/read books with diverse characters (by race, ethnicity, gender, religion, socioeconomically, etc.). I want him to see himself reflected in books in a way I didn’t get to when I was his age. I also want to make sure that he understands that Africa is a continent with many countries, all different and unique. There is too much lumping the continent together and giving it a single story and I’m just not having that. The other thing that we have done much of with our son is travel. I love to travel nationally and internationally and want my son to have those experiences as well.




I loved living in other countries and cultures for extended periods of time where I was not just visiting, I was home in each of those countries.

12. What have you learned as a multicultural couple, about each other/ about society’s perception of you as an interracial couple? 

It’s been more of a learning about the realities of being an interracial couple/family experience for my husband. Growing up as a black woman in this country and having dated outside my race, I had more knowledge of what the challenges could be/are. I notice more in regards to looks, etc. and I’m more aware of what incidents may be more attributed to race or not. This was all foreign territory to my husband as is having in depth conversations about race.

The challenges of being an interaracial couple...was all foreign territory to my husband as is having in-depth conversations about race. Click To Tweet

Patricia Wyatt Quote

13. What are some pieces of advice you may want to pass on to those dating outside their own race/culture/religion/etc.

I’m not sure if I’m one to give blanket advice, but it’s important to know who you are, your values, your non-negotiables and never beg for acceptance. There is not one way to be an interracial couple, you have to learn how to navigate things and grow together as a couple regardless of race. Make sure you talk about what’s important to you, especially if that includes race, culture, and religion.

Follow Patricia on Twitter @psassylife. She blogs at TeawithSasser


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