Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Roots and Ramblin's

I'm back from wherever the hell I've been (working, taking care of my loved ones, reading actual books, and then getting caught up on my blog reading).

I recently found out that a couple of people out there in the blogosphere, who I don't know in real life, are actually reading this blog. I felt kind of sorry for them, to be honest, because this has not been a very entertaining spot lately. And then I had a brownie walnut cookie and stopped feeling so bad about it. I think I'll have another one!

But welcome to one and all, old and new. I heart you, I really do.

Moving on, Sweet William and I stumbled across A Fond Kiss... on the Sundance Channel last night. Plot summary (totally thiefed from IMDB, naturally):
In Glasgow, Scotland, the Pakistani parents of Casim Khan have decided that he is going to marry his cousin Jasmine. Unfortunately, Casim has just fallen in love with his younger sister's music teacher Roisin. Not only is she 'goree', a white woman, she is also Irish and catholic [sic], things that may not go down well with Casim's parents. They start a relationship but Casim is torn between following his heart and being a good son.
We channel-surfed on to this fairly early on into the movie, and ended up watching it through to the end, heroically piecing together what they were saying, as one of the main characters has an Irish accent (not so hard) and the other has a Scottish accent ("What the hell did he say?" - Thank God for TiVo and the Live TV rewind).

Afterward, we had a discussion about interracial/intercultural relationships, begun first because I once had a four-year relationship with a man of South Asian descent, so I was able to talk a bit about my experience with him and compare it to what was happening on screen. My ex's parents didn't live in the U.S., so I never met them, and as it turned out, after four years together during which we discussed marriage often, ultimately, his parents did not ever know I existed. I think this was less a racial issue than a cultural one. His family had moved from their country of origin to the U.K., but were still trying to arrange a marriage for their 22-year-old daughter to someone from their homeland. Needless to say, having their eldest son marry a non-Buddhist, "multiracial" American was not on their radar screen.

I was deeply hurt. But, then, I was also 23 years old. I met him when I was in college and still forming my adult identity; this was my first serious/long-term relationship. I look back on it now and I realize that in my efforts to learn about his culture and embrace his identity, I put my own on the back burner. He spent a lot of time teaching me how to cook "his" food, trying to teach me the basics of his first language, and explaining to me how women in his culture were expected to behave.

I was trying to be open-minded, or so I thought. But I can see now that the cultural and religious differences would have been a huge strain, ultimately. And our relationship had other problems, to boot. Not a recipe for success.

So anyway, when we were talking about this last night, we both agreed that our own cultural differences were enough to handle. I mean, I hail from some uptight light-skinned New England Negroes, and Sweet William's people (who range from yalla to deep dark chocolate) are from a very small town in East Texas. They tend to be loud, and boisterous, and country as all hell. Now, when I say "country," I don't mean like, "They really love some Garth Brooks." I mean, COUNTRY* -- as non-cosmopolitan as you can get.

I am a city person, and worse, I am a Seven Sisters**-educated Northerner. I can't help the way I talk, but I can tell you, I don't sound country, and I don't even sound "urban" (i.e., "Black" - though how one can "sound black" is understandably controversial). Dave Chappelle says that all black people in America are bilingual, and to a certain extent, I agree with him. But I am kind of lost with country folk sometimes, because the lexicon (see? with the uppity white girl talk?) is completely different and I must as well be talking to someone from Scotland.

Strange, the differences that exist within our own group. I won't say race, as that is a completely fabricated concept and it doesn't exist. And really, I guess when it comes down to it, the fact that I don't fit in culturally at times with members of my own "race" (whatever we agree that that is) supports the argument that race is a pretty flimsy construction.

Perhaps I will continue my ramblings on this later, but for now, I have to go pick up my little smooch-head. *** Peace be to you and yours, of whatever stripe.

* From
An insult.
A person, generally African American, who grew up or now lives in the rural deep south.
A person, generally African American, who is not sophisticated.
Example: Keshia thinks she all that living in LA but she's just country.
** Back when I was shopping for colleges, I also saw the Seven Sisters referred to as the Daisy League. Too much!

*** Gratuitous Viva bits:

This morning, after I buckled her into her car seat to take her to school, I said, "There ya go, sugar britches!"

"I'm not SUGAR BRITCHES!" she scowled.

"Oh, you're not?" I said, plopping into the front seat and clicking my own seatbelt.

"NO. Britches are on trees."

Duly noted.

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