Hearing the whispers as you and your partner walk into a room can be deafening if you’re in a multicultural relationship.
All my life, I’ve seen the cultural, ethnic, racial, and even religious differences within my own family.
Mixed marriages are in my family’s blood. Some of the unique matrimonies within my family include an Arab uncle and his Mexican wife, a Honduran cousin and his Norwegian wife, a black cousin and his Chinese wife, a Samoan sister-in-law and her black husband, and a host of other close friends who have all married outside of their races.
My marriage is an example of an international alliance strong enough to make the United Nations take notice. I am half Honduran and half Arab, with a strong African-American influence from my blended-family upbringing. My husband, George, is full Samoan. In spite of his Southern California birth, he is 100% in touch with his Pacific Islander heritage. While my family is used to it by now, their neighbors still giggle when he wears a “skirt” around the house. It took my Abuelita (aunt) and my Tias some time to get used to my flower-printed-loin-cloth-clad husband.
Multicultural marriages require lifelong adjustments and daily compromises, which strengthen unions and make them more “discrimination” proof. Multi-racial couples with visibly contrasting looks, deal with more prejudices than couples whose outward appearances complement each other. Both George and I could pass for either Latinos or Polynesians, which makes us less likely to experience any drama from each other’s people. That’s not to say a discerning Samoan woman won’t stare just a second too long, or a perceptive Latino man won’t do a double take. It happens.
Our daily meals always include traditional American favorites, mouth-watering soul-food, exotic Caribbean dishes, and delicious Polynesian recipes. So what if we can’t agree on how to prepare masapan or ulu. We like our breadfruit fried, they like it baked. George enjoys wearing playaderas (Honduran leather sandals) and I have an entire wardrobe of handmade puletasis (two piece Samoan dresses). Weddings and funerals call for special ceremonies, which both honor our cultures and enlighten our guests.
Personally, I think mixed marriages in general contribute to the ever needed tolerance that is required to achieve global harmony and the ultimate prize – peace on Earth.