Friday, 18 July 2014
My boyfriend is 100% Vietnamese and I am Eurasian (for full explanation about my ethnicity click here). Although I am proud of my Asian roots, my brothers and sister do not acknowledge their roots and most of the time if someone asks, they do not admit they are mixed. As I am the youngest I was very confused by this. I grew up with the privileges of getting to know the ins and outs of more cultures than one, eating different foods and celebrating several Asian and Western holidays. I enjoyed everything and see no harm in growing up like this.
As we got older my brothers and sister didn't like to visit my Asian family and only hung out with non-Asian kids. When I started learning Japanese my siblings simply called me a 'weirdo' (and they still do). I felt left out sometimes but didn't really paid attention to it until I started dating. Of course my siblings only dated non-Asian people, so when my boyfriend and I started going out the real issues started coming.
The aggressive Vietnamese
When I was around sixteen my father told me that I should definitely marry a Chinese man. He said I was the only one who could 'maintain our roots' and that it was simply the best choice for me. Short after that I started dating my boyfriend in secrecy. This was the only time ever I felt uncomfortable being judged by my family so I kept it on a low profile. After one year I told my parents and my siblings the truth and everyone freaked out. My father was extremely mad and said a person of Chinese heritage is never suitable for a Vietnamese man. When I wanted to move in with him, my sister took me apart and said; ''Vietnamese men are not good to their wife's, they are really aggressive and rude and should only date Vietnamese women because they are used to it''. As I was shocked because of her rudeness I asked her where these 'facts' came from. She said her boyfriend who travels a lot, told her the Vietnamese are not so nice and that one of her friends also dates a Vietnamese man.
Even though I am the youngest of our family, so far my boyfriend and I lasted longer than any of my siblings relationships. It was only after years they accepted him.
My boyfriend doesn't really feel like he is part of the family, but after a while my father and he started to get along pretty well. And my father learned they actually had a lot in common.
Feeling uncomfortable in public
At the beginning I actually never noticed anyone other than my family having problems with our relationship, until my boyfriend mentioned it. One day after we went shopping we went for a drink on a sunny terrace. As we sat down he said to me 'Don't you think it's annoying?' With no idea what he was talking about I was looking flustered. 'They are always giving us a weird look.' I was looking kind of worried after he said that and asked him 'Do you think it's because of our ethnicity?' As my boyfriend doesn't really likes heavy conversations he just joked it away with; 'No, they are just thinking how such an ugly man can date a beautiful woman like you.' Even though I went with the joke I could see it really made him uncomfortable. It got even worse when we went to a party; a Chinese guy who knew my roots went up to him and said 'a man of Vietnamese blood is never good enough for a Chinese beauty' (he mentioned the beauty because the first character of my Chinese name means beauty). After those unpleasant experiences he started to distance himself from me in public and wouldn't even hold hands. He became very self conscious and was very insecure. I felt terrible for him because he was affected by other people's nonsense. Why is a Vietnamese person of lower rank than a Chinese person? Why do people neglect the fact that I am not 100% Chinese? Why do they discriminate interracial couples at all? Why do we have to date our own race only? Since I am a mixed race who am I allowed to date following the norms?
What about the children?
This is a question we get a lot (mostly from people older than us). What about the children? This is the thing I am actually most excited about being an interracial couple. I cannot imagine anything more beautiful than different cultures melting together into one amazing child. They can speak several languages fluently from a young age and get to know many beautiful aspects of different cultures. I don't see anything wrong with that. But at the beginning I felt terrible every time I heard that question, as if they are implying there is no bright future for our kids, while the US even has a mixed president for example!
Getting used to it
After being together for many years now we have found peace in the midway. He regained his confidence and feels comfortable again, while I am proud and happy to be with him everyday. Of course we get weird looks, silly questions and experience a little racism from time to time but in the end it's all worth it.
I hope I have answered all your questions in this post and that it was interesting to read.
Thank you all for the requests.