I am a 16 year old Black girl from Africa. My boyfriend is 17 years old Pakistani Canadian. We met in school and fell in love and have been seeing each other for the past year. recently, he stopped calling and was avoiding me at school. I caught up with him and asked him what I did, why was he avoiding me. He said he was busy with school and have a lot of stuff on his mind. I did not accept that because if he had a lot of stuff he would have told me so as he did in the past so I pressed him to level with me, I can handle it. He then told me that his parents did not like the fact that he was going out with a girl from a different race and that he should stop it now before it gets out of hand. I could not believe what I was hearing. I felt so terrible and hurt inside. Was it because I am black? Would they have said the same thing if he had a white girlfriend, though of a different race? I could not help feeling so bad about myself. He apologized and said maybe some day and that if it was any consolation, he said he could not love anyone more than he loved me but he had to listen to his mother. That it is just the way the culture works. I didn’t know what to say. I just walked away and started to cry.
Dear So sad,
Chin up, it’s not the end of the world. It’s an encounter with racism and discrimination. There are some cultures who do not want their children to intermarry with anyone least of all with a black person. Your boyfriend happens to be traditional in that he listens to the dictates of his parents and perhaps one day they will return to India or Pakistan and find a nice girl from him from a similar background. Whether he is in love with her or not is not of importance. Not all cultures place a high premium on romantic love. Some cultures like the Pakistani culture believe in arranged marriage. I hope that one day people will come to embrace Canadian multiculturalism fully and break down barriers such as the one facing you and your boyfriend. You will grow from this experience and unfortunately learn about the racism and ethnocentrism that are still with us. You are young and just beginning to explore relationship, there is the perfect person for you out there and he will show up at the right time. Good luck with your future relationship.