The Fight for Interracial Love
Mississippi Masala resembles a situation all too familiar with me and my boyfriend. The main character Meena, who is of Indian decent and Demetrius, who is of African American decent, fall in love. Meena knows that her parents would not approve, so she keeps Demetrius a secret until her parents are forced to find out. The disappointment and discontent of Meena not dating an Indian man mirrored the same feelings my parents felt when I told them I was dating a half black man.
Coming from a fully Italian family, my grandparents and parents have always had pride in their culture. My grandmother and mother always would say “Cristina! Look how handsome that Italian man is” or the typical “Cristina, you need to find yourself a nice Catholic Italian man.” So the day I told my parents about Phil (my boyfriend) they were in disbelief, then became silent and ashamed, as if I stabbed them, my culture, and our traditions in the back. As hard as it was to go against my parent’s wishes and following in my family’s footsteps, I had to think about my future, my happiness, and myself.
After Meena’s parents find out that she is dating Demetrius, they talked about the amount of shame she has brought to her family and herself. As I was watching this scene, I automatically got a flashback from the fight I had with my parents about me dating not only a non-Italian/white man, but a half black man. My parents looked at me as if I wasn’t even their own daughter. Just like Meena did, she protected her own happiness and her love for Demetrius from her parents. This part was very sensitive to watch because it was the exact representation of what happened in my own home with my parents.
Meena also states in the movie that this is America and no one cares about others lives or how they live. This is also what I told my parents when I was discussing with them about interracial couples. My dad said that even though it’s 2016, some things never change. Meaning, that interracial couples are still not viewed as normal to some people. As I argued with him, he was very persistent that being a white female, I should be with a white male, and not with any other races, even if they showed the same values of our European culture. As ignorant as he sounded, I had to bite my tongue because he is still my father. Towards the end of the movie, Meena decides to stay in America with Demetrius, while her parents fly back to Uganda. She showed her independence by not following in her parents footsteps, but by doing what she thought was right for her best interest. To me, this was a big stepping-stone in Meena’s life, and also in Meena’s and Demetrius’ relationship.
As a whole, this movie was a mirror image of the way my parents reacted when they found out I was dating a half black man, and how I responded to it. After watching the argument between Meena and her parents, I felt connected to her because of the way she handled the uncomfortable conversation with her parents about dating a man with a completely different culture and ethnicity. Seeing it on a screen made me think that it doesn’t just happen between whites and blacks, but also between any other races that are prideful with their own culture. Mississippi Masala was not only a great movie that touched me in several different ways, but also was a major eye opener that I can relate to other humans that had the same struggle of being in a interracial relationship.