teluguhotvideosfree: How do the parents of Indian girls react when they learn that their daughter is dating a black guy?

How do the parents of Indian girls react when they learn that their daughter is dating a black guy?





All right, this question amused me enough without offending, so I'm going to take a stab. (And after going back and forth on this, I finally decided to answer seriously. Ugh, why am I so boring?) I'm going to take this question as an opportunity to hash a bunch of stuff out, but bear with me because I will answer the question asked eventually. (Skip down to part 3 if you really want me to just bottom line it already.)

Obviously there's no single or simple answer to this, as every family is different and parents will respond according to how progressive or conservative they are. The significant other in question, and the parents' impressions of him aside from race, is probably the most important factor. But even within relatively liberal Indian communities, outmarriage can be a tricky issue for various reasons.

So my point is that I can only speak from my own experiences, and what I understand to be the experiences of people I know. I personally know at least two married Indian female-black male couples, and as far as I know, all parents are on board. It should go without saying that not all Indian parents are complete racists, as they are often portrayed in television, with random arranged marriage subplots.

Anyway, I see three related issues that lie at the heart of this question:
  1. How do Indian parents feel about their daughters dating?
  2. How do those parents feel about their daughters dating outside of their race?
  3. How do they feel about black people specifically?

Part One

All right, so let's talk about dating in general.

The reality is that most Indian-American parents tend to avoid the issue all together, at least where it concerns their daughters. Most of my non-Indian friends clearly remember one or both of their parents giving them "the talk" or explaining "the birds and the bees." I can't. It just never happened. In fact, my parents didn't even educate me about puberty--I had to learn what menstruation was from Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. True story. Asking my mom to buy pads for me in middle school was the most awkward thing ever. It wasn't that my parents wouldn't answer my questions if I had asked them, but they never really created an environment where I felt comfortable asking. (No worries, I turned out fine, but I did realize at that point that I was going to have to find things out on my own.)

I don't blame my parents, and I don't even treat this as a "bad" thing. The truth is that I, like many other Indians my age, don't know a lot about them and who they are as social beings, aside from being my parents. The pressures Indian parents often place on their kids' shoulders may seem misguided to others, but there's a lot to the story and the subtleties of being Indian-American that most others will never know or see.

But regardless, there is definitely a double-standard within most Indian families, with respect to their daughters dating. As I said, it tends not to be discussed, but there's a general feeling that you "shouldn't," the most oft-cited reason being that dating is a distraction from schoolwork, or that high school or college boys are bad influences. In some Indian societies, virginity is highly valued among women, so I imagine that in some families, that sort of belief still translates to some degree across the ocean. (On the other hand, for men, the "boys will be boys" line of thought often prevails.) Traditionally--and I mean very traditionally, as you won't find this in most Indian-American families today--fathers exert a patriarchal "ownership" over their daughters, and the parents are ultimately responsible for finding a suitable match, a process commonly known as arranged marriage. This is somehow a subplot in just about every American film or TV series involving Indian females that I've seen.

All right, reality check:
  • Indian parents don't always give their kids full disclosure about sex and puberty. This doesn't mean they're weird, it doesn't mean we turn out weird. But it is what it is. With so many avenues to get the necessary info, I never felt any need to create awkwardness with my parents about it.
  • Indian parents usually aren't cool with their middle/high school kids dating, although their initial stance is often "no comment." Usually, the reason is that they expect their kids' grades will tank. Again, it is what it is. Some parents are okay with it, some kids sneak around their parents' backs.
  • There's a bias against women--not always, and not an explicit one, but it's there. It probably has to do with patriarchal ownership, the value of female virginity, etc. I don't think this is terribly pronounced; most Indian parents I know are equally disapproving of their young daughters and sons dating.

Part Two

Do you remember that locker room scene from Bend It Like Beckham?

"So, could you choose a white boy?"
"White, no, black, definitely not, a Muslim, uh-uh!"
"You'll marry an Indian then."
"Probably."
"How can you stand it?"
"It's just culture."

I think that pretty much sums it up for a lot of parents. More than race, the issue in interracial dating tends to be about culture. I don't think most Indian parents would mind their daughters marrying white guys (their kids would have fairer skin!) if they didn't think that their offspring would be cultureless, or pull away from Indian traditions and religion. That's not to say race isn't an issue--it definitely is--but I think it's less important than people think. Indians can be just as racist towards each other as they are of outsiders. For example, I'm a Gujarati Jain, and I don't fancy that my parents would be especially thrilled if I married a Goan Christian. (Or maybe they wouldn't mind that much, because then they'd have an excuse to vacation in Goa a lot more. Indian parents are funny like that.) Being Indian or [insert race/ethnicity here] alone doesn't get your foot in the door, but having the same or similar religious, linguistic, or cultural traditions helps a lot.

Things to keep in mind:
  • Religious differences are usually a bigger deal than race. (That said, very few non-Indian people are going to be Hindu, Sikh, Jain, etc. so some people may interpret this as being race-based.)
  • Cultural differences (such as views on premarital sex) are usually, depending on the family, a bigger deal than race.
  • Lifestyle differences, especially relating to things like vegetarianism, are usually a bigger deal than race.
  • Education, income, and status are usually a bigger deal than race.
  • A lot of Indian girls, especially immigrants from India, along with their parents tend to take dating more seriously than typical Americans. If a traditional Indian girl is introducing you to her parents, it's probably a pretty big deal. (But again, take it case by case.)

For what it's worth, Indian women also marry outside of their race at about half the rate that Indian men do. I don't know whether that's purely for cultural reasons, or because we aren't viewed as attractive by other races, or a combination of both.

I do have to say that questions like this set me on edge a bit, because of the assumptions they make. Sometimes feel a twinge of annoyance at the expectation that the parent's of Indian women are inevitably going to react negatively to their daughters dating outside of their culture (even if/when the expectation proves true). I know of some individuals that maintain that Indian women in general aren't "worth" dating because of their supposed family/cultural "baggage". The fact that anyone would dismiss an entire, diverse group of people on the basis of stereotypes is really bizarre to me. I've always thought that we Indian ladies tend to be pretty cool, generally speaking. But I suppose that most of us wouldn't be interested in dating guys with these sorts of assumptions to begin with, so it's no great loss.

Part Three

Okay, now for the trickiest question of how Indian parents react to black boyfriends. Before I begin, I want to reemphasize that I know of black-Indian intermarriages that have worked. So if there's anyone in this situation, don't give up hope.

But here's the reality: while they have reasons to oppose interracial marriage with other groups, a lot of Indian parents are unabashedly racist against black people. On the scale of approval, white and Asian people rank highly compared to blacks for a few reasons:
  • Indian culture implicitly values fair skin. (Google "Bollywood actress". We do not all have that skin!) Black people tend to have darker skin. Even though many black people are fairer-skinned than many Indian people, the stigma still exists.
  • Indians tend to buy into the traditional view that black people are more violent or aggressive than other groups. They point to incidents like the L.A. race riots, or where I live, the crime rates in Detroit.
  • Indians value educational achievement, and they often view black people as less interested in education. They associate black people with high dropout rates and low income levels.

Obviously all of these subconscious beliefs are ridiculous, especially when applied to individuals. Some of the older Indians in my life are quite open about their racism, at least when interacting with other Indians. I remember one time, I wanted to go to Taco Bell (so typical of an Indian). We were driving near Detroit and passed one, and I suggested we stop there. But the people I was with shook their heads and said we would stop at the next one. This particular Taco Bell had too many black people; they could see them through the windows. (There was no other explanation given.) They would never express that kind of opinion in public, but among Indians, it isn't unusual.

(Do you remember that scene in Maus where Vladek freaks out because he thinks a black person or "shvartser" that's trying to help out is going to steal all the groceries? Yeah, Indian parents can be kind of like that too, profiling everyone they meet according to their race. And I feel really embarrassed when they do.)

That said, reasonable Indians--and most Indians I know are eventually reasonable--tend to overcome these prejudices quickly when someone important to them is involved with someone of a different race. They might, at first, refuse to accept the relationship. They might threaten to disown you. But you know what? Most of them get over it. The people that deserve your love and care get over it. Babies help, as Indian parents are suckers for cuteness. Because ultimately, they're usually loving people with some old-world ideas. Once they get to know a person's character, they become much nicer. Give them some time to adjust to the idea, and they'll usually get there. Even if most Indians are racist against black people, they most often don'thate black people, they've just based their opinions on false information that can, in most cases, be corrected.

(And if you bring home someone like the next Barack Obama, rest assured that most parents will be more than okay with that! Almost all liberal Indians I know fall head over heels for intelligent, educated, well-spoken people regardless of race.)

Conclusion

Again, it's impossible to determine how a particular Indian parent will react to his or her daughter dating a black person. Ultra-conservatives will probably flip out, and some will never accept the relationship. More progressive parents will be totally cool with it. Most will probably fall somewhere in between. My suggestion is to give them a chance, give them time, and they'll hopefully reciprocate eventually. In the end, like most people, they're generally good and try to judge people based on their character. Some may never come around, but most will. Trust me, I've seen it happen in real life.

However, keep in mind the depth and complexity of Indian religion and culture (whichever one this particular family belongs to) and also keep in mind that a lot of Indians take these things more seriously than most Americans or Europeans. Religion, family, tradition, and ritual are central to a lot of immigrant families' lives. Don't laugh it off or treat is as less serious than it is. Do your homework about your girlfriend's ethnic background. If you come across as polite, knowledgeable, and smart, most Indian-American parents will go gaga over you.

Also know when getting the parents on your side is a lost cause. Some extremely racist or conservative people (and there are some in very race and group) might threaten you, or demean you. Don't indulge them, and have a serious discussion with your significant other, about whether she's willing to work things through with you even if her family disapproves, and whether you're willing to put up with in the nonsense.

Still, go in strong, and with an optimistic attitude. Most people are good, and Indians are no exception. If you're confronted with racism, let those Indian parents suck it up, because the relationship is ultimately about you and your significant other. If you think the relationship is worth it, don't give in and allow racism to win out.

Wow, I can't believe I just gave a serious answer to this question.


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