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South Asian and Black African/Caribbean - an unusual coupling?

(33 Posts)
chikali Thu 26-May-05 14:38:36

I'm of Nigerian and Jamaican heritage, born here, dp is of Indian origin, part Bengali, part Sindhi, also born here and we have ds, 5 months - who defies "ethnic origin" categories especially as my own 'mix' is not acknowledged but that's a whole different thread.

Am curious about people's perspectives, experiences and opinions as we are seen as a 'rare' combination...

MarsLady Thu 26-May-05 14:40:15

hi, no seen a few of you. I was a reasonably unusual coupling for a couple of years then suddenly lots of black women were dating/marrying white men.

enjoy your "rarity". Quite nice to be unique.

suzywong Thu 26-May-05 14:40:36

just be glad that you are paving the way for more of your combination, I always think that all mixed race combinations are inspirations for the widening of the global gene pool.

I bet you boy is gooooooooorrrrrrrrrgeous!

chikali Thu 26-May-05 15:05:22

Hi MarsLady, interesting comment re black women/white men - I do remember it not necessarily being as visible as the black man/white woman couple and certainly when I had white partners, would 'monitor' the presence/absence of similar combinations. I do think black women with non-black partners have a harder time...

chikali Thu 26-May-05 15:06:20

Oh btw, yes ds is gorgeous, but naturally I'm biased!

binkie Thu 26-May-05 15:11:42

Have a friend of near my own (mature) age who has parents just like you two, so she's had the experience your ds will have. She used to be a mumsnetter ... maybe she will spot you?

(She is rather beautiful.)

suzywong Thu 26-May-05 15:25:56

FWIW my combination, White woman and Chinese man is very rare, it's usually Chinese/Asian womenand white men for some reason, plus dh is also a bit Borneo Indigenous, though only a quarter

chikali Thu 26-May-05 15:31:20

Mm, it would be good to hear of direct experience - one of my concerns is the sharing of cultural background. For a variety of reasons, there are gaps in my knowledge re my Igbo heritage e.g. cant speak more than a few words and my dp is also limited in his Bengali etc. At the moment, we are in a dilemma re religion because theoretically -but not practising - we are Christian & Hindu. However, again due to limited understanding, we're unsure as to what ds should be...

chikali Thu 26-May-05 16:02:58

been erratically posting cos trying to entertain/feed/change ds in between.

re suzywong's comment - have you ever discussed that with your dh?

I also realised that having said we were a 'rare' combination - in my own family, I have had two female cousins who were partnered with Asian men both of Muslim Pakistani origin, although both sets have now split up. I suppose to some extent, that's at the back of my mind - how we successfully negotiate our relationship with few other examples about?

pinkmagic1 Thu 26-May-05 16:06:33

If neither of you practice your religions maybe it is best to bring your child up to know and respect both, then they can make their own mind up when they are older.
I'm a white, british christian and DH is an Egyptian muslim but neither of us really practice. We celebrate both the Christian and Muslim festivals however.

motherinferior Thu 26-May-05 16:07:50

Have you read Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's book 'The colour of love' on mixed race relationships? If you haven't, it might be useful.

My own daughters are promised to the Wong boys in order to produce a new super-race

gingerbear Thu 26-May-05 16:17:44

My friend in Germany is from Laos and is married to a German woman. His daughters are beautiful.

chikali Thu 26-May-05 16:35:35

Yes, I read "The Colour of Love" soon after it came out, more in a hypothetical way and it would be useful to revisit it after all this time now I can more directly relate to some of the scenarios. Although if I can remember, I found I was looking for more examples of relationships with black women partnered to non-black men - linking back to what MarsLady said earlier.

Re religion, we have discussed that sort of option and to be honest, the dilemma came about more as a result of the need to declare ds' religion for hospital records. I think also it's to do with wanting ds to have a stronger coherent sense of self through a deeper knowledge of his heritage. Also, due to his looks - which obviously may change over time - ds will be commonly seen as "south asian" and possibly expected to know more as a result...

chikali Thu 26-May-05 16:37:57

I think some of the religion issue is also about grandparental and wider family expectation as well...

Kelly1978 Thu 26-May-05 16:47:33

Hi Chikali,

I have seen black/asian couples but they are few and far between, even though I live in an area where there are lots of mixed relationships.

Personally, I'm white and my partner is Gujarati Hindu. We have twin boys, plus I have two older children 2 and 4 from a previous relatinship.

All our children are being brought up to appreciate both Hinduism and Christianity, altough as a household we practise Hinduism over christianity, and I think all four children will prob lean towards Hindism more than Christianity. My partner's religion is very integral to him, and so I learned a lot in being with him, and it is very important to him that his sons be raised with a good understanding of hinduism.

Often couples tend to go the other way in mixed relationships, but it depends what is important to you and your partner really. You have to do what you feel is right.

chikali Thu 26-May-05 17:13:39

Hi Kelly1978, your post may have just highlighted the key element in our dilemma, namely that relative lack of knowledge that dp feels he has with regard to Hinduism both from a religious ritualistic context and a cultural awareness. In one way, it would be easier to raise ds as a Christian, based on us both having a better understanding/experience of Christianity and in terms of promixity, ds is closer to my extended family than his Hindu relatives. However, I suppose I feel hesitant about him missing out on the nuances of his Indian heritage - especially as we live in a society where Christianity is fairly straightforward to access. I think I could probably do with finding more Hindu friends....

Emily1980 Thu 26-May-05 17:29:54

My ds also defies the 'ethnic origin' catagories. dp is chinese/asian/black (carribean mixed race parents, dp born in uk) and i am white (romany heritage). ds looks white at the moment with straight light brown hair. dp and i want to encourage knowledge of herritage, but some people have implied that by going into too much depth, we will be confusing him?

Kelly1978 Thu 26-May-05 17:30:34

Chikali, i so know what you mean. Although being Hindu is really important to dp, he does have a poor knowledge of pratices, because he jsut went along with what he was told to do, and never really questioned why. Now, we have very little to do with his family ( I have never met them) and so we have to muddle along best we can really. We do daily rituals, and follow festival dates, go to mandir etc. but the life rituals are harder because neither of us have a lot of knowledge of them. Meeting Hindu friends seems impossible, plus different regions have totally diff traditions in any case. It is definately the harder option! I can really empathise with wating children to appreciate both sides of their heritage too.

Emily1980 Thu 26-May-05 17:32:14

Maybe just concentrate on Trini and british roots?

Kelly1978 Thu 26-May-05 17:38:47

There is a really interestign article here written by a mixed race man who grew up in an all white setting an his search for racial identity. I found it really interesting as a parent of mixed race kids, even though his situation is slightly different.

Emily1980 Thu 26-May-05 18:03:37

Yes, although a different situation, the article was v. interesting and v.informative. Although i wonder if colour is the main motive towards many people discovering cultural herritage? Wonder if ds would suffer reverse racism by appearing white. As dp says 'ds maybe the only white boy dancin calypso'. Well, at least he can flash them his blue-spot!

chikali Thu 26-May-05 18:47:02

Hi emily1980, re your post about people implying going into too much depth being confusing - IMHO, there is no such thing as "too much depth" regarding one's heritage. There's so much richness in the differing cultural backgrounds and it would be a real shame to not encourage our children to be armed with as much information about their family histories as possible. In my own case, my direct links to other parts of the world provides me with a heightened awareness of different ways of living, potential choices, an empathy with different struggles that I would maybe not have. Certainly, my formal education did not teach me about say, the Biafran War and how that contributed to a proportion of Igbo migration or about non-Windrush related immigration but curiousity about my family and roots did. I hope that my ds will be able to use his heritage as a springboard for a deeper understanding of the world and its workings.

Emily1980 Thu 26-May-05 19:06:32

Hi Chikali, I agree that there is alot of educational value in learning about ancestory. Although I'm going to have to do some swotting up on my and dp's histories too! Planning to visit Caribbean regularly as ds gets older, so that he can experience 1st hand. dp has only been there once too.

Emily1980 Thu 26-May-05 19:29:02

Chikali; re your dilema. Agree that it would be a good idea to meet Hindu friends, as then you can impartially observe the way that aspects of the religion affect day to day living and long term expectations. My dp's family want ds to have Christian upbringing. However, as neither dp nor i are committed practitioners of the Christian faih, i am planning to make ds aware of Christian rituals and teachings (as well as in other major faiths), but to spiritually educate him based on my and dp's morals, principles and values. These more or less match the basic teachings of most faiths anyway.

motherinferior Fri 27-May-05 19:41:46

Emily, my own experience of growing up mixed race but white (my mother is Indian; I am fair skinned with red hair!) is that the most important thing is to acknowledge the colour issue. It wasn't talked about at all in our household, which was most upsetting and confusing - we were supposed to identify as Asian but there we were, looking so very very non-Asian...and yes, I've had a fair bit of negative reaction from Asians too, as it happens.

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