Question of the Week: Hot Topics - Different cultures, family is suddenly not OK?
Today's question of the week is a bit of a touchy subject. As forward thinking as many in our society are, and as pluralistic as we seem to be, when it comes to mixed culture and mixed race families, sometimes hidden issues can suddenly rear their ugly heads when talk of a wedding is involved. It happens, even though we're in the Northeast and supposed to be oh so progressive... So how do you deal with a friend or a family member who suddenly takes issue with your fiance's cultural background? Read on to find out."Dear Jasmine, My fiance and I have been together for almost 5 years now - he's Cuban and I'm Irish American. We got engaged a few months ago, and when we contacted family to invite them to our engagement party we ran into some strange reactions. A cousin of mine (who knew we were dating!) suddenly doesn't approve of the relationship and made some really ignorant comments. I was shocked and didn't even know what to say! How do I handle this? Should I still invite her to the wedding? We're planning on incorporating both cultures into the wedding itself and our life after. Thanks for your help!
I understand your dismay and confusion and I am so sorry that this happened to you. It's 2012 and interracial marriages are NOT new - in fact, according to a recent study, they're growing quickly (woot!). I totally get where you're coming from- I ran into some similar reactions at my engagement party -thankfully no full on drama broke out, but it's still unnerving. How you handle this is going to be up to you. You really have 2 ways of looking at it. One- she's temporarily lost her mind and will regain sanity shortly after she removes her feet from her mouth. Or Two, she's really an ignorant something-or-other who's just gotten around to showing her true colors and doesn't deserve to share in your happiness.
Either way, you owe it to her to let her know that her comments were unwarranted and not appreciated by you at all. Show her how comfortable you are with your fiance (obviously or you wouldn't be marrying him) and let her know that her actions are causing you to re-evaluate your relationship with her. In the end, it is up to both of you to decide if you still want her to witness your nuptials. As far as I'm concerned though, people who don't support you and your relationship fully have no business being there.
Good luck and as always (with your head high), Keep Celebrating!