Miscegenation Not to Be Lightly Enterprised

Having some miscegenation is not a problem: the Pomo Indians of California have even practised language exogamy without endangering themselves. Though it is often commendable, however, I think people need to approach their marriage choices thoughtfully and actually consider the cultural advantages and disadvantages. To act as if marriage is only a match of two persons is naïve at best, and an intercultural marriage needs to accept responsibility for two communities. Contrary to the internationalist presumptions of many liberals, we are in no way bound to support anything that mixes people up, even though it is no crime for culturally different folk to marry.

I suspect that intercultural marriage requires the preëxistence of a certain degree of trust and understanding between the two kinds. That way, a marriage cultivates a relationship that already exists rather than forcing strangers into a false relationship.

For me, to marry a Japanese lady would be no mean task. Multum obstat. Those who are able, I respect them, but I myself would have to find overwhelming virtues to even consider having a Japanese wife and Japanese in-laws.

Likewise, I am increasingly convinced that marrying someone White who bore little relation to the Chinese would likely be disastrous. Several in my family, both in my generation and in the generation above me, have married White Americans or Europeans; but in every case both spouses need to some extent to identify with the other ethnicity. It would be out of the question to marry a White lady who had no steady interest in learning Chinese.

It is ignorant to take offence at people liking to marry their own kind, and it is tyrannical to suppress this preference under the pretence of integration. It is one thing to oppose antimiscegenation laws, but another thing to imagine that miscegenation is always good. In many cases, it is unwise, and I am unwilling to accept the use of marriage as a pawn for anyone’s utopian ideals. For those who marry are stewards of their people’s heritage and the institution of marriage, and those who flout their duties dishonour their parents.

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5 responses to “Miscegenation Not to Be Lightly Enterprised

  1. This is a fantastic post. The point is easily missed by many North American Christians, I find. While in university here in Ontario, there was vague discomfort with my incipient notion of not marrying a Canadian (or White) girl … ostensibly b/c that notion seems less than the multicultural ideal deduced from the Great Commission (and praised in contemporary Canada). My reason is that I would have to functionally narrate most of my Nigerian life to her; she wouldn’t be able to experience it with me, and our private moments would always swim back to the safety of our original Canadian context. We’ve lived here long enough that my siblings and I are functionally Canadian. But our parents, our home life (and cuisine and language), our extended family, all remain markedly Nigerian.

    Furthermore, I’ve noticed that other intercultural marriages here essentially step into the North American mold. This makes perfect sense b/c it is the ambient culture, after all. But as I’ve realized that I really want to pass on my Nigerian (really, Yoruba) heritage on to my children, and not see that knowledge die with me, it seems herculean to try instil in my children what I’m also teaching to my wife (assuming, for a moment, that I found a woman with a steady interest in learning such). For this reason, I’ve consciously started looking largely for either Nigerian Christian girls (or even other African girls who are culturally alien enough to North America to feel the importance of preserving their culture, and culturally close enough to ‘naija’). My non-Christian friends would be largely puzzled by this, but many Christian friends, surprisingly, are skeptical. This post furnished my thinking on this with some helpful and cogent premises.

    “To act as if marriage is only a match of two persons is naïve at best, and an intercultural marriage needs to accept responsibility for two communities.”

    Very well said.

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  2. Thanks for your kind words. On a tangent, I’m wondering what the bride and groom wear at a Yoruba Anglican wedding. Do you know?

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    • If the pictures from my parents’ Yoruba Anglican wedding are any indication, they wear what Westerners wear: suit, and veiled white dress. And that’s the case for all of Yoruba Christendom. The day before the wedding (typically, Friday evening) is the traditional engagement ceremony where gifts are exchanged between the families, and a lot of other ceremony & dancing goes down – everyone there is wearing Yoruba clothing. On the wedding day, the bridge & groom are in gown & suit, and by halfway through the reception, they’re back in (different!) traditional clothes. And also at weddings, the two extended families (loosely defined) wear two different colours of cloth (aso ebi) to signify the two communities represented at the wedding. I imagine the clothing budget gets intense (especially in North America where tailors can’t be haggled lol). Praying also for a frugal wife… 🙂

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      • I find it interesting that everyone has settled into that custom of an engagement cæremony with Yoruba clothes and a church wedding with Western clothes, and I wonder if there was any period of instability and more varied practice before most everyone adopted a new pattern.

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        • I asked my parents this weekend. It seems to have been a settled custom as early as my grandparents’ wedding (WWI-era). Apparently people who married in a church in their native clothes were considered to be already pregnant (and the church, again apparently, only started holding up the chaste standard circa mid-century). Yoruba Muslims, it seems, are more likely to mix and match with the husband in babariga, and wife in a gown. Thanks for furnishing me with a question I hadn’t previously considered. It’s sparked my curiosity, so I’ll keep poking around until I find roughly where that ‘period of instability’ was. Happy Easter!

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