7 Challenges after Moving from China to America with your Chinese Spouse

Many years ago, when my husband first received clearance in China his US Green Card, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. “Now the greatest challenges are finally over,” I thought.

Oh, how wrong I was.

It was only after I moved to America with my Chinese husband that I finally learned the truth — that the most challenging things happen after you set foot in American soil.

Here are 7 major challenges we faced after we moved together from China to America:

1. Nobody really cares about what you did in China

That amazing Winter Solstice dinner you had at the family home in China? Nobody gives a damn about it.
That amazing Winter Solstice dinner you had at the family home in China? Nobody gives a damn about it.

Returning to the US with a new spouse after years in China is like coming home from the greatest world adventure ever. You’ve both seen and experienced incredible things you’re dying to share with everyone you meet, from old family and to new friends. You want to enlighten your fellow Americans about the “real” China.

Except, there’s just one problem — nobody really cares!

As Marissa of Xiananigans noted:

Those closest do care, and job interviewers take a keen interest in my unconventional background, but for the most part I feel it’s a polite interest, not a deeply profound one. I’m a lone wolf in the sense that I don’t really know too many people, acquaintances or otherwise, interested in China. Many have a hard time placing Xi’an, even when I mention the Terracotta Warriors.

But is this really surprising for a country that often treats international headlines as an afterthought to Kim Kardashian’s bod and the popular reality show du jour? A country where a cable TV news show actually ran a map locating Hong Kong on the East Coast of South America?

John and I felt like the odd-couple-out at hundreds of social gatherings in the US, surrounded by Americans who would rather talk about TV shows neither of us had ever heard of.

It was a sad reversal of what we experienced in China, where friends and family would remain rapt with attention when we spoke of America. They were always hungry to hear about what things were really like in my home country, and excited to discuss the latest news headlines, movies and even TV shows.

Ultimately, the few people who actually wanted to talk China were usually from the country, former expats, or traveled there once upon a time. And sadly, there were never enough of them to go around.

2. Americans are incredibly judgmental towards non-native English speakers

(photo by -Curly- via Flickr.com)
(photo by -Curly- via Flickr.com)

Growing up, I often gravitated towards foreigners in the US who didn’t speak native English. When a young girl from Belgrade joined our high school orchestra for a period of time, I loved hanging out with her in the hallway and hearing her spin stories of the former Yugoslavia through her splendidly imperfect English. In college, I used to enjoy green tea with a couple of Japanese guys who sometimes paused in the middle of a sentence, and once helped put together a party to welcome a gaggle of Brazilian girls who spoke English with heavy accents.

None of these imperfections in their English bothered me in the least. After all, we could communicate and in the end, that’s all that mattered. Right?

Then I returned to the US with my Chinese husband who speaks English as a second language – and discovered the shocking truth. Most Americans were not like me at all.

Americans are extremely judgmental towards non-native English speakers – even when they speak outstanding English (as my husband does).

They’re even judgmental when they haven’t met your foreign spouse. People who had never even heard my husband speak a single word automatically assumed his English must be poor because he’s Chinese. (Sadly, in the hierarchy of non-native English speakers, Chinese place somewhere at the bottom.)

Whether you like it or not, language discrimination is a reality in the US – and it’s going to make life for you and your spouse that much harder. But that leads me to the next challenge you’ll face:

3. Discrimination

(photo by Loving Earth via Flickr.com)
(photo by Loving Earth via Flickr.com)

If you’re a white American like me, get ready to experience a new kind of education through your Chinese spouse: discrimination.

As I’ve written before in this piece published in Hippo Reads, discrimination is real for Asians of all stripes in the US (including those born and raised on American soil). But it’s going to be that much harder for your spouse because they’re not used to it – and, if you’re white, neither are you.

Even worse, if you’re like the vast majority of white people (who have no people of color as friends), you’re going to feel incredibly isolated when your spouse finally experiences the worst. Most whites don’t believe discrimination still happens in America today. Suddenly, the friends you thought would always be there for you just don’t get it. If you’re anything like me, you’ll grow tired of trying to convince them of the fact that it’s a real thing – and will be forced to move on and forge completely new friendships.

My advice? Be prepared. Read about how modern discrimination and racism in America really works (Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s Racism Without Racists is my favorite, but it’s not the last word on this). Make more friends with people of color – they can share their experiences with you and will become your allies when the worst hits your spouse.

4. Deep cravings for authentic Chinese food that are tough to satisfy

If we wanted the real, authentic taste of John’s hometown in the US, we had to make it ourselves.

Call it the American Chinese food conundrum. There are literally hundreds of thousands of Chinese restaurants that cover the US – and only a small fraction of them can deliver anything close to the ambrosial delights that you fell in love with in China.

It’s a nightmare for your Chinese partner, accustomed to the incredible diversity of Chinese food you can find in most urban areas in China.

On the streets right beside our apartment, we can dine on cross-the-bridge noodles from Yunnan, spicy BBQ from Chongqing and Hunan, Lanzhou-style pulled noodles, and at least four or five different specialties from cities in Zhejiang province you’ve probably never even heard of.

When you move to America, you’re trading in that kind of rich culinary heritage for a blandly bastardized version that’s either breaded and deep-fried or drowning in some unnaturally pink glop.


If you’re lucky, one or both of you can actually cook decent Chinese food and satisfy those cravings on a regular basis. Even then, you’ll never cover it all. There are some things that are WAY too complicated to prepare on a regular basis (Beijing duck, anyone?). There are others you’ll struggle to buy or never find at all, such as fresh Spring bamboo roots, tang hulu, and Suzhou-style mooncakes.

(Well, at least it’ll give you something to look forward to when you return to China for visits, right?)

5. Teaching your spouse how to drive a car

Sorry guys, but teaching your spouse how to drive in the US is not lovely like this photo!

Unless you’re one of the fortunate few Americans returning to a city with excellent mass transportation (like New York City) you’ll need a car to get around. So will your spouse, except for one small problem: chances are, he or she doesn’t know how to drive.

Guess who will become their teacher?

This is a dangerous proposition – “dangerous” as in it could seriously wreck your marriage.

Anyone who has ever listened to the popular NPR show Car Talk knows that many a couple gets into an argument over something as simple as how to drive (and we’re talking about two adults who already have their license). There’s nothing more nervewracking than sitting shotgun as your sweetie is swerving in between lanes and on the verge of clipping someone else’s car – and it’s your job to yell at them and get the car under control.

In the end, I helped my husband successfully earn his US driver’s license. But ask me to do it all over again? Please…no!

6. Helping your foreign spouse through the exhausting task of finding work while you’re finding work

We may be smiling in this photo, but we weren't months later when we were both trying to figure out our lives in America.
We may be smiling in this photo, but we weren’t months later when we were both trying to figure out our lives in America.

Anyone who recalls that demanding post-graduation job hunt knows it’s not easy to land on your feet with that perfect job and apartment. Just imagine how much harder that whole process is when you have to do it as you’re guiding a foreigner through the ins and outs of a whole job hunting culture that’s not second nature to them.

If you haven’t already, you’ll soon learn that the process is NOT as universal as you imagined. You’ll also learn that America puts a premium on appearances (aka job interviews) so even if your spouse is wholly qualified for the work, they still might not get the job. Sadly, discrimination (especially language-based discrimination) looms large in subjective situations like interviews, leading to a lot of potential disappointments and frustrations that you never even expected.

Worst case scenario? You’ll give up on ever finding employment for your Chinese spouse.

That might sound easy enough if you’re an American man with a Chinese wife, but it flips the traditional marriage expectation on its head for American women with Chinese husbands. Still, I know of American women who have returned to the US with their families, understanding that their husbands will either be underemployed or become stay-at-home dads.

7. Realizing the American dream isn’t always what you imagined

We've traded in our American dream for a China dream.
We’ve traded in our American dream for a China dream.

So many Chinese remain starstruck with America, believing everything must be better in the “beautiful country” (the literal translation of “America” in Chinese). Their enthusiasm is so infectious that you’ll be dreaming of those Technicolor blue skies, sweet clean air, and the smell of freshly cut green grass on the lawn. Before you know it, you’ll build up your very own country into this perfect American dream that will deliver everything you ever hoped for – and more – to you and your new spouse.

One of the most painful things about moving to America was when the experience shattered all the fantasies I ever had about settling there with my husband. My own country crushed us and let us down in countless ways.

I know of couples who pushed past the imperfect and frustrating reality to eventually build a “good enough” for themselves and their families.

As for us, we’ve had it with the American dream, trading it in for our own China dream instead.

Have you moved from China to America? Are you planning your own move? Weigh in with your thoughts on the challenges of bringing your family to the USA!

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42 Replies to “7 Challenges after Moving from China to America with your Chinese Spouse”

  1. When you get back to America, you learn what every immigrant does – no matter who you were in the old country, all that matters is the new you. You’re not special any more. It’s the land of opportunity, not the land of transferred status from elsewhere. Everyone starts at the bottom of the system. This sort of thing drives fuerdai crazy.

    On the positive side, when this happens a white person can *at last* be the victim, that long-sought-after status that always eludes them.

  2. To be fair, the language-snob attitude exhibited by Americans is pretty much a universal trait in all English-speaking countries, whose “native” inhabitants are typically monolingual. The funny thing about it is that many English-speakers have trouble spelling and constructing grammatically-correct sentences in their own language, and it is a problem that is made worse by the spread of technologies such as auto-complete and texting. And as Alice Zindagi pointed out in your interview with her, women will even feel intimidated if you message them with flawless sentences.

  3. I laughed out loud at some of your thoughts. Even not married to a Chinese man but having had a wonderful experience in Taiwan I completely agree with some of your experiences of not finding any real Chinese food, people who care about your experiences in China, etc. etc. And I think you now have a firsthand view of what life is like for an immigrant in America and it gives us a real appreciation for early American immigrants and immigrants today. My sister is married to a many from France and he has had similar struggles with work, language communication etc.-and he had an English mother! Marrying a man from a different country definitely changes things for a woman and needs a lot of adaptation and compromise. I am sure you and your husband would have found the success that you were looking for eventually but it takes many many years. I wish you the best in your journey to China and the same success!

  4. Language discrimination really sucks. My dad is very talented with computers, and thing is, he always landed job interviews, but beyond interviews? Nope. Why? Because his English isn’t good.

    Some people from Korea or China told me that they appreciated the fact I wasn’t judgmental when they spoke English with an accent, and I know how that feels: coming here and sticking out for one reason or another. I never believe that racism went away. It does exist, but people try to hide it better or else deny it exists. (Hey, anti-Judaism didn’t go away either by the way.) It is unfortunate that those types of discrimination exist.

  5. Haha..I am not complaining. Americans are the real losers for being so insular and so unaware of things outside of the country. And being so boringly mono-lingual. If the typical American is so proud being mono lingual, god bless him! The rest of us want to speak in tongues lah! hehe..Interesting piece, Jocelyn. Power to your ‘中国梦’!

  6. This is really interesting to read, especially as a fellow 洋媳妇 who hopes to move back to the UK someday with my Chinese spouse. I haven’t thought all that much past the dreaded spouse visa/financial requirement but I must make sure that we do.
    I don’t know whether the UK and US differ all that much as regards discrimination, I would hope so, but perhaps not. I think London may be the best option there but it’s also the most expensive to live.

  7. Great post of a difficult subject. I must admit, that I had no idea things could be that hard in the USA, but I have never been there so. For me and my Chinese hubby, we are going to be staying in China for now, but it´s not impossible that at some point we go to Finland for some time. I hope to first start with trips and longer stays, before making the decision in the future.

  8. This resonated with me because I’m going through this right now. Two months later we’re still waiting for his social security number. I’m still glad we made the move and I’ll be writing why soon 🙂

  9. I can relate to this. My husband is not from China but number 1 “Nobody really cares about what you did in (insert my husband’s country).” So true. I have nobody to really talk to about my adventures in his country when I returned to the States. I kind of just had to bottled it in just so I wouldn’t “bore” my family members. Too bad. I really wanted to talk to somebody who can relate or interested in knowing about his traditions, customs and such. I at least have a blog, I suppose.

    My husband faced huge discrimination when he lived in the States, for sure. He was called a slur at Wal-Mart, almost gotten beaten up by white men at a party, etc. Speaking of Chinese food in the States, my husband went to Panda Express in California when he first went to the States and he was completely grossed out. When he had a fortune cookie, he accidentally ate the paper. “Why is there paper in the food??” Good question.

    Number 7 really hit me to the core. Funny, I was saying the same thing about us when we were living in the States earlier this month. Maybe I can elaborate my own experiences in a post one day. If I ever feel up to being that honest.

    My husband and I lived in China briefly – Shanghai to be exact. I think my favourite city in China is Hangzhou. It’s a very beautiful place. I can see somebody having a great life there. I wish you both the best.

  10. Although we never lived in China together, having a Chinese born hubby who immigrated as an adult with little to no English when we met has many challenges in of itself. You have to do EVERYTHING for them. Filling forms me taking care of pretty much everything me. And if we were to move to China the shoe would be on the other foot. It is hard on a relationship I think to be responsible for so many things and even possibly could harm the level of respect I have for my hubby who in fact is an AMAZING hard working man who never complains. As far as food enough of our family is here including my MIL so we get those things we crave. Rasisim is even real here for our kids whose friends see nothing wrong with pulling back their eyes…it hurts my children but is so accepted…UHG

  11. Thank you for speaking up about discrimination ! Even if I was born and raised here in America , I still get discriminated . If not directed , then in indirected ways . So yes , it is truly a challenge to live here in America !

  12. My husband and I are going through this as we speak. We just got to America three weeks ago and it’s been a definite roller coaster. The good – my close family is all in town and, happily, they are all quite interested in our experiences both in China and in Korea (where we lived for three years). We are staying with my dad until we get on our feet and although he’s never had any interested in stepping foot out of America, and his only exposure to China is the media, he’s been great at asking Ren (my husband) questions and taking his word for the answers (even if they clash with how China is portrayed on the news).

    The bad – like Marissa, we are still waiting on the social security number. According to the uscis webpage, if you apply for a SSN when you apply for the immigrant visa it will be processed as soon as he enters the country and be in the mail within three weeks. Welllll … not true, as we recently found out. We ended up going to our local social security office and when we asked the clerk about the status of his number she goes, “It’s not in the system”. So she checked further and then says, “Oh, here is the request. We got it weeks ago. No one has processed it yet. I’ll get that started for you.” So…? What, if we had never taken initiative to go in it never would have been processed? Anyway, now it supposedly is on it’s way in the mail.

    The problem is, my husband can legally work before he gets his number. However, employers don’t seem to believe this (even though I have the government websites ready for them) and some online applications and employment agencies won’t even let you *apply* without entering a SSN.

    Speaking of the job search, I completely agree with Jocelyn’s post – it is SO different from Ren’s experience in China that I am basically doing everything. I am happy to do it; but it is exhausting as I am searching for my own job and his. In addition, he’s an electronic engineer, and there’s basically nothing in my small hometown close to his line of work. So we’ve had to apply for any number of retail and restaurant jobs, which he doesn’t have experience in, even though he has a masters, so they aren’t interested in him, etc., etc. The good news is, he DID find a job two days ago – at a Japanese restaurant owned by a Korean. Part of me feels grateful that the owner is also an immigrant and so understands how difficult it can be for my husband, as I’m sure that played a part in why this job went through while others didn’t. Although it’s not a tech job, we’re happy for now, since we plan on moving next year when my husband goes back to grad school.

    Language is another issue – Ren speaks English very well, and has no problem watching sitcoms or following my family’s dinner conversation. But he doesn’t catch things like “Would you like to make that a meal?” at a fast food restaurant or “debit or credit?” at the grocery store – little daily things that he’s never heard before like that make him have to pause and ask what they mean, and while most people are great, some have been really impatient.

    Oh my goodness driving. Ha. He got a license in Korea one summer just for fun, and he’s driven about half a dozen times total, and that mostly in parking lots for practice. But here in my hometown he needs to drive… I am not a great person to teach him, it really does cause stress. I’m hoping he gets into a grad school in a city with great public transportation (and/or we land an apartment within biking distance of campus) so that he doesn’t have to drive much (he doesn’t really want to drive, no interest).

    So far, like I said, we’ve been here just three weeks and there have been ups and downs; I am looking forward to the future, though (including when his mother, who doesn’t speak English, comes to stay next year for a couple months – could be great or could be really stressful, probably will be a little of both ^_^ ).

    1. As an electronic engineer (EE)who worked for 47 years in the business, I certainly agree that your husband should go back to a US university for the very necessary “gold plating”. I have had employees with engineering degrees from foreign countries but received full recognition after being “gold plated with a local Masters. Right now EEs are not in as much a demand as computer scientists or computer engineers. The ratio of job openings is like 10 to 1. There is such a shortage of the computer specialists that they probably will be willing to overlook the fact that he is FOB Chinese. I found out that in the technical world there is less discrimination for minorities only because the work deals with science and not people whereby looks and language perfection is not as critical. That part will only come into play if he is eventually going to be a higher level technical manager whereby multiple dealings with vast variety of people is critical.

  13. My Chinese husband and I (German) got back 4 months ago. Although I meanwhile received a social security number for him and a lot of other paper work has been done, we are still struggling to find a place to stay and 2!! jobs. Because my mum and my husband didn’t get along that well, we have moved out before even finding a job.
    Since German is a pretty hard language to learn and my husbands German is not good enough to get paper work, job researches or similar things done, a lot of things lie on my shoulder.
    I just want to say that I am grateful there are people like you Joselyn and Marissa and other people who share their stories and one can feel less alone in these exhausting times!

  14. “Many have a hard time placing Xi’an, even when I mention the Terracotta Warriors.”

    A congressional staffer working for a tea party Georgia Congressman did not even know that there is a place called Honolulu. How do you expect a person like her to place Xian on the map? And then they complain and spew racism after kids of Indian origin sweep the Geographic bee.

    “It was a sad reversal of what we experienced in China, where friends and family would remain rapt with attention when we spoke of America. ”

    Problem is very few people believe me when I tell them that there are poor white people in America.

    “Americans are incredibly judgmental towards non-native English speakers.”

    They can be judgemental all they want, but I remind them that no native speakers have even come to the finals of the spelling bee competition and that the white southerners dont really speak English.

    “(in the hierarchy of non-native English speakers, Chinese place somewhere at the bottom.)

    Actullay the day after he won the spelling bee, and as he was loading his trophy into the overhead bin, a white Delta Airlines flight attendant who I thought did not really speak English…could not understand a word she said…asked the Spelling bee champion who is of Indian origin whether he spoke any English!

    Discrimination: A daugher of Chinese-Indian couple has more tough time with white people than with Chinese or Indians…I can only imagine what happens with Chinese-white couples. I think it is a lot less for AWWM couples than for AMWW couples. However, I have always said, that if you are white and marry Chinese settle down soemwhiere in the west coast or go to Asia…chances of marriages breaking up is a lot lower. Dont believe me, try the racists at the Alabama sororities…two of the alumna threw up when they first admitted a Japanese-American woman into a sororitiy…the next day she simply disappeared fromt he campus (to reappear in the west coast).

  15. What a great and important post! I could relate to every single point. I think the hard thing for me was that I was experiencing reverse culture shock when “Cai” and I moved to the US. It was hard for me to stay optimistic and to be strong for both of us. I had a close friend after I finally found a job and she had lived in Taiwan for a while and knew many returnees with Chinese husbands. She warned me of the difficulties but I wished I had paid more attention and had asked her to meet some of them. I think having a community like you’ve built here is so important. I’m not sure if you’ve devoted a post to reverse culture shock (I don’t remember one), but that’s another tough issue that people don’t really talk about. I think that plays into point #1 in this post.

  16. Very good post. Actually, I think this is not just specific for America. I can say from own experience that it is very similar in Germany.
    That is the reason why I decided not to move to Germany with my husband. I feeling discrimination every single time I come to Germany alone. Just talking about my husband, people knowing I am married to a Chinese man, makes them change their attitude towards me, and bombarding me with all kinds of racist statements… I just don’t want to imagine how it would be if he would live with me in Germany, and would have to face the insults and discrimination.

    No, I would never do that to him. Maybe I am too protective but I am so afraid that hard life would change him, in a bad way. And you are right, if our genders would be changed, it would be different. I think for Chinese men, or maybe for many men in general, it would blow a hard strike to not be able to find a job, stay at home and not be able to support the family.

    We will stay in china for now. Even though we foreigners do have to face other kind of discriminations sometimes. At least my husband is happy, and his good mood and optimistic outlook on life, is contagious 🙂

    1. Wow. U r a great woman, but life is yours and he is not yours, u have to balance both side, you happy he will happy too. Don’t sacrifice yourself only for him, but for all both of you.

  17. …And I have no idea why my comment became that short, when I feel like I had just written an essay.. BUT – I totally agree with you, I mean, I am not American, but I am from a european country where most people are very judgmental, and my fiance is just finishing he’s studies in another european country where lots of people are judgmental. Norway and Scotland. Whenever I visit him in Scotland, there are always people staring at us, pointing at us and even making comments, and I’ve heard those comments “Tiny sausage” oh my, you have no idea how angry it makes me, if it was in Norway I would’ve walked straight up to them. I did comment back, but I didn’t want to walk up to them, actually now that I think about it I shouldn’t have given them any attention.
    I don’t know if I would be able to settle down in Norway or Scotland, because of the discrimination. AND as you said – because we can’t find real yummy Chinese food in the restaurants 😛 Great post though, it is really great that you bring up these points! 🙂

  18. Oh the things I have seen/heard since I met my Taiwanese-American ex boyfriend 8 years ago! Its funny – as in LUDICROUS – what people do and say to him. From the start I saw weird, discriminatory behavior thrown his way. Even a couple of my ex’s had derogatory comments about him being of Asian decent. I’ve seen dirty looks because we were holding hands, being passed over at bars and restaurants because it’s assumed he won’t do anything about it (I’m a 5’9″ tall, robust and loud girl from Philly – not going to happen). We even had someone drive by, in a mossy oak camouflage truck no less, and throw a firecracker at us. People have asked how his English is so good (he was born here, and its better than yours, he went to one of the top universities in this area), or speak to him VERY LOUDLY AND S L O W L Y. Now I’m not naive, I know discrimination exists, I lived in the “minority” neighborhood growing up and my friends went through it, but I just didn’t realize how disgusting people could be to an interracial couple. I can guarantee you, in this area of the US at least, if our genders were reversed we would receive better treatment. Its like a phenomenon in this area of WMAF couples, but switch it to AMWF and you get totally different treatment.

  19. So WMAF couples are normal and fine, but AMWF couples get stares, discrimination, racial slurs, jokes, etc etc etc.

    I’d say when it comes to discrimination to AMWF, they’re not only from White men, they (stereotypes, slurs, stares) all come from White women too. Some White women are totally against AMWF, and I dare say certain portion of White women are TOTALLY into Asian males. But the discrimination makes it harder for them to materialize their emotions.

    I posted my comment in other Celeste Ng’s interview and hasn’t shown up yet. I think it’s because of my html link in the comment.

  20. The reality is, as a mixed race/nationality couple, you are going to face challenges no matter where you go. I think the problem often lies in the assumption that things will be easier in western countries, but often they aren’t, especially at first.

    My husband and I moved to the US from China back in 2007 but returned to China the following year due to some family issues. Although we didn’t face all the things in this post, there were plenty of challenges. Returning to China was also a very difficult adjustment.

    Despite everything, both my husband and I feel that the US is the best place for us and perhaps more importantly, our kids. We plan to move back next year.

  21. Glad to know when these posts appear Manny does not come and challenge…as far as AWWM couples are concerned, someone like Manny can go and chanse any Asian woman in Hong Kong or Singapore, and no one would bat an eye…but let an Asian guy try it with a white woman in Tuscaloosa, AL or Athens, GA, he will be lucky to get out alive…heck a Turkish couple had that problem following the anti-Obama riots back in 2012 in Oxford, MS. He is dark, she is literally white, rioters mistook her for an interracial couple and they had to run for their lives.

    1. @david it’s not that bad and just because someone didn’t vote for Obama does not mean they are racist. Nobody tried to kill me or my BF there. Don’t panic. I don’t know where you get that idea. Those incidents are rare. They make headline because the media likes to sensationalize stuff for ratings. I am not saying it doesn’t happen. But no one is going to kill you. If they do they have to go through me. 😉

  22. “Some White women are totally against AMWF, and I dare say certain portion of White women are TOTALLY into Asian males.”

    Wanna bet that over 50% of white women including those who voted for Obama are against all forms of IR?

  23. Hey guys, there has to be some good news from some folks living in some Western country or wherever else. I’m sorry. I’m just sad reading stuff like this. Plus, all these you’re-right-life-sucks comments…thanks for sharing cos I’m learning but…it’s too much. – Tom.

  24. @David,

    I don’t need to bet and I also do not intend to bet and most of all, I’m not AT ALL interested in how many percentage of White women are against IR or whatever.

    What I’m pointing out here is there are certain portion of White girls who are interested in dating Asian men, and given a chance, would consider further in their relationship. That’s it.

    Are you trying to solve the world problem on discrimination?

    As long as there is IR, there’re gonna be people who are against it, and people who are open to it. There’s no right or wrong. The only problem is bigotry associated with IR pairings.

    Even a White guy who’s now marrying a Korean girl in my work (I talked about that in my old comment long long time ago) once told me he doesn’t dare to go to the South (Texas mainly), and plan to move to the West coast. He’s got stare whenever they’re walking down the street. I’m not comparing apples and oranges. Of course AMWF will have more to take on whenever they are out because the AMWF IR couples are still rare compared to the WMAF couples. All IR pairings have gone through discrimination one way or another.

    Even consider the situation for a moment that a Chinese man and Chinese woman couple; if the Chinese woman couldn’t find a job, merely surviving on her Chinese husband, they HAVE to find a greener pasture. That’s the reality. That’s not discrimination. Add another layer of AMWF IR couple, of course you gotta be REALISTIC for what to expect in your life. It’s not all fine and dime for every couple, let alone IR couples here.

    So I have no problem with those white women who are against IR. There are certain portion of Chinese women who sneeze at AMWF couple as well. There are times when a few colleagues in my work went out themselves for a outing. Did I get invited? Of course not. I don’t mind either. Well, I went out with my circle of friends. Did they get invited too? Hell no. It works both ways. I don’t see discrimination. It’s just the feeling of “Uncomfortable” with the person whom you believe you don’t feel a connection. That’s everywhere. So if you throw that in every social circumstances, you’re bound to have a “negative” feeling.

    Why you post all those college sorority girls giving tantrums stories? I don’t give a tiny rat ass with those sorority, fraternity stories.

  25. This is my observation.

    “Teaching how to drive” is not a discrimination. It’s a Challenge to have a boyfriend who has never driven before.

    “Not getting SSN” is not a discrimination. It’s an oversight from the officials.

    I bought a new car when I first came to the States, and obviously I got the temporary registration card which expires in a month. Basically, I should receive a full registration card within a few weeks.

    I waited about 2 months. Yes, I did drive with temporary registration card. I don’t give a shit because I did everything right. I contacted the dealership, that said they have already submitted the form to DMV (Department of Motor Vehicle)*. I contacted the local DMV. The DMV lady told me I have to contact the dealership. They’re playing basketball. So I later contacted my dealership and they re-checked my insurance, and found that my name was spelled wrong. That’s why it’s taking time.

    Did I take that as “Discrimination”? I did everything proper on my side. But sometimes things do occur and you have to look from the brighter side as well.

    I know that my story is not similar to some of your SSN story. But sometimes there are grey area where we’re not sure why things happened, and we tend to group them and put them under “Discrimination”.

    Here’s another story I want to recount.

    A few months back, I was having a dinner with my friends. There were 4 of us. We had to wait an hour to get our meals. I’m not exaggerating. It’s almost an hour. Yes, the restaurant was pretty famous for Asian people. So a lot of diners (White, Chinese etc etc). Simple, isn’t it?

    Ok let’s move on.

    A year ago, I was having a dinner with my ex-girlfriend (White) at a Mexican restaurant which is pretty famous as well. We did not have to wait an hour. But at least I noticed that the girl who served our table actually gave the people who came later than us. Ok, let’s pause here. Did I get discriminated here? or it’s just a coincidence that the meals those couple ordered were convenient to make and it must have been made more if those meals are pretty famous. Many things could happen in the kitchen, which I have no idea of.

    So let me ask how many of you here have actually experienced such a selective service to the table that came later than you in your life? I mean even WITHOUT your non-Asian or non-White spouses? I have experienced a couple of times with my Chinese friends.

    So you can call it “discrimination” because of your Significant Other who seems to be significant to call for waitress attention not to serve quickly or you just call it “Well things happens”. Of course if that keeps happening in the same restaurant, good luck with the restaurant not to having one more customer in their client list. And I’d move on.

    * For those who are reading outside of the US.

  26. Oh my goodness. I’ve been pondering over these things and we don’t plan to move to my home country (Sweden) for many years to come. ^^;
    I can definitely see the language discrimination being a cause for concernーI’ve seen it most openly in native English speaking countries I’ve lived in (the US, the UK and Australia), but I suspect it’s pretty much everywhere.

    YJ went with me to Sweden this summer just for a visit and we faced no real issues, though we were only there for a short time. Having said that, since the 60s many Swedes have adopted children from different countries across Asiaーseveral of my relatives have/are of Asian descentーso the default assumption is often that they are Swedish, which is usually true. YJ got a big ego trip out of people assuming he was Swedish despite his stumbling two or three words in the language. I haven’t the heart to tell him it was because it would be considered rude to assume otherwise. XD

    Thank you for such a great post that inspired such interesting comments too! Have enjoyed reading all of them as well. 🙂

  27. I wouldn’t say our trouble with the social security card is discrimination. It is just a challenge you face if you move to America and your spouse needs a card. I didn’t get the sense the original post was saying all of these issues are due to discrimination.

  28. Although we’re currently staying in my home country for only a few months, I can relate to almost all of above mentioned aspects.

    Language is one big challenge, and another one has been driving, initially. After a lot of practice my husband almost drives like a local.

    We’re always at a loss at what to buy in the supermarket – compared to China, there’s not really much to choose from when it comes to vegetables.

  29. @China Elevator Stories,

    I’m curious, whereabouts are you? China has never struck me as a land of vegetables galore. Instead, all I ever seem to hear about China when it comes to food is how unsafe it is.

  30. I can relate to a lot of this as someone who lived in China for 9 years and is now back in the US. I think where you live in the US can make a big difference- I am in a large east coast city (Philadelphia) where it is still somewhat possible to get around on foot or public transportation, where there’s a pretty large Chinese population and population of people of color, and where Chinese restaurants and business abound. Even with all of this, the adjustment has been hard. But it’s great to be able to head to a flourishing Chinatown and to join a Chinese language meet up group. This happens to be my hometown, so my family is here, which I am really grateful for.

    I think it would be extremely difficult to be in a non-diverse city after returning from China. I don’t think I could do it!

  31. I guess I have been lucky I haven’t had much trouble. My boyfriend is chinese but he grew up in Seoul, South Korea. I grew up in the south and people here are not as bad as the media makes you to believe. My boyfriend said he had discrimination growing up in Korea even though he was Asian too.

    @david it’s not that bad and just because someone didn’t vote for Obama does not mean they are racist. Nobody tried to kill me or my BF there. Don’t panic. I don’t know where you get that idea. Those incidents are rare. They make headline because the media likes to sensationalize stuff for ratings. I am not saying it doesn’t happen. But no one is going to kill you. If they do they have to go through me. 😉

  32. Great post! As a European woman married to an Indian man I totally relate to your post and it’s a relief to be able to share these problems. I’ve learnt so much about my culture thanks to my husband – and not all is positive !

  33. Wow. As the WF part of an AMWF couple, I read all these comments and felt so fortunate to live in Los Angeles. Yes, even here we’re the only AMWF couple I know, but there are plenty of other interracial couples. It’s the same where I grew up in Washington D.C.

    However, when we visit relatives in small town New Hampshire, it’s a little different. People there insist that they don’t have a race problem, And they don’t…because there is only one race. And it’s as white as their mountains. This is never so obvious as when we go through security at Manchester Airport. My better Asian half has a dark complexion and is super hairy (going to write a post on this anomaly some day), and he refuses to shave on vacation. He also has a C-Pap machine for his sleep apnea, which has to be carried on flights and is not readily identifiable by rookie TSA agents. EVERY time we head through Manchester’s security, bearded my beloved Asian Andy gets hauled out of line for “special” pat downs and wanding. Of course, as soon as they pull the one non-white out of the crowd, the TSA realizes they look like racists. So they immediately select a very white, very blonde, and very outraged middle-aged white woman for special screening as well. Just to camouflage what’s really going on. It’s predictable, hilarious, and also sad.

    I wish it didn’t happen, but I can’t complain if it’s the worst the world has to offer us.

    I just make sure I go through the line ahead of him.

      1. Thanks, Jocelyn. But compared to everyone else’s stories, it hardly seems worth mentioning, except as a joke. Perhaps our lack of encounters with racism occurs because we live in LA and mostly travel to either Hawaii or the major East Coast melting pots of New York or D.C. Though we have visited Southwestern Virginia and even Kentucky without incident. Maybe we don’t get out enough. Maybe I just look mean and the racists are scared that Andy knows Kung Fu.

        But all the commentary on your website gives me perspective on how good Andy and I have it! Hopefully the minimal reaction to our interracial relationship will illustrate that some major U.S. cities are a little more progressive.

        Thanks for carrying the lantern, despite the ignorant haters!

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