Does Your Family Choose Who You Love?

(This post was originally found on The Butterfly Memoirs blog, 4/12/12)

As much as we’d hate to admit it, family, in some way, influences the decisions we make, no matter how old we get.

As children, we look to our parents and other family members to guide us on the road to adulthood. How we dress, how we speak, what we think. Our beliefs influenced by experiences of those wise in their years. Why? Because as blank sheets, we have to learn how the world works.

Then we hit the dreaded teenage years. Our desire to become individuals, independent of those who taught us, and stand out from our peers emerges. What we now think, feel, and believe do not always coincide what we were taught. Our style of dress, word choices…our minds are now our own. Our personal experiences begin to break the mold of lessons learned.

But what about our beliefs? By beliefs, I’m not referring to religious ones, because everyone’s personal beliefs are their own. The beliefs I’m referring to are what determines who we fall in love with.

No matter where you go in the world, race – in some places more than others – is an issue. Who you decide to become friends with and whom you fall in love with is influenced by those closest to you. If the one your heart guided you to is not of the same race, the relationship may be frowned upon. Family, friends, and society as a whole, often feel they have the right to give you their opinions.

But what about your opinions? At what point do you put your foot down and go with your heart?

Nearly everywhere you look, families of mixed races can be found. The reactions to interracial relationships depends on where you live. The youth of today have learned to embrace the racial and cultural differences between them and their school mates. They look at the quality of a person and ignore skin color. I applaud this. What remains of prejudice comes from older people set in their ways, or from young ones who are still living under racist influence of those around them. When it comes to finding love, your heart should be your guide. Not family, not friends, not the people in the town you live in.

Family influence subject touched on in A Heart Not Easily Broken.

Ebony Campbell comes from a black family in North Carolina. Ebony’s parents are in their late 50’s and grew up when racial relations were tense. Their experiences taught them that races don’t mix when it comes to family. The constantly try to introduce her to every available black bachelor, which causes Ebony to be wary about getting involved with a man of any other race than her own.

Brian Young sees things differently. Growing up in southern California, he comes from a very liberal family. He was taught to see a person for who and what they are, no matter what race. When Brian meets Ebony, he is interested in who she is as a woman; the color of her skin only intrigues him. He has to work to break down the barrier Ebony sets up and convince her he has more to offer than just friendship. When their relationship progresses to more, Ebony must chose. Does she allow how her family feels about her dating a white man cause her to lose the happiness she has found?

Here’s this week’s question: Does your families’ opinions continue to affect the major decisions in your life? Where do you draw the line?

*** A Heart Not Easily Broken –  Book One of the Butterfly Memoirs, has been an AMAZON BESTSELLER  in: Multicultural Romance, African-American Literature & Fiction, African-American Romance, and African-American Women’s Fiction.***

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