Not long ago, a white friend of mine moved back to America with her Chinese husband. They were happy with their decision to return to America, but it also meant living with her parents for a period of time. Which wasn’t easy…and lead to some uncomfortable conversations. She confessed that her mother (who she said wasn’t the most pleasant person to begin with) wasn’t thrilled that she hadn’t chosen an “easier life.”
In other words, the fact that this friend had chosen to marry a Chinese man – instead of, say, one of the white guys she used to date at university.
Ugh. I shuddered just thinking about it.
Obviously, her mom is not the supportive type. But the thing is, “you’ll have a hard life” (and all of its many variations) is something that many interracial/intercultural couples have to hear. Loving versus Virginia may have paved the way for legal interracial marriage in the US, but it sure didn’t stop people from telling you how “tough” it’s going to be.
Here’s why I’m tired of hearing this:
1. So what if it’s “tough”?
Given the fact that interracial coupling was illegal for a really long time in the US (and, I would imagine, many other countries around the world), there’s no doubt that we’ve had to fight for the right to love who we want to.
Even now, we’re still fighting. From white supremacist hate groups who would frown upon my marriage to the continued discrimination against people of color (including people like my husband), it’s not always an easy ride when you date and marry differently.
Yeah, we get it. It can be tough. So what?
There will always be haters when you’re dating or marrying outside the box. It’s part of the package deal – and believe me, we already know.
2. It can be racist
Okay, I know that’s a loaded statement (I suppose anything becomes a loaded statement when you throw in the “R” word). But think about it. If you’re wishing that your white daughter didn’t marry outside of her race (and, for that matter, culture and country), that’s like saying that she should only date and marry white guys. Because, after all, life is so much easier when you’ve got the full benefit of white privilege, right? (Never mind that white privilege IS the problem, folks.)
Yeah, SO not cool.
3. Marrying within your race doesn’t guarantee an easy life
I grew up in a mostly white suburb of Cleveland, which exposed me to ALL kinds of white folks – and taught me that there are plenty of losers, scumbags and lunatics within my own race.
I know that marrying white doesn’t guarantee you some romantic Prince Charming who will sweep you off your feet for the rest of your life. I’ve seen marriages between lots of white people that have ended in utter disaster and ruin – including the folks who seemed to “have it all” (the money, the luxury cars, the beachfront property).
When two people from the same race happen to marry, they don’t necessarily have special “insurance” against a divorce or devastation. Crap can happen to any couple out there.
4. It ignores the fact that love just happens
As I wrote a while back, I never intended to marry a Chinese man. I had actually dated a steady stream of mainly white guys before I moved to China – where I was eventually swept off my feet by an extraordinary young guy from Hangzhou. I didn’t think about whether it would be harder with him…I just knew I loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Period.
Sometimes love just happens – in the most unlikely and unexpected ways. Instead of worrying about how “tough” it might be, shouldn’t we be celebrating that two people have come together to share one of the most beautiful things in life?
What do you think?