The Way to Succeed in Inter-racial Marriage
Forty-five years after the US Supreme Court struck down an outlaw on interracial marriage, the degree of marriage across ethnic and racial lines in the nation is on the rise. As a result, these mixed marriages along with the public acceptance of these unions continue to rise. However, at the same time, interracial marriages are the subject to certain stresses and injures beyond those experienced in many marriages. That is due to the fact that these marriages have a built-in dissimilarity in spheres, which may be particularly sensitive. At times, interracial and intercultural matters are obvious from the initial stage of the relations. Dissimilarities usually begin at a wedding planning stage comprising the expectations of both families concerning the wedding ceremony. Child nurture may also cause cultural, religious, and racial issues as decisions concerning education and religious practices are discussed for the first time.
However, it does not presuppose interracial marriages cannot succeed. In contrast, what it actually means is that it may be harder, but it may also be simpler. Certainly, all couples have certain troubles, but they can learn how to resolve them. When a relationship has interracial issues, learning to approach dissimilarity in the most helpful way is particularly significant. The thesis is: the more common characteristics the partners have and the more desire to discuss various issues they express, the more likely their marriage will succeed.
The discussion over the interracial relationships is controversial as it touches on the sensitive spheres of family, religion, cultural heritage, and racism. This issue is skillfully reflected in the novel “Professor’s Daughter.” The book “Professor’s Daughter” written by Emily Raboteau starts with the chapter dedicated to the connection between Emma, child of Professor Bernard Boudreaux Jr., and her brother Bernie. They are children of a white female, Lynn, and a black father, putting them between the various cultures and featuring them casualties of racism. The tie, like most things in the book, does not talk about racism directly - instead, Emma and Bernie appear to see themselves as tied on a metaphysical level. This allows readers to understand the relations in the family much better.
This novel is mainly a story of Emma Boudreaux, a protagonist, whose name and spirit bear strong resemblances to those of the author. Whilst finishing the initial semester at Yale, Emma’s bizarre brother Bernie electrocutes himself on the train rail, falling in the coma, which brings Emma’s living to a terrible life. As they were small kids, they navigated the politics of the mixed-race ancestry together, having obtained almost no guidance from the black professor father or the impatient white mother. By itself, brother’s coma disorients Emma and makes not capable to realize herself, the family, or the larger globe; without Bernie, a girl simply no longer conscious of who she is.
A scholar since he was a little boy, Bernard, Jr., Emma’s father, suffers at school where he is the single black person - that is, till he finds out the ways in which he may make the system perform in his favor. Bernard becomes a professor being aware of his status as an African-American. His parent was a very gifted baseball player, who was burned by a racist mob. Bernard does his best to forget the sore history, and it keeps him from going forward. Concerning his marriage with a white female, Bernard clarifies his motivations for this union in this way – he did not wish his kids to experience what he felt. Whilst Emma experiences the strangeness of living on the line, her father senses the burden of his past. In spite of the broken family and the wounded lives, the book provides a reason to look forward and an encouragement to start a new life.
Two Cultures: One Marriage
The book “Professor’s Daughter” was issued in 2005, describing the hardship of existence in the mixed marriage. Today, these marriages become more and more wide-spread: a Caucasian female marries a Korean male; a blond US student in Japan falls in love with a local girl and gets her home to meet the parents; an Indian pupil in the USA likes his Ethiopian classmate.
These cross-cultural marriages are becoming more and more popular, even as obstacles to these unions are decreasing in most spheres of the globe. But what actually occurs in an intercultural marriage? What influence cross-cultural environmental aspects make on the couple? What about kids? What influence such marriages have on religious experience? What features may contribute to the success of the interracial marriages? Is negotiation between partners important for the success of the marriage (Noller 122-127)? I believe it is important to answer those questions to realize how to make a mixed marriage successful.
Opponents of mixed marriages assert that those people who marry outside of the race are betraying the relatives and abandoning the cultural heritage. So, many African Americans think that interracial marriage vanishes the solidarity of the community. The author Lawrence Otis Graham claims that mixed marriage weakens African Americans’ capability to introduce the kids to black role models who adopt the racial identity with the pride. He fears biracial youngsters will turn off the backs heritage when they find out that it is simpler to exist as a white human (Graham 27-29). It may be possible, however, I think that the legacy of African Americans will never disappear as these mixed marriages may even strengthen the desire of people to preserve own customs, traditions, stories, songs, believes and so on.
Conversely, proponents of interracial marriages assert that interracial romance is a step toward erosion of the racial hatred. According to Yvette Walker, the rising frequency of interracial youngsters will finally lead to the society where race will no longer matter as everybody will blend into single race, the human one. More significantly, color should not matter when it comes to feelings. They recollect Martin Luther King Jr.’s well-known attitude that humans should be judged not “by color of the skin but by the character” (Walker 107). I believe this is the most optimistic and correct approach to the mixed marriages. People have to forget about the race dissimilarities, prejudice and bias and the interracial marriages in the perfect start. Young children raised in the society tolerant to the mixed marriages will pay no attention to the color of skin. Therefore, they will never offence their classmates and fellow students.
Dynamics of the Interracial Marriage
From the genetic point of view, there are no physical obstacles to the interracial marriage. Thus, I believe that factors, which hinder or assist in the success of these marriages as contrasted to group marriages, are not genetic at all, but are educated and learnt by humans existing in the general community. Groups and humans “speak” through indirect and often unwritten utterances, which become cultural pressures - various “shoulds” and “should nots”—that may influence the latent partners’ decisions before the wedding and the quality of a life in marriage afterwards (Noller 122-127).
When individuals arrive at a degree where they select the life partners, a total of other developmental duties are still in process. Often, they are finishing the education and getting ready for a future career. They are moving towards adulthood and liberty. They are looking for their personal roles in terms of gender and own accountability - a process, which may be complicated by going through the ethnic limits, as dissimilar cultures have various ways of defining these roles, chiefly as they interface with the sexual category.
All people know that every matrimony partner brings to the union a list of what to say or not to say, what to do or not to do. The individual lists obtained in dissimilar cultural or racial environments may differ so much that conflicts become inescapable. When cultural dissimilarities are added to regional, familial, and class dissimilarities, the possibility of troubles augments. According to Smith, even minor cultural dissimilarities may cause huge misunderstandings (Smith 33). Here are some wide-spread instances:
- Disclosure. The culture usually tells people what sort of, and how much, personal data have to be revealed among the partners and to those external to the couple.
- Demonstration of love. How much love, and what types of love are allowable among the partners in private or in public? What demonstration of love is suitable between one partner within a married couple and a friend outside of the couple?
- Gender roles. How inflexible is the division between “feminine” and “masculine” activities within and outside the family?
- Leisure activities. How do people share spare time? How much spare time should be experienced apart from the husband or wife?
- Ethnocentrism. It refers to the trend to look at all things from own viewpoint that is conditioned by the cultural background. For instance, when an US citizen talks about the “normal” height of a human, it could mean about five feet ten inches. But for a Japanese citizen, “normal” may presuppose something else. Normal total of meals may refer to three in European culture and two in another. Addiction of wife may be an asset in one culture and not in another one (Smith 34).
Other possibly difficult dissimilarities comprise relations with parents and children in-laws, decision-making among partners, and the discipline of kids. These and other matters have to be negotiated thoroughly before the wedding. These talks would demonstrate the couple’s feelings and expectations, which may then be managed (Smith 34). From my point of view, all troubles may be overcome with the help of mutual understanding and discussions. It is very important for people from different races and cultures to discuss their points of view on various subjects – life in marriage, woman’s status in the family, raising education of and children and so on.
Environmental Impact on Marriage
Societies vary in the acceptance of mixed marriages. We know that cultural dissimilarities are becoming more political in different countries. Though lawful obstacles to the racial mixed marriage may not exist nowadays, discrimination and bias continue. It can comprise housing, work environment, job opportunities, jokes, offensive remarks. In the social order like in the USA, the greater the apparent dissimilarities among the leading racial group and any of all other racial groups are and the larger the bias that the group has faced are, the more depressingly will the dominant social order treat mixed marriage with members of minor group (Noller 122-127).
Individuals, who choose marriage partners whilst being away from own relatives and social systems, may lack an unbiased perspective in impartially estimating emotional and physical features of a cross-cultural friend and a person’s compatibility in a possible union. The emotional requirements may be influenced by simple loneliness. The judgment may be restricted by a shortage of “norms” to utilize as the frames of reference. Under the circumstances, I believe that it may be useful to bring a latent partner home for a long-lasting visit so that he or she may see and interact with a dissimilar home setting. To marry a person from the other culture is to marry the culture as well (Smith 34). Even if people grow up in the same neighborhood, they may have dissimilar points of view concerning the most important things in life. Therefore, it is highly recommended for a successful interracial marriage to see future husband or wife in the native home setting. This is the perfect way to get acquainted with the family and also with the customs, traditions, and lifestyles of the future partner.
This cross-cultural viewpoint gets complicated with the notion of acculturation - the process in which people new to the culture accept the attitudes, behaviors, and values of the other culture. Acculturation may change the form or strength of the newbie’s native culture, leading people during courtship to simply shade themselves to cultural dissimilarities and possible troubles. These couples would minimize the influence of the cultural dissimilarities as courtship tends to stress the positive. Next to realizing the culture of a person is realizing the organization of the person’s family. We all know that it is the family that transmits culture, and, for this ground, it may considerably impact and even determine the roles and accountabilities in marriage.
Problems Experienced by Children in Mixed Marriages
Lots of interracial marriage partners can be capable to cope with the majority of troubles that appear in marriage, but children may have huge problems, like in the novel “Professor’s Daughter,” in which humans puzzled by Emma's ethnicity repeatedly ask her, “what are you?” (Raboteau 63-67). Mixed-race kids are usually perceived as belonging to the “minority” race - the racial group reflected in the marriage, which has less power and position. In the USA we often notice that the child of a black-white marriage is often treated as black. Actually, any racial mix, which comprises even a small part of black blood, is treated as black. Thus, mixed-race kids in the USA are commonly treated as if they had been born to purely black couples.
When children appear in the family, they bring certain alterations with them. Though humans want and love their kids, they often report less satisfaction in the marital relations during the most difficult years of rearing. People from widely different cultural backgrounds may practically appear to be talking two various languages in communicating about rearing. That is why the parents’ optimistic regard for two races, the open negotiation of heritages, and the optimistic role models are the finest way to provide the successful identity evolvement and felling of safety of kids from mixed marriages.
Successful Interracial Marriages
I have paid attention to the fact that various researches demonstrate the successful interracial marriages have some common characteristics. Partners in these marriages usually marry when they are a little bit older than same-race partners. They have most likely had more long-lasting courtships than same-race marriages. They have shown the ability for independence - in thinking, existing, decision-making. They are usually middle-class with better-than-average schooling. Also, they have been exposed to the cross-cultural experiences. After the wedding, they usually inhabit multi-ethnic areas.
So, to draw the conclusion, I have to say that the more characteristics the two people have in common, the more likely the life together to be successful. These people ought to have the same faith, customs, social status, age, a culture, which are close enough to permit a better understanding of one another, value systems and the goals people cherish for the children. The list may go on and on. However, it is worth remembering: the more common features people have, the more likely the wedding and life together will be successful. Matrimony is neither a sprint nor a compromise; it is a rational decision, based on affection and commitment.