Dating within and outside your culture

published on July 16, 2020

My name is Hanada and I've been set up on this blind friendship date with someone called Molly Right now, I'm on my way to meet someone I've never met before She's a stranger, her name is Hanada Super excited about meeting her, so I thought we'll just take her

To some different parts around town so she gets acquainted with all of it We're gonna be talking about love, relationships, what's it like to date, but to honest, I'm really interested to hear how she finds it in her culture

I really hope she likes me too Hey! Hi (Laughs) Are you Molly? Yes Oh my god, hello, hi, I heard you just moved up here!

I just did Take a seat! Thank you, thank you (cheerful upbeat music) (cheerful upbeat music) (cheerful upbeat music)

Molly, why did you even move up here, in the nicest way possible? (laughing) I lived in Sydney, I lived in Melbourne, I lived in majority of the communities in the Kimberly and lived on the islands here in Top End,

But never Darwin so I thought why not So do you have anyone up here in Darwin? Yeah, actually I have my, uh, my dad lives here So I'm the oldest out of nine from my dad And being the oldest, and being so far away from my culture,

Which I am Yolgnu, from here, Arnhem Land I really wanted to come back as an adult to learn my stuff I think that's kind of what brought me back, you know, to really cling onto my culture,

While I'm young! And still fresh in the mind! (lively upbeat music) So, how did your parents find you moving out? I'm Egyptian, so Arab,

And in Arab culture, you don't just leave Like, you either live at home or you live with your husband So I just went, like, completely off track Like, I'm just, like, I couldn't not have

What I wanted and what I wanted was to work in an IVF clinic And then a job opens up for Darwin, and long story short, I got the job But when I moved up here I did meet someone

And we did get engaged Wow! And then we got unengaged How do your parents feel about that? Well, he wasn't Arab, so there was a bit, OK

There was a bit of an issue with that, cause they're, like, "He's not part of the culture, like, what are you doing?" And I'm, like, "Well, he's also human so, I feel like we have some things in common at least" (laughs)

(lively upbeat music) One of the issues being Aboriginal if you're living in a small town, the first thing you have to find out, is if you're related I do this all the time If I look, see some black boy, I'm like,

"He is top!" First thing I do is ring my mum "This is his last name Are we related to them?" And then she'll either give me the yes or if she's unsure, will consult an 'elder', my grandparents

And we've got to double-check with them, are we related or not? I mean, it's funny cause in the Kimberley, we're supposed to stay away from anyone that we're related to Yeah So I'm from two different Indigenous groups

Kimberley, Balanggarra, stay away from anyone that's related to you Here, Yolngu, they could be related to you, could be not Either way, if you're a Right Skin, that's ok So a Right Skin is, I guess, someone of right

Kinship, or relationship, that you are allowed to marry Wrong Skin, can't go there It's, you know, not allowed, frowned upon If you are dating someone Wrong Skin,

You kind of sneak around with them, that's not allowed So just, like, these two different Indigenous groups, it's just trying to learn, trying to balance it out, and trying to walk between it

Back there, "Don't go out with anyone who's related to you!" Here, "It's alright, they're your Right Skins" Molly, since you're new to Darwin, it would be remiss of me if I didn't take you to this great spot You can even take people there on dates

So, what do you say? Let's do it! (happy, mellow music) (happy, mellow music) You ever date a white guy? Straight to the point, I like it

Straight to the point, that's who I am I just want the goss now so then I can eat later Well, yes Several, in fact Oh gosh No (laughs) but yeah, I have tried the not-so-dark side And it's much more complex, complicated,

And I notice that I kind of become the teacher Oh my god! If they don't already know much about you, your culture, you have to teach them, you have to, uh, I guess,

Let them understand a bit more about yourself, your identity, your culture But I also had my, I guess, issues, and I'll give an example of a couple that I've dated There was one I dated,

He was a pilot, Yeah He was fascinated, you know, he was infatuated with me, but while he was all lovey-dovey with me, he was calling other Indigenous people "boongs", which is a racist slur

And I feel like in his mind he thought it was OK, like, "My girlfriend is black, or the girl I'm seeing "is black, so it's OK to say these things," these words that were offensive to me So that was one of the issues (upbeat music)

Dating someone outside my culture, I'm quite fearful and a lot of these things go through my head, you know Of course What if they just don't get me? What if they like me not because I look black, but because, I mean, they'll like me because I look black,

But not because I am black, meaning my culture, my dynamics, my political views There's a lot more to you than just a face It's a lot more complex than just dating someone Yeah with a different skin colour

There's a lot more that's packed into it You are dating not just me, but my identity So, tell me, what are some of the questions, comments, you've received that were racist? Every single time in the news Islamic extremists do something,

I'm always the voice of, "But why do they do that?" Like I've got their number and I can just give them a ring and go, "Hey," You represent an entire race (laughs) Yeah, I'm, like, "Can't you stop? Sorry, I can't "believe I didn't tell you not to do that

"That was my bad" Or it's like, "How do you feel about 9/11?" Like, obviously not good! Who no-one is on the wrong side of that issue We all didn't want it to happen And it's hard because when I'm with guys

And they know I like to joke and that, They're all like, "Aye, you blow me away, right?" Or things like that, and it's, like, "You're not on that level, you haven't gone through the trauma I've gone, you don't get that right"

But on a lighter note, do you want to grab some popcorn? Yes, I am starving And then we'll just sit on the beach Mhmm (upbeat music) I'm incredibly loud, and sometimes I fear

I'm too conservative for a liberal Muslim and then too liberal for a conservative Muslim I'm too, I think, Australian for an Arab, but too Arab for an Australian, like, I'm in this really very weird middle position where, I mean, I know what my identity

Is That's my identity Yeah But it's very hard to kind of, align that identity with someone else in a relationship So I think for me, what I'd want is someone who feels very similarly

Or at least can understand where I'm coming from and is able to allow for that and know that, I guess, I'm from two different parts, or, like, two different worlds, and that understands both my "languages" like, Yeah, definitely

Not actual languages but just where I'm coming from (upbeat music) So I want your advice on something How much of your family's opinion matter to you when you're dating someone? I mean, I want to give you the idealistic answer

Which is, nothing at all Like, it's all me, I know what I want, and then that's it But realistically, I really do respect their opinion, like, I think it would just make things so much easier in my life if they liked the person I was dating Or, ready to marry, or however it turns out

And I don't think I could go against them I think the real answer is, yeah, I genuinely do care about what they think Yeah, yeah Do you feel the same way about your family? Now? Now

Definitely But I guess when I was a teenager there, I said to myself, "I'm an independent woman, I don't want to be structured, I don't want to be like everyone else I want to have my own voice, my own decisions, and I don't want to be in that family dynamic

Where we listen to our family and everything they say, everything they do" I've been brought up by six women, so all, my mother, and all my aunties and my uncles, they all have a say in what I do Which, you know, at times it can be quite, you know,

Difficult, like, whatever you do or whoever you date, they all have a say, but it's good because I get to get advice from each and every single one of them I have, you know, seven other people to talk to besides my mum, or my dad, you know what I mean?

(laughs) Like someone will agree with you at one point Yeah, yeah, yeah, like, you'll get to the answer that you want, you know what I mean Which, you know, I'm grateful about that (upbeat music) Well, what's one, or what's some of the advice

That you would give to me or to someone that's, you know, wanting to date, or wanting to be in a relationship? Like, as much as I want to be the whole, "Just marry in your race," or, "Date in your race, it's easier"

It's not I think you just really need to diversify and just maybe being a little patient with them, but also hoping they do a little bit of leg work as well Like, if they're not from my race, I still want them to at least google, a little bit about Arab culture,

I don't care if it's wrong but at least then I know you've given it your best shot and you haven't walked in with a racist joke for instance What about you? Do you have any advice after the dating experiences you've had? If I could give any advice,

To you or to anyone Thank you Would be get to know yourself I know it's a hard thing People have been doing it their whole life, you know It's a long journey but I think that to know yourself, the better it is to find

Someone you genuinely enjoy, genuinely like It makes it easier to know what you like in a partner So, yeah, and just being honest Honesty is the main key Don't stay in your bubble of just dating someone inside your culture, you know,

Go out, find someone, doesn't matter if they're black, white, you can find love in either one As corny as that sounds I love it How did you find our date? I definitely enjoyed today

Got some popcorn out of it And I got to spend time with a pretty cool person What did you think? That's great (laughs) "That's great" Yeah, thanks Well, coming into this date, to be honest, I felt dread cause I didn't want you to judge how desperate

I am sometimes (laughs) But no, I think it was great, two women from different backgrounds, from different cultures, but we have shared experiences, shared values

I think it's quite refreshing talking about that Like we may slightly be alike Yeah You know what's funny though? Is I genuinely was like, I really, really, really, really, really, really,

Hope you like me (laughs) Because you know, like, when you go into something new, you're like, "If they don't like me, then what?" Yeah, yeah (laughs)

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