“Why Us?”: More on Discrimination and Marriage to a Chinese Man

(photo by Anna Vignet via Flickr.com)

Once again, discrimination has landed smack in the middle of our lives here in the US. A hard landing, and one with reverberations far beyond anything I ever expected.

As I wrote not that long ago, I never imagined I would come to know discrimination so intimately through my marriage to a Chinese man. Maybe that’s naivete or plain ignorance; either way, it’s clear that I just didn’t realize the extent to which discrimination and racism still remained in this country, and their ability to strike down (and even ruin) a young man in pursuit of his own small patch of happiness.

What I have learned is this — that discrimination and racism have often morphed into subtle forms. It’s no longer someone down the hall pointing a finger at you and saying they don’t want you because you’re Chinese (or, in my case, because you’re married to one). Instead, it’s become something hard to substantiate and bring to the light — something often disguised. So many of us suffer it in silence, hoping we can make it through and hoping to leave the racism and discrimination behind us.

Even John and I wanted to leave it behind us. But that’s impossible now. We’re in a showdown with discrimination and racism, and we’re not backing down.

I often asked John, “Why us? Why did this have to happen in our lives?” It’s a ridiculous question to ask, yet I found myself coming back to it, desperately searching for meaning in something that seemed bereft of meaning in the beginning.

“Because we’re the ones who are willing to fight,” he said. “We’re the ones who will expose the ugliness and show people what modern racism really is.”

I don’t know what lies ahead of us in the darkness that has enveloped our lives. But I am sure of one thing — when it’s all said and done, we will have one hell of a story. And that’s a story that someday I hope to share with the world.

P.S.: To everyone who has supported us publicly on this blog, via e-mail or even by phone, we cannot thank you enough for standing with us. You’ve given me hope and encouragement and I’ll never forget it.

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52 Replies to ““Why Us?”: More on Discrimination and Marriage to a Chinese Man”

  1. I do hope one day you are able to share the full story. Not only for your peace of mind and sense of justice, but for general accountability – to expose the institution(s) and people involved as an example to others of the wrong way to act.

  2. Jocelyn,
    Step by step, I don’t know what issue you faced but heads up.
    Take it as a filter, would you like to spend time with someone who is thinking “that” about you? Is all about filtering.

    I did not go through this kind of discrimination, or at least not that I remember or that I realized, I kind of look ahead and just think that people have different points of view. I had a complicated past and I learned that is important to be willing to take steps, to continue and do it with a positive attitude.
    The more you think about it, the more it hurts you..

  3. Racism is one of the reasons i left Australia in the first place, and it’s now why i fear to go back with my (Chinese) husband.

    1. Hi everybody, talking about Racism, I have to dealt with the biggest conflict in my life when I was living in Queensland, Australia. And when I mean conflict I mean I was targeted and assulted many times over.

      Personally, I hate violence but because of this episode, I have to got into many fights just to save my own life!(Yes, I am not kidding. My life was endanger because of the Racist attackers. Luckily, I have some physical training, I manage to survived) And it has also indirectly cause the break up of me and my Caucasian Aussie girl friend. Because its getting very dangerous for her the hang out with me.

      It was so bad many Asian student got attack on the street!!!(Its true)

  4. The modern racism is subtle indeed. But when it is time for promotion, it shows.
    However, the ever demanding college admission requirements for Asian men trained us well in every department. The time will come … slowly but surely, the strongest will prevail.

  5. Racialism in one form or another will always be a there.

    It all about tribes and tribal instincts and the fear of the not familiar and the need to stay safe within the known et al, and that fear and that irrational anxiety have never left the human race, no matter how civilised we think that we have become, or try to rationalise that it is wrong.

    It is a downright Darwinian trait, like it or not.

    What we can do is not to let it defeat our spirit by giving it the disdain that it deserves.

    Fight or skirt around it or find a way out, if we have to. But give it a hard kick on the butt, even if only figuratively.

    And have a good laugh! Even racialism can’t stand a good laugh, because it will look so stupid and that will be an insult to its supposed superiority and it just can’t take that body blow to its ego! Haha..

    Stay in there! Nothing lasts forever (okay, maybe for that monster racialism) and good times will return, racialism or not.

  6. Sorry to hear once more that discrimination is alive. As sad as it sounds, I don’t believe evils can go away completely. History has taught people to just hide evils better rather than striking them down. Sad but true.

  7. Dear Jocely,
    So sorry to hear it keeps going on. Don’t ask yourself why things are happening. They are just narrowminded… Please be strong, you will win! Big hug for beautiful you and your husband!

  8. Hawaii and parts of California are the only places where Chinese Male-White Female couples are tolerated in the United States. South Africa is the worst…they dont even like Asian Woman-White Man couples. Australia is pretty bad, especially Perth with its white South African settlers phasing off against the richer Hong Kong and Singapore Chinese. Canada is probably most tolerant of the lot. You want to hear about discrimination at home and abroad, read expat edna…


  9. Sorry to hear that you are dealing with this issue again. I think that what you are going through will enable you to have a greater understanding of what other so called “minority groups” experience. I think you will not be one of those individuals to tell someone that they:
    – should get over it
    – try to shut them down, or make it about you
    – not stand up for someone who is being mistreated

    I expect that if you were given an opportunity, you would spend time talking to people of other groups about the racism they have experienced, and what they did to cope.

    Sending you a big hug.

    Racism can be direct, or indirect, and the impact it can have on an individual ranges from depression, to major health issues.

    Should racism be considered a mental illness? My answer would be yes. Should there be a category listed in the current DSM. Again, my answer would be yes. Should the long and short term effects of dealing with racism be recognized, and individuals be able to receive treatment for it. Yes.

  10. I grew up in an all-white country, and only thing I know about racism came from American movies. And they sent a clear message: Racism is an ugly thing, but it is also a relic of more primitive times. Thankfully, it is long gone, and now we live in modern times marked by equality.

    Sadly, since I’ve met my Korean boyfriend I realized how naïve that was of me.

    I’m sorry you experienced racism, but it is noble you chose to fight it.

  11. Don’t be discouraged! To the people who are close minded, show them this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2315066/Gus-Dorman-5-IQ-score-147-knows-entire-periodic-table-studies-Japanese-read-2.html

    Or this: http://youtu.be/9QNUps9upWc by Kevin Wang @ http://www.youtube.com/user/kelvin0114

    This story can be comforting too for you and John.

    As David said, have you thought of moving to other States like Vermont, California, NH, Maine or Massachusetts?

    For your Pinterest AM/WF photos:


  12. If anyone doesn’t want you just for the fact that John is Chinese, that is someone you want nothing to do with. UGH. Racism is like the biggest kick in the pants at the least convenient times. I agree with Jenna Cody that I hope you may be able to expose those institutions that are being such bigots someday when the time feels right for you. May you continue to keep your chin up, and realize that John is the biggest blessing in your life, and nothing can take that away from you (the silver lining to the dark cloud).

  13. You’ve heard from the other white women’ perspectives. I say John needs to be very practical. It is not the time for hero.Nobody will judge you for not wanting to be one. On the other hand, you shouldn’t feel like a victim either. Get out the situation as soon as you can. Settle when you have a chance.
    Discrimination is overused too. I wonder many difficulties result from cultural issues. John was new to US, and you had been abroad long enough. There might be prolonged culture shock too.
    Also, it is very difficult to prove you are targeted.

  14. Besides California, I actually both am & know multiple Asian man – White woman couples in Seattle proper. And yes, I start feeling more awkward in the suburbs in certain situations… however even that is getting better. Seattle. Mecca for not feeling awkward outside of California. 🙂

    And yes, marriage in this sense is an eye-opener, even when nothing particularly bad happens.

  15. Jocelyn and John, are you fighting for something substantive (money, career opportunities, etc.)? If so, I hope you have already engaged a lawyer and filed a claim. If you haven’t done so, I suggest you at least talk to some civil rights lawyers to see what your options are. You are, after all, in a country with the best judicial system in the world.

    If this is not about substantive benefits, and you are fighting to make a point, maybe it’s not worth it. You guys should seriously consider moving out of there if the racism gets under your skin to the point that you are in so much pain.

    It’s not worth it, not

  16. I’m so sorry you have to deal with it. I’ve grown up with it my whole life so I’m a bit used to it (if one can get used to such a thing) but it’s new for my wife.

    Luckily, we’re here in NYC where things are generally pretty tolerant but even then, we still have it so I can imagine what it must be like elsewhere.

    Anyway, stay strong and keep up the good attitude. The world is heading our way; it just takes a little while longer in some places. And we both know that the small-minded people end up with little in the world anyway, so who really cares about them and what they think?

  17. So sorry to hear that this is still going on. I still remember the two subtle instances that we encountered in the US…both times of which my husband was assumed to be Mexican…and fortunately he didn’t realize it. It was a huge eye opener since growing up in a pretty diverse community, I hadn’t ever noticed anything like it with my non-white friends.
    Hugs and prayers for you both!

  18. My husband and I have been through discrimination together before. For instance, we went to a restaurant and they flat out refused to serve us. We had to leave. I don’t know what’s going on with you and your husband but I hope you’re both get through this okay.

  19. Once you’re in a minority group, you will know how we feel !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We just have to work harder than others that’s all. You have to know that as Asians, we have surpassed other groups in other ways.


  20. Discrimination happens everywhere. It’s much more prevalent in the US because we have people from so many different ethnic backgrounds. If you look, dress, or talk differently than the majority, then you will be discriminated. You may not realize this but minorities discriminate as well or blame discrimination when things don’t go their way. For example, Blacks and Hispanics don’t like discrimination but they want university admission to be based on race because they’re not able to compete with Whites and Asians in grades and test scores. Don’t make it sound like Whites are the only racists here. Chinese are racists as well:
    No matter where you go, you will face discrimination and racism.

  21. ^The same idiots who discriminate against Lou Jing for being half-black (half-Chinese) would more than likely worship someone who is half white (half-Chinese).

  22. Jocelyn. I think you should lay out some facts or cases that show detailed information about how you and John were being discrimated aganist, such as, walking on the streets? or shopping.. or working, even hassed by neibobours, and also, you should tell us, where you are currently located, I just remembered you are currently living in Ohio states, so you may correct me, to make all blogs are having much more insights you may need to give some more details, instead of skiping with few words. so I hope you can give us this information, then we could be more understanding or making objective opionions by your situations, also please just remember the way you used to react the situations, may also need to be changed.

    Hope you can tell us more


    — A Really Tough Guy

  23. I’m from the Midwest area, Michigan to be exact. which I think Michigan and my area are more tolerant to interracial couples.
    and I’m sorry Jocelyn that you are suffering this again.

    There are cruel people out there in this world. and hopefully one day people can be accepting.

  24. Being stressed out on this case won’t help. We have to reconsider on how to handle the situation. Next time, we must learn how to avoid bad situation.


  25. even more comedic complaining? This blog is getting funnier and funnier
    lol @ the guy who signs himself as a really tough guy

  26. @Bruce:

    I think the key problem is not how auther trying to avoid situation, if many cases like interfering her life already I mean its becoming actual threats or danger, then she should’ve reported those harassment to Police or FBI. even go for some human right orgnazations which is legal ways, meanwhile if all those disturbing things aren’t that serious or life threating yet, then author and her husband should learn how to be mentally strong, I think Jocelyn has limitation of expressing by writting all these, either her writing style limited her way of expression, or her personality has hard time to face some things like these, so I guess their life current is much more like emotional things, than actual physical threats. that maybe most thing to bothered her on daily basis, as her previous blogs, shows that there was some sort of white power group website links her blog to theirs, well did she and her husband getting actual dead threating letters yet? i bet it wasn’t even real, probably some white jerky ass male on here, purposely put her blog link to that website, also, those friends she used to have, actually i wouldn’t even call them friends, if they sounds like assholes, to her, so its all about face things, she may not want to drop her willingness to hangout there, even moving back to states will still not make life easier, life eaiser or harder is depending on people themselves, nothing to do with location and enviroments, so I think american dream should be ended, and China dream should be arising. thats Chairman Xi said. i meant Totally!

  27. I’ve often heard the theory that WW and AM are inherently incompatible because the chauvinistic AM can’t deal with emancipated WW. Not surprisingly, the most enthusiastic in this belief are white males with Asian fetish.

    As an Asian, I’ve always called BS on that stereotype. This thread confirms what I’ve suspected all along. Racism is behind the high rate of AM-WW divorce. Racists/Insecure white guys were just talking out their ass.

    My best wishes go to you & hubby. I hope you two pull through this stronger and better. Don’t let the haters win. There’s plenty of open minded people out there ready to accept you with open arms. ♥

  28. Cheng Yong ,

    You assume too much. It’s not what you think. It’s not that simple. When someone holds the knife by the handle, he has more control over you because you really have no room to move. I’m just hinting you. That’s why I’m self employed! no one can control me. We sometimes have to excel in whatever we’re doing ;therefore, others will admire you ( less discrimination ).


  29. Sorry to hear about this. Please stay strong. Even though there’s not much we could do, you have all of the readers support.

  30. It is always sad to hear of anyone going through tough times. However, it is difficult to make any comment on circumstances we have not been told about. With all due respect, if you want people to support you then you owe it to them to make known the circumstances of what you seek support for. Readers of the blog have to assume an awful lot without being told and this further escalates misunderstanding and miscommunication. And please remember( though many in America may forget)we are all of the one Human Race with beautiful diveristy of ethnicity within our ONE race.

  31. @Pete
    You do realize that African Americans and Latino(a) people are not a monolith? The statement you made was racist.

  32. Jocelyn,

    I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this, again, or still…. You have support here from the lot of us.

    Racism occurs everywhere. In China, in the US, all over the place. If we’re talking US university admissions, those measures were put in place so that the field was leveled. All things being equal, people decided on whites being preferable to others. So it was an attempt to create balance, not a concession to let some of the poor colored (anything other than white) folks in so they’d pipe down. You can say racism doesn’t exist now, but that would be only if you happen to be white. It doesn’t exist for you that way in the US. It does exist for others, which is in fact part of what this blog is about and unfortunately, again, this entry, which just offers more proof that it hasn’t gone away yet. It’s just much more subtle, but still as damaging.

    Jocelyn and John, you’re both in my prayers. I feel your pain. One of my best friends (mainland Chinese and recent immigrant to the US) is experiencing his own personal hell right now, in similar fashion. Thankfully, we’ve got him surrounded by some wonderful people willing to help as much as they can. I’m sure you know you have that in your family and friends and from all of us here.

    Eshet Chayil! You are a woman of valor, Jocelyn!

  33. @Pete,
    Racial quotas are controversial, it doesn’t sound fair for those who got better grades.
    I understand that point of view. I also understand how subjective are grades in other countries. I had very normal grades in my home country and I knew I deserved more, I moved to Finland and I got 5/5 in all the subjects. (Nothing to do with my race, I was just a number like the rest of the students). My grades were only fair when I started to study abroad, before that I felt all my work was unuseful.

    This shows how unfair it can be for both sides, is not fair for US students because their points are somehow not considered, and the comparision is not fair for foreigners either.

    Racial quotas also need to be updated more often because racial ratios change very fast. It needs improvements.

    I also agree that pushing companies to have a % of women in management positions is a way to avoid discrimination, but in a fair world women would get there thanks to hard work. The thing is, this is still ongoing.

    Anyway, saying that Black and Hispanic want the adminission based in racial quota sounds bad, if its like that and I guess in some cases is, that’s not good. But I like to think that they are not happy for that reason, they are happy cause they had access to University studies and maybe a career with better prospects. Let’s hope is like that!

  34. “….but they want university admission to be based on race because they’re not able to compete with Whites and Asians in grades and test scores. Don’t make it sound like Whites are the only racists…”

    Pete I am calling you out on the statement you made. To begin with the groups you are referencing have suffered from a tremendous amount of oppression. I could give you numerous examples of exactly how. I fail to see how the issue of descrimination against Joycelyn is in any way related to what you are saying. You are making excuses, and attempting to derail, and use certain oppressed groups of people as scape goats. So, let the cut and paste wars begin.



  35. I have mixed feeling about college quota.

    On one hand, the quota is intended for underprivileged people to get leg up, but why cuts with race line. Why not economical line ? What does it imply ? If affirmative action is intended to help certain group of people, then the help is better come early in their education. Although school can admit them according to quota, but companies do not follow that. The graduated students will have trouble finding jobs in comparison to fellow students.

    On the other hand, I am not overly happy if a good college population mix is in disproportion to good company’s population mix, meaning you will need to adjust your interaction with your colleagues and may result in costly mistake along the way. There are subtle difference in the culture of different race, even when all are grown up here.

  36. Ugh, discrimination I totally understand you. Even though I`m Chinese American and am born in the west coast where there is a lot more Asians here there is discrimination here everywhere even though its not noticeable in daily life. Especially for example dealing with accidents and car crashes. If you hit or hurt a white person or any other ethnicity that is not Asian by accident and if your unlucky the court sometimes or most of the time favors the other ethnicity (this occurs more often with white people). I have lived with other Asian ethnicities and gone to school with them and most discrimination are usually against Chinese people and are far less in other Asians. (Sad reality)

  37. @forest,
    The problem with quotas is that whatever kind of quota institutions choose there will always be someone who is discriminated positvely or negatively, always.

    It has to be very difficult to define the right quota. Economic quota? How do you make it fair for everyone also? Is not the same average income for every country, not even for every province inside countries. Take China, would you say that if the family income is below 4,000CNY/Month then they are the right for that place? Compare also Shanghai with Tancheng for example, salaries are different, also costs.
    Would you create an economic quota for all European countries together? Salaries vary a lot from the west to centre, north,..east..
    Let’s also take into account how currencies fluctuate..

    Racial quotas are also an issue, they categorize people, create lines, and sounds like a more official way to discriminate people based on their race.

    Quotas are extremely complicated…

    And by the way, quotas are not only a US thing, an example is Brazil, they also have race quotas to enter college (% of places for black people).

    I do think when it comes to talk about accidents is the same everywhere. Also in China, if I have an accident with a local, you can be 100% sure that the first thing will be asking for money. True story, experience with some of the people I know here. Is not about how racist people are, I would say when people have an accident their minds block, they see a foreigner as an opportunity to boost their economy, they are in pain and they hate you for that, everywhere. Even when is not your fault, you are in your way to lose it just cause you are not in your home land…
    Have an accident here, see your face and they will inmediatly scream to you and start with numbers..even when you were driving in the right way, or when you are still on the floor in pain. You are in pain, you feel dizzy, and you just hear someone screaming numbers…
    And to say more, police is not gonna help much. Is just going to stare looking and with his phone or paper do whatever he is doing.

    I would say people should take the time to think about actions after an accident, see who was right who was wrong, check your health and later we will see..But asking for money right the way says too much about the intentions…

    After some calm, some thinking time, know that your health is fine..people see things in a different way.

  38. Laura:
    Salaries vary. That is why most Asians in Asia are priced out of the executive markets because they earn too low in Asia..thus most execs in Asia end up being white. Head hunters are implied racists when they say that the applicant should have a salary of at least $2 million. International orgs base salary awards on salary history and try to screw almost anyone who is not white. On Affirmative Action if the SCOTUS overturns AA next week or week after I hope the other AA…the Asian Americans screw the hell out of Ivy Leagues for admitting incompetent white people over better qualified Asian Americans. It would be nice to see how people like Abigail Fisher feel to be on the receiving end!

  39. Summer Interns come in office. Half of them Asians, half of them whites. Noticed Asians have better schools, and intern hiring managers are all whites.

  40. @forest…visiting South East Asia at present. Global head-hunting managers all happen to be white and they literally price the Asian execs out of the market. And we end up having white execs and their families living in Chinese mansions. Walked through an area full of Chinese mansions. An intriguing sight. In two out of six a white teen girl was standing outside the mansion while the locals including local Christians gawk at her like she is the second coming of Jesus Christ, and then in three out of five white children were playing inside the gates and one was closed and no one except a mercedes was parked outside.

  41. @Laura…in a suburb outside Kuala Lumpur Malaysia whites live in mansion while dark skinned Tamils live in poor housing across the main road. The mall is directed towards white people only..only white models are used in the mall and the mall itself is full of white people. In Perth, Australia it is reversed. Chinese live in mansions while whites live in ordinary homes..does not gell with the attitude of mostly white South Africans living there..because in their worldview the order is disturbed and they recent the Chinese. In Milipitas, CA, it is the Indians who live in the mansions and whites who live in modest homes. In some ways it all levels out in the end if left to marketplace.

  42. Jocelyn,

    Do not back down. Stand your ground because at the end if you just shy away it will come back to haunt you and your husband. You would eventually ask: “Why didn’t we do this, or that or…”.

    Racism comes in different forms. I’m from Hong Kong and have been living here in the South for the past 27 years with my wife who was White. We ran into a few of the situations. When people made some “smart” comments, or stared at us in an unfriendly way, I just simply walked over and asked, “Sir, do you want to pick a fight. I’m right here and I’m ready when you are.” I know some people will say that’s wrong and I should just walk away. No sir. Not this Chinese. I’ll meet you anywhere and I will stand my ground. Racist? They better stay out of my way because I don’t have time nor any capacity to tolerate such people. If you are an ass, guess what big boy, I can be 10 times worse.

    Stand your ground and if it’s juts too much because of personal safety or…. Get out.

    If it’s work related then find a lawyer.

    Remember though. They have as much to lose as you if you decide to fight.

    1. @Old Man

      I did something similar to you too. Only I have to break up with my Caucasian girl friennd because it became too dangerous for her to hang out with me!

  43. Race relation in America is not yet solved. Blacks and Whites still have discrimination as of right now. Imagine yourself as a Asian/ Chinese man. Do you think they will accept you?

  44. stay strong I am fighting this discrimination of American media against Asians as well. I will change people’s perceptions and be the example of Asian male interracial dating

  45. When I compare myself with White men and other men etc, I have surpassed them in most categories already. Of course, I don’t say it out loud or show off in the public that I’m better. If you can get yourself and your life together in every way, you will know who is better. It’s the perception that they have that they are better instead you are way better than them. When friends see how I live my life, they call me a lucky ass! I want to change my lifestyle and attitude about life. Now, I don’t have to sell this kind of lifestyle to them, it sells itself.


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