Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Education, Tradition, Legacies and Interfaith Relationships

Posted by chinesecanuck on August 6, 2008

Some people say that interracial relationships are more difficult than other intercultural relationships. I beg to differ and say that interfaith is harder than anything else. It isn’t necessarily holiday-related, but for things like what school hypothetical children should go to.

Several of my classmates are legacies. Legacies, not because they did something while at the school that would go down in history, but because they’re daughters of Old Girls (alumnae). While the term isn’t officially used in any of the school’s literature, emphasis on the importance of continuing a tradition of sending daughters to the school is definitely felt. There are scholarships and bursaries that give priorities to these girls.

Many outsiders, however, do not understand this, but eventually do so (or at least attempt to) after a short explanation. My boyfriend is one of those people, but I’m not sure if he truly understands. I haven’t officially told him that should we marry and have daughters, that I’d like the girls to go to school there. This could be an issue down the road, because he doesn’t seem to be comfortable with the idea of sending them to a school that I consider to be “vaguely Christian.” (some would beg to differ, and say that it’s very religious…this school is a university preparatory school, not one that emphasizes faith, especially when the vast majority of its students aren’t even of the school’s religion!) He would blame his mother, but I’m not so sure it’s all his mom. It’s him too. I’ve tried to overcome this by suggesting that the hypothetical daughters go to a more neutral school. But I still have a preference for my alma mater – it’s just something that’s ingrained in many of us who went there.

Some people may think that my wanting little legacy children is a little on the superficial side, especially when I’m not a legacy myself, and that I’m not from a “traditional prep school type family.” (read: WASP – but see, there are a lot of things that some people (especially people involved in “minority politics” don’t understand…like why some Hong Kong Canadians like these schools). But don’t legacies have to start somewhere? Not everyone is multigeneration. In any case, the school has very high standards when it comes to academics, as well as up-to-date teaching methods and technology. If one has daughters and can afford the tuition, they should apply.  Religion shouldn’t be the number one factor to consider when it comes to applying to a school.  Academics should be priority.

I think the religious thing is hindering him from fully accepting the whole legacy/tradition thing.  I’d love to be able to send any daughters I have to the school, but if one of us doesn’t agree, then there’d be issues.  If I were dating someone who was of a different ethnicity, but the same or similar religions, choosing to apply to the school wouldn’t be a problem – unless his side has has connections to another school.

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