Chinese and Indian Interracial dating
July 10, 2011 10:58 PM   Subscribe

Is it really that big a deal for a Chinese and an Indian to be dating/potentially getting married?

I'm an Indian girl who has been dating a Chinese boy for three years. We're both American citizens who moved to the US around the age of 7-8... We met in high school and were good friends... started dating after we reconnected years later.
His dad has a huge issue with us, mainly due to me being Indian. It's frustrating having someone dislike for something like that. He can't pinpoint anything wrong with my personality or me in general, besides the fact that I come from a country competing with China.
I've visited China and found so many similarities in culture and upbringing... They hold a lot of the same basic philosophies.
I spoke to a Chinese girl friend once and she said her parents would prefer her to be with an Indian over other races, because they find our cultures more similar and they respect that they're on the same playing field...
My bf's dad sees it completely differently. Due to the bitterness between India and China and the fact that they've been in wars, not to mention they're competing, he doesn't understand how my bf could be with me. But although our parents come from other countries, we are still American and plan to settle here. I think his dad doesn't make any sense, given the way we've been raised, and as understanding as I try to be, I get more irritated at the fact that instead of seeing how loving and happy we are with each other, it's about half my culture.
His dad would prefer my bf to be with a white American over an Indian any day.
Any advice on how to deal with this would be greatly appreciated.
posted by picarosado to Human Relations (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Respectfully acknowledge that your parents have had experiences that have caused them to feel this way, respectfully remind them that they have done a wonderful job bringing up children who will look beyond race to find understanding and love, if you plan to have children you can throw in the point that you will raise them to be respectful of both cultures. Then move on with your lives and continue to set the good example you are of the future of the world. Don't turn it into a continued sore point with your parents that ruins your relationship with them, be positive and move past it as much as you can when it does comes up. Unless it turns into a "we forbid it" situation you should be able to turn them around with time or at the very least achieve a calm acceptance. And I hope there will be a wonderful moment in the future when your two dads meet and realize how much they have in common, including these two kids who luckily didn't listen to their parents. Good luck.
posted by girlhacker at 11:13 PM on July 10, 2011 [7 favorites]

Racism is still racism coming from non-whites. It is not a big deal to be dating except for his dad, and no, he does not make sense. The "competing countries" thing sounds like a veil for some other racist assumptions about your character or mannerisms (e.g. he thinks an Indian mother won't train grandkids in XYZ, Indians are lazy, pushy, etc.). Try and get your bf to figure out what is really in his craw and address it directly. It may never work if he is a plain bigot. You can only serve as a good example and have kids that charm the grandparents.

If you have a kid that can speak Chinese, Hindi, and English they shouldn't have any problem finding jobs in the future. If you love your bf, marry him and ignore the parents.
posted by benzenedream at 11:17 PM on July 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

What about your parents? Are they being understanding? If so, you could talk to them about this issue too, maybe? People from an older generation, from traditionally-minded Asian countries especially, tend to have this sort of outlook in my experience. It wasn't that long ago it wasn't all that different in the US, too. That is, you say his dad doesn't make sense the way you guys have been raised, but what about how he'd been brought up? That's probably more relevant in this situation for him. In general, it's the exception rather than the rule for first-gen adult immigrants to adopt the mindset of the new culture, especially given a wide divergence in cultures.

Anyway, perhaps that's not helpful, but I mean it to say that in many ways you'll have to accept this and simply learn not to let it get to you; it's not personal, in any case. If he's going to come around-- and it's not impossible by any means-- it'll take plenty of time, as in years. Once he gets comfortable with you, once he accepts you're a long-term part of the family, once he has grandkids, etc. People of an older generation also don't really have the same ideas about romance, and compatibility-- so he may not simply 'not see' but also not value equal-footed friendship in couples the same way Americans do. And of course the whole national rivalry thing doesn't help. Something I notice in the older generation of immigrants also is how ingrained the idea of identifying through one's former country is; often, the whole self becomes an extension of that identity as being 'from' somewhere else. It's not unlikely he's Chinese-American first, a caring dad second, in some ways. Seeing the similarities that come so easily for those of us who mostly grew up here takes a lot more time/effort for older folks. So try to be patient.

I'm sure if you try to sort of wave aside certain things and be pleasant and get to know him, listen to him talk and don't antagonize him while making it clear when he really crosses a line or offends you-- eventually you could build a relationship. It's going to be hard, and you should be prepared for never being happy with the level of acceptance and open-mindedness. To answer your question, no, it's not a big deal from an American pov at all, but that is not his dad's pov. Just remind yourself he doesn't dislike you and (at least for now) try to spend the least possible amount of time with them.
posted by reenka at 11:19 PM on July 10, 2011

Why does your boyfriend's father feelings about you... matter? He's indicated that he doesn't want to have a relationship with you. So grant his wish. Live a rich, happy, full life with your man.

I'm mystified as to why anyone would try to "win over" someone who clearly has no interest in being reasonable in the face of reality. I'm reminded of several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation where the crew would have to put up with some horrible ass alien dignitary being huge jerks because they didn't "understand our ways" or something. Fuck that. They're assholes. Fire the torpedoes.

Here, think of it as a negotiation. You want him to be ok with you. You're asking us for what you can offer to make him accept that deal. The answer is: probably nothing. You're just signing yourself up for a lifetime of being treated as disappointment if you don't act like you hold all the cards. Which, ahhh you now realize, you do.

Does your BF's father want to see his son for the holidays? Does he want to be invited to the wedding? Does he want to have a relationship with his grandkids? Does he not want to be dumped into a shitty retirement home when the time comes?

Personally, I can't imagine why I would want to be around someone who can't be nice to my wife. I suggest the dude you ultimately decide to spend the rest of your life with feels the same way.
posted by danny the boy at 11:46 PM on July 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Two of your bf's dad's assumptions are fairly common, particularly among first-generation immigrants.

One is that competition between ethnic groups will be zero-sum, i.e. always advance one group at the expense of the other. If you care to discuss it with him, allow him the truth of his past experience while pointing out that you're really an American, and although you are glad from a distance at how much the two countries are cooperating and enjoying a peace dividend, you're even happier to be in a country where it's just assumed that immigrant groups contribute mutualistically to the growth of the nation.

The other bad assumption is that there's a status hierarchy among ethnic groups such that you're a downgrade whereas someone white is either better or equal. That's garden variety racism, and I'm not sure you can talk him out of it, but you might well delight in every opportunity you have to be politer than him, better dressed than him, more well-spoken, more thoughtful, and so on--if you care to, because telling him to fuck off is a pretty good response too.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 12:01 AM on July 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

I suppose it is possible that this man tosses and turns at night over the 1967 Chola incident in Sikkim, or the status of Arunachal Pradesh, or the potential for India's tech sector to outstrip China's.

It's much, much more likely he's a racist who's dressing up his views a bit to make them more palatable.

It's a case of "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras".
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:16 AM on July 11, 2011 [5 favorites]

*Or rather the way it has already far outstripped China's
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:17 AM on July 11, 2011

How does your boyfriend feel about his father's relationship with you? How seriously does your boyfriend take his father's opinion?
posted by mr_roboto at 12:32 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Having lived in china for several years I can tell you that unfortunately, almost every chinese person I have talked to about issues of skin color ranges from somewhat prejudiced, to strongly prejudiced against people with darker skin, including Indian people (especially the older generation of Chinese people, say, over 40 or 50). I;ve heard astounding statements about people with darker skin, just based on the fact that their skin is darker. Prejudiced (or racist, if you will) to the point where they would not want their children to date or marry someone with darker skin. I strongly suspect that that is your boyfriend's father's "reasoning".

China has been in conflict with Britain, but the majority of Chinese people really don't have a problem with modern-day British people. I guess that's different than India, but I have never heard Chinese people express many feelings of competition with India as a nation, or feelings of ill will towards India specifically as a nation (Japan, or even Korea, or the other hand...)

In the end though I guess the source of your boyfriend's dad;s feelings don't matter much. I'm not sure what advice to give but I wish you the best of luck.
posted by bearette at 1:50 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: All you people saying "who cares what his dad thinks of you," golly that is an American thing to say. OP, consider a couple of things, both of which I have heard in the context of being a child of immigrants and being friends with and having dated other children of immigrants:

1) His dad sees this relationship as a rejection of what he has worked so hard to provide for his children - "I busted ass to get out of my country and have a different life here. America is awesome and being American - or at least being with an American - is to travel an upward path. And here my son is rejecting that and dating someone from the old world. What have I spent my life working for?"

2) This "competing countries" thing is a partial cover that uses historical and contemporary economic grudges to hide some racist contempt between two countries that feel both pride in their own struggle and self-loathing in recognizing their similarities - "Indians are like Chinese, except darker." "Chinese are like Indians, but with no scruples." Etc etc. Some of the contemptuous statements I've heard I feel say a lot more about the speaker's conflicted feelings about his own race than the one he's trying to dismiss.

How to deal? Well these are conversations your boyfriend needs to have with his father - he can say:

- Dad, I appreciate that you worked so hard to give me this American life and opportunities. I know you did this not because you wanted me to do everything "American" but because you wanted to give me the freedom of true choices. Thank you, it's wonderful and worth it.

- Dad, you may see people in terms of home country, but I relate to the world through experiences. Being with someone who spent a childhood split between America and "the old world" is a feeling you might not personally know, but is incredibly important to me and makes me feel known and loved and understood and I know you must be glad I have that.

Your bf's father has some deeply internalized shit about the hierarchy of ethnicities that he feels gave him the internal motivation to immigrate from one country to another and triumph in what's been described as the zero-sum game of successful migration. This you cannot change his mind about or really talk him through. You're just gonna have to wait this out while he gets older and more resigned to the world not being righteous as he hopes and until you and your boyfriend turn thirty and his dad's desire for grandchildren obliterates this all. Anecdotally, I have now seen this happen with quite a few friends. It was like home-country grudgegrudgegrudge for years and their kids edged closer to thirty and then a switch flipped and they were like, fuck it, fine, let's just move on with it already I'm not getting any younger here. Hugs all around.

Where is your boyfriend's mother in all of this? Over time she could be your biggest ally in wearing her husband's irrational obstinacy down.
posted by sestaaak at 1:50 AM on July 11, 2011 [15 favorites]

I have nothing helpful to add except that I saw an Indian-Chinese couple at the Super Brand Mall (Shanghai) the other day, and their kids were super-cute and speaking great Chinese.
posted by msittig at 2:41 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

in the 1920s and 1930s in the US Midwest there were often scandals when Norwegian immigrants married Swedish immigrants. I can't wait for the future world in which this AskMe's scenario is similarly quaint.
posted by chavenet at 3:15 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry I've nothing to add, but you're dead-on when you say that Chinese people are similar to Indian people. I wouldn't be surprised if you were Chinese and got that reaction from an Indian father (I always assumed Indians are more bitter towards the Chinese than vice versa...)

I'm just going to say that this need not really be veiled racism as others are putting it - take a spin around Indian or Chinese boards and you'll see plenty of hate for each other, while Pakistanis and Chinese get along nicely.
posted by Senza Volto at 3:17 AM on July 11, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everyone!
So, I care what his dad thinks of me, because we're both Asian and family is important to us in that way (another huge similarity). I do think that his parents shouldn't have brought him to the US if they wanted him to only be Chinese and be with a Chinese girl, he would have had much better luck in China.
I've never been in a situation where someone has disliked me for no legitimate reason, in a way that I can't change or fix things about myself or the problem. And thinking about that just makes me dislike his dad back, although I try not to, since that's really not going to help. My bf chats with his dad on the phone fairly often and they get along well, although he's careful to avoid mentioning me, to avoid a fight, and that itself just puts me in a cranky mood, although I know it's somewhat irrational.

His mom likes me a lot, but goes along with his dad's opinion to avoid a fight. When she's alone with me or my bf she's sweet and tells him that she would accept me just fine. But her side of the family (she has two sisters) have all married into white Americans and have adorable mixed kids. His dad's side (two brothers) have never left China and are very traditional. I feel though, it doesn't matter if she likes me, because if she's going to go along with him, she's basically agreeing with him anyway.

For my family, my mom married a white guy and most of my family married outside of their religious faiths, races, and people from other parts of Indian (that speak different Indian languages). They're very open and I tease them about being very artsy/hippies that are all right with anyone. The kids from these usually know about both religions and learn all languages and no one thinks anything of it.
I did get teased a bit by family in India pointing out that China and India have been in wars, although I really don't know what that has to do with me and my bf.
In general, my parents adore my bf and are excited about us being together. My mom is a little too excited about mixed babies. She does worry about his parents, but she says they're no different than Indian parents, Indians fight within each other just like this based on what region they're from.

His dad has said that it'd be easier for my bf to be with a white person because they can "absorb Chinese culture" but that Indian culture is just as rich and strict so the two cannot mix. Except that my family is not the typical Indian family whatsoever...
My only advantage in all this is that I'm extremely light-skinned so I look almost half-white or Brazilian, so they're satisfied with that (which annoys me, since people can't really help the color they were born with)

I have to say, one thing that makes me fee really proud to be American is that only in America could I meet and fall in love with someone of a completely different race. I love mixed kids, and we always say our kids would be amazing because they'd know Hindi, Chinese, and English, and be from all the powerful countries....
posted by picarosado at 6:22 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

"only in America could I meet and fall in love with someone of a completely different race"

Not quite. It happened to me in the UK - I'm of Indian descent and met and fell in love with a white guy. My parents are very unhappy about this.

The only advice I can give you is not to waste energy thinking of that perfect argument or turn of phrase which could win your bf's dad over. There isn't one. If his attitude is to change (and I'm optimistic that it might), it will take place over years. As with a lot of controlling people, when he sees over time that being controlling is not getting the result he wants, he will most likely change tack.
posted by guessthis at 6:58 AM on July 11, 2011

It doesn't matter why his father thinks your being Indian makes you a bad match for his son. There's nothing you could tell him--"You chose to bring your son to America" or "My family isn't typical Indian"--that would convince his father that it's ok for you to be in this relationship. You're absolutely right to suggest that he shouldn't be surprised that his American son is acting American, or to suggest that your family's acceptance of the relationship is a positive thing. But his dad isn't assessing facts and making a logical conclusion. He's being racist. You can't reason away racism, you can only set boundaries ("Don't talk about my partner that way" followed by leaving the conversation if he continues), be open to the other person changing, and live the way you have a right to live.

What matters is how you and your boyfriend communicate with each other and work together to relate to his father in a way that is as respectful of his father as you both can be without damaging your relationship. Family drama like this can take a serious toll on a relationship. It's much better, though, if the couple is in agreement about what they expect from their families, what they're willing to compromise on, and how they'll respond to their families' drama.

If it hurts you to know that your boyfriend purposely avoids talking about you with his family, then you and he need to talk about that. I don't think the solution is for your boyfriend to do a 180 and start calling his dad to tell him all about you. But there are ways to compromise: spend more time talking to his mom about you? talk to his dad about you when it makes sense (i.e., stop avoiding the subject)? Basically, you and your boyfriend need to address this with the understanding that his dad may never change, so your approach needs to be a lot less, How can I make him see? and a lot more, How do we maintain a loving and happy relationship when one partner's parent dislikes the other partner? What can we do together to make the best of this situation?

I'm coming from an American perspective, but I'm not suggesting that you have to do this negotiation any one way. I think it's acceptable to limit or even end contact with a parent if that parent is unable to relate to you as an adult. But I also think it's acceptable to put up with whatever amount of parental nonsense you're comfortable with--as long as you agree as a couple to what that amount is, and as long as the partner whose parent is difficult never prioritizes his/her parent above his/her partner. So, by American perspective I guess I mean: I think your relationship comes first. Other cultures (perhaps your boyfriend's included) would expect the parent-child relationship to come first.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:02 AM on July 11, 2011

You make an error by discounting the mother. The mother has to work behind the scenes for you and she loses if she is overt in her opposition to her husband on this point.

You have to be patient. The father will try to drive you away and the fortitude of your potential husband will count here. Does he love you enough to go on the line with a potential showdown and argument with his father? Is he willing to be shunned for a bit? If so, and you become a part of the family, despite his father's opposition, then he has to deal with you.

It will take years for your potential FIL to come around. It may take a few grandkids and the constant campaigning of your boyfriend and his mother to make headway BUT you have to ask yourself, is this worth the hazing on both sides? If so, then do it and be like water wearing away at stone.

You will need to plot, to maneuver and to be focused to achieve your goal. And in the end calculate how much you really need the old guy's approval if you have the mom, your man, your kids and extended family on both sides for your functioning.

I would verify if the mom really likes you. Because your road will be infinitely more difficult if she is not.
posted by jadepearl at 7:22 AM on July 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

I love mixed kids, and we always say our kids would be amazing because they'd know Hindi, Chinese, and English, and be from all the powerful countries....

This may just be a poor word choice on your part, but you might want to stay away from the "powerful countries" stuff -- it sounds like your BF's father. Imagine if you fell in love with a second-generation Nigerian or Cambodian, and how this would sound to them.
posted by benzenedream at 9:21 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Just a thought - and I concede that I have never had to deal with this issue, as my parents didn't even bat an eye at the interracial relationship issue - but can't your just sit down with the FiL and say:

"I am Indian, but I am not India. I, personally, am not in competition with China, or with you. I do, however, love your son very much. And he loves you, and we want you to be part of our lives".

See what he says to that. If he's not insane, he may see the folly of conflating you with India. It's worth a shot, in any case.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:44 PM on July 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

I do think that his parents shouldn't have brought him to the US if they wanted him to only be Chinese and be with a Chinese girl, he would have had much better luck in China.

My Chinese friends say that it's not easy to find a Chinese girlfriend in China nowadays, given the gender imbalance, and the fascination with money.

It could be that his father is just using geopolitical reasons as an excuse. Some older Chinese are like that: they want their children to be with other Chinese, or not get married at all.

If you want to build a relationship with this man, you will have to be the bigger person. It will take years, or grandchildren.

I have several friends in mixed marriages. Some of them have never been accepted into their partner's family. Others have. There is one woman, who learned to speak perfect Putonghua and had 5 children, before her in-laws fully accepted her. It took 15 years.
posted by onegoodthing at 5:52 PM on July 11, 2011

You can't come at this rationally because racism isn't rational and yes this is racism. Sure there are cultural issues at play, but it really boils down to racism.

The good news is that your and his families aren't so racist that they are running around threatening to disown you. On some level they have grudgingly accepted your relationship, even if they do not approve of it. This is a good thing. This means that their racist convictions are not so strong that they themselves don't question them on some level, but they aren't there yet. They may never fully get there, but chances are things will only improve, although it may be at a snail's pace.

They will likely grudgingly accept you getting married and things may improve considerably when you have children, but there is no guarantee.

You will never fully have your father's or his father's approval as long as you are in this relationship. If you broke up tomorrow, you would still probably get crap for even having been in the relationship. You're going to have to accept that you will never fully live up to your parent's expectations and that you will never be fully accepted by your in-laws. Your parent's expectations are unreasonable and irrational. You can't change that. They may change, but you can't change them.

It is understandable that this upset you and it's ok to care what your parent's think of you, but unfortunately in this situation there isn't much you can do about it short of letting your parents have veto power over whoever you date. If you aren't willing to do that you are left with no choice, but to accept that you will not be exactly what your parents want you to be.

I realize that this brand of racism is not purely malicious. There is no doubt a part of both of your fathers that feel that they can better trust someone of their own race. That their shared heritage, culture, language, and religion (if applicable) would make for better relationship and a better home for their future grandchildren. And in turn you marrying someone from the country you were born in would be to embrace the culture and country of your parents, as oppose to someone outside your culture, which is viewed as a rejection and possibly in some way a failure on the part of your parents to instill in you an appreciation and respect for your culture. This is of course not true, but this is what you are up against. So my advice is to learn to be more ok with things being not quite ok.
posted by whoaali at 7:34 PM on July 11, 2011

I thought maybe turning an anecdote into some advice might work. I know a couple in Singapore who is an Indian guy, Chinese girl. Unfortunately I'm not close enough to know what kinds of issues they had with their parents when getting married, but what I can say about them is that they were successful businesspeople. So perhaps one way to win your boyfriend's dad over is by thinkng about what sorts of actions would win his respect. Surely not just "being in a cranky mood". But getting to understand what non-racial motivators he has, and thinking about how you apply and can fit in, might paint you in a different light in his eyes.
posted by Metro Gnome at 8:10 PM on July 11, 2011

Best answer: My dad is Indian (Sikh) and my mum Chinese (Catholic). When they dated and married there was huge opposition on both sides. After years of patience, it was all much better.

What you need to know is that it's not your future FIL's attitude that should worry you, it's your boyfriend's. Is he upstanding and respectful of you? Will he hold firm his belief that you are to be above all, respected? Will he stand UP to his parents and tell them gently and with love that you are his wife to be, and WILL be respected when in their home, or HE's not visiting either? (They don't have to like to you to be polite to you, and he needs to act like you're a team, NOW.) Will he allow his parents to say negative things in front of your future children/relatives? Will he marry you eventually regardless of their strong feelings?

If so, you'll be fine.

I've known several inter-racial marriages where extremely conservative parents have even disowned their own daughter for dating someone of another race/religion. The only times the partnerships have worked out have been where the partners themselves are a strong team and unwavering in the deep respect and love they had for each other. They stood up to their parents (without being rude or nasty, but by living their lives and giving their parents the option to be part of it in a respectful way), and had firm agreements on boundaries and control the parents tried to place on aspects of their relationships.

What i'm saying it, it can work. But both of you have to be on the same page. My parents were, and they are 35 years later, extremely happy. Both sides relatives came around eventually, but it was after years of being gentle but firm, and only ever tolerating respectful and kind behaviour, and NEVER allowing their controlling parents to try to impact their eventual grandchildren's upbringing. To be fair, they also raised us in the end to equally value, be educated about, and love BOTH cultures so both sides of the family felt equally cared for, values wise.
posted by shazzam! at 12:08 AM on July 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

What I'm saying IS. IS. sorry.
posted by shazzam! at 12:09 AM on July 12, 2011

Best answer: I think it might be reductionist to say plainly that he's racist and doesn't like you. That very well may be the case, but other reasons may be in play too.

I think his father could be thinking of something I was told before. To paraphrase, in a Chinese marriage, the families marry as much as the individuals. He may be thinking relations between his family and your family may be more tumultuous because of being from different races, culture, etc. And in addition, in his mind this could be exacerbated since he's more traditionally Chinese and your family is more Westernized.

Another thought is, he probably is thinking of potential future difficulties for him, his son, and perhaps even you. Having to explain to relatives about your relationship and perhaps marriage would be awkward. If he comes from a traditionally family, the older members of his family may disapprove and transfer blame for letting the marriage happen to the father.

Finally, another (and most speculative) thought is related to the whole different countries argument his dad puts forth. I'm going to generalize, but people from Mainland China that move to the US in the last ten or so years are pretty well off, at least in comparison to other Chinese in the US. Mainlanders that manage to emigrate to the US are going to be from prominent scientific, medical, business, or political backgrounds. And, well, these fields don't lend themselves to non-conformity to put it simply. IF his father is a connected businessman or a member of the Communist Party of China (which is more a career advancement move than at first glance), having a son that's married to a non-Chinese may be a liability. Either for his own career or his son's.

These are just some possible reasons why he's opposed to having you as part of the family. Of course, none of these are legitimate reasons, but it may give greater insight than to simply say that "he's a racist".
posted by FJT at 7:52 AM on July 12, 2011

I'm sorry that you are on the receiving end of this type of stupid racism. I'm a Chinese American girl who had an Indian American boyfriend. We were both born and raised in the U.S. My dad also had a similar reaction to him after I innocently emailed him a picture of me and my bf. Not because he hates India or because of the relationship between India and China but because he's just racist, I guess. (On an unrelated note, he also dislikes blacks. He told me in that same email that he had a colleague, a Chinese girl, who is dating an African American man. He said that although the man is very well-educated, he still feels bad for her, or something like that. Ridiculous, of course.)

Anyway, my dad doesn't live anywhere near where I live, and I haven't seen him for years. (My parents divorced when I was three, and, although I used to see my dad a couple times a year when I was younger, I haven't seen him for more than 10 years at this point, mostly because we live in different countries. My dad moved back to Asia over 10 years ago.) Thus, his opinion means nothing to me and doesn't affect my life at all. I didn't tell my bf about this because that would just be pointlessly cruel. What would be the point of it since he'd probably never meet my dad anyway? (My bf has met my mom, and she doesn't care what race I date, as long as he's a good person and is nice to me.)

But I think the most important question is: How much does this bother you and your bf? Is he the kind of person who has to have his parents' approval? Does he have a closely knit family with lots of family events/outings, etc., that would be really awkward and uncomfortable for you to go to? And, if so, is he okay with not going to them? You also have to ask yourself how much this bothers you. Are you willing to ignore it for the sake of your relationship? It is your life after all, and you shouldn't spend it worrying about what other people think. But, of course, if it's going to bother you a lot, such that you can't be happy in this relationship, then it won't work. That would be sad, and I hope that neither you nor your bf are like that.

I'm sorry that this is happening to you, but know that you're not alone. Chinese parents are often racist. I had a Chinese girl friend in high school who was dating my best friend at the time (a black guy). At first she kept the relationship from her parents, but, as they became more serious, her parents found out. (They were both older than me--he was 23 at the time and she was 26.) Anyway, they threatened to disown her, and she almost broke up with him several times because of it. I kept telling her to just ignore her parents, but she said that she's not like me, that family is really important to her. Well, long story short, she ended up staying with him (true love, you know), and her parents didn't disown her after all. I don't think they ever really accepted him, but they didn't stop speaking to her either. But the important thing was that it didn't bother him, and she learned not to let it bother her.
posted by raynax at 10:31 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

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