AMWF History: Sarah Burke and Wong Suey Wong, Arrested in 1883 USA (For Love) | Speaking of China

34 Responses

  1. Autumn
    Autumn August 22, 2016 at 6:49 am | | Reply

    Nice to see that California has changed a lot in the intervening centuries. To date, only one racist comment in the Los Angeles area has ever been made to my Chinese-American guy.

    Of course, his hearing isn’t the greatest, so maybe he only heard one out of twenty.

    But at least no one believes I’m certifiable for loving him.

  2. Anthony Oertel
    Anthony Oertel August 22, 2016 at 7:11 am | | Reply

    Jocelyn, thank you for this article. I do not have more articles about Chinese and American couples. However, I am posting articles about women affected by Chinese Exclusion at .

  3. Susan Cao
    Susan Cao August 22, 2016 at 7:51 am | | Reply

    Racism against AMWF couples is alive and well here in the US. A couple of weeks ago we had an older man at the grocery store smash his shopping cart not once, but twice (in the space of about t minutes), in ours and looked at my husband and I with so much hatred in his eyes that it frightened me. We are completely used to starring, pointing, comments in Chinese and English, etc. but actual physical aggression is fortunately very rare.

  4. Cat
    Cat August 22, 2016 at 7:57 am | | Reply

    Thanks for sharing this story Jocelyn. While things have obviously improved immensely since the 1880’s I think some people still harbour these kinds of feelings. I so clearly remember the first time I encountered this when I was at university and told a white male friend I liked one of our mutual friends and his reaction was “you like Asian guys?” The friend’s race had honestly not crossed my mind, I’d been attracted to all different races of people before. “Asian” is also such an incredibly broad term and I often wonder what people are seeing in their head when they make sweeping statements about Asians. Are they thinking of a Chinese person? Someone from Japan? Korea? Are they thinking of South East Asia? How can they possibly take whatever view it is they have and apply it to all these millions of people.

  5. KenM
    KenM August 22, 2016 at 8:07 am | | Reply

    Very little has changed. All that has changed is the occupation of the mind instead where although there are no laws against interracial marriages all that has happened is a colonization of the mind.

    Where Asian men are emasculated, belittled and Asian women are encouraged to marry white instead. Think why WM (white male) AF (Asian female) is dominant in the USA.

    We can see the effects today:

    37% of Asian women married someone who was not Asian, while 16% of Asian men married outside of their race.

    Or why Asian men need to make $267,000 more a year just to be on par with white men.

    Or even the Olympics Ning Zetao. This guy has an incredible body. Yet out of the woodwork come the massive negative racist comments against him.

    If you read back far enough Jocelyn herself never even considered Asian men. Her social circle at the time was incredibly hostile to the concept of ever being with an Asian man.

    Even in the gay community no RICE is something my friend Simon complains about all the time.

    Hell even look at AMWF porn go on I won’t judge. Every single video is massively downvoted while WMAF is always upvoted.

    Or the way that EVERY group except for white men are made to feel inferior by US television.

    So while laws may have changed… attitudes certainly haven’t.

    For you:

    UK Chinese who were deported after WWII. Their wives considered to be whores and the men deported. Adding to the ‘Chinese men never live up to their responsibilities’

    1. passer-by
      passer-by August 22, 2016 at 2:38 pm | | Reply

      There is no need to mention above things,many modern european’s ancestors(especially paternal lineage) come from asia.

      1. Ken Tanaka
        Ken Tanaka August 29, 2016 at 11:38 pm | | Reply

        do you mean the european were get @$$ kicked, dumbf—ed and head slapped by the Asian steppe hordes such as khazars, huns, avar and mongols ???

    2. David
      David August 24, 2016 at 4:02 am | | Reply

      Actually works both ways these days and this kind of thing still happens with the UK My British doctor in Singapore says that his wife cannot stay in the UK for more than six months at a time because she did not speak English adequately. Then we have a Japanese PhD who married a white British woman, but she could not “bring him” into the country because she did not make enough. This despite the fact that he got a job at a British University which the government did not allow him to take up. He is not teaching in the US and his wife accompanied him…just to mention two. The architect of this nonsense is none other than the British PM Theresa May.

  6. passer-by
    passer-by August 22, 2016 at 2:40 pm | | Reply

    I mean in recent history .

  7. Susan
    Susan August 22, 2016 at 2:42 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for sharing this fascinating and terribly sad story. I imagine that I will think often of this brave young couple. I like to think that their descendents are alive and well, and conscious of the family history. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a photograph of them with their baby? So much hatred in the world, but somehow love persists.

  8. Alice - Kiwi in Korea
    Alice - Kiwi in Korea August 23, 2016 at 2:53 pm | | Reply

    It’s sad that this once happened, and even sadder to think that there’s still people who think like this. I wonder if I could have been as brave as this couple were?

    I’d be interested in any more stories like this, it’s nice to see the positive changes that have been made.

  9. Gerrit
    Gerrit August 24, 2016 at 3:49 am | | Reply

    As late as 1977 my cousin and his wife were arrested were arrested in South Africa and thrown in jail for five years for being married to each other. My cousin Breytenbach, a South African poet was jailed for marrying a non-white Vietnamese woman of French nationality.

  10. Michael Outis
    Michael Outis August 24, 2016 at 4:14 am | | Reply

    Brenda Wong Aoki has written a play about her great uncle’s marriage
    To a white woman in 1909 called “Uncle Gunjiro’s Girlfriend”
    People threatened to throw bricks at them and tar and feather the groom.

  11. Judith
    Judith August 24, 2016 at 10:32 am | | Reply

    More AMWF history coming up in September, although it will be published in Dutch:

    It’s a book about Selma Vos, the only Dutch person to live in China during the Great Leap Forward. She moved to Beijing with her husband and their two kids, but the Cultural Revolution led to the destruction of their family.

    I have no idea whether this book will be translated, but it seems to be a very interesting story. If you think it’s relevant to your blog, I can introduce you to the author.

  12. David
    David August 25, 2016 at 12:48 am | | Reply

    Breyten Breytenbach….as Gerrit says.. met his half Vietnamese daughter Daphne who is a French journalist. Told me that her dad was imprisoned for promoting, marrying a non-white woman and when Mandela was released she went down to South Africa where both she and her mother were harassed. Her mother for marrying an Afrikaner and according to them Daphne should not exist in this world. If you type Breyten Breytenbach in the google you will get all the details.

    Meanwhile, those attitudes still exist in the US, although this article focuses mostly on black-white couples, I think…

    “But to test how their feelings toward mixed-race couples would manifest in behavioral ways, one final experiment was conducted. Nearly 200 subjects were asked to associate photos of interracial and same-race couples with silhouettes of either humans or animals. This activity would, theoretically, reveal whether people were likely to dehumanize interracial partners. According to the study’s findings, people were quicker to pair photos of interracial couples with animals than with other humans. Wow, okay. ”

  13. Sveta
    Sveta August 25, 2016 at 2:59 pm | | Reply

    Sadly enough, it’s not the first time I ran across a story where the white woman was threatened to be thrown into mental hospital. There’s a book I used to see on Amazon about a young woman from Canada who fell in love with an Asian man and was institutionalized.

    Ever since I gave birth, my eyes were really opened by how some people continue to hold unfortunate stereotypes of Asian men. I hope my son will grow up healthy in all areas of life.

  14. IC
    IC August 26, 2016 at 10:35 pm | | Reply

    Do not let your dignity depending on others opinions or approval.

    Complaining about others negative treatment of you is sign of begging for others mercy. The respect is earned, not begged. You earn it through winning, domination, success, just plain superiority. It is like Olympic game which success is not based on others mercy. Even you are winners, you will still receive sour grape negative comment against you from competitive people. Let us face it. White people are very competitive people who will never accept their loss. They will always bash the winners. Negative comments against you actually reflect losers insecure mindset too. If you read European history, nationalism is in their blood. Losers never admit losing even among themselves. French never admit lose against German. German (in their mind) never accept their loss to Russian by claiming killing more Russian. Greek never accepted their loss to Persian.

    Thus if you are gullible to their rhetoric, you lose. Hoping one day that western media to portrait you in positive light? That is just pathetic. Even Asian winners like Genghis Khan was portrayed as feared bad guys. Either they give you contempt or you give them fear (that is only kind of respect they can give you).

    Don’t be a slave who waits for master’s approval. Be master yourself!

  15. IC
    IC August 27, 2016 at 2:06 am | | Reply

    I am northern Chinese Han with 1/4 Manchurian heritage growing up in pure north including Manchuria. As northerners (Mongolian, Manchurian, Northern Han, also Korean), we are proud of ourselves no matter how miserable life is.

    A lot of western travelers impression of northern Chinese is that we are very nationalistic people. Yes, they are damn right about that. In fact, most northerners are more nationalistic in general, which include most northern Europeans like German, Russian, Norwegian, ect. Not sure how this happens. I bet it is more to do with survive in harsh cold climate without any one else mercy. Also historically, it was always for northerners conquering southerners in both Asia and European histories.

    As kid growing up in north, there were quite a few of native westerners (ethnic Russian) among us. But these white people never received white privilege enjoyed in southern China (Shanghai included). Actually white people were viewed inferior in Manchuria during my time there. If you wonder how crazy Korean people are pride of themselves over other people, well, that is how northerners in general are, not just Korean. Do you wonder why North Korea is so confrontational toward USA? Well, they have no fear of westerners since they view white people as inferior sincerely.

    Bottom-line, northern people (both Asian and European) are just genetically proud of themselves which do not depend on others approval. We are highly competitive people. We are fighters who never accept loss. Lost one battle is not reason to surrender your soul. You always seek the chance to win next time.

    Southern slave like mentality is just so bizarre to us. Begging for approval is down right pathetic.

  16. IC
    IC August 27, 2016 at 6:29 am | | Reply

    Most patriotic guy had nerve to perform this patriotic/anti-American piece of music right there in front of US president in White House in USA. He is full of national pride.

    Lang Lang 郎朗 was born in Shenyang, Liaoning, China. His father Lang Guoren is a descendant of the Manchu Niohuru family, which brought forth a long line of Qing Empresses

    Yes he is a fellow northerner, a Manchurian, proud of his nation. Not coincidence. You see more this type of people in north.

  17. David
    David August 30, 2016 at 11:28 pm | | Reply
  18. Nicki Chen
    Nicki Chen September 6, 2016 at 12:26 pm | | Reply

    An interesting bit of history. Thank you, Jocelyn. My immediate attitude was–My, how things have changed!

    There are always going to be people with different attitudes than mine. People who don’t like my clothes, my blog posts, my choices of friends, hobbies, sports, vacation spots or husband. I prefer not to focus on their opinions and prejudices. (Although if someone is a rabid Donald Trump fan, I would avoid them if possible.)

    In thirty years of marriage to my Chinese husband, we experienced no problems worthy of note. In fact, I don’t remember any problem at all. Were there some? Probably. But they didn’t influence my life and happiness.

    Like IC above, my husband was confident–proud of himself and his heritage. If one can pull it off, it’s a good way to be.

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