Today’s guest post comes from Jo. She writes the blog Life Behind the Wall about life as an African-American woman in China.
There have been several controversial articles written on the internet regarding multicultural, multiracial relationships concerning Chinese men; however, being a Black American woman married to a Chinese man and living in China, brings a whole new level of chaos to the multicultural mix.
The recent internet chatter has been about African women marrying Chinese men and how they are being received in China by the locals.The negative feedback has caused a lot of people from Western countries to be shocked and appalled at the ignorant and discriminatory comments that were posted all over the website (here is a post from Chinasmack that translated many of these comments scroll down). These comments ranged from disapproval, insults to downright hatred.Even I was a little uncomfortable reading some of the remarks. However, I am here to give a little explanation to why the locals would be in such an uproar regarding this marriage mix.
China, being a country that considers marriage a financial and/or social status contract; it is very clear to me why they would find marrying someone from a poorer country unacceptable; combined with the fact that their skin color and body types are not normal, by traditional Chinese standards. The locals just cannot understand why someone would want to marry someone they consider beneath them.
From my experiences, after meeting and marrying my husband two years ago, I have come to realize that there are too many Chinese people who are concerned with details of my mixed culture/ race marriage. I was told early on that my marriage just cannot work, just not possible, due to the fact that there were too many cultural differences and there was an unusually strange concern for what food we would eat.
Walking down the street together would literally make traffic stop and I saw people in total shock when we actually held hands; which has caused us to keep the public display to a minimum. I can even remember a time when my husband gave me a quick kiss goodbye in front of our apartment complex and I looked up to see an entire over-crowded city bus full of people staring at us with their mouths open, horrified. If I have had these situations occur when I have honey-colored skin with a slight Asian look; you could imagine what the reaction would be to those women that are much darker coming from Africa.
My husband has told me several times that a co-worker, friend or family member has asked him what he got out of the marriage to me; and my husband replies confused “a wife.” This just tells you that the concept of marrying for love is just an afterthought or just not even considered. Due to the obsession with white skin in China, Caucasians are more acceptable for potential wives and will even lift someone to a higher level of status.I have seen people fall all over themselves just to get a glance at someone with blonde hair, blue eyes and white skin.
Many people ask me if it is difficult being married to a person of a different culture; and I say it is just as difficult as being married to someone of your own culture. You both have to make compromises and be tolerant and accepting, just like in any relationship. For the most part, I have found that it is other people who have trouble with our marriage, we are fine with it. Would it be easier to just move back to America and live? Maybe, but we are here and my husband’s family is here and we are not quite ready to make that move back to the states, yet.
If I were to give some advice to others about beginning in multicultural or multiracial relationship I would say this: Make sure to support each other and respect each other’s differences. Make comprises that work for your individual situation and always remember that what other people think about you, is just not your business.
Read more from Jo at www.lifebehindthewall.wordpress.com