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Differences in Interracial Customs

Differences in Interracial Customs

Differences in Interracial Customs

This article highlights how cultural differences can easily cause difficult problems between people from two different countries that have different customs. Such small differences in two races’ different cultures can betray important differences in background that can result in challenges in interracial, personal relationships such as marriage and how a couple deals with their children too. My wife and I are in an interracial marriage.

Asians have always been well-known the world over for their love of photography and popular photography has experienced a boost since most mobile phones can now take pictures. My wife is young, Asian and on holiday in the UK and so is taking lots of photos at the moment.

She likes to take photos of flowers, animals, the weather, buildings and people, especially if they are enjoying themselves. One evening we were sitting in a local pub where we are known and my wife started taking pictures of people enjoying themselves in the bar.

She was oblivious to the reaction of some people, but I heard one woman asking her boyfriend whether it was ‘legal to take photos without someone’s permission’.

I personally did not think that it was a question of legality, just a difference in manners in interracial relationships, so I mentioned it to my wife. She was horrified to think that she might have upset anyone and stopped immediately.

However, within minutes, she could stand it no longer and went around apologising to everyone in the room. Now my wife’s English is pretty good but rusty and it was hard for people to understand what she was apologising for.

When they grasped what she was saying, it was even worse because they were embarrassed that they had caused a fuss, thus making it necessary for her to go around saying sorry to everyone for taking their photos without permission. She explained that she had only wanted to take pictures of happy pub life back to show her family in Thailand.

My having overheard one comment from one woman to her friend and my telling my wife had strange, unforeseen consequences.

Firstly, everyone was embarrassed that the situation of my wife feeling the need to apologise had gone so far and secondly, it had not crossed their minds that she was only taking photos to show her mum back home how much people were enjoying Christmas in the UK.

And thirdly, people started asking to have their photos taken with her and buying her drinks for the privilege. The warmth of the ensuing friendliness and the drinks made emotions flow all round and as they did, so we all became very pally.

It was strange to see so many tears, smiles and happiness from people in that bar come from what had started out as a potentially awkward situation. In fact, it had seemed at first that it was likely that it would turn nasty.

There are a few things that I learned about interracial relationship and people with different customs from that night.

First, it is better to ask permission if you want to take photos of strangers especially in confined spaces like pubs and parties where there are children and alcohol present.

Second, if someone does start taking photos of you and your children, it is best to approach them calmly and ask what they are doing and why.

Third, it is never too late to apologise if you have caused offence unintentionally, which is easy when you are abroad because of interracial differences

Fourth, amazing things can come from potentially very awkward experiences, since we made a few friends and lots of friendly acquaintances from that night of interracial cultural errors.

by +Owen Jones