Marry a foreigner: Why or why not

  1. Since many activities in marriage are joint, such as the raising of children, the purchase of a house and other consumer durables, and the spending of leisure time, dissimilarity in taste would complicate these shared activities.
  2. People prefer to marry someone who has similar cultural resources because this enables them to develop a common life- style in marriage that produces social confirmation and affection. (Taken from Kalmijn 1998).
  3. Differences might be seen unique or cute but actually cause big problems in the long run.
  4. The person you are marrying to might not be a good representative of his/her culture (e.g. the person might be secular while his/her family can still be very conservative)
  5. Understanding and appreciating a culture is different from internalizing it.
  6. Extended families might be as important as spouses in some cultures.
  7. Face saving and gender roles might be too hard to overcome.

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Reasons why people want to marry a foreigner

Genetic Variation: Species tend to out-breed in order to strengthen their genetic immunization. For instance there are certain diseases which are found among Asians or Europens, when a Erupoean and an Asian have a baby it’s possible that the baby is less likely to get both of the diseases.

Davis & Merton Hypothesis (1941) members of ethnic groups whose prestige in society is low would have better chances of marrying outside their group if they offered a high socioeconomic status in re-turn.

By-product Hypothesis (Kennedy,1944) : Intermarriage is more common between groups who have the same faith

Claude Levi Strauss (1949) Alliance Theory:  Small groups must force their members to marry outside so as to build alliances with other groups.

Self Expansion Theory (Aron & Aron, 1986). The primary human motivation is to grow and expand the self. Individuals seek to expand the self in many ways including establishing relationships with others. According to this view, romantic relationships start when an individual perceives another person as an opportunity for rapid self-expansion. Aron and Aron (1986) wrote that “The self is expanded by whatever expands its potential efficacy-that is, by knowledge and the resources to apply knowledge.  Forming a relationship with another person obviously offers knowledge and resources in abundance.” (p,28)

Future Generations: In-termarriage decreases the salience of cultural distinctions in future generations because the children of mixed marriages are less likely to identify themselves with a single group by intermarrying, in-dividuals may lose the negative attitudes they have toward other groups. (Kalmjin, 1998)

Problems Children Face in Mixed Families: Intermarrying and Children

  1. •Children do not really know their grandparents ancestors.
  2. •Family members, such as grandparents and cousins, are not able to communicate well with the children (TCK).
  3. •One side of the  family does not celebrate  host culture’s holidays and observe its traditions.
  4. •One side of the family has to explain jokes and/or ask for them to be explained.
  5. •Children grow up with a different set of cultural assumptions than parents.
  6. •One side of the family experiences discrimination because of the ethnicity of his/her spouse.
  7. •Children grow up with gender roles parents do not approve of.
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