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

Despite the China-America Divide, We’re On The Same Team

The other day, my husband and I were having a conversation in the car about discrimination and racism in America — two things he knew firsthand from his own experiences over here.

“Mean and wicked, that’s what these people were to me,” he said, referring to the Americans who had betrayed him in the past. “They just don’t care, they have no concern for you at all. They think they can just bully you.”

My heart ached to see him this way. “I’m so sorry. It just goes to show how much work in this country is still undone. We Americans have a lot to learn.”

“Don’t say ‘we’! Don’t put yourself in the same category as them, you should be careful of your language!”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to say ‘we’, it just came out by accident. Just a reflex, that’s all.”

But his words haunted me the rest of the way home. I couldn’t believe that the word “we” — a word that normally brings John and I together as one — could divide us into two in a completely different context. Continue reading “Despite the China-America Divide, We’re On The Same Team”

Who Can We Trust After The Discrimination?

In our game of "who can you trust," there's no such thing as a sure bet here after my Chinese husband's discrimination. (photo by Fran Priestley)

“They’re not even broken relationships. It’s as if the relationships were never even there,” my husband said.

This Sunday evening, John and I reflected on the wreckage of that discrimination — especially the people we never expected to stand against us. People we considered mentors and friends. People who always used to say, “I understand.”

“I don’t understand how they could do this,” I said. “I mean, it’s like they were lying to you all along.”

“That’s the in-group mentality, you know. They never really trust people who are different, never really even consider you like one of them.”

In our game of “who can you trust,” there’s no such thing as a sure bet here. Continue reading “Who Can We Trust After The Discrimination?”

A Little American Mythology

A Chinese student who shares his ideas about Americans makes me realize that, maybe, I've been telling myself myths about this country. ( photo by Jorc Navarro)

Last Saturday, my husband John and I welcomed a couple of Chinese students into our home after dinner. Originally, we just talked turkey — or rather, the fact that we invited them over to our place for Thanksgiving. But when the topic came up, John and I had other turkeys in mind, such as the discrimination we faced barely a day before.

“You two should be careful around here,” I warned the two young Chinese men lounging on our sofa. “Americans aren’t always what they seem to be.” Okay, to be sure, I said these words when the incident — which kicked my husband and I virtually in the stomach — still simmered freshly in my mind. I know a lot of good Americans live in this world. But I suspected these students still carried a far too wholesome “Family Album USA” perspective of this country.

One of the Chinese guys looked genuinely puzzled. “I consider Americans to be very straightforward.”

“Not really,” my husband chimed in. Continue reading “A Little American Mythology”