Get the Hell out of Here: No mixed couples allowed

by anthonyamato on October 20, 2015 - 11:55pm

Get the Hell out of Here: No mixed couples allowed

            CBC News stated in “Amanda Deer, non-native boyfriend driven from Kahnawake home by protesters”, on May 18th, 2015, that a couple and their child were forced to relocate from their home situated on a Quebec reserve. The author states that the family was endangered, particularly when the protesters became violent and attempted to break into the home yelling slurs for the boyfriend to leave; that he is not welcomed. The boyfriend is of non-native descent whereas Amanda Deer identifies herself as Mohawk. The article goes on by stating that the protestors were not only there because this mixed couple is not allowed on the reserve, but because the non-native man was a convicted felon. With this said, it is against policy, specifically the “marry out, stay out” policy, for a Mohawk to marry or live with a non-native. The article concludes with the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Bernard Valcourt, stating that this policy is both racist and unacceptable.  

            I would like to start by saying that this policy that natives follow is racist because they are not allowing mixed couples to be together on their reserve. What the first native people are overseeing is that there is no connection between one’s biology and the shared culture of given communities. The author of the article implies that the native people did not accept Amanda’s companion because he was not of native ancestry, hence the violent protests. However, you do not have to be native to practice native beliefs and traditions. The culture shared is merely learnt. It is a learned behaviour that is not biologically driven and formatted into individuals. The same applies to any culture and “race”. You do not have to be a person of color to practice certain traditions, beliefs or values common to them, per se. You do not have to be European to practice Italian traditions, for instance. Any individual can learn Italian, learn Italian cuisine, etc. Therefore, if any individual can practice common values, language, traditions and the elements of native life, why is mixed couples not accepted by Mohawks? As Smedley reiterates in “Race” and the Construction of Human Identity, we are all very similar, both culturally and biologically speaking. Native culture has not always remained the same; it has changed over time to adapt in modern societies without significant biological repercussions.

            To conclude, one should not apply social constraints on individuals merely because they are not from the same “race”. We are all from a single race; we are all biologically similar. We are all able to learn languages, conform to traditions and values. We are all able to practice different cultures without having similar ancestry, biologically speaking. Therefore, I believe that the mixed couple should not have been forced to relocate, despite for security measures, because the belief that racially determined cultural behaviour should not exist in our modern day society. 

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/amanda-deer-non-native-boyfriend-...

 
 

Comments

This post, due to the title, intrigued me but after reading it I only enjoyed it more. The topic itself is very interesting because it looks at racism from a different perspective. I agree with anthonyamato's opinion because I strongly believe that not allowing people from different races to marry is wrong. There is a point to be made about this; it affects the natives in more ways than they may have thought. It does not only affect the people who want to get married, but the community as a whole. Children that live on a reserve and are raised with this belief are surrounded by negative racial ideas and will grow up not understanding the dynamic of race. This idea must change if we want to live in an equal and harmonious society but, consequently, it seems that this may not be possible because it is part of their culture and religion. Although it seems like the right thing, can we really expect and ask Aboriginal people to change their customs and religion when we have not respected them as a group?

Hello,

I find this article very interesting, and you expressed it in good way, by saying that everyone can practice another culture. I have to add to this that, also, others have to accept this. If I can take for example my dad, he is from Toronto. He came to move here, in Quebec, and did NOT want to learn our culture and values. Still, now, when a person (not knowing he is an anglophone) talks to him in french, he is mad. I think that people who come to live in another place or country, with different norms and culture, must be able to adapt themselves. Yes, they can keep their culture, but they also have to adapt. What I wanted to say with this point, is that yes, not allowing to marry one person is wrong, but the , if we can call the person like this, has to also accept the different things in the culture. If he or she is willing to, then it is unacceptable not to let him in, again if we can say this like that.

I chose to comment on your post because it depicts a situation that is indeed racist and unacceptable. To me, this story is a perfect example of the reluctance of certain groups of people not only to accept racial and cultural diversity within their society, but also to share their own. Thus, it is not merely a matter of race, but also a matter of culture. Consequently, I like the emphasis you put on saying that race and culture are not necessarily related to each other, because these are two characteristics that many people believe go together. This example remembers me of the article written by James Baker and entitled “Just Kids? Peer Racism in a Predominantly White City,” where young refugees in Canada reported appalling experiences of racism, such as slurs and name calling. Overall, while agreeing on the unfairness of the situation this family had to face, I think that here comes the importance of educating people about race so the future generations can eventually build a society where the exclusion of non-natives is a policy that would not be even thought of. It takes time and efforts to change the mind of a whole society about one of their grounded values, but I believe education can make changes possible.