I grew up the eldest of two South Asian women in an Indian-American family. Given my family's particular brand of South Asian culture, I was not only raised to be very aware of race and aspire to a "model minority" aesthetic but to be "extremely discerning" with regard to my choice of marriage partner.
As a response to this type of racist upbringing, my sister and I both made a point to date nearly all racial, cultural and socio-economic castes in the US. Though we have each had to struggle to create unique Amer-Indian identities for ourselves in an enduringly racist and sexist country, we both agree that marrying into our "own" is not the means by which to create those identities. I have come to realize that despite my love and respect for my own ethnic background, being with someone from a different cultural experience truly broadens and enriches my life. It challenges me to call into question some of the values and prejudices that I may have otherwise have accepted as blind truths (had I sought my own culture as criteria upon which to choose a partner).
My Scottish/English partner and I plan to marry next year. Despite initial apprehension from my parents, my partner and I have gained their blessing through their recognition of our compatibility, despite color and history. This acceptance was a long fought battle; a battle that I realize may be one of many to come. But it was well worth it. When I look into my partner's face, I see the opportunity to spend another day with person I love most in the world and the potential for a future without ethnocentrism, racism and ignorance. The promise of each is enough for me to continue to fight for both.