The below essay is adapted from Ashley Graham's new memoir, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like. Four months into our . Monday, August 3, Around two-thirty in the afternoon the eggs land wide of us along the highway. A group of air-traffic controllers, their wives, and kids, we. No matter your background, an interracial marriage will be met with obstacles on both sides. It is especially the case for the generation of people whose parents were.
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This is a post I have been thinking about writing for quite some time because I have a lot of thoughts on this issue the reasons why may be obvious from the rest of this post and I wanted to get them down and get some feedback from other Muslims. Here is how I want to focus this topic:. No matter your background, an interracial marriage will be met with obstacles on both sides. It is especially the case for the generation of people whose parents were immigrants, and they themselves were raised here.
To even broach the idea of an interracial marriage will spring forth year old stereotypes of other cultures you never even knew existed. It is particularly sad when these are directed at other Muslim groups.
Even those who marry within the race will often face problems in marrying outside the tribe, or people from a specific part of the same country, so much so that some people even consider these marriages to be against the norm. Muslims who are the first generation to be born and raised in the West face a unique dilemma. They must harmonize between finding someone who is suitable religiously, and culturally. It is that point though, that parents have a tough time coming to grips with.
Many families are not accepting of such marriages, and many face great difficulties in pursuing them. The hardest part is breaking stereotypes that people have formed, or been brought up with.
These are literally ideologies they may have held for the vast majority of their lives. The culture and environment their kids have been brought up in though, does not hald fast to these same ideals.
This is where the toughest adjustment comes, and the cultural differences must be overcome. For purposes of this article, we will go ahead and assume that alhamdulillah as far as the deen is concerned, both parties are mashallah practicing and on the same page in regards to their religion. It is what comes outside of that which can cause problems. The first problem is, if I may term it so, latent cultural tendencies.
By this I mean that once a person is married, they are now in a stage of life that they have not experienced before assuming its the first marriage. A person might not realize these things before marriage, but after a kid the husband may start acting a certain way, and due to the way he was brought up, he will have certain expectations as to what his wife should do as a mother. The wife, having been brought up differently, may have the opposite expectation.
This is a situation where the culture has caused a clash despite the fact that neither one may actually be a cultural Pakistani, or a cultural Arab in the traditional sense. In-laws are another issue that comes up. Different cultures have vastly different expectations of their sons-in-law or daughters-in-law, and an interracial marriage will bring about an abrupt adjustment period for them.
Language barriers can also be an issue here. It is unfortunate that this aspect of an interracial marriage is often the most overlooked despite the heavy emphasis in Islam on preserving the family ties.
Kids add another dimension, and quite possibly the toughest. It is important for these issues to be agreed upon before getting married. Everyone has seen families where the mother and children communicate in one tongue, and the father is often left out in the cold and ends up disconnected from the family.
With that said, it is encouraging to see a rising trend in these marriages. We are after all, one ummah. Our cultures do enrichen our ummah, but they cannot come before our religion. To see more couples, and mixed-race children is a very apparent way of breaking down some barriers and stereotypes that exist within our societies. It exposes Muslims of one culture more intimately to those from another, and in the end I feel it increases the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood.
Tariq Nelson made a pertinent point on his blog ,. This would eventually lead to more of a blending in this country, culturally and genetically, of the many Muslim cultures as well as the American one. Intermarriage is one of the ways people that were once even somewhat hostile can become one group.
The most important role interracial marriages may play in this is the affect that they will have on their family and friends. First and foremost we should ask Allah swt to purify our intentions and grant us the tawfeeq to make all of our actions for Him and for Him alone.
Marriage in general is not a goal in and of itself, but it is a means of worshipping Allah by trying to establish a family upon the Sunnah.
I have outlined just a small sampling of the obstacles that one might face. People really need to do some self-introspection and see where they stand, see what their maturity level is, and know what they can handle before getting involved in anything.
Once a person does become involved in an interracial marriage, the most important thing is to have patience. A lot of things will come your way, but you must persevere through them as a Muslim should. Remember also that all your actions, and your family in the public eye, will be under much more scrutiny than most. Know that it will take time for the families of both parties to integrate and become comfortable with one another.
Would you consider it for yourself? What about for your children? What about for your siblings? How do you feel when you see an interracial couple? To be completely honest, I myself had preconceived notions about Arabs, which although sometimes true, are nonetheless, extremely stereotypical. Also, I thought interracial couples were weird. My husband, similarly, had stereotypical views on Pakistanis.
When we got married, it was much much easier than I had imagined. The families compromised a lot and it was even more interesting to infuse the 2 cultures together.
P The Arabic, leaving them with my in-laws. Our parents like this idea also. The cool thing is that my best friend just became part of an interracial marriage last weekend, so I can give her lotsa advice. What a good idea — sending the children to your in-laws so that they learn both languages especially since they have the capacity to learn about 5 languages i heard?
More languages, the better. I am facing many problems regarding interracial marriage. My husband does not support me in any way but fully support his ex-wife who he has two children with. It makes me wonder are all Pakistani men like this who marry African-American women? Is this culture related or are they following the instructions of white people?
I thought Muslim men are supposed to take care of their wives? Have you tried talking about it with him? I hope things work out for you. Muslim and Arab men will take care of their children, the wife or ex wife who has his children has the priority. The woman, wife, or mother of his children is only a machine or a tool for him. I somehow skipped over this part in the post: I actually had no idea people thought that way. While we were engaged, people at the Masjid did make a lot of harsh comments, but my friends never told me.
Later I found out, from some kids!! Like you said, cute kids. Learning another language faster and easier. And, it could go on…. And most importantly, stick together for the sake of Allah … not for the sake of children, not families,ect. Deen is above all else. I agree with a lot of stuff that you just mentioned. I agree with all the pluses of inter-racial marriages but it requires a lot of patience to climb up the bariers and achieve life-long happiness…. I started on a short response, but I decided to post it here […].
Very interesting and well thought out article. Salaam, from a FOB point of view, I can see that the generation born and raised here have their own unique culture. A person born here in a Pakistani family or arab family etc, would have a new culture mixing american culture with traces of their parents culture.
So it would be kind of hybrid culture. And sometimes its not parents who hold you back from marrying into different culture, its person himself or herself for valid reasons as well. We have to realize that the marriage is not something trivial to experiment with, its matter of whole life hopefully. And the person hopes and want least sort of problems in it, and want a harmonious marriage. So if a person feels the cultural differences is going to cause such issues, why take such risk?
Why be miserable for all life or even few years to sort things out? What are incentives to go this route? Now as a parents, we need to realize our kids have their own culture, and we should find something suitable for them within their new adopted culture. So you are right, a pakistani american may have more in common with arab american than a pakistani from back home, because his her culture is different now.
I am not advocating against interculture marriage, I am just saying if couples cant feel comfortable with each other, then dont experiment. Sister Ruth, I believe that Omar is talking about both. Interracial marriages can actually become more difficult when they add an intercultural aspect to it. And Omar speaks out of personal experience, being that he is married to a sister from a different race completely and different nation of origin , while he is himself is a 1st generation American of Indo-Pakistani origin.
I have seen too many marriages break apart when the origins are taken into account more than the culture. Amad, thanks for clarifying that.