Background: My parents immigrated to the U.S. from an Asian country, both seeking to make better lives for themselves and their future kids. My sister and I were born in the U.S. speaking only English (at the time, my parents chose not to teach us their native language because they thought it would confuse us as kids) and divorced from many of the traditions and culture that they came from and still continued to experience through their large individual families.
Of course, there's a generational divide between us and of course there's a cultural divide, but something happened recently which made me wonder about the sociological implications of both of those divides.
I got a text message from my older sister (I'm in my mid-30s) asking me to call her later in the afternoon. For the record, my sister almost never initiates text message conversations with me, except for holidays (if anything), so I thought this was unusual enough to want to know what's going on right away.
When she answered the phone, she told me that after a check-up, she learned that she is borderline diabetic. This came as a huge surprise to me because out of me, my mom, my dad, and my sister, she's got the healthiest lifestyle. She runs, she watches her intake, she knows how to mix things up nutritionally. One of her vices is that she and her husband enjoy wine and beer a lot, but I don't think they overdo. And even if they overdo, they run or exercise afterwards to make up for it.
She told this to me, and also mentioned that it might be genetic because our dad has it and maybe one or more of his siblings has the problem as well. She admonished me to get myself checked out, adding (and I'm paraphrasing), "You should really take this seriously, because you don't want to ruin your health and make [your significant other] a widow again, do you?"
This is a very familiar tactic that my mother used to use with me all the time to try and get me to see her side of an argument about things I was or wasn't doing in my life of which she didn't approve. Her most recent admonition revolved around a snotty glurge/spam my dad sent to several of my family members, where I "reply all"-ed and said it was tripe. (For the record, it was the email version of this text.
Mom's response was to let me know that I had alienated the family and (I'm paraphrasing again), "If you ever need an organ donation, your liberal friends and/or Obama aren't going to go give you one, so you'd better think twice about alienating the family and being disrespectful over politics."
My questions are below:
* Am I alone in thinking that of all the things you could say to your parent or sibling, that's a pretty fucked up thing to say?
* If you're also a liberal-agnostic child of parents who immigrated to the U.S. from a conservative-religious family, have you ever had times where your parents or siblings have said something like that to you? If so, what did you do and how do you cope?
* Are there any books I could read that can help me try and understand this cultural and generational divide more? Please, nothing about Tiger Mothers; my childhood was not as extreme as that.