A blending of two cultures
“Race was never an issue for me as much as it was for my family,” said Agnes Marbun, a junior pre-nursing major.
After transferring to Union College from La Sierra University, Agnes Marburn met Devin Alexander, a junior studying exercise science, and fell in love.
Union College boasts a lot of cultural diversity, resulting in numerous interracial couples. In our small community, diversity is accepted. In other places, it’s not always as acceptable. What about taking him or her home to meet the parents? Will it matter what culture they come from?
To gain a better perspective of the reality of interracial couples, I interviewed Devin Alexander and Agnes Marbun about their relationship.
Marbun pointed to her parents’ concerns about their relationship. “Being Indonesian, my parents would prefer to keep everything within tradition and culture. Most of the reason why is for better communication and comfort. They were skeptical about the idea of Devin and I dating because we don’t know what kinds of future conflicts can rise just within the different cultures alone.”
Alexander’s family holds a very different perspective.“I was raised in a family where race was never an issue, and I was taught the human race was the only race, and that the heart is what should be looked upon. I grew up playing with children of different races myself, making me develop a relationship and understanding of how several races are.”
Nevertheless, Alexander couldn’t help but feel nervous when he and Agnes began dating. “Not for the fact that we were different races,” he explained, “but how the relationship with her family would go and vice versa.”
I asked the couple if they could compare their relationship to a time when they were in a relationship with someone of the same race.
Prior to her relationship with Alexander, Marbun dated an Indonesian for four years. She stated, “Although the culture was the same, the relationship between him and my family was nowhere near to what Devin has with my family. Devin is an extremely outgoing guy and is genuine with his every move. My aunties and uncles had their assumptions about him, but now that they met Devin, they have never been happier until the next time they see him again.”
Marbun’s story demonstrates that although families often believe dating within the same race will ensure healthy family relationships, that is not always the case. Although Alexander is not Indonesian, he has quickly become a fun addition to the family.
“The main reason why Devin has my heart is because he is family-oriented,” gushed Marburn. “He will work his way to get familiar with the unfamiliar. I believe that is a huge key to any type of relationship.”
She continued, “Regardless of what our backgrounds are, we are both willing to learn and grow together, surpassing any issue of race. If you focus on your own growth and continue to do the right things, all happiness will fall into place.”
“For myself, I think focusing on the race aspect too much can cause concern for what may actually be going,” Alexander added. “But when the attention is put on gaining a better relationship with each other through time, relationships can bud. We didn’t know what to expect in this relationship, but we knew we needed to put God first.”
Agnes Marburn is social vice president for International Club; Devin Alexander is a student ambassador and is featured in the Union College student spotlight at https://www.ucollege.edu/student-spotlight/devin.
Roxi Peterson is a senior Communications major.