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Author Topic: Racist parents  (Read 3430 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ibrahim
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« on: February 17, 2005, 09:30:46 PM »

My parents are racist. I first thought this earlier this year when I went to the "homecoming" dance and my mother said "Is your date Arab?" and I said her name is Erika, and then she said "I asked is she Arab?" and when I told that she is not (she is Persian) she was very annoyed and her and my father had a little shouting match when I came home about 'that girl". Before that I only dated Arabic girls and there was never any problems to them. But I like this girl very much. She is American Persian so she is kind of different but she is very nice and pretty. However, my mother is very much against her (she does not say this when she is around) but when my girlfriend will come for dinner, she will say "you know, Emile had an Arabic girlfriend who was this and this and this" and they will all be things that are not true or are things that my girlfriend has not or cannot do. It is frustrating. When she leaves, my mother will talk badly about her like "I think she was lying to me" or these kinds of things. The first time she came for dinner, my mother put an Iraqi (we are NOT Iraqi at all) flag in our dining room (this is a BIG flag too and I do not know where it came from but she put it up right when she came to sit down and right across from her so that she could see it; just to be intimidating or something) and said "oh I forgot to put this up the other day". Then she leaves and she makes 'stupid Persian' jokes and things. Yesterday my father says to me after I am off the phone with Erika, "do you want to be Persian? Should we have moved to IRan?" and then walked away. I do not know what to do with my parents. I have never seen them like this before. Are there other members whose parents act this way???
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2005, 10:42:37 PM »

Woa.  That sucks.  I'm sorry. 
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2005, 12:11:47 AM »

That stinks man. I thought arabs and persians were almost the same kinda like cousins I guess unless I'm wrong. Must be a cultural thing eh??
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2005, 12:16:09 AM »

Arabs are Semites (although the concept of Semite is relatively new) and Persians are Aryans.

What do her parents think about you? Because usually Persians have that Aryan pride thing going on and consider themselves more refined than Arabs.  I find it interesting that your parents are doing the same thing. Sad situation. Don't give up the lady you care about just because of them.

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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2005, 12:17:15 AM »

Pray on it, my man. I certainly will for you. Smiley



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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2005, 03:27:25 AM »

It isn't a matter of her particular ethnicity or race. It is simply that the girl in question is foreign.

I've heard of the tough counselling of some parents to avoid the ajnabiy'yeh (but that usually pertains to serious business like marriage, not dates and the like; shoo `omrak ya akhi? Leish heik la(h)'eenak?), but I have never heard of tactics like this business with the flag before.

Talk seriously with them on the matter, or if you'd prefer to counter odd behaviour with the same, then challenge your father to a game of ma(h)booseh. If you win and he takes the game seriously, he might let you have your way.

Allah y'waf'ak.

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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2005, 11:43:38 AM »

Welcome to my world man.  My sisters and I were all herded towards "the nice Russian Orthodox boys."  Only one of us lucked out in finding a suitable one (so far, anyway).  Any potential non-Russian boyfriend, and esecially if he's not Orthodox, is severely frowned upon, intimdated, and shown the door. 
Just be patient, you sound like your young yet.  Once I moved away (400 miles away), I was free to date whomever I wanted.  They are slowly coming to realize that if they want to see any of their future grandchildren, they will probably be accompanied by a non-Russian (maybe non-Ortho) son-in-law. 
It is an ethnic pride thing, but unless their completely unreasonable (and they sound like they used to reasonable people before this Persian girl) they will get over it.  Hang in there.
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2005, 01:25:20 PM »

Wow! I'm sorry your parents are so narrow minded.  I know it's hard, but pray for them and do your best to educate them. Maybe have her parents meet your parents?

Although not Persian I am Serbian, I dated a guy in college who was from a very WASPY family, his mother didn't like me and my foreign last name. She didn't want her son getting mixed up with a forienger. I found myself being asked many uncomfortable questions and fielding uncomfortable comments from this woman.  Might I add, I'm blue eyed and blond. The experience was hurt me but I did learn it. 
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2005, 02:30:27 PM »

Phos Zoe,

It sounds like you and my wife have been through similar situations.  My wife is American, but has a Polish last name.  Her family are *very* into their Slovak (I know there name is Polish, go figure) traditions.  My mom was really mad at our wedding.  It was not fun.

Then my wife got pregnant and my mom realized that my brother had the EvProt  and American ethical principles he was brought up with and that he may not be giving her grandchildren soon, if ever.  She got over her problems very quickly, although she stills produces rude remarks, snide looks and other various ways of making us feel uncomfortable.  Of course, I know that we make her uncomfortable too, so . . .

Ibrahim,

I have absolutely no cultural context for understanding Arab mothers or family dynamics.  I had a friend from Syria who let his mother bully him into ruining his marriage.  I couldn't understand why he let her do it, but that's the way it happened.  His wife wasn't Syrian and I think that had an effect.  It was really terrible, too. 

I'd love to tell you that your situation may be similar to mine and that it just takes time, but I know that the Arabic culture is very different from mine.  You're in my prayers.
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2005, 03:42:32 PM »

Quote
It isn't a matter of her particular ethnicity or race.  It is simply that the girl in question is foreign.

Would she be a foreigner if she were from Jordan, as well? If that's the case, then that would be an interesting example of how the secular nationalist movements in the Middle East have changed the social and political culture into having a concept of foreigner based on a "nation", a concept that I understand did not exist prior to the late 19th century in the Middle East.  Prior to this time, people were primarily categorized on the basis of religion, with linguistic differences providing a different layer of demarcation when necessary.  With the rise of nationalism, the idea of "country" and "nation" were imported into the Arab world, but the ideas only stuck in some areas like Syria. In fact, those expressing these views had to adopt existing Arabic words to mean "country" and "nation" or had to coin new words altogether, and people nowadays don't even always agree on what the terms mean.  For Persians, nation and country were a bit easier to define as the Persian identity pre-dates Islam, whereas the Arab idenitity outside of Arabia is inextricably tied up with it.  The Persians simple "picked up where they left off" and went with the Aryan racial theories partly so they could get favors from Hitler.  An anti-Arab spirit rose in Persia which had been there even from earlier times, but now it was based on these new racial theories instead of being primarily a linguistic and sometimes sectarian (Shia vs Sunni) distinction.

OK I am rambling but I am learning about all of this stuff in detail now and finding it quite interesting.

Anastasios
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2005, 04:05:22 PM »

Dear Ibrahim,
I am surprised that your parents asked about the ethnicity and not the religion, for example. That would be the major concern I think if you are trying to search for the true faith.

I have met very fine people from both sides, and I have known many Persian families who have come here in the time of the Shah and are extremely educated people. They do not share the islamic fundamentalism agenda.
 
Iran was demonized in the arab world because of the zeroth Gulf War ( as the first and second Gulf War refer to the American-Iraqi conflicts now) betwen Iraq and Iran, although Iran was being invaded By Saddam. All arab madia hailed Saddam as the Protector of the Eastern gate for eight years, and fueled anti-Persian sentiment.

Also, the religious conflict between Sunnah-Shia led to complete hatred on a religious level, with "infidelity charges" exchanged between both groups. A Sunni hates a Shia in Egypt as he hates a Jew. This was correctly observed by Anastasius.



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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2005, 04:20:01 PM »

Would she be a foreigner if she were from Jordan, as well?

What I meant was that the disapproval stems from what the girl is not, not what she is. Foreign in one sense can mean non-Arab, which is the case here. Of course, in another sense, it can imply too great a geographical distance or a different sphere of Arabic culture. A Sudanese or Moroccan interested in a Syrian is not at all the same as a relationship between two Levantines.

To return to the subject, nationalism is of course a new ideology that was brought into the region; European influences played their part. The past pillars of identity were (and in certain areas still are) religion, family or clan, and place of origin. A paradigm shift in notions of identity took place during the twentieth century, and this was not limited to the Arab world; World War I catalysed the process in Europe. Still, the old and new forms of identification are both found in the area. Sectarian lines are still solid and demand recognition, from the political level, to even the most basic level of social contracting, in marriages. What the religious identities of two planning to marry are, may still have social repercussions that extend to beyond their own selves.

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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2005, 05:06:09 PM »

Have you tried leveling with your parents?  If you take your relationship with this girl seriously, and if she's willing to convert (or is Orthodox already), then there shouldn't be any issues.  Maybe remind your parents about the whole "neither Jew nor Greek" thing.  You have to figure out what's important to you, man.  Racism, based on color or culture, is not Christian.  Period.
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2005, 06:50:59 PM »

I agree with your parents.

You and it seems many others do not know anything. Go back to school and see the consequences of your actions to know what you are doing. If you care to know the truth you will agree with them eventually if you do not then you are blind with lust and ignorance.

Your kids will be nothing, and apart of nothing and will attach themselves to other things. You uphold nothing if you go with her which shows no honor. You sin multiple times all because you “assume” it is racism? You have a reverse racism to you.

You would not be who you are if it was not for them. Go talk to them and ask them why they choose what they choose and what u will loose when you do go with another.

Entire orthodox communities wiped out for mixing but you are too buys to know this since you lust over women.

But your ethnicity is all mixed anyway so I don’t know what the big deal is, so it is not like you are preserving anything.

Like one saying goes if you mix ice-cream with shit you only ruin the ice-cream.
Hope some info helped.

good luck
 Posting anti-semitic nonsense, accusing people of burning with lust for daring to look at someone of another culture, condemning their future children...nice way to start posting. 
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2005, 10:04:06 PM »

What is different from an Orthodox Persian and an Orthodox Arab girl? Also obviously I haved sinned, I am not special in that. But I am wondering what kind of "sin" you are talking about. We have not engaged in any sexual activities and it is not in any plan to do so. I am with her because I like her and she likes me. Im not trying to get into her pants (it has crossed my mind though) if that is what you mean.

Quote
Would she be a foreigner if she were from Jordan, as well?

Im guessing no because I have dated a Jordanian girl and there was no problems (I also dated a Lebanese, Palestinian, and other Syrians). This is the only time I ahve not dated Arab (some of these girls are very Americanized too one of them could not even speak Arabic all that well).

Quote
Maybe have her parents meet your parents?

I asked them about this on Saturday and the answer was basically "what in my house?" and then "what do you want in your salad?"
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2005, 10:48:12 PM »

Maybe if you told them "her parents aren't too keen on us dating either since we are 'just' Arabs" they will get the hint. Course it could backfire!

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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2005, 11:15:14 PM »

Maybe if you told them "her parents aren't too keen on us dating either since we are 'just' Arabs" they will get the hint. Course it could backfire!

Anastasios

haha. They don't really seem to care though (I go to their house a lot), I don't want to be lying to my mom (she hates that, thats grounds for not seeing any girl Arab or otherwise). Plus I can't lye to my mom, I always start laughing.
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2005, 11:46:39 PM »

So, this girl is actually Orthodox then?

This modification of my post is just the addition of an afterthought...

I think that your parents are dealing with two things, at least. One is definitely racism, even if it's the sort of cultural issue that many Americans deal with when the Old Country element of the family hasn't successfully "melted" into the pot yet (this usually takes a generation or two). That doesn't make it right, but perhaps (forgive me if this sounds wrong, I surely don't mean it) a sort of "lesser" racism? That brings me to the second thing, that stems from this, that being that, as far as it seems, your mother is the one who's more up in arms about this than anyone. Perhaps it's due to her having some idea of an ideal wife meeting certain requirements, and for her, all of those are met in an Arab woman. This sounds like a particularly nasty case of it, but you see it all over the place, especially in the Church (why can't she marry a nice Greek boy, why doesn't he find a good Russian girl, etc.) where there's a close-nit ethnic community.

Respecting your parents is important, but I can't imagine that you take it so far as to accept un-Christian concepts such as racism or xenophobia (if xenophobia was the norm, remember, they'd be stuck in Syria, dealing with Bashir Al Asd or whatever his name is). But anyway, man, I don't want to stir it up anymore than I already have. I'm afraid that the facts are before you and it's really now a matter of how you're going to deal with them. Good luck and God be with you!

Sorry if my two cents has caused you or anyone else any grief!
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« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2005, 12:41:56 AM »

Quote
Respecting your parents is important, but I can't imagine that you take it so far as to accept un-Christian concepts such as racism or xenophobia (if xenophobia was the norm, remember, they'd be stuck in Syria, dealing with Bashir Al Asd or whatever his name is).

hehe...they like him...or at least the Party (they are both members with cards and the whole bit, dad was in the airforce briefly), they were big on his pop (we have a portrait of him in the den believe it or not). They're the kind of folks that acctually voted when Hafiz ran for "reelection" and were enthusiastic about it. They keep saying we will go back soon but we probably will not because it has been a while (4 or 5 years now) and we've not made any arangements to do so. They have lots ofAmerican friends and whatnot too and they are trying to open a resturaunt with some of them. Im not understanding them lately.


Quote
This sounds like a particularly nasty case of it, but you see it all over the place, especially in the Church (why can't she marry a nice Greek boy, why doesn't he find a good Russian girl, etc.) where there's a close-nit ethnic community.

I have not heard of this...is this immigrants usually or is it with American ones as well?
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« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2005, 03:18:11 AM »

The ethnic preference/immigrant thing was a very blurry analogy.  People from the Old Country tend to prefer that their kids retain some of their ethnic and/or national identity, and part of that retention can be realized in marrying "within the tribe" so to speak.

As for your parents being so uppity about the current Syrian administration, that's surprising, given the negative image of Bashir in the American and Middle Eastern press (particularly in light of the Hariri assasination).  But that's neither here nor there.  Good luck with the girl problems!
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« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2005, 05:02:35 PM »

Find an Israeli girl and tell your parents you believe in democracy.
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« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2005, 05:14:37 PM »

Or that you believe in the absolute right of certain persons to live in your country, based upon an overtly racist doctrine.
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« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2005, 12:39:26 PM »

I got in this discussion a little late and had a few points to add with respect to this discussion.  Justin sort of touched on it.  I agree that is not worthy of Orthodoxy to be racist.  Maybe you could disuss this with your Priest and parents together.

My biggest concern, however, when I hear this sort of discussion is that the person is of another faith.  Two examples, if I may....

My first cousin, married a RC Polish guy (she is Serbian Orthodox).  They decided to get married in a non-denominational Church (I think United), so as not to offend anyone.  Turned out that decision just offended both sides.

However, when push came to shove, she caved and Baptized her 2 kids in the RC Church.  I was very upset.   Years later, her "staunch" RC husband was having an affair with a family friend (coincidentally also RC).  A bitter divorce ensued and she got "legal" authority over the kids.

As legal guardian, she chose to convert them to Orthodoxy (our Priest said kids couldn't be "re-Christened", although I have since read differing views on this).  My question to her was "why she was so willing to give up Orthodoxy, for a guy who didn't give a darn about religion?"  I have seen this happen to many who marry outside our faith.

Second story....

My sister.  Married a Newfy (for those who don't know, that means a Canadian from Newfoundland).  My brother-in-law's sister is fervently RC, always passing judgment over our family and the inferiority of our faith.

My sister told her hubby that marrying her meant, converting and practicing our faith.  Turned out, he was never Christened so it was like a scene out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  He was Christened in our Church.  Their two kids are Serbian Orthodox.  They both go to Sunday School, in Church.

At first, my parents weren't crazy about a "non-Serb", but once the religious questions were dealt with, everything else was okay.  In short, my folks wouldn't trade their son-in-law for any Serb.

So the moral of this long winded story, is that you have to show your parents that you can preserve all the beauty and traditions that come with being an Arab, still holding true to your faith and culture.  I think this can be done, so long as your partner alwasy respects your Arabic traditions, as you should respect her Persian ones.

As long as you keep your faith, your ethnicity should be secondary.
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« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2005, 11:30:29 AM »

People do not understand the word racist. but anyway.
southserb
To marry someone and covert for them does not show that you care about the religiion first, and it is an insult to god since the person changed becasue of the other and not becasue of God.
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« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2005, 11:41:08 AM »

To marry someone and covert for them does not show that you care about the religiion first, and it is an insult to god since the person changed becasue of the other and not becasue of God.

I think you are right.  To convert to Orthodoxy in name only, is not to convert at all.  I think your statement above presupposes that the conversion is in name only.

I know that in the case of my brother-in-law, his converting to Orthodox is something he believes for a variety of purposes (not only for my sisters sake).

I also would like to address one other issue.  I believe our Church should be all welcoming to ANYONE who wants to convert, regardless of motive.

My thinking is this... once they convert, they have the opportunity to see/hear our one true faith.  This   would hopefully open their hearts and minds to the beauty of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2005, 12:38:22 PM »

People do not understand the word racist. but anyway.
southserb
To marry someone and covert for them does not show that you care about the religiion first, and it is an insult to god since the person changed becasue of the other and not becasue of God.

Most conversions come about from personal contact. It is very rare that someone reads his way into another religion, although there are higher instances of such people on the internet obviously due to such persons already having a background of inquiry and debate.

I find that the people who convert because of a spouse usually end up becoming some of the holiest, most stable members of the Church.  It is rare to see a person who converted because of familial ties sail on to the next Church, whereas many literary converts come and go.  Natural family ties are essential to the religious culture that underlies any religious belief system and keeps the people "plugged in."

I think God can and does use such methods to bring people into his Church.

Of course anyone can point out people that converted JUST to get married but I find that in our free society that is much less common these days.
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