Thoughts on the Meaning of the Term “Mixed Marriage”
Folks, it’s December 27, 2015. And I was thinking this morning about the changing definition of the term “mixed marriage.”
We rarely hear the term “mixed marriage” these days, but when we do, it usually refers to a marriage between two people of different races. For example, a black man marries a white woman, maybe…or an Asian woman marries a Hispanic man. So if you use the term “mixed marriage,” it’s usually seen to mean a marriage between people of two different races.
Now, does it matter much that one person is one color and the other is a different one, if the love is there? No, it does not. But there are still cultural differences, so the term “mixed marriage” seems to apply even if the awareness of the term and the meaning behind it seems to be changing.
That said, when my grandmother was a girl — in the 1920s and early 1930s — the term “mixed marriage” meant something entirely different. Then, it meant “a marriage between two people of different religions.” She entered into a marriage with my grandfather despite the fact she was Irish Catholic and he was German Protestant — and while in today’s terms no one would bat an eye, back then, that was not “the done thing.” (It might not have been scandalous, but it wasn’t exactly easy, either.)
Unfortunately, we seem to be returning to this earlier definition to a degree. Now, if a Muslim lady marries a Christian man in the United States, that term is getting trotted back out. And the feelings that term engenders of fear, disbelief, anger, worry, misunderstanding and more are back with a vengeance…mostly because the dominant culture of the United States doesn’t seem to know what to do with people raised in a different culture — and religion — entirely.
I don’t know why this is, to be honest. I do know that this isn’t the first time the United States has dealt with such an issue — and I know that because of my own, personal history.
It took years for my grandmother’s marriage to be first tolerated, then accepted, and then finally — in her seventies and eighties, after my grandfather passed away — seen as “what’s the big deal?”
We are starting to see that now, in mixed-race marriages. All sorts of biracial children are coming into their own — President Barack Obama is far from the only one. No one bats an eye at them, and no one should.
I hope that in time, we will see more tolerance and respect for people of all faiths, all cultures, all ethnicities, all skin colors, and all gender expressions.
Love is love. And we need to start respecting that, wherever we may find it.