Volume 94, Issue 38

Tuesday, November 18, 2000


Arranged marriages: A true family affair

Breaking the cultural boundaries

Racism still prevalent in families

Racism still prevalent in families

Tola Afolabi
Campus and Culture Editor

In an perfect world, there would be no sexism, homophobia or racism. Knowing we can't really achieve such idealism, we strive to create a society that welcomes all.

In theory, we've come pretty close to this ideal world. But in practice, society has a long way to go when it comes to some age-old issues.

Racism has long been a concern with the public and even though discrimination based on ethnicity is no longer seen as a major issue, attitudes which are detrimental to human relationships remain.

An attitude that still boggles my mind is the one towards interracial relationships. Many people would not label themselves as racist, yet they have certain conceptions about members of other races which affect social interaction – all they see is colour.

Seeing colour is the reason people do a double-take when they see a white guy holding a black girl's hand. It is also the reason people assume you are speaking of a member of your race when you're talking about your sister-in-law.

Seeing colour is the reason so much anxiety surrounds interracial marriage – there's always a friend or family member who thinks something's not right with the whole situation and "politely" points out the absurdity of it all. And why is it so absurd?

Stereotypes have become almost subconscious influences on thinking and are part of the reason we can't conceive of a super-intelligent, black-belted oriental girl hooking up with a hoop-shootin', Fubu wearing black guy from the "ghetto".

TV and pop culture have also warped our perceptions, romanticizing interracial marriages. They're viewed as exotic, exciting and people usually take on the world to defend their love.

In reality, the honeymoon can quickly end once an interracial couple realizes what they've gotten themselves into – either a fad or a disillusioned fantasy.

The attitudes that need to be conquered go way back – many races have mistrusted each other or seen themselves superior to other races for hundreds of years. Although society is trying to eliminate these problems, laws can't possibly govern all areas of life.

It would be nice to see a day when interracial couples can go out with their bi-racial children and not have one head turn disapprovingly or curiously their way.

Until then, crossing over is not a walk in the park.

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