Seung had been told, all his life, more or less, that he was not allowed to marry someone like me.
Pronunciation aside, it hadn’t occurred to me that Seung and I made a mismatched couple. Mixed-race yes, but I couldn’t fathom that my race could make me the “wrong kind of girl” for anyone.
Yes, it was white privilege that blinded me to the fact I might be the bottom of the barrel on someone else’s race card.
Perhaps even more so because I have been listening to the dialogue about how to make America more post-racial — mostly as it pertains to black and white culture — for so long that it never occurred to me that an Asian immigrant family might cry foul when their son fell in love with an all-American girl like me. [...]
This man I had woken up with earlier in the day now seemed like a stranger to me. Specifically, he seemed like someone of another culture that I didn’t know or understand. Which was in fact true, because as much as we had in common, I was completely unaware of what it meant to grow up Asian-American — both in his home and in the outside world. [...]
Using my words, gently and respectfully, in many, many, many subsequent conversations about how I felt did in fact lead Seung Yong and I to marry — with the full support of all our parents.
But it was only through continuous dialogue — at the dinner table with friends who could advise us, and using calm voices in the bedroom with one another, and keeping an open mind on the couch at the therapist’s office — that we were able to find a way to make our familial cultures meet in the middle at our mutual American one.
—“His parents said, ‘Not with a white girl’,” Dianne Farr writing for CNN’s Defining America series
(Image Credit: CNN)
(Thanks to reader Mickey for the tip!)