My Interracial/Intercultural Relationship Caused Me To Be Disowned By My Family
This Relationship Is Not Allowed
Growing up in an Indian family, I, Sachin became accustomed to hearing the normal stereotypes used to describe African-Americans, Asians, and a barrage of other ethnicities. From a family perspective, there wasn’t any ill my parents had with these ethnicities; they were just sharing what they had learned. My parents grew up in India within a strict cultural and family environment. Both of my parents came from small villages on the outskirts of large cities and as such had little access to information. The information they were presented with were the common stereotypes we use today. Unfortunately, even after being in the United States, the largest melting pot for immigrants, for 40 years, and having access and experiences with all different kinds of ethnicities they continued to hold their prior beliefs and chose not to evolve.
When my brother decided to marry a Caucasian-American woman, my mom initially, had a terrible time accepting it. She always wanted her two sons to marry Indian women and to continue our Indian culture here in America. When she finally did come around, she made me sign a sheet of paper stating that I would marry an Indian woman. In retrospect, I have no idea why I had agreed to do this, as this would be continuously brought up for the next several years. I think I may have felt sad for my mom. I mean she did sacrifice so many things so that my brother and I could succeed and have the material things we desired. I felt like I owed it to her, to make her happy.
I knew that marrying a Non-Indian wasn’t going to be an option for me, but you can’t help who or why you fall in love. I always thought that the way I was raised, was to not judge a book by its cover. Look at the person, look at their family, look at their belief system, use that as a body of work for making a decision, not skin color or ethnicity. When I did fall in love, it was to my now beautiful African-American wife, although I knew I had to be serious about her before approaching my parents and letting them know. My, wife now, and I dated for several months before I became serious about telling my family. I used the context of my nieces first birthday party as a way to casually introduce several work friends and my future wife to my parents. That ended up being a disaster. As beautiful and educated as my wife is, initially they could just get past the color of her skin. It started several fights in our family which took months to resolve.
At the heart of the argument was the stereotypes they just couldn’t let go of, even though in the modern age there is no validity in applying stereotypes to a group of people. It got so bad, that for a period of time, my mom told me, that if I wanted to stay with my wife then girlfriend, that I would be kicked out of the family. To hear a mother say that to her son is completely devastating. She continued to tell me, I broke her heart because of the document that I signed years prior. My arguments went unheard, my logic, my reasoning, and my historical research on Indians and color, all went unheard. I did the only thing I could and the hardest thing I have ever done. I took a break from my family, I accepted for the time being I was disowned.
Fighting For Love
Love is love, and being a romantic at heart, I decided I would defend love. A love like my wife and I have now is worth defending, even at a young age I realized that. I decided to fight. I always had a feeling and hoped that my parents would come around, we just needed time. Time for my parents to: get to know her, understand her, meet her family, so they could realize how great she really is, and how much better she makes me. I didn’t speak to my parents for well over six months, which for me was very uncommon; I mean we spoke almost every day. It was a game of chicken that both sides ended up losing. I felt like I had lost my parents and they felt like they had lost a son. After about 6 months my dad reached out to me to have lunch and talk. He had come to grips that I was going to marry my now wife, Nikita. What he wanted was one more conversation which I obliged. After this lunch conversation, things changed. My dad at least met my now wife for dinner, but my mom was nowhere to be found. As my dad got to know my now wife, he started to realize that maybe the stereotypes didn’t apply to her and that she actually was a really great individual. My mom was still on the fence, it took her a lot of convincing from my dad to at least have dinner with us.
After the first dinner didn’t completely end in disaster, my mom also realized that she missed me. In the end, it was better to have me with her, than no me at all. This at least got us down the pathway of being able to resurrect our family. The more and more contact my mom had with my now wife, the more I think she realized how much they were similar. In the end, that process took several months, and for my mom to fully overcome (maybe) her prejudice based on stereotypes another several years of marriage. I think when she finally saw how beautiful our daughter was she finally succumbed and gave in, although that was about 5 years later.
MANTRA: Time has a wonderful way of showing us what matters.
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