As much as I really would like to be super Gung-Ho about black women connecting with Asian men, an issue keeps coming up that I feel is so important as not to overlook–CRAZY, SUICIDAL ASIAN MOTHERS.
As someone who is often sought for advice on interracial relationships, I’ve heard some cray cray stuff, but none as crazy as Asian moms threatening their sons that they will commit suicide if they marry their black girlfriends. And why? They feel like having a black daughter-in-law will literally make them die of shame.
I had a male friend (Chinese) have his mother threaten to kill herself when she learned that he would be taking his long distance romance with a Jamaican girl from Florida a bit closer, as in, he was going to move her in his home. Did I mention his mother was living there too? It caused my friend so much stress and heart ache that I believe it may have contributed to their ultimate break up.
Now it has happened again, this time with a female friend who has been dating a Vietnamese man for some time (her story in my book, Swirling). Their relationship continues to become more serious and committed and the rainbeau’s mother is about ready to fall on a Samurai sword. She wrote me this…
So this man’s mother tells him… that Im fat (which ok but actively losing for me not for her by a long shot), black and tell his sister (who bless her heart did her best to vouch for me ) that because Im black and have a child I would con [my boyfriend] into getting me pregnant and then once I had the baby leave him and take him for everything he is worth….. THEN tell [him] that if he ever brings me home she will KILL HERSELF and that she would rather die than be the laughing stock of the Vietnamese community.
I’ll pause for effect.
I have had my share of rejection dished out when The Hubster and I became serious. It was an adjustment for his parents and their WASP-Y friends. I recall once that upon hearing that Mike and I had (temporarily) broken up, a family friend blurted out to my mother-in-law, “Aren’t you relieved?” But I guaran-dang-tee you nobody threatened to do harm to themselves if we were to marry. Once The Hubster’s parents realized this was the real deal, they fell in line.
Being rejected by the parents of the man you love for the color of your skin is incredibly hurtful. I think I would have rather been rejected because they thought I was a bitch, or that I sang off-key or something. Rejection by way of birth makes you feel powerless.
My friend continues…
I literally have never experienced anything like this before I hover in a weird state of resentment hatred and just plan awe of the ignorance of mostly his mother (shes a drama queen) I took the advice of my asian friends and sent a gift and a note explaining that i understand that they just wnt the best for their son but if they would just get to know me id love to get to know them and take them out to dinner… so they pretty much shit on my gift (an expensive 100+ dollar edible arrangement) and let it spoil then threw it away….. sigh i swear to God they thought i was trying to poison them or something but fuck im at the end of my rope with these damn people…. and really im so tired of the racism in the asian community its not even like in America its almost like they know zero black people and base everything they know about black people on played out crime dramas on ABC.
So what is this couple to do? Apparently her beau isn’t taking this well, and has had to seek a therapist.
Honestly I’m outraged for this couple myself. It mystifies me how other minorities in this country try to pull rank on the totem pole. What these parents are doing to their children is sheer torture, and they should be ashamed.
That said, this is where it takes some cultural sensitivity to look at this situation without my American lenses on. Many in the Asian culture don’t necessarily marry for love first. Marriage is a merging of families and a combining of wealth and resources. And in that culture, the son is everything. The parents often go to live with the son when they become elderly, and the son’s wife is obliged to basically be on her mother-in-law’s beck and call. I’m assuming the suicide threat has more to do with Mommy Dragon feeling like my friend won’t understand and honor these traditions in her old age.
For couples who are going through similar challenges, here’s my recommendation:
Be a united front. You both need to communicate to his parents that this relationship is happening. Just remain respectful and avoid angry confrontations.
Be sympathetic and empathetic. You’re rainbeau needs to know that you will support and stand with him. An Asian man who fears his parents is not inherently weak. That’s the wrong interpretation of what’s going on. Try not to blame your guy for the outrageous behavior of his parents. It’s not his fault–he was born into this situation and had absolutely no say in the matter.
Understand this isn’t necessarily personal. Yes; their rejection based on race hurts you personally, but their bigotry really has nothing to do with you. Any non-Asian who isn’t white would most likely stir up this cluster-cuss.
Don’t force it. It is impossible to influence the behavior of others, but you have complete control over how and what you allow into your psyche.
Know When to Leave. Understand that the way your boyfriend handles this obstacle will set the tone for how he will stand up and defend you until the day his parents are in the ground. Know what your tolerance level is, and follow the relationships equation: If it feels bad more than it feels good, it’s time to call it quits.
One final word: While I want AM/BW relationships to succeed, I think black women need to exercise some serious caution and do a bit of vetting beforehand. Find out if your guy’s parents are immigrants–that’s a biggie. They are not even close to understanding the independent American ideals about romance. And since Asian guys don’t usually bring a girl around the family until he’s really serious, you’re going to have to observe how much of a spine your man has in other ways, and really listen to how he speaks about how he and his parents relate to each other, and what sort of expectations they have.