duel identities and the trump

Written on Septemver 19th;

the tap of the cane is more interesting to people than the tap of the Tabla. many gori/desi couples write about their intercultural being/persona, especially when they are out in public. i must admit that i have a different experience than most. The author of “A little of that too” writes about “WOI,” and people talk about being stared at or the stereotypes that come with dating someone of a different culture. I can relate, somewhat, but honestly, since I have been blind since birth, I have gotten use to the stares and the random exclusion. When my children were small, we would walk down the street: dark children in an all white community and me with my long white cane! They always thought that it was my white cane that made people stop (and Yes, their activity would actually cease in mid stream) and openly STARE. Who knows the reason, but it was a common situation in our lives. A while back, DH and I were going to a birthing class. OK, I did not check my email and they changed the class location (a week before the class started) and I did not know about it. Public transportation had already gotten us to the class 45mins late, but then, we realized that we were in the wrong place. Even though the place of the class was relatively close, we still could not drive over and/or have public transportation take us over. Even if we did have a taxi drive us over, they would have to drive us back in time for public transportation to pick us up at the original spot. Needless to say, we missed the class.
But, that is not my point. As we were sitting in the lobby, we were referred to as: “the blind couple.” I realize that I am writing lots about “disability” but, it struck me once again that we will always be seen as “blind” first. Our membership into the blind community trumps any other membership that we might hold. when people see us, their questions (most generally) won’t be of a cultural nature and their desire to exclude (if they do so) won’t be due to his nationality, but due to our disability. Instead of asking:
“Can you cook Biryani?” they ask “How do you cook?” Similarly, my SIL, who is also blind, is not excluded because of her headscarf, but because of her white cane. Instead of asking questions about our families or cultural differences, the questions will center around our abilities as “people” and (soon to be) “parents.”
there is also a myth that prejudice, by in large, manifests itself visually, first. that is: blind people are more accepting because they don’t see the color and physical characteristics of a person. Thus, they accept the person, as is. so, where other goris might be condemned for dating either outside their race or outside their nationality; blind people are not condemned because either they don’t know — or they don’t care. I have known many blind people who are quite prejudice. This simplistic view of prejudice is rediculous. Yes, even small children are hesitant when they encounter something “different.” But, usually, they are curious and not afraid until they learn from adults to be cautious of those things that are different or unknown. It is cultural norms and attitudes which shape one’s prejudices, not a difference in visual appearance. Also, just because you are a part of one minority does not preclude you from having prejudices (and acting on those prejudices) toward other minorities.
I actually think, though, my previous experiences have helped me adjust to society and the stereotypes that surround DH’s
culture&religion. I have never felt as if I truly completely fit into society and I am more likely to question their proclamations of truth. I hate being “on display” but I am use to it. Usually, though, I don’t get asked the interesting cultural questions, people are still asking questions like: “how do you mark your clothes,” “Do you know where your mouth is,” “What is your favorite color?” and so on. i answer all questions because I want to deliver knowledge. It is, though a bit tiring after a while. And, I do suppose, in some instances, I am glad that DH is seen as “blind” first and not Muslim, because people are a bit less hostile toward him.


One Response to “duel identities and the trump”

  1. Neo Says:

    Hi there! I found your blog on the FB Pardesi group and wanted to say hello. I am also in an intercultural, interfaith relationship with a wonderful man from India. You can check out my blog at http://midwestmeetsbangalore.wordpress.com if you like.
    I think we may live in close vicinity to one another. Contact me privately if you want and we can exchange other details. It would be neat to meet someone from the group in person! 🙂 Hope to hear from you soon. Oh, and I will pray for a safe delivery for your baby! Congratulations!

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