The Art of Interracial Marriage

How Did You Get That Last Name

How Did You Get That Last Name

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The Ultimate Fix It Mom

Eagerly driving to the local Home Depot (with my three year old daughter, Amaya in tow) I realized that I had become the ultimate fix it mom.  What do I mean by this?  See 5 THINGS I NEVER FATHOMED I WOULD DO AS A STAY AT HOME MOM for more on this.

A Quick Paint Supply  Run

“No, Amaya, they don’t have the cart with the steering wheel for kids today, I softly whispered.’ Can you walk with Mom so that we can quickly get in and out of the store please.’ Mom just came for paint and paint brushes”.  “Okay”, Mom she responded while looking momentarily downcast.

Running ahead me she dogged greetings from adult after adult that attempted to wave and speak to her.  “No, I can’t talk to you!’ I am a baby adult; I’m not an adult!”,  she hollered and swiftly came back and grabbed my hand. Finally standing in front of the paint aisle I grabbed the supplies I needed to paint a wall in our home.  As we headed towards a check-out lane Amaya tugged at me and shouted, “I want that, Mom!”  Wishfully pointing towards the Twizzlers and other sugary and salty snacks near the register, I replied, “Guess what Mom has?” And I promptly grabbed a baggie of grapes from my purse for her to enjoy.

Let The Surname Interrogation Begin

Unfazed the cashier looked up at me and said “did you find everything you needed today?”  I stated, “yes and thanks.”  As I handed her my payment and ID  she alarmingly looked up at me and said, “are you Indian?”  “No”, I uttered in reply as a feeling of am I about to be interrogated crept upon me.  “Oh” the cashier continued…”so how did you get that last name?”     Hmm, a bit annoyed because I just wanted to get my paint supplies and go I replied my “husband is Indian.”  As she now felt the need to take a double and triple check at my driver’s license I intentionally placed my wedding ring on full display. “Oh”, she said, “my dad used to work with some sweet Indian people.’ So you eat Indian food?”  “Yes, I do”, I replied and “I cook it too!”

So Is She Half-Indian

Looking at my daughter as  if she had just discovered a golden unicorn, the cashier added “so she is half-Indian?”  “Yes”, I replied while wanting to roll my eyes.  Now more than ready to go the cashier went on, “so from East India… that is where my the guys that worked with my dad are from?”  “No, Northern India” I declared and sighed as I grabbed the receipt and dashed through the doors.

Clever Answers And Responses To This Question

After this happened this got me thinking about how many of us that are in interracial/intercultural marriages get asked this question? Or have heard this question? A question that is innocent but also invasive at the same time.  Hence I reached out to some other couples in interracial/intercultural relationships about this. In particular, I wanted to know what their clever, witty and sensible replies were or would be for the question of how did you get that last name?

1.) “I earned it.”

2.) “It is my husband’s name.”

3.) “It is my married name.”

4.) “Some flat out ask but I actually like watching people politely dance around it without asking directly.’ It starts with how to pronounce and then they painfully go from there and I give them enough rope to hang themselves by playing dumb.”

5.) “You mean am I married?’  Yes, as I put on full display my Mangala Sutra.” 
Example of a Mangala Sutra

Bonus: “What is a Mangala Sutra? In Sanskrit the word Mangala means ‘holy and auspicious’, and Sutra means thread.  Hence the Mangala Sutra is a holy and auspicious thread/necklace.  It is a necklace that a Hindu groom ties around the bride’s neck during the Mangalya Dharanam.   What is Mangalya Dharanam?  Mangalaya Dharanam means wearing the auspicious in Sanskrit and is the main ceremony in a Hindu wedding.  Hence a married woman continues to wear the Mangala Sutra as a sign of her marital status.”




Have you heard this question before? If so how did/do you answer it?

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  1. enannylink1 says:

    ❤❤ how you handle your culturally diversed family. I heard this question a millón times about myself growing Up and continues today. I had to come to grips that although the questions came off as odd to me I found that in my case it was mostly of interest in the unique cultural combination especially since I spoke another language. My Mother is Puerto Rican and my Father is African American. So Proud of how I was raised to love not only my cultures but all cultures ♥

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  4. […] grab her out of the circle of girls, but I did not. I stood and watched, and in her stead, I said: “her dad is Indian.”  To which the little girl (that blurted out, but that’s an Indian name), rejoiced, […]

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