Asian Guy Gets Serious with His Black Girlfriend, Mom’s Response Stuns Him.

I have a Chinese friend, 30 years old, educated IT professional who’s been dating a black girl for a year, long distance. The girlfriend is in school, but is in the last phase which involves some on-the-job training that she can possibly do in the state that my friend resides. Since they’re in love and my buddy is thinking marriage might be in the cards for them, he suggested his girlfriend move in with him while she completes her internship, and she agreed. She even started the move in, bringing a big trunk of stuff during her visit with him over the holidays.

There’s a snag, though. My Asian friend, who owns his own home, lives with his mother, a nationalized Chinese immigrant. My friend, let’s call him Jimmy, did not live with his mother for the first nine years of his life. He stayed with his father back in China while his mother stayed in the U.S. until she could send for them. Finally Jimmy and his dad came over, but the marriage didn’t last. Jimmy lived with his mother thereafter. She lived in another state than Jimmy up until recently. Now, she’s moved in, presumably temporarily, until she can find her own place. But as it stands now, she’s dependent on her son for shelter.

Back to the girlfriend. She visits over the holidays, at which time she meets Jimmy’s mother. His mother takes an immediate dislike to her because she doesn’t cook, clean or cater to her and her son. He tells Jimmy she thinks she’s lazy, and poor (mind you she’s a student) and that most black people she knows are poor. She tells Jimmy that if the girlfriend moves in, she’s moving out. She threatens to emotionally cut him off too (she has no $$ so she can’t use that to manipulate him). This is quite distressing for Jimmy, because he knows his mother doesn’t have the resources to move out on her own. Plus she’s hysterical–yelling, hitting herself, rolling on the floor foaming at the mouth over this mess.

Jimmy tells his girlfriend what’s happening, and understandably she’s quite hurt. She’s being judged by the color of her skin and being pigeonholed into a stereotype, and is confused that as a guest, she was expected to cook and clean when those expectations weren’t put upon by her boyfriend, the owner of the home. Emotional and distressed, she breaks up with Jimmy and he’s about to go nuts because he doesn’t know what to do. He had no idea his mother held any bigotry toward black people, and he’s stunned. He told me, “My mom sees all my black guy friends and she’s so friendly and accommodating. I couldn’t believe the racial comments she made.”

Since we were chatting on Skype, I gave him a e-pat on the head, because I had to explain to him, a completely Americanized Chinese man, what gave his mother the heebie-jeebies. I told him,”She’s friendly with your black male friends because you won’t be marrying and making babies with them. Your mother was raised in China. Generally, when a Chinese girl comes to meet the parents, it’s assumed she is a strong contender to join the family. They’ll expect her to cook and clean and cater to the parents because for them, this is a trial run. They want to see what kind of wife she’ll be, and since you’re the son, your mom expects that she’ll be living with you in her old age with her daughter-in-law basically being her servant. Don’t you ever watch those Korean soap operas??” Okay I fudged that last part but I really did say everything else.

The good news is that Jimmy and the girlfriend have made up for now, but the mother problem still remains. I told him that I’d pose this conundrum to the folks here in hopes some of you might be able to advise him about a solution.

*Sidenote: As a general rule, Asian men won’t introduce a woman to  his parents unless it’s a pretty serious relationship. Even though Jimmy is 30, this is the first time his mother has ever met any of his girlfriends in person.