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Relationships are a necessary aspect of the social fabric. They also allow human integration and continuity. The concept of intercultural relationships was relatively rare in the past. However, with the advent of globalization and telecommunication components, an increased number of individuals from diverse cultures are now integrating. Despite the progress made concerning intercultural relationships, the concept is subject to several challenges.
Intercultural relationships refer to the integration of individuals from different cultural background. For instance, a relationship between an African American and an African comprises an intercultural relationship. This is because both the individuals have grown in different social settings. The social setting in which people grow usually influences their choices and values. The values propagated in Chinese may not be similar to the values propagated in the American culture. Intercultural relationships are subject to religious, political, and economic differences (Ting-Toomey, 2013). If these differences are allowed to thrive, they may lead to the downfall of a relationship. The media has been at the forefront in exploring the challenges and benefits of intercultural relationships. Through films, documentaries and blog posts, an increasing number of individuals are acknowledging and addressing intercultural relationships.
The Mississippi Masala
The film Mississippi Masala documents the lives of two individuals who are drawn from different cultural contexts. It is based on a romantic affair that follows the joys and tribulations of a young couple that projects different racial and cultural backgrounds. Mina is the only daughter in an Indian family living in Kampala, Uganda. However, after assuming power in Uganda, Iddi Amin expels Indians from Uganda (Nair, 1992). Alongside other Indian families, Mina’s family is forced to relocate to England. Over time, they move to Greenwood Mississippi where Mina finds employment in a motel under her family’s administration. In her daily engagements, Mina meets Demetrius, and they fall in love. Demetrius is a professional carpet cleaner and from the African American community.
Demetrius is initially captivated by Mina’s African heritage and later gets attracted to her. However, the two find themselves to be the objects of prejudice from the Indian community. Jay, Mina’s father, proclaims that he will not stand and watch an African marry her daughter. He projected the anger and bitterness he had developed since his expulsion from Uganda onto Demetrius (Canby, 1992). He, with other Indian relatives, prevail upon Mina to immediately terminate her romance with Demetrius. Ultimately, unable to cope with the prejudice from her family, Mina and Demetrius decide to run away together. They become victims of intercultural prejudice that is prevalent in the society. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Conflicts that Emerge between the Couple
In their relationship, Mina and Demetrius face several conflicts. Firstly, the two project different values in society. Whereas Mina is more reserved, Demetrius is exuberant. The African American culture promotes enthusiasm and fervor while Mina’s culture is one that promotes a laid-back countenance. In their romantic escapades, Mina would rather they were more discreet. Nonetheless, Demetrius given his cultural background is against the notions that promote furtiveness. Furthermore, Mina’s society promotes stringent frameworks on morality (Nair, 1992). Even though they bicker and have their internal feuds, they all converge against Mina’s breach of an assumed code of conduct in the community. This inspires bitterness in Mina, which is channeled towards her family. [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Secondly, Mina and Demetrius clash on the values to be integrated within their relationships. Mina’s values promote loyalty over every other value. Alternatively, Demetrius is against blind loyalty. He compares cultural values to masala. He indicates that these are passed on blindly and that it is the duty of an individual to choose values that promote their successes. Mina then feels the need to listen to her family and severe her relationship, but Demetrius is of the opinion that they still have a chance. Ultimately, the two converge around their differences and agree to engage a new approach to sustain their relationship.
Cultural Conflicts with other Groups
In engaging Mina’s father, Demetrius projects a prejudiced view. Like Jay, he uses these metrics to influence opinion. Demetrius prevails that Jay’s bitterness is a culmination of his failures in business. He is not privy of the challenges that led to Jay’s prevailing countenance. The prejudiced view only serves to worsen the already precarious situation. Demetrius should have employed a polite tone in addressing Mina’s father (Ting-Toomey, 2013). Directness is a virtue that is not overly promoted in the Indian culture especially during engagements with the elders. One is expected to be subtle and extend hints. Furthermore, it was important to Mina’s family that one submits to the authority of their elders regardless of whether they were right or wrong.
Likewise, the couples engage an informative countenance in engaging other groups. Mina seeks to inform Demetrius’ father about her culture. In turn, Demetrius is intent on informing Mina’s family on the cultural impediments that comprise that major cause of differences between them (Canby, 1992). Demetrius cannot integrate the values that are promoted by Mina’s family. He is not an Indian and refuses to believe that because of their cultural differences, his relationship with Mina cannot work. The informative countenance results in a failed relationship over time. Jay, Mina’s father, is not appreciative of the Black culture given his history. He is disinclined against any new information that relates to the Black heritage. Jay is embittered and thus cannot integrate the assertions that Black values can change. The informative stance employed by Demetrius provides an avenue through which cultural differences can be mitigated.
Jay’s prejudice is a consequence of his previous run-ins with members of the black community. He lost all his wealth when Iddi Amin took over power in Uganda. He loses his property and businesses in Uganda as a result of the expulsion. This takes a toll on him, and he commits to never integrate members of the Black race (Canby, 1992). Essentially, he feels betrayed by the African man. Demetrius reminds him of the bitterness. He is in fear that Demetrius may do a similar thing to his daughter. This constitutes stereotyping. He is projecting one man’s irresponsibility to the entire community.
Ultimately after all attempts to improve Mina’s family countenance, the lovers resort to run away. They commit to making a fresh start which is not subject to prejudice. They choose to run away from the prejudice rather than confront it. In resorting to run away, the couple admits defeat. They are unable to fight the intercultural challenges which threaten the existence of their relationship. They decide to go further themselves away from the influences of the family. Mina and Demetrius are casualties in the intercultural feuds. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Conclusively, intercultural conflicts have several implications. As is shown in Mississippi Masala, intercultural conflicts lead to the alienation of family members. Mina decides to run away with Demetrius against her family’s will, she moves away from them and determines never to come back. Demetrius is also forced to leave his family behind in attempts to save their relationship. Still, intercultural conflicts can serve to augment a relationship. Mina and Demetrius fortify their relationship in the process of trying to change the prevailing views on their relationship.
Canby, V. (1992, February 5). Review/Film; Indian Immigrants in a Black and White Milieu.Retrieved September 23, 2016, from The New York Times:
Nair, M. (Director). (1992). Mississippi Masala [Motion Picture]. United States: The Samuel Goldwyn Company (USA).
Ting-Toomey, S. (2013). Managing Conflict in Intimate Intercultural Relationships. In D. D. Cahn, Conflict in Personal Relationships (pp. 48-79). London: Routledge.