I just finished reading and article by the New York Times titled, Best Friends Living Worlds Apart by Mirita Ojito. http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/race/060500ojito-cuba.html
My take on this piece is what I feel is typical of our media in the United States and that of leading the reader to an intended conclusion. The conclusion presented is that we have a broad racial issue which does not exist in the rest of the world, e.g., Cuba. The term racial is ambiguous as anthropologist seem to be in debate as to the existence of various racial delineation yet the media provides it is a defined, common and accepted fact. Correlation verses causation is another issue which clouds over the media’s social offerings; though I am not a trained scientist I understand the difference.
I have lived more than half a century and have had many friends which may be categorized by “Google Circle” as acquaintance, casual friend, work friend, family friend, best friend, best friend forever, ex-friend, and a new one I learned from the article, friend of nostalgia. What I know of friendships is they are maintained by communication, interaction, caring and serving in a manner to promote the well-being of the other. Even best friends forever fall into the trap of not maintaining their relationships as we see in marriages that break. My reality says marriages don’t break if they are well maintained to prevent the cancer of selfish interest from growing to the malignant tumor of disinterest.
How does the definition of race, correlation vs. causation and marriage fit together to explain my concern of the message of this article? The article fails to recognize that human relationships, even marriages, fail for reasons other than “race.” An unbiased look, “out from behind the pulpit,” at this relationship between Ruiz and Valdes would have had to eliminate all other causal factors to provide that this was a racial issue. The author hints at this though it is a small paragraph within the long and overstated cultural, not “racial,” identities of the individuals.
Beyond this I will challenge the many articles that dissuade marriage and the idea that “being one’s self” is some special right, privilege or goal worthy of pursuit. The reality that I know is we are dynamic. We move through time and space daily. Messages about what and who we are ever present. We pass through them as they intersect and target us to affirm and conflict with our self-identity. Over time these mold and amend our behaviors, personalities, values, and world view. If we are stagnant, just like the water we are said to have evolved from, we become stinky. Our journey can lead us to transformations of better or worse (sounds like a marriage promise).
My wife and I have maintained a relationship for 31 years. We have sacrificed our individuality in many places to make this work in a world that says be true to yourself, and demand to be accepted as yourself. My opinion of this philosophy is that you may find yourself alone with yourself at the end of the day.
Who we are changes daily from the time we are born. We move from a crying bundle of fat that cannot support our own weight to get out of our feces toward adulthood. We learn to feed ourselves, walk and speak replacing behaviors which our parents found wanting. Hopefully this development eventually leads to an enlightenment that says I am here for more than being me, for something or someone else.
This first 30 years of our marriage has produced a friendship and joy that was unknown at the beginning and unimaginable at times. It takes more than two myselfs to grow a lasting relationship. It takes learners willing to become givers and forgivers to make friendships work.
What do you think about maintaining relationships? Do we just happen to fall in and then fall out?
Is there something more than chance feelings which draw us to one another and pull us apart?
What causes us to dislike someone we don’t even know?
- Lovers of a Different Color: Flaunting Racial Taboos (pickingalover.wordpress.com)
- ‘Color Blind’ Policies Could Make Diversity Harder to Achieve (psychologicalscience.org)
- Marriage and relationship. (experiencingmyjourney.wordpress.com)
Relationships are difficult and easy, complex and simple. Some have personality conflicts, religious conflicts, value differences and some intelectual conflicts. Some individuals are willing to work on the differences with all their energy and others depend on that one individual to do all the giving and working. Some individuals are strong minded and not willing to change or give. It takes a lot or effort, give and take to make a relationship flow. It is difficult for one to find weakness or flaw in oneself. I am proud that you two have found that “place” where there is “give” and “take” from both sides and love that grows with comfort for each of you.