Tag Archive: cross cultural


wedding selfie

[Disclaimer: while in Americaland, the term “coloured” is a strongly negative term, in South Africa there is a unique group of people who have come from a heritage of different cultures but now have developed their own distinct culture. They are neither black nor white, nor are they mixed race, and they would call themselves ‘coloured’.]

 

We’re no different than any other couple.

Well, we are. Roxanne is from South Africa and colo(u)red and Greg is from America and white. The biggest differences we see between the two of us are our height and the fact that we spell words differently. So for this article, as we are writing it together, we will overcome inter-racial issues by spelling words both ways.

Recently, we were at a wedding where Roxanne introduced Greg to someone as her fiancé. This (white) man looked at her and then looks at him and the following conversation transpires:

Him: “Aren’t you colo(u)red?”

Rox: “Yes”

Him: “Don’t your parents mind?”

Rox: “Not at all”

Him: “Well, well done on you guys being progressive.”

Rox: “um… thanks?”

Thankfully, we don’t often have conversations like that but unfortunately there are still many people who think it is “progressive” for people to date cross-culturally.

We don’t.

One of Greg’s pet peeves is when someone says that Rox is “marrying up” as if the colo(u)r of his skin makes him a better person. He obviously feels that’s a load of horse manure.

Occasionally, we see someone do a double take in the mall, or someone asks an ignorant question, but actually, because we accept each other it doesn’t really matter whether strangers accept us or not.

We met, we fell in love. We have decided to get married. The fact that we are different colo(u)rs has not affected us in the least.  Actually, our oddness is so similar that it makes our cultural differences (which truthfully aren’t huge anyway) seem even less.  And our families love each of us individually and as a couple – why should race stop us from loving each other?

Yes, we have occasional disagreements but generally those are to do with us both being human beings more than the colo(u)rs of our skin.

While planning our wedding there have been a few cultural differences but those have been fun to discover. We will now have an American rehearsal dinner and a Colo(u)red catered reception – keeps everyone happy and celebrates both our heritages.

We love God. We love each other. And we love being able to celebrate being different with one another.

[To read the next story of mixed race and culture connections and meet Marcia Wells and Florian Adler, click here]

[For other conversations on all different aspects of Race-related things, click here]

biracial family selfie

James & Sherrell

American-African meets African-American.

 

We met at university; both of us were on student leadership for our respective halls. Sherrell’s from Durham, NC. James is from Cape Town, South Africa (Well, mostly). Naturally, there are a lot of cultural differences we’ve discovered along the way. For starters, we have different likes and dislikes, some of them diametrically opposite each other, ranging from the superficial, like our tastes in music and to how we like to spend our free time, to the more complex, like our outlook on life and how we grew up.

 

We’ve had our conflicts over these last two years of dating, but what couple doesn’t. The source of these conflicts, however, hasn’t been race, but things in our lives that we’ve needed to work on, things we needed to mature in. Our church has played a large role in that: supporting and mentoring us separately and together, providing us with examples of successful multi-racial couples, and giving us a place to worship with people of other ethnic groups.

 

That’s not to say we don’t have outside problems relating to each other’s backgrounds. Only recently, have we begun to meet each other’s extended families. They’re all from the American South, so there’s good deal of  apprehension based on history. Between each other, however, we’ve chosen to look beyond our races. That doesn’t mean we ignore where each other comes from – to do so would be an offense on our identities. Instead, we see our differences and choose to work from there. We choose to see what makes each other unique and celebrate it. Sometimes, it’s pretty goofy.  At other times, it’s a wonderful time of growth and learning.

 

Most importantly, though, is our commitment to God. It truly is the love of God that allows us to love each other as boy- and girlfriend and, hopefully, as husband and wife. This should be the linchpin of any relationship, whether you’re multi-ethnic, all-white, all-asian, or all-black. To accept each other’s cultural differences, skin tone, and perspectives, put God first, each other second, and yourself last.

 

[For other stories of Mixed Race and Culture Connections, click here] 

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