Five top differences in a multicultural relationship
Celebrate the Differences
Born and raised in Ponce, PR I never viewed color as an issue within a relationship. Being Hispanic meant having people of different shades and colors among your own family members. Once my mother and I moved to the Bronx, NY, I was shocked by the different cultures and customs. And though while growin up I remained adamant to maintaining mine, I realized that the heart might have different plans.
In this day and age I do not feel that the color of the skin is really an issue within a relationship. In my opinion, with the exeption of a few, we have grown and adapted. Cultural differences might cause some tension in a relationship though and only when we do not know how to deal with the differences. In his article,"The unique challenges of multicultural relationships and marriages", Bhagat states that " To tolerate might not be enough, to accept might be okay but still not enough. To celebrate might be the way to go". I have decided to adopt this view in my own relationship and apply it to what I think are the top 5 differences within a multicultural relationship.
What are we going to eat?
Before moving in together my boyfriend and I ate a lot of take-out food, so we never payed much attention to how different our taste in a home cooked meal were. Once moving in together we realized that they differed... A lot! While I loved my rice and beans, my fried chicken ( unbreaded), stuffed potato balls and stewed beef. He loved his breaded fried chicken/porkchops, Mac-n-cheese, green beans and cornbread. My initial reaction to this was " how the heck do I cook greenbeans or collards for that matter? And who the heck breads their porkchops?!" We argued and fought until I finally gave in. But once giving in I realized " I'm tired of potatoes! Mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, fried potaoes!". I missed my RICE! After compromising with boyfriend and asking to him to at least TRY some of the foods once, I believe we are slowly learning how to cope with this issue. This means that I would have to learn how to cook some of his meals and he would have to "suffer" through some of my rice and " empanadillas" from time to time.
What did she say?
Spanish being my first language meant I was going to hear him ask to translate a lot. Specially around my grandparents who do not speak English. This though he has celebrated since day 1. " Dios mio!" being his favorite phrase. He has learned to say "bendicion" ( blessings) to my grandmother when he sees her and attempts to learn key words to say to our daughter. This to me is not much of an issue but I do wish he was more fluent in order for him and family to communicate better and to make it easier for the baby to learn.
Music and Dance
So I took him to a salsa class and even though he states he enjoyed it, he hasn't gone back since! There are times when I hear a really good song in Spanish and I just wish he understood. I do not think this creates tension but I do feel that it would help us connect more as a couple. I would love for him to go dancing with me and feel the passion our music instills. As far as our child goes this does not matter because she is already used to hearing the music, now whether she will like it or not will be up to her.
Going to one of his family cook outs and to one of mine are totally different. From the foods, to the music and even to the conversations. But I will always remember that first get-together our families had and how somehow we all had a great time. It reminded me of how beautiful people can be and how having multiple cultures in one big family can add very interesting elements to an event. Even though at times I know that it would have been easier to our families for him to be with a black woman and for me with a Hispanic man, I know that our happiness is what really matters to them. This knowledge both strenthens and enriches our relationship.
What do they identify themselves with?
Children will probably be the first excuse people might give you as to why they oppose interracial and multicultural relationships. I believe that our daughter is not only wealthier but will be more well- rounded due to her multicultural background. I think these children are so beautiful and special that I have a hard time understanding why anyone will be opposed to it. Being Hispanic in itself means I am already multiracial, so therefore adding another element to the mix should not be an issue. My family and I want to ensure that our baby girl not only knows where she come from, speaks both languages and both customs, but that she also knows that she needs to be proud of who she is. She is not puertorican or black, she is Tiana and her background will only add to her identity.
- The unique challenges of multicultural relationships and marriages
I loved this article and inspired me to relate my opinion on this matter.