Predetermined prejudice persists
Centuries ago you could have been Son of John. More recently you might have been named Gregory III. Today, however, any name is possible. A name can define you, it can give you an identity you didn’t choose and even determine your future, to some extent. But, you won’t let it.
There are factors involved in your future that you’ve omitted in your thinking over the past several years. Goals, resolutions and plans are all important at this stage and in the future, but you’re only going to go so far. Unless, you can survive the torrential rains as you run out from under the protection of your parents’ umbrella.
Despite every attempt to reward individuality, support ingenuity and reward creativity, the world still wants to know who your father is and what he has planned for you.
Social norms are not what they once were. This is not news to you. Choice is far ahead of accountability and may never again catch up. Freedoms are abundant and expressed loudly through social media, personal appearance and books about color variations.
Your potential spouse, mate, companion or significant other will look past all of that at some point and hopefully you pass the test you aren’t even taking. They want to know who your parents are. You cannot avoid this. You can hide them away. Lie about them. Find some replacements. Some have even staged their death. And you live in Utah so you might as well assume there is going to be a discussion regarding church.
Whatever you do or don’t believe, they will most certainly want to know what ma and pa believe. Your folks might even put a significant amount of pressure on you to make a choice that is pleasing to them.
So who’s son or daughter do you want as a permanent part of your future and family?
Prejudice and judgment are passed just as quickly today as they were 50 years ago.
“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.” Maya Angelou
“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” E.B. White
Everything matters. Your father’s battle with drugs. Their father’s leadership positions in church. Her mother was a stay at home mom. His mother worked three jobs. Your parents couldn’t afford a private college so you go to a state school. Their finishing up a graduate program at a private school. She confides in her parents constantly. He visits home for Christmas or Thanksgiving but never both. Your parents may fight constantly while theirs never quarrel.
Living in Utah may be comparable to ancient times. Couples in Europe, Asia and Africa wouldn’t meet their spouse until the wedding day and sometimes not even until the ceremony. Here in Utah Valley, the same could be said about some unions, or at least it seems that way.
The engagement time is a bit different, however. Often springing for the big day right after meeting a potential mate, as some fertile Utahns seem to do, traditional families might have had a suitor determined at birth. While your marriage may not exactly be arranged, it may have to be approved. Your folks may not be the aristocratic or political powers respected and revered throughout the nation, but in this utopia, their opinions and approval reign supreme. Hovering mothers may select “ideal” candidates for you once you’ve returned from your “religious excursion,” as student Gilbert Cisneros calls it.
No matter how important this person may be in your life, when you meet you future in-laws, or whatever you want to call them, you will enhance, alter or even forget your previous feelings for that oh-so-special person, just as surely they will do the same when they meet your genetic donors.
Don’t forget, those wonderful people are going to be judging you too. Good luck meeting the parents, but don’t bother preparing, because they aren’t interested in you. They just want what the kings and queens of old want: a union between two respected families.