Sunday, May 13, 2007

my aMusing Mother

Happy Mother's day everyone! With this new blog, I want to introduce myself and also get started on all the random stream of consciousness that's been trapped in this bit o' grey matter of mine.

My name is Joy and I decided to start this blog because I'm one of those people who are always thinking about weird and random things and laughing out loud when I'm alone. Strange, I know. But with this blog, I hope to just to write about things that come to me, non-consequential observations of daily life on this planet, and to inform where I can. Most of all, I hope to get you laughing out loud in front of your laptop with me! Occasionally, my boyfriend, John will join us here as a guest writer. He's a wikipedia buff and loves to share about all kinds of random facts about animals, natural phenomenons, etc. I'm sure you'll get some useful (or usefully show-off-able) knowledge from him.

Anyhow, let me just share something funny that happened yesterday as my boyfriend and I celebrated Mother's day with my mom and dad.

So our tradition is to have dinner the day before Mother's day so as to avoid the crowd on the actual day. My mom's notorious for saying pretty much what's on her mind. So somehow the topic of conversation as our family was driving home after a nice dinner at Fresh Choice, which by the way, has improved in their freshness, variety and overall tastiness of their offerings, got onto this interracial couple that recently joined my parents' church. What ensued turned out to be the highlight of the evening!

Apparently this a new couple started attending my parents' church a few months ago. The wife is Chinese and the husband is black. That combination is quite rare among us Chinese. They have two daughters and the wife stays home to homeschool her kids. Having met quite a few bi-racial children and have confirmed what people have told me that bi-racial people are especially beautiful, I asked my mom whether those two half-black/half-Chinese girls are noticeably mixed. Specifically, I asked her whether that couple's two daughters look Asian? In response, my mom said, "No, they just look black, but their hair is like those poofy dogs.' What are those called again? Poodles, right?"

She had me clutching my buffet-full belly laughing uncontrollably. On the one hand, her off-the-cuff comment was very frank and un-edited. But on the other hand it illustrates well how the older generation of many cultures are still quite entrenched in their mind-set about interracial relationships and also perceptions of other races' and cultures' characteristics. Don't get me wrong, my mom is a very kind-hearted person and has never (and would never) act upon any of her prejudices and stereotypes (and we all have them). But this incident, though funny at one level, demonstrates how norms and rules are still rigid in many cultures. In my culture, it is always considered "best" to marry one's own race and ethnicity. For a Chinese girl like me, the best would be to marry someone Chinese. Then the order of "acceptability" goes something like this: Asian > white > latino/mexican > black. Essentially very similar to many other race and cultures' preferences with a highly positive correlation between what's considered "acceptable" (and even a "good" choice) with less skin pigmentation, if one couldn't manage to fall in love with a person of the exact same background. Very unbelievable for the 21st century in our multicultural melting pot society in the great US of A, right? Yet from what I've heard and witnessed, surprisingly common.

Your thoughts and experiences?

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