A couple years ago, when I attended Japanese language school, the teacher assigned us a discussion topic on ‘international marriage’. Some of us were supposed to speak on behalf of supporting the idea and some of us were supposed to do the opposite. For many of us, in a school where the students are made of 100% “foreigners”, it was an odd topic. I suspected that if anyone of us truly felt strongly about not marrying anyone outside of one’s home country and did not have the openness to the possibility of building relationships with people that came from different places of the world, he or she would not have left his or her home country to study a new language at all. But my suspicion remained a suspicion. The Indian guys in my class felt pretty destined to marry Indian girls.
Still, ‘international marriage’ was an odd topic for me. Even when I googled this term, international marriage, most of the results that showed up were specifically related to Japanese people. ‘Interracial marriage’, however, seems to be more of a topic worth discussing to me. Vancouver, where I grew up for instance, has a huge Asian population. Many Asian Canadians marry Asians that grow up in Asia. I am not saying that they don’t have cultural differences, but I do see less cultural differences between an `international couples’ who both grew up in Asian families than an ‘interracial couple’ who both come from the same country but grew up in different cultural values taught by their families. Well, maybe I am making this more complicated than it really is. Maybe I say so because I lived in Canada, where interracial couples are seen fairly frequently. Since interracial couples are not as common in Japan as it is in Canada, when Japanese people speak of international marriage, they probably assume that it is the same as interracial marriage. Maybe I am just nitpicking =P.
Anyhooo, back to the point I am trying to make, I am going to write about my thoughts on interracial marriage. This is how I see it. Despite white, black, asian, hispanic or whatever, I think that when it comes to marriage, people should of course go with whatever that makes them feel comfortable because our goal in life is to live happily ever after, not to end up in a divorce. Having the same racial background could mean that you are more likely to share similar values. Nevertheless, even people of the same racial background can have very different values because everyone’s upbringing and everyone’s life experience are all very different. I think that appearance, on the other hand, is what makes an interracial couple definitely different from a couple of the same race (sorry for lumping people up according to colors by the way).
If I may consider my spouse as a piece of accessory, I would say that I prefer to wear one that does not look too much the same as me. I consider myself an open-minded person, so I would not mind to carry around a statement piece which informs people about that side of my personality prior to them getting to know me. I mean, don’t we all choose the way we dress according to how we like to be perceived on a daily basis? If I want people to think that I am sexy, I’d wear something more or less revealing. If I want people to take me seriously, I probably would not dress like I don’t care about what others think.
I am Taiwanese Canadian. If people guessed hard enough, they can tell that I am Taiwanese or Chinese. But my appearance does not necessarily hint off the fact that I am also Canadian. There has been occasions when people ask me about Taiwan when they found out that I was Taiwanese. Nonetheless, having lived there for twelve years when I was young doesn’t really make me feel comfortable answering questions regarding to it (though I don’t think I feel comfortable speaking for Canada either). When I was with a Taiwanese boyfriend, our appearance made it very easy for others to assume that we were a typical Taiwanese couple. Not that I minded being considered typical, but being a typical Taiwanese couple would mean that we probably would not be able to speak English very well and we probably have mostly Taiwanese friends. And that just isn’t the kind of image that I would like to give out. People judge each other everyday, often not in a negative way. If we didn’t judge others by how they look at all, we would not be able to initiate an conversation adequately. It would be rude to ask a big woman if she’s pregnant, wouldn’t it? I’d like to have people being a little prepared for what my answers may be before we start talking. I’d like to shock less people with my outspoken personality (in Asian standard…I’m not really THAT outspoken).
Being with a partner of the same or different skin color (I’m actually try to avoid using the word ‘race’ since we in fact one ‘human race’) should be a choice. I think it is a choice that is similar to choosing which accessory to wear when you go out so that your personality can be appropriately reflected. Some people will admire your taste, some will not. Some may be jealous and some may just be haters. After all, being with a partner of different skin color is not a choice that the majority makes, not till this day at least. It is like wearing a trendy (at least those who wear it think so) fashion piece that not everyone gets. This is my explanation to what happened to the Cheerios commercial (see below).
Having a partner who has different skin color makes my life easier. It works for me. Go with whoever that makes your life easier, same race or not. If being with a guy who makes a lot of money would make your life easier, I say go with it as long as his qualities that you don’t enjoy so much are tolerable. Do what makes you happy.
There you go, my thoughts on interracial marriage, on my man being a piece of accessory.
- Biracial Cheerios Commercial: Advancement or Setback? (uiowa.uloop.com)