Quoted: Diane Farr on White Privilege and Interracial Relationships

Diane Farr and Family

 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!)

  • Anonymous

    I scanned her new book about her interracial relationship and family. Perhaps this has more to do with him being a first generation immigrant? 

  • tokkirabbit

    I wish this article had elaborated more. What was it about Black guys and Latino guys that her parents didn’t like? She didn’t elaborate on how her husband’s family came around either. I’m paraphrasing but “We talked about it a lot and both sets of parents came around eventually,” doesn’t really tell us anything. What were those conversations?

  • tokkirabbit

    I wish this article had elaborated more. What was it about Black guys and Latino guys that her parents didn’t like? She didn’t elaborate on how her husband’s family came around either. I’m paraphrasing but “We talked about it a lot and both sets of parents came around eventually,” doesn’t really tell us anything. What were those conversations?

  • j. kim

    What I don’t like is the implication that her husband’s parents’ feelings were in any way on the same level as her parents’ prejudices. Koreans have a history of having to deal with countries constantly trying to dick them over. It was less than 100 years ago that Japan tried to wipe out Korean culture. So, um, yeah, we have very valid reasons to believe in endogamy. When you’ve spent a good portion of your country’s recent history trying to hold on to your culture and not be wiped out by more powerful nations, it’s gonna happen.

    I mean, okay, I *personally* don’t care all that much whether my hypothetical boyfriend or husband is Korean. (To an extent, I do. If I had to choose between two guys – ha, I wish – and literally everything about them was the same except that one was Korean and the other not, I’d choose the Korean. But how often does that happen, anyway?) My parents don’t, either. But I know a lot of my friends and extended family do, and it’s understandable. *shrugs*

  • http://transitionsandtransgressions.wordpress.com Xeginy

    Something about even this short quote bothers me. On the one hand, I’m glad she is talking about her own white privilege. On the other hand, does she have to sound so shocked, so utterly and completely flummoxed, that any other ethnic group would be anything less than overjoyed to welcome this “all-American girl” in the family? Plus, near the end, she seems pretty damn proud of herself for “overcoming” those barriers. Good for her, I guess.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen this story before.  Not sure how I feel about the story of a white women seeing her privilege temporarily stifled getting so much attention since we are already inunudated by cries of reverse racism everywhere we look.

    At any rate, considering the fact that she admitted that her own parents had disagreed with her dating Blacks and Latinos, I’m not sure why it should have been SUCH a shock to her that someone else’s non-white parents might not consider her to be the ultimate dream for their own son.

    But I guess my beef is with Western society, which tells all white women that they are the epitome of pulchritude and desirability.  So it should be an HONOR to us all apparently when they decide that they want to be part of our families. 

    I’d love to reach a day when a white woman isn’t shocked by this at all(and it reminds me of another story I read about a white girl who was floored that men in Europe were talking to her black friends before they talked to her)…

    • http://www.teenvoices.com SamanthaPink

      I definitely agree with you.  It’s a very interesting point she makes and you make an even better one.  Being in an interracial couple myself, I actually never thought of her “white privilege” in that way.  But then again, that could be because I’m not white.  Definitely want to hear more about how this turns out. 

    • http://twitter.com/DYomoah Doreen Yomoah

      Yeah, you answered yourself in wondering why she was so shocked that someone might not want to welcome her into their family. She is, after all white.  The holy grail of all that is pure, holy, and feminine.

      And yeah, I’m kind of bored by this too. Although I suppose it never hurts to have a famous white person publicly state that there is such a thing as racial privilege, and that they have it.

    • Mickey

      Yeah,  I remember that story about the white girl being shocked that her black girlfriends got more attention from the white European guys than she did, although she claimed that if she lost the attention to a white girl, she still would have been upset, though I doubt that since she clearly thought that she was all that based on her proud description of herself.