A Marriage of Cultures


Ryan Geertsma and Ruby Jones look at marriages across cultures. Is it possible to have a happy marriage with someone from another culture or race?

Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Ryan Geertsma

Voice 2

And I'm Ruby Jones. This programme uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3

‘Many people warned me about marrying someone from another culture. They told me it can be very difficult. It is true that there are some extra problems that we have had to think about. But in many ways, we are more prepared for this than other people who have married someone from their own culture. This is because we expect to have differences. Then when problems arise we know how to deal with them.

Voice 1

Ruth Mico is British, but now lives in Albania. Her husband, Maki, is Albanian. They have been married for almost three years. Their marriage has brought the British and Albanian cultures together. Inter–cultural marriages like this are common all over the world. However, many people still think they are strange. In the past some countries even had laws to stop people marrying someone from a different culture or race. Today’s Spotlight looks at some different opinions about intercultural marriages.

Voice 2

For some people, the idea of marriages between different cultures or races is a difficult subject. But intercultural marriages are becoming more and more common. As people move around the world they mix with people from many other cultures and countries. Some people think this has helped mixed marriages become more accepted. But other people think it has made what they see as a problem even bigger.

Voice 1

Some countries have a history of keeping different ethnic groups separate. These countries had laws to stop people of one race marrying someone from another. For example, this was true in South Africa from 1949 to 1985. During this time it was against the law for white and black people to marry each other. Inter-racial marriages like this were also banned in the United States. But the United States finally changed this law in the 1960s.

Voice 2

Even in countries with no laws against mixed marriages, many people still thought that they were wrong. This can be seen in the story of a man called Seretse Khama.

Voice 1

The year was 1948. And Serestse Khama had just got married. But not everyone was happy to hear about it.

Voice 2

Seretse Khama had met his wife, Ruth Williams, in London. As a young man, he had moved to the United Kingdom to study. Seretse and Ruth got married after a year of knowing each other. But this angered people back in Seretse's own country.

Voice 1

Seretse Khama was the king of Bechuanaland. This country is now called Botswana. He had been king since he was four years old. But his father's brother, his uncle, ruled the country. This was because Seretse was very young when he became king. However his uncle was not happy that he had married a white woman. The government in South Africa was also not happy. This was when South Africa did not let black and white people marry each other. They did not want a man in a mixed marriage ruling a country that bordered them.

Voice 2

The South African government used its influence with the British against Seretse. Britain was in charge of Bechuanaland at that time. The British government stopped Seretse from going back to his own country. He and Ruth were permitted to return only after Seretse gave away his right to be king.

Voice 1

Happily the story did not end there. About ten years later, Britain ended its control of Botswana. Seretse stood for election to be the new leader. He won, and in 1966, Seretse became Botswana’s first president. Seretse Khama was once again the leader of his country. With the help of his wife, he ruled Botswana until his death in 1980. Many people now remember him as a great leader who did much for his country.

Voice 2

In other parts of the world, unity among races is nothing strange. People in Brazil, for example, have been marrying between different racial groups for many years. Hundreds of years ago there were three main ethnic groups. Black Africans, who were brought to the country as slaves. White Europeans, who moved to the country to settle. And native South Americans, who had lived in the area for thousands of years. Today, most Brazilians have a mix of these ethnic groups in their family history.

Voice 1

Some people think this mixing of different ethnic groups is a success for Brazil. Some say the mixture of races is what makes Brazil special. The country is not perfect in its equality between different racial groups. But marriages between different ethnic groups are still more common than in many other countries.

Voice 2

Mixed marriages can involve difference in home countries, culture, colour of skin or religion. Today, there are many different attitudes towards marrying someone from another race or culture.

Voice 4

‘I do not support interracial marriage. Often the cultural barriers between the people cause problems with the husband and wife.’

Voice 5

‘I am from Korea. In my opinion Korean parents want their family to remain completely Korean. For me, I only care about keeping my family in the East Asian ethnic group.’

Voice 6

‘If you are in love you do not see the colour of the skin, or care about it... Having a relationship is not about colour but about the heart. You will find that not everyone agrees, but if you are happy then that is all that matters.’

Voice 1

Ruth Mico, whom we heard from at the beginning of the programme, is now expecting her first child. This child will experience both its parent’s cultures. Ruth and her husband Maki will also teach their child both the English and Albanian languages. They hope that this will help the child find its own special value in this mixing of cultures. Ruth said:

Voice 3

‘For us both it is important that the child values its cultural history... Its spiritual life will also be important to us. This is something that as a family we will share together. My husband grew up in an antireligious country. I grew up in a Christian country. However we have both decided to follow Jesus. We hope and pray that our children will also decide this for their lives. As the child grows, it will choose its own culture. This could be more of one culture than the other. Or it could be a special mix. We will accept what they choose.’

Voice 2

What about our listeners? What do you think about marriages between cultures or racial groups? As usual, you can e-mail us at radio@english.net. Computer users can also visit our website, at http://www.radio.english.net. This programme is called, “A Marriage of Cultures”.

Voice 1

The writer and producer of today’s programme was Steve Myersco. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotations were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. Thank you for listening today, goodbye.

Comments


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anhnguyen
said on January 03, 2010

Hi !
according to me interculteral marriages are not the big problems today.  Because when we love, or marry, we should understand each other, we can learn everything from the differences from 2 cultures. we can share the difficulties . in my countries there are many interculteral marriages ., but they are very happy in spite of the difficulties at the first time. They overcome them

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huymekong
said on December 18, 2010

Hi!
I think that there are many difference oppinions in intercultural marriages. Intercultreal marriages must come from truth love but not money. In married life they have to be openess & proximate in oder to overcome any trouble in their life. In my country, there are many interculteral marriages because brides want to change their hard life, so most of them must got too bad result from the marriages. Its sound so hardly, but it is true!

duryan's avatar
duryan
said on February 21, 2012

I think that intercultural marriages are right from genetic point of view, the generation is becoming more healthy,genetic diseases are less possible :)

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Dela
said on March 07, 2012

Very interesting article about inconsistent theme.Thank you!