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Summary of Question:Interracial Relationships
Category:Love & Marriage
Date Posted:Friday, 10/01/1999 9:35 PM MDT

I will start by giving a little background on myself.

I am a second generation sikh. Born in the west with sikh and western values. I am twenty-nine years old. I love my culture and religion but have decieded to marry a Canadian. My family has accepted him and are very happy for me. My fiance and his family is very excited about learning as much as they can about sikhism and my culture. We will be having a sikh wedding.

What I do not understand is the attitude of the general sikh community. People do not even try to understand or get to know any non-indian's. Why is this such a huge taboo? Since I have chosen my own husband my parents should be ashamed of me or have even been called a whore or maybe I should be an outcast? My values and the way I live my life is not any different from any of their daughters. Indian's in the west tend to live in a small bubble. They do not want to see what is outside of it. They move outside of India and raise their children in other countries but are then shocked when they discover their children have been infulence by both cultures.

I would like you to look at it from the other side. I have to explain to my fiance that it is perfectly fine for us to be married from the point of view of my family but you will always be an outsider in our comminity. The sikh community is too racist to accept a mixed couple.

I am ashamed of how everyone is still stuck in the dark ages.

I welcome any comment you may have.


Dear Satvinder,

Let me start by saying congratulations and I wish you all the best on your forthcoming marriage. I'am very happy that your family has accepted the man you plan to marry. Indeed it is rare for a person of any race or creed to marry outside of his or her own social group and have it be accepted by the parents and so on. what I mean to point out is that it is quite a common problem. It doesnt mean that it is an acceptable attitude of course. This problem occurs throughout the different ethnic groups. The truth is that it stems out of fear, as does hatred, bigotry or any other type of racism of any kind. People might feel threatened that their cultures are being diluted or that traditional ways are going or that the things they were taught and the way they were taught to them are being attacked. In reality it is quite easy to see why people might act the way they do about these things. The thing of it is you are right. If you raise your children in a place where they are in a culture that is not dominated by their own they will be influenced. There is nothing short of locking them up that can stop that.

I can see it from the other side as well. I 'am myself married to a non sikh woman. I have had the opportunity to see what you are saying from both sides. You must try not to get angry about it. It is truly not worth your time and energy to worry about what other people think about you or anyone else. You go ahead with your life and let those people who disagree disagree. What does it really do for them to look at your life and disagree with how you decide to live it. Nobody is going to do this journey for you, you are going to have to do it for yourself. I want to share a quick line from the Guru Granth Sahib
" The world is a transitory place of Mortality - know this for certain. Azraa-eel, the messenger of death, has caught me by the hair on my head, and yet , I do not know it at all in my mind. Pause. Spouse, children parents and siblings - none of them will be there to hold your hand. "
It just means that we are each responsible for our own lives and we will each answer for whatever it is that we might have done ( as I understood it ). If someone chooses to focus on someone else and not their own personal developement ...fine. There are alot of people that I know who are sick of this attitude, but the best defense is just pay no attention to that stuff. You have to just be sure of yourself and what you want to do.

Your Husband will be accepted by those that have an open heart and an open mind. You should warn him of course of the possibility of nastiness or any other such treatment. You also have to remember that you too cannot give up on your community. They may have these feelings and you may understand where they come from, but dont give in to them. When under adversity not one of the Guru's ever turned tail to run the opposite direction. These kind of challenges should be met head on. And you will get tired of it and you will end up disliking things as they are. Keep Up dont Give Up and may God Bless you.
I hope that this has answered your question. There is so much that can be said on this subject that I really tried to keep it focused on you. You and I both know that this is a loaded issue. It should be pointed out and it should be changed, but with understanding to all of the reasons and with an approach that does not involve taking sides. Remember Blame can only cause anger. Thank you.


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