By Gracilis,  Marriage

Mixed Blessings

The above was the title of a British sitcom that aired in the late 70s’ to early 80s’ which I remember watching as a child. I do not claim to have understood all of it especially with the insurmountable barrier of  the British accent  then but there was a song associated with the programme which I still recall as  “mixed blessings for you and me”. This sitcom was meant to show the difficulties associated with inter racial marriages as portrayed by a black and white newly wed couple.Little did I know that later on in my life, I would be surrounded by close friends  who would choose love courageously above race without looking back .In short in the past year, I have had two friends marry white guys &yes, I have also begged them to share their story, so make sure you watch this space .
While these choices may be a bold step in the right direction, it is not one that should be taken lightly as the challenges of race divide affecting culture, communication and mannerisms may add to the already inherent challenges of making a marriage work. This is further saddled by society’s unfriendly attitudes towards these marriages. There was a time in South Africa that it was a taboo and this last Summer marked the 50th anniversary of the case that made inter racial marriages legal in the United States(Loving vs Virginia case).
Although it is half of a century already and progress has been made as these marriages have become more common especially with the  advent of internet dating, society at large is slowing groping with the realities and complexities and  their role in supporting such couples. Furthermore, the myths that surround these marriages sometimes discourage people from going all the way in their pursuit for love.
Some of these myths undermine the very essence of the marriages claiming that they have been contracted for symbol status or other reasons. There is also a strong negativity based on the myth that individuals  eventually return to their  own race to marry as “no one can take care of a black man like a black woman”  vice versa excuse is given. This negativity seems to be coupled with unwarranted animosity as some of my friends have actually confessed to me that they are the brunt of receiving dirty looks from females of their spouses’ race when they appear in public like they have stolen something and infringed on some other woman’s right although some of them are slowly getting accustomed to this. Funnily enough, sometimes it is a look of betrayal to their spouses by members of their own race
Some of society’s response has just been plain denial and non-acceptance of the validity of such marriages simply because of racial differences. I remember an auntie recalling the marital status of a guy  and someone asked ” but is he not married?. Her reply troubled me  as she went on in the lines of “which marriage is that?The one with that oyibo girl,  abeg  we have to look for one of us for him to marry.{Oyibo means white &abegmeans please }
Although love is usually central in  most of these marriages,there are some inter racial marriages that  unfortunately are plain old contracts for immigration purposes. While some of these  sham marriages are contracted right up  front with money  paid to  the supposed partner, it is painful  to see others where one partner thought they had genuinely  found love and that their case was an exception only to be shocked by the change in their partners and the breakdown of the marriage after the benefits of a change in immigration status had been achieved. If you do not love someone don’t go ahead in deception,it is a seed that will be reaped eventually. I remember a childhood neighbour who relocated to America and eventually married an American. After several years of marriage and  she eventually obtained her stay, she asked for a divorce.The guy was so devastated and as she left, he told her I “I was warned, but I swore that you were different. It is a level of betrayal that is disheartening which painfully may have been supported by family members.It is our responsibility as family and friends to foster love and commitment rather than encouraging a non-committal attitude towards the  covenant of marriage simply because it is inter-racial.
This is not to decry the fact that some people genuinely have to leave these marriages after being subject to abuse by their spouses who knew the importance of a settled immigration status or that inter racial marriages are the only ones affected by immigration scams.
It is not every inter racial marriage that has been contracted for other benefits so let us as a people respect these couples when we meet them.If you are not so inclined due to preference and not racism, show your maturity by tolerance but  if you are thinking of crossing borders in search of love, thankfully in this day and age, you have not committed a crime. When you decide to go ahead, please   be wise about it. Do all you can to ensure you are not being used. Apart from running a credit check on a potential mate, you might need to add a marriage check, especially in their country of origin.
Finally, with every blessing comes the need for further blessings as new challenges arise. Having found our soul mate in another race, let us not downplay our differences but rather use them to our advantage. This in itself is a never ending learning curve but one in which we must participate if we are to reap the benefits of this  mixed blessings.
I love to write,

Gracillis

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4 Comments

  • Nana world

    I am of the opinion that marriage is such a sacred institution that it should not be toyed with. Don't fake it . If for any other purpose look for a partner with like mind even if you have to pay. Don't deceitfulyl lead any one on. It is so inhuman.

  • flourish

    Thanks for your comment.i totally agree with you,leading another person on when deep down we have no plans for long term commitments is inhumane and the truth is that this same things happens in some marriages of the same race .

  • Dasylva Oriaifo

    Well done Gracilis. This is a very complex topic and I sensed that as you tried to navigate. U raised questions and answered them eventually. Masterfully done. The fact that many go in for the wrong reasons does not mean you and I cannot go into it for the right ones. In another writeup I'll love u to look into what those complex cultural issues are that interacial maariages are prone to and how it can be mitigated. Once again, well done Gracilis

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