Inter-ethnic Marriages.

Can’t truthfully say I’ve finished The God of Small Things, but I have gotten far enough in the book that certain things are making me think.

Rahel, the female twin (correct me if I’m wrong because I keep thinking Rahel is Estha and Estha is Rahel because Rahel just sounds a little bit more like a boy’s name) was married to a Caucasian man named Larry McCaslin, which ended up not working out.

It made me think about how there is sort of hesitation, at least in my own cultural community, about marrying out of one’s ethnicity (exogamy), especially those of white-Caucasian backgrounds because they seem to have this stereotype or stigma on them for being only interested in sex, or just not reliable or dependable, or even not capable of making a sufficient amount of money to support a family. Of course it’s wrong and of course it offends me, but I do see where this sort of thinking stems from (and, of course, I don’t agree with it).

Growing up in a very strict culture-based society and then starting a family in the states and seeing people doing and practicing certain things that wouldn’t otherwise have been practiced back in their country of origin is a real shock (::breath:: sorry, big run-on sentence there). I think people tend to associate “good”, “bad”, “appropriate”, “inappropriate” with what they grew up with, no matter how strange and backwards it might seem. It’s not that they are wrong and we are right, it’s just different. Having that sort of they/us division just complicates things unnecessarily.

Yes, like Professor Jani said last week, I think there should be a line where there’s a finite “good” and a finite “bad”. But, all the same, if one group of people has lived with one set of morals and another group with another set of morals, both of these morals are equally different and equally as important to each group of people. If an understanding and change for the greater good must be reached, it must be reached with respect and gradual change on both sides.

Anyway, sorry for that tangent. Going back to my initial thought. The stigma on exogamous marriage is very ironic in my own situation. My fiance is a white American male serving in the United States Navy overseas in Japan. Breaking that relationship to my parents was hard to do, and to some degree, I think everyone in my family is still coping with it and trying to accept it. And it’s all the more difficult because there already has been a failed exogamous marriage in my family of the same kind.

So I guess I started to think about what Larry McCaslin stands for. Is he a symbol of how Caucasians and South Asians just don’t work? Or even how exogamy just doesn’t work? His story seems to be a bit brief to be reading into it, but I guess it caught my eye more because of my own relationship. Don’t get me wrong–I’m confident that my fiance and I will be alright in the end, but when I think about reactions to exogamous (interracial) marriages in my community, I wonder if we’ll be taken as seriously as, say, my parents, both of whom are South Asian.

Then again I also wonder what my betrothed’s family thinks about it all; their Caucasian son marrying a Pakistani Muslim girl who wears a headscarf (am I, as an individual, even taken seriously in mainstream society? Oh hi, Fox News.). So far, his family has taken to me. But not without questions and some occasional conflicts as well.

Yup. Back to reading. See ya in class!!

Oh and here’s some CNN for thought.


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