By Maribel Ruiz
I don’t think many people have considered dating exclusively within their own culture.
I AM ALL MIXED UP…
Being Mexican American I have learned to love both cultures and being the bi-cultured individual that I am, I have become passionate for a widespread of cultures equally. I became fascinated by a medley of cultures; from their artistic standing to their musical components, culinary palette, and most importantly their linguistic value.
Overall I am that one girl who liked to watch the Korean dramas and foreign films and pronounces things overly proper in French. My parents understand that I am a person that appreciates cultures and art as they play massive role in my life, but they did not seem to understand why.
They could not seem to understand because they could not embrace another culture other than their own as they were brought up with that one culture solely. I analyzed why our recent generations are more open to multicultural interaction while past generations seen to look down upon it.
It was one day while we were all getting ready for dinner; when I asked about a hypothetical marriage a “what if…” scenario. I started with my parents talking about dating and how my older sister needed to find a charming, successful Mexican man.
I asked, “Why Mexican?” and then proceeded by asking what they would feel if I married a man from a different ethnic background.
My parent’s responses were quite surprising; they insisted that marrying into a different culture is easier said than done. My sisters and I asked my parents a series of question until my parents reached the conclusion that they would have never thought of marrying outside of our Mexican culture yet times have changed and they accept that.
TIMES HAD CHANGED…
Older people are not completely on board with this new movement of interracial communion as it has only been legal for the last 40 years. As I can speak for the Millennial and Generation Z it has become commonplace to see men and women from all types of ethnic backgrounds forming co-ethnic relationships with success. It is said that our generational wave is far more exposed to the world as we have technology that can connect us to people on the opposite hemisphere.
SNAPSHOT OF GENERATIONAL WAVES…
In entirety family it is quite filtered through composed of mostly all Mexican individuals and if one of my cousins or I bring a foreigner home for the holidays, there will be talk.
My family alike many other Mexican families are highly judgmental, but that is the way they express their loving concern, as they call it.
THE OLDER WAVE… My grandparents are the first to say something with no filter regarding to whom my cousins are dating, something along the lines of;
“Mijo, you need a real woman not a gringa, she isn’t even pretty, aye Dios mio she doesn’t speak Spanish.”
This mentality expresses the close mindset of commonly older generations as they were not raised with any exposure to many diverse individuals from all walks of life. Older generations also tend to represent tradition and don’t easily embrace change making it difficult for these conservative individuals to think similarly to the younger generations.
THE MIDDLE WAVE…Next in Line would be my parents, a generational wave that was exposed to intercultural movement yet they were born right about the time that intercultural marriage was legalized so they were equally exposed to prejudices. This generation seems to stick to tradition as instructed but is accepting and open minded.
Most parents commonly are open to the new wave ideas but are still conflicted with culture shock and difference in values; which they find to be of importance when establishing a family.
For example, I know some of my friends parents that have been divorced tend to date out of their typical cultured pool and end up marrying someone out of their circle. This shows that many people look at a person rather than their culture as a determining factor for their relationship.
THE NEW WAVE… This recent movement of “The New face of America” has received much attention.
It describes a point where there is so much intermixing of individuals that a new face of the average mixed American will appear to be like. About 43% of the population stated that interracial marriage was an improvement for our society; while 11% saw it to be a change for the worse of our society and 44% said it made no difference.
The openness of future generation and the ones now display the lack of prejudice. In my family there are those occasional black sheep within the family, that are either dating a Mexican girl who cannot speak Spanish; which are the most heavily criticized among Mexicans.
This new wave is mainly composed of minorities, younger adults, and the college-educated that consider themselves independent or Liberal.
America is the largest multicultural nation and due to cultural diffusion tradition is being lost.
America is composed by people from almost every corner of the world and such diversity facilitates them to form relationships and establish American values and their new culture. Many large cities have specific locations dedicated to advocate and preserve cultures. For example, cities on both coasts east and west have established China towns which allow people to see and enjoy the customs of this south East Asian country.
The older generation wave established these locations to preserve their cultural roots and it seems like not only people of their same cultural background visit these locations as they are often explored by many young adults as they find these locations amusing and filled with incredible diverse cuisine. Like the Chinese there are many other groups that dedicate specific locations to their specific culture and customs
MEN AND WOMEN
According to a study done by Pew social there are common gender pattern in interracial marriages. Women are the gender that is the most willingly and likely to marry out of their culture yet black men are leading, as statistics have shown. This seems to be present more in younger generations than past generations. About 36% of Asian women marry outside of their Asian culture while only 17% of Asian males do so. According to the study only 9% of black women marries inter-racially and about 24% of all black males; nearly 3 times as many as women.
ISSUES WHY NOT… to interracial marriage
- Lack of cultural preservation
When marrying into another culture people tend to lose customs and relation to a culture. Many people feel like they can keep a balance but slowly but surely common tradition is lost. Many people resort to building cultural centers in order to keep their customs alive.
- Different values
When coming from diverse backgrounds many people either religiously or morally tend to have different views on specific issues; which makes it difficult for people with two different views and inputs to agree. This is why many couples tend to search for an individual that share their common beliefs typically being of their same ethnic group.
- Tradition is Loss
The loss of any tradition is what older generations fear the most as it places their people in the place of being forgotten. It is interesting to see how in the past there has been many groups of people that have adapted new ways of living and that lack of cultural preservation has lead them to the loss of many traditional customs.
- Language is Loss
My parents are deeply concerned about language loss as it is known by the third generation many people tend to lose their native language. My parents want my sisters and I to preserve that Spanish language allowing my future generations to be fluent in their native language.
- Fear of change
Many older generations feel that change will have a negative impact on our future and therefore think that things should remain the same and things should not be messed with. In comparison future generations are fearless and seemingly reckless therefore change is one of the reasons why this is so freighting.
My parents have been married for the past 25 years of their life and it was not that long ago that in Mexico there was a similar situation where Mexicans were forbidden to marry with the Chinese immigrants flood the Mexican American borders. The Mexican -Cantonese children that came out of these relationships were known as “cachanilla” yet everyone native to his are call themselves “cachanillas” I feel like that highly influenced my parents views even though they were not aware of these events.
My parents really had reasons to why they were hesitant to accept the idea of me and my sisters marrying outside of our culture and I completely understand them as they do matter and are of great importance. The diverse generational spectrum makes it difficult to have everyone to view interracial communion as a positive thing.