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Two of a Kind

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From Abdullla Abdulsalam Belal…

Are interracial marriages a problem in today’s society? Do the children of interracial marriages suffer more than others? Are they doomed from the start?

I believe interracial marriages can work and that everybody, man or woman, should have the right to choose who they want to marry, regardless of religion or nationality. There are many skeptics who think that mixed marriages are bad for children, but problems also occur in relationships where both parents are from the same ethnicity.

I’m a child of an interracial marriage. My father is an Emirati and my mother is German. She comes from the former East Germany and was raised in a small coastal community near the ocean called Rostock. A part of me considers myself to be an Arab, but there is another part of me that tells me I’m also German. I have an Arab name, I speak Arabic, (even though it’s not perfect) and I’m a Muslim. Yet there is another part of me, who talks, thinks, and acts more like a European. I think that my mother has more influence over me and my siblings, than my father. My mother was an atheist before converting to Islam on her own. She raised me and my siblings as Muslims and taught us important values, which many teens in our society lack. I think she’s done a great job.

My mother is always around and my father only occasionally comes to stay with us. The reason for this is that my father has two wives. His first is to an Emirati woman, with whom he has several children. My mother is his second wife. He works very hard to provide for both of his families. He spends most of his free time with his first wife and their children, however, since they live near his workplace and we live quite far away. If he finishes work late, which is most of the time, he feels too tired to drive all the way up to see us. He promises that in the future everything will change and he’ll have more time for us. I recently graduated from high school and will start college in the fall, so I don’t think that I will ever see this day. When I was younger, we used to go out on picnics together, have barbeques on the beach, play football in the park, eat out in restaurants, or visit relatives. I really miss those days. I wish that my father and mother, as well as my siblings and I, could spend more time together as a family.

I know I will never marry two (or more) women, because I don’t think a man never can be just to both, even if he intends to be. In the end, one or both will suffer and this isn’t fair.

Nowadays, it’s become very difficult for an Emirati man to marry a foreigner. The government says it’s not good for society. They often ask if a local boy marries outside his country, who will marry all the local girls who are waiting to get married? I say, why not let the local girls marry from outside our country, same as the boys? Life always changes and nothing stays the same. People should start to embrace those changes, instead of fighting them. Interracial marriages are not a disease that will wipe out an entire nation, but it’s sometimes treated this way in my society. It’s seen as unacceptable by some and something that must be stopped.

Why? Some say children from mixed marriages are more delinquent than children whose parents are both Arabs. Does anyone really believe this is true? Some say most of these mixed children don’t speak Arabic. I have to say that during my school days I wrote and read Arabic better than most of the Arab children I went to school with, whose parents were both Arabs. I even got certificates from schools, which state that my Arabic writing and reading is excellent. Many so-called pure Emiratis in my classes never reached the same levels as I did. I will say that I don’t speak what would be called fluent Arabic, but I do understand everything and communicate with others without any problems.

Some say there are many behavior and attitude problems that come with being a child of a mixed marriage. I say what about the children of so-called pure Emiratis? I think there are some who need to be educated about having good manners, respecting the elderly, their parents and their teachers. Some need to grow up and act more mature, to think more independently, and to learn only hard work pays the rent or the luxurious lifestyle so many chase and think they’re entitled to. At the end of the day, those that seek the easy way need to stop cheating their way through things and taking shortcuts through life to get what they want.  Further still, some get involved with drugs, alcohol and crime; and some barely speak Arabic anymore, preferring to speak only English.

That doesn’t mean that only pure Emiratis are lazy and get into trouble; of course not.  Many children from mixed marriages think and do all of what I have listed above. These attitudes and behaviors come from both sides, and in the young people of countries around the world. I only want to point out that nobody is perfect and problems can arise in families where both parents are from the same nationality. Problems occur everywhere and in every country and none of this has anything to do with the fact that someone marries outside their own ethnic group. I think some people in our society need think twice before claiming the mothers of interracial marriages have a negative influence on their children, that they kill the Arabic language, or that they are bad mannered and no use to local culture. My mother has guided me towards being a good man, a good Muslim, and good Emirati, all of which I am very proud to be. 

Those of pure descent also face many problems, but nobody ever talks about it or badmouths them. In fact, many people here choose to cover things up, so nobody outside the family knows what is really going on inside the house. Many pure Emiratis listen to English music, they like to talk English, and love many things from the Western World. Who influenced them? Why do they follow Western Culture? Nobody is telling them to adopt the same Western lifestyle, or to wear Western clothing, or to eat Western food or to listen to Western music. Why blame the foreigners and why put the blame on interracial marriages?

 It’s always an easy thing to do, putting the blame on others. I think we all should try and live together in peace and respect our differences. Don’t judge others only because they are different from you – just learn to accept. A mother always tries to do her best in raising her children, to teach them well, and to prepare them for life. It doesn’t matter if the woman is poor or rich, if she is educated or never finished school.  It’s the mother’s love for her children, the way she cares for them, that should counted and not her language or nationality.

Why not fight the real problem, instead of questioning mothers who are only trying to do the best they can. I am not ashamed of my parents. I love them both dearly and I don’t care if anyone thinks marrying a foreigner is wrong, because I don’t believe it is. I don’t know from which country my future wife will be, but one thing is for certain – I will follow my heart and not any set of rules and regulations, when deciding on the woman I want to spend my life with.



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