Is Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend the Wrong Race?

Posted by Vinnie Yuen & filed under Uncategorized.

Esther Frid holds "El Atardecer de la Vida," a book she wrote about the stories of seven senior Latin American women living in Canada

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In a recent article by Diane Farr, a star in the show Numb3rs, she describes what it’s like to be the “wrong race” for her Korean boyfriend Seung Yong Chung, who is supposed to marry a Korean girl.

Farr eventually married Seung with his parent’s acceptance and blessing, but the issue still remains: what race do modern parents want their children to date?

In such a diverse city, chances are, we’ve all been attracted to or dated someone of a different ethnicity than our own. My own mother asks me from time to time, “Why don’t you like nice Chinese boys?”

So why don’t I like them? I’ve only had two boyfriends. My first boyfriend was Vietnamese, and that didn’t go over so well. The “wrong” kind of Asian, evidently. He was definitely wrong for me, but not particularly due to his race.

My current boyfriend is white. My mother likes him. She likes that he likes history and current events, likes that he is respectful and polite, and likes that he has a university degree. But she still doesn’t know why I can’t bring home a nice Chinese guy.

It’s not necessarily blatant racism. Her reasons are pretty apparent.

She has trouble communicating in English with my boyfriend from time to time. She doesn’t understand the foods he likes, so she worries she doesn’t cook food that he likes. She even worries about what we will eat when we get married. “What will you cook? He doesn’t even like Chinese food!” she asked.

She thinks he’ll think we’re weird. She thinks she’ll offend him if she speaks Cantonese to me when he is at our house. Most of all, she worries I’ll lose sense of my language and culture and become more and more white each day. Ironically, my boyfriend has insisted that our (hypothetical) children have a Chinese name and speak the languages I speak.

As for why I haven’t been able to bring home a Chinese guy, my hypothesis is that maybe Chinese men just don’t like me. My first crush was Chinese, my second crush was Chinese, and my third crush was Taiwanese. No luck. I mean, I was 13 years old, but still, none of them liked me back.

I lack the slender delicate frame that so many Chinese men prefer. I’m loud and opinionated. I can tell pretty gross and inappropriate jokes. I can be aggressive at times. And so far, not one Chinese man has approached or pursued me.

I can’t change the way I am. As far as I’m concerned, if someone truly loves me for me and I truly love him for him, then that’s more than good enough for me. I hope that’s good enough for my parents too.

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About Vinnie Yuen

Vinnie Yuen
Vinnie is a 1.5 generation Chinese Canadian who calls Hong Kong and Vancouver home. She likes story-telling and writing about relationships, gender and identity. Vinnie has a Master of Journalism and B.A. in English Literature from UBC.

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