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Racial difference in marital relation

Discussion in 'Married Life' started by mahi vai, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. mahi vai

    mahi vai New IL'ite

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    Hello,

    I'm sorry about posting this question in this forum as it doesn't have anything to do with my spouse (as I'm not yet married) but my boyfriend. However we have talked about marriage so I guess it does have to do with marriage a little bit :). I hope you guys can give me advice about my boyfriend even though we're not married yet. I feel like I have noone to talk to- I'm worried if I ask my family and friends for advice that their perception of him will be negatively influenced.

    I am an Indian girl living in Canada who has been dating a Canadian white boy for some time. We are both pretty serious about one another, our parents are okay and encouraging about us dating, and for the most part he has been a very supportive and respectful partner. There's one thing though that worries me and that's the cultural differences we share. Sometimes I get worried that he won't be able to adjust to the Indian aspects of my life.

    For example, early on in my relationship he jokingly called me a racial slur that is extremely offensive in this part of the world, and derogatory to Indians (sand nig*er). He had seen Indian people in a movie call each other that and thought I'd think it would be funny to be called it. I was very hurt and appalled, and said to him quite politely that I found terms that were derogatory to Indians extremely hurtful and offensive and asked him to refrain from using such language in my presence. I assumed that was the last time we would have this discussion, but not too long after that he used the term "paki" in front of me (which is very offensive in Canada when used by non-Indians). We ended up having a big argument- when I got angry with him for not respecting my wishes he became angry that I was angry but eventually he apologized for being offensive and I again assumed that that was the last time I'd have to address the issue.

    Well just yesterday he used the term "paki" again and when I became angry he said I had no reason to see it as an offensive term as it was merely a short form for "Pakistani", and that even if it was offensive it shouldn't be as brown people use that word to describe themselves. When I reminded him that I'd asked him not to use that word he said he didn't mean it in an offensive manner, and had gone his whole life not knowing it was a bad word and that I should realize that, as well as apologizing again.

    Anyway this whole issue has been bothering me for days and now I'm wondering if he really does mean well but if I'm better off being with someone a little more sensitive to the racism people of our culture experience. He's great in every other way but for some reason this really really bothers me. Am I overreacting?
     
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  2. Ria2006

    Ria2006 Silver IL'ite

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    Re: advice needed

    Welcome to IL Mahi. I hope it interests you.
    You asking this question here is not a problem. Here is what I think about it.

    Any relationship comes with own set of complexities and advantages. I am sure there are certain advantages in dating a white person. But then its always between two people how comfortable they feel about their racial disposition. Just because a guy is Indian, not necesaarily he will be good indian husband. Same way any other race person will also have distingushed attributes added by his upbringing and his values. Now here are something you can observe in his family and their behaviour towards you.

    - Just see how his parents reacts to different race people than their own. There will be some aspects of them in their son too. Those aspects may not be visible in initial years of courtship. But in few years of marriage they will come up.

    - This particular incident of his repeating race-provocative words may be intentional or may be unintentioal. I think you need to trace this back on his bahaviour on other things. If he repeats the things you tell him objectionable. Then chance could be , he is doing out of habbit. If this is exceptional occurance. Then chances are deep down he does have racial derogation marked for Asians.

    You are not over-reacting on this issue. Since racial difference is striking feature of your relationship. You are naturally concerned and worried if racial difference is not handled the way you want it to. There is nothing wrong in it. You just need to talk this out objectively with your partner. There is no need to get angry and emotional about. Just plain you point and his resolution.

    I hope it helps
    Ria
     
  3. Mahajanpragati

    Mahajanpragati Platinum IL'ite

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    Re: advice needed

    dear mahi,
    ur boyfriend may have used the word unintentionally.u may be the 1st asiatic person he is dealing with so closely.so,many times he may forget that u may take offense at certain words which he is used to saying with his pals.as far as i know we ,indians too use certain words to refer foreigners when we talk with each other & even for the people of states other then ours.sometimes there is bound to be slip of tongue in front of them.
    just concentrate how his basic behaviour is.i mean when he meets people of other culture ( non indians) , is he courteous towards them or talking with u ,he belittles them.that way u may judge whether his use of the offensive word was delibrate or just slip of tongue.
     
  4. jaya36

    jaya36 New IL'ite

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    Re: advice needed

    I personally think he is not gonna stop using racial slurs........its just that way he is brot up..........just like we indians also use some comments which we should not be using against people of other races(sorry not trying to sterotype anyone).When desis talk to each other those comments may not be of much problem BUT for example when I use the same word with american friend..........it wud surely hurt her...........I think it is just a cultural thing.

    Either you have to live with it as long as ur in relationship & keep telling him gently u dont like it.(worst case it can always come up when u both had a fight,arguement).........OR RUN from present relationship.

    SORRY I JUST GAVE MY VIEW...........I APOLOGISE IF I HAVE HURT ANYONE'S FEELINGS

    jaya
     
  5. mahi vai

    mahi vai New IL'ite

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    Thanks guys,

    I had a long talk with my boyfriend and you guys were right- his offending me really was just a case of him not knowing that the things he was saying were offensive. I guess because we come from different worlds we have to be a bit more patient with each other and open as to what the other deems as acceptable and unacceptable.
     

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