INTERRACIAL/INTERCULTURAL MARRIAGE: HOW TO FUSE CULTURES…
KNOWING YOUR PLACE
As an African-American woman married to an Indian man there have been more than a dozen times that I have felt like When. Will. I Ever. Get It Completely Right? When will I get it right so that I don’t feel like I have to or need to overly attempt to accommodate my-in-laws and my husband’s family.
I am an overachiever by nature. And when my husband and I were dating and later married I knew I was going to be the “African-American” representative among my extended Indian family. Since I was and am the only “African-American” in my husband’s family. Even more, I was going to be the “African-American” woman who didn’t know everything she needed to know about “all things Indian”. Hence, I took on the task to be an African-American-Indian wife (if that makes sense).
ACCOMMODATING MY EXTENDED FAMILY
How? By ensuring I accommodate my Indian in-laws as an Indian daughter-in-law would. Such as? Making sure they have everything they need when they come to visit us in NC. Cooking Indian food and having my husband taste test everything before it touches their lips. Allowing my in-laws to use my kitchen as their own when they come to visit. Watching a plethora of new Indian movies and films with them. In addition, to making sure we see and/or do something they want to do while they are in town from Michigan etc. This way they feel at home away from their own home. However even after all my efforts to make an elaborate Indian meal for them I have noticed (thru the years) that they will tell me that everything is great but only take a minuscule sample. And then they promptly proceed to make the Indian dish their way the very next day.
Hence, with a plenitude of leftovers in the refrigerator. I bite my tongue, and control my face (although my husband says I don’t most of the time), and I know my place. A place that can be lonely because I know that the meal tasted fantastic! Furthermore it can be a place consumed by thoughts of when will I be an almost Indian wife (or almost whatever culture your significant other is from spouse/significant other). Moreover, after 8 years of marriage I don’t think I will ever get an exact science of how my mother-in law makes the foods she makes. Why? Quite frankly after me candidly asking her how she does it, still to this day, she won’t show me her way of making numerous Indian meals. Nonetheless I won’t stop so that at least my husband and daughter don’t see my efforts are in vain and my passion for their culture akin to my own is not lost. And at the end of the day, I can pass down our family’s way to cook and fuse Indian and African-American cuisine to our biracial daughter. Therefore, perhaps, if she gets married her in-laws will find satisfaction in her and she will know her place is right in their home. Not as an almost Indian wife or biracial wife but as Amaya.
TIPS FOR FORGING FORWARD
1.) Don’t give up blending and fusing cultures to the best of your ability.
2.) Choose your familial battles wisely. Some battles are best left said and then left alone altogether.
3.) Continue to learn. Learning about a new culture is an ever growing experience. Learn and grow!
Are you in an intercultural/interracial relationship or marriage? Did you find yourself in a similar situation to the one I described? What did you do? Write us! Post a comment! Like our content? Subscribe!