Meet The Black-Pakistani Family

Mother of three, Asiyah, tells her story behind falling in love, tackling culture and taboos whilst raising the ‘Blackistani’ family!

We’ve heard the classic tales like ‘Jodhaa-Akbar’, where inter-racial marriage took place amidst war and sacrifice. But what happens after boy meets girl? Has the traditional ‘strict’ view of ‘love’ changed in our modern society?

Mother of three Asiyah shares the beauty of her family through social media. The family Instagram account, ‘theblackistanifam’ turned heads, with followers eager to learn how Pakistani and British Caribbean culture can merge.

From meeting her soulmate, to raising proud children of both backgrounds, digital creator, Asiyah speaks to Asiana on how she was able to overcome cultural boundaries and raise her Blackistani family.

Ever since I was young, I thought I would have the dream wedding. Didn’t almost every girl?! I dreamt I would marry the perfect guy, have an amazing wedding attended by friends and family far and wide, and typically the groom would be Pakistani.

So, imagine my surprise when I fell in love with a British Caribbean man while in college. All the characteristics I wanted in my ‘dream’ groom, he had. Smart. Creative. Caring. The only minor detail missing is that he wasn’t Pakistani. So not totally according to plan. However, what was I to do? The heart wants what the heart wants. Love happens to us all and you can’t help who you fall in love with. Love doesn’t care what language you speak, what colour you are or the amount of money you have in your bank account, because love has no boundaries.

Although, try telling that to my family! It wasn’t easy informing them that I wanted to marry someone who is Jamaican. In most South Asian cultures, families expect you to marry within your own caste, never mind the same nationality. So, to even suggest marrying someone of another race is just unthinkable.

Thankfully my family’s lifestyle is guided by their religion more than their culture and eventually they came around, but it wasn’t easy. It took over two years trying to explain how I felt. A lot of debates, prayers, and tears. I even made sure certain family members and community leaders speak to them to help them come around.

Fact of the matter is, South Asian parents just need a little more time to adapt and understand love without boundaries. It’s very important for young people to understand that their parent’s upbringing is very different from ours. We have been raised in the UK, whereas many of our parents are tied to traditions back home. So, we need to be considerate the way we deal with such sensitive matters (especially around elderly family members).

However, honesty towards your parents and being open is key, I can’t stress how vital this is. Always consider them in your decisions despite disagreements. You will face many trials and tribulations on your journey to a mixed marriage, so make sure you have enough patience and understanding.

It goes without saying, before you decide to break the big bombshell to your family on marriage on who you would like to marry, make sure you are certain as can be about the person. Go through what is important to you in life – likes, dislikes, values, ambitions. Manage your expectations going into marriage, as fundamentally each marriage is a partnership. So it’s about compromise.

For us, it’s important to represent the positives of mixed marriages. Embracing both cultures is of great significance in our home – with two powerhouse cultures for food, how could we not!? There’s never a dull moment in the Blackistani kitchen. I cook Pakistani dishes for my in-laws and they love it. Additionally I’ve been taught how to make Jamaican food by my husband’s amazing grandmother as well, which led to my mum discovering fried plantain!

Life really is a nonstop big party. Although we are both Muslim, my husband’s side of the family are Christian so they cook us halal Christmas dinner and buy presents for the kids. During Ramadan, my family’s husband fast, celebrate Eid and we visit the mosque together, so it all works so well!

Much love Asiyah

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