“A great new look at mixed marriages and multi-cultural or multi-ethnic relationships. This is not same-old-same-old but instead two counsellors with a mult-cultural background and 50 years in practise between them, look at the anthropology behind this modern-day explosion. Cannon and Berlin look at cultural norms, the ‘safe places’ we can go in conversation, say, about religion, when one of us is Buddhist and the other Christian. How one generation can communicate more effectively with another when one is third generation immigrant and one second. How collectivism and individualism really affect our daily interactions and so on. How important ethnocentricity can be and how it can knock a relationship off balance. And had you ever heard of ‘codeswitching’? I hadn’t, but it’s about the way we communicate differently, even if we are monolingual, with different types of people. Imagine how crucial this can be when the person is of different ethnicity and instinctively uses a different set of language ‘codess? All this is evenly spread over a rich base of mobility. Moving between countries, between cultures and between states.
It’s an enlightening read and fascinating too and its points are made stronger and more poignant thanks to the liberal sprinkling of case studies and the nine fictional ‘families’ (including a same-sex, same-nationality couple who have different ethnicities) we meet at the start of Mixed Blessings and who stay with us throughout the journey. After a meaty Part I, the book moves on to Part II that is all about the families, their issues and how practitioners might advise them, further, it goes on to how this advice was helpful to the couples. Part III is more of an appendix, but as appendices go this was one of the most comprehensive. It has a bibliography and a recommended reading list, a glossary of terms and, drum roll, please, a few assessment tests to get you started on the journey to understanding your own culture, beliefs, values and traditions.”