2008-08-27

Cultural Differences in Family Interactions

If you were unfortunate enough to read the blog entry I deleted this morning, you would know we had a family emergency dealing with my husband's mother. In his family when there as an "issue" with someone in the family, it is very insular, meaning it is only the nuclear family that deals with the issue, the other relatives are not involved.

In my family, if we have an emergency, it is not just a nuclear family thing. Momma, daddy, aunts, uncles, cousins, and "play" cousins, and 2nd cousin Ray Ray might be involved. Perfect example is my new brother and sister. My mother felt it was an obligation to ensure my cousin's children remained with family members. That foster care wasn't acceptable, and even at 50 something, and risk of retiring with school age kids, she openly adopted my new brother and sister. My husband thought that was crazy, and that my parents had lost their minds trying to raise a 10 and 9 year old at their age. My white friend said my parents adopting my cousin's kids was a bit "trashy" and reminiscent of Jerry Springer, and that those kids have all sorts of mental problems, and should probably remain in foster care. It is as if nothing should be done.

I was talking about this with my Bangladeshi friend, whose family has done things like take in family members, help other family members immigrate here, and sent money to family members outside the family. She concludes that white people have a limited sense of family outside the nuclear family, the mom, dad, brother, and sister. Whereas other races of people have a sense of family outside the nuclear family unit, and extend it to even those not necessarily related to them.

Is this generalizing, or being racist towards whites? Is this just my husband's family that is like this?