I unexpectedly (and reluctantly) moved back to my hometown. I unexpectedly fell for an old high school classmate, and he unexpectedly proposed to me. We unexpectedly found out I was pregnant, and we got married sooner than expected. Now, we're experiencing the unexpected daily...the good, the bad, the funny, the frustrating. Read all about it...

Friday, October 1, 2010

So You Want to Marry Outside of Your Race?

I am not against it, obviously, because I am in an interracial marriage and as a result, we have created one gorgeous mixed baby boy. In case you're curious, this is what a Filipino-Panamanian-Brazilian baby looks like (really, I don't care if you  happen to be wondering what one looks like; I just like showing him off):

Anyway, I totally get why people, especially older generations, want their sons and daughters to marry within their race or religion. It ensures that the heritage stays alive and well throughout time. However, in a world that is ever shrinking thanks to technology, and due to immigration, especially in the United States, that brings together diverse cultures, it seems less important to marry someone of the same race or religion because we're not restricted to living with just one race or religion.

In my case, even if I wanted to marry a Filipino, my options were limited. I live in a town where, although there is diversity, Filipino guys my age are few and far between. I think that access, so to speak, is also a factor as to why it just seems improbable for people to marry others of the same background. 

I understand that there are many pros to marrying within your race or religion - the compatibility of both families, the continuation of traditions, shared language and beliefs, and even the aspect of avoiding criticism from the community or racist remarks from the less open minded. I also think that there are many pros to marrying outside of your background. For instance, there is a fusion of cultures and traditions; thus, people can learn from each other and experience things of which they otherwise would not have had the chance. 

I am pretty excited for the future because the percentage of interracial marriages is increasing. That means there are going to be more and more people like my son. Hopefully that means there will be less and less ignorance and more understanding of different cultures. The link I've shared is from a CNN article from this past June. It mentions how interracial marriages were illegal back in the day (approximately 50 years ago). I cannot fathom the idea of such law, and I am grateful that we no longer have to live by that rule. It also mentions that men and women in my age range (aka - the future leaders of society) are more accepting of interracial relationships.

We are at a time when generations are colliding when it comes to tradition. Older generations, especially those who immigrated to the US, hope that their kids find someone of the same background for whatever reason they may have. So bringing a guy or girl home who is unlike you can cause a rift between you and your family (think about "Our Family Wedding" or "Guess Who," which are comedies that bring to light very real issues on interracial relationships).  

If you happen to be in the same situation I was in - wanting to marry someone of a different background but having parents who prefer you to marry within your race - think about all aspects, understand where your family is coming from, and ultimately make the right decision for yourself, and be prepared to live with that decision for the rest of your life. I think it's important not to assume your parents are racist or ignorant (unless they actually are, which is a whole different issue); they want you to marry within your race or religion because they want continuity in the family, and they don't want your culture to be forgotten or lost in history. It's along the same lines as a man hoping that his pregnant wife has a son so that his last name can be passed down.

I don't think one race or religion could be forgotten over the other as long as a couple upholds both of their traditions, does not forget where they come from, and raises their children to appreciate and practice these traditions.

Having a population full of people like my son, whose blood flows with more than one race, could perhaps mean a more educated population, a population more open to learning about different cultures, traditions, religions, etc. This could mean people like my son could feel more accepted by their peers because they'll have more people with whom they can relate. 

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