Not too long ago, I saw a post on Facebook which gave me a lot to ponder about.
Someone shared a reddit post about a young Somali man, a college student, who fell in love with an African American woman and presented the idea of marrying her to his Somali parents, who in turn threatened him with disownment, and isolation from his younger siblings if he went through with marrying this woman. Religion wasn’t the issue as the young woman converted to Islam. It was her ethnicity that was the issue. His Somali parents did not want him to marry an African American woman.
Based on my own experience of being in a relationship with an African American man, and having a child with him, and thus being disowned and isolated from my own siblings, this obviously hit very close to home.
As I read what his parents said to him about this young woman, I thought about what my father said about my own relationship and about my child ; his granchild. I struggle still with having a relationship with my father because of things said and done that caused our relationship to be broken, and incredibly difficult to repair.
As I relived fighting for my own child’s mental and emotional wellbeing in 1) a country with a historical and current race problem and 2) in an insular immigrant community with its own prejudices, and bigotry, I did what I do when I need to process things: I write about it.
And although, I have written about personal things before, this one gave me a hard time. I struggled with writing about this in a way that adequately honors my child, his personal story and identity but also challenges these archaic notions of who is a better and more superior human? How do I dismantle the,”them vs us,” mentality, this tribal mentality that exists among all humans for some reason? And how do I do it with while protecting my child?
I am still working on it, because I really don’t have the answers.