Hearts Abroad / Hearts Abroad (Diasporas on love) / Immigrant Life / Novel / Writing

Prompt # 47 – criteria

More Notes from the Canadian honey jar

Just in time for a recent hugely televised mixed-race wedding which I intentionally did not watch…

August 9, 2017

It’s funny though, parents, they have so many requirements as to who is ‘suitable’. Not white, ok. Not from ‘X’ religion, ok. Not ‘X’ ethnicity from Ethiopia, ok. What else? Must have degree. Must have good job. Good family, etc. etc. etc.

Ideally, the fathers would all have us pick men like them, and the mothers would all have us pick men like their husbands. Question is: which version?? Do the fathers want us to pick men like who they once were or who they are now or who they were at a time in their life when they were at their best? Do the mothers want us to pick men like their husbands were when they met them, as they are now, as they were when they were at their best? No one tells us that, of course. We assume that they mean ‘as they are now’, forgetting that it took a lot of getting there, that who they are at 50 is not who they were at 30. And good luck finding out who they were at 30! We’re not a storytelling people, not really. Rare is the family where the parents talk about how they met, who they were when they met, how they’ve evolved, etc.

In my family, I know of 3 habesha-white marriages. One, I barely know, have met only once. The second, I know just a wee bit more, have met a few times. The third, I’ve known for years through my parents, though I don’t know them at all. All of them seem to have made happy marriages. One is habesha woman-white man, and the other two are habesha man-white women. I’ve wondered a bit ‘where’s the attraction?’ but that can go for any “odd” couple.

Also, generally, I think it is more accepted for a habesha man to marry a white woman than the other way around. Of course, a woman of any ethnicity is considered more acceptable, a white woman less ‘dangerous’ than a white man (although some habesha women will differ!) She may be white, but at least being a woman, she knows something about oppression.

Well, honestly though I think it’s all nonsense. Who you’re attracted to is who you’re attracted to, period. The chemistry of it is SO complex, and has so much more to do with people’s individual histories than big capital H histories of their respective backgrounds. And to expect that we’d only date and marry within our ethnicity, when we’ve dispersed throughout the world and throughout all walks of life, is insanity!

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