(Closed) Racism from Mom (long)

posted 9 years ago in Intercultural
Post # 3
778 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

Hi Sweetbliss, welcome to the hive!

I had the opposite concern, I’m dominican-american (born here), and my parent’s always wanted me to marry another dominican (preferebly born here too, and well educated).  My husband is caucasian and they love him now, but it took a little coaxing.  I think that ultimately all parents want their children to be happy and if you and your boyfriend reach out to them (have him learn a few vietnemese words, maybe?) and always have brunch or dinner with them once a week then you can eventually bring them over. 

Good luck!

Post # 4
873 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Hi Sweetbliss!

I’m sorry to hear about your situation 🙁  I’m a Canadian girl (Scottish-German background) engaged to a Korean man, and we are currently living in Seoul.  Despite the fact that my immediate family is pretty WASP, my grandparents have grandchilren from 5 different religious groups, and grand/great grand children from 4 different racial backgrounds…so the fact that I’m marrying a Korean isn’t too strange.  Being white Canadians, it would also be seen as very racist if my family didn’t support us because of racial differences.

His family…a bit different story.  I’m not sure if Vietnamese culture is the same, but Koreans don’t usually tell their parents about the person they are dating until they introduce them for the purpose of marriage.  So we were together 3 years before they even knew of my existance despite the fact that we live 45 minutes away from each other.  I actually met his mother when he had shoulder surgery, but as his ‘English speaking friend.’  After 2 years of dating, that was a very hard pill to swallow.  Finally he decided to tell them last November (my mother was flying all the way from Toronto to meet him for Christmas, so he was sort of forced into telling his mother).  For two months he said to his mother every day ‘I want you to meet my Canadian girlfriend,’ and for two months his mother would respond ‘SERIOUSLY.’  There was a great standoff during this time…I have a very good job at a well known university…a graduate degree….comfortable financial situation…’good’ family…but I was white and Canadian.  This was just a huge dealbreaker for them – especially for his mother.  Of course…this isn’t considered racism here…this is ‘just culture.’ 

Finally his parents agreed to meet me, and they actually realized that we’re a good match and really make each other happy, but it was a 3 year process before they even knew of my existance, and it’s taken them 8 months to accept a marriage.

As I said before, I am not entirely sure about Vietnamese or Vietnamese-American customs….but I think the biggest problem for us was the cultural belief that you should wait until you’ve already basically decided as a couple to get married…and then tell the parents.  My family has known for the past 4 years, and they have had 4 years to come to the realization that they will be getting an additional culture to the family mix, and more importantly…that we will be living in Seoul not Toronto for many years.  However…his family had to deal with the bomb shell all at once, and then there was a huge gap between where my fiance and I were as a couple, and where his parents were in terms of accepting a white Canadian daughter-in-law.  I understand that ‘this is the way things are done here…’ but having personally gone through it, I think the trauma for his parents could have been lessened if they had been s-l-o-w-l-y introduced to the fact that I was present in his life.  I have several Arab/Pakistani Muslim friends who have had similar problems due to this last minute intro thing.  My best friend’s eldest sister called her parents and said ‘I’m at the mosque…going to get married to a white convert…want to come?’  And then her third sister married a white non-convert…and was married for FOUR MONTHS before telling her parents….you can imagine the uproar.  There must have been a better, slower way of doing things.   

Having told you about the negatives, I do want to say something incredibly positive which is that having accepted us, his parents have made huge leaps and bounds….if you know anything about Koreans, they love their meat and many people think that ‘ham’ isn’t meat.  However, I’m a vegetarian, and his mother actually makes special veggie food for everyone when I am there (even without fish sauce!) Also, his 70 year old dad is taking a ‘grandfather’ English class to improve his ability to speak with me, and his mum is sending Korean cookies to my mum when we visit Canada tomorrow.  So…it was a very long and stressful process…but in the end…they HAVE been accepting.  And as to my fiance…although I disagree with his methods…the most important reason why his parents finally accepted us is that he was steadfast in his decision and love for me.  I know so many Korean-non Korean couples, and the ones who make it to a loving and family-accepted marriage, are the ones who won’t give up, and continuously demonstrate their love and devotion to both their family and their partner.  

I wish you the best with your situation.

Post # 5
948 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2018 - Coyaba Resort, Montego Bay

I hope that once you actually tell them about him and they meet him, that your mom will come around (like one of the other commenters said).  She will see the love & respect that you two have for one another.  It might take her awhile, especially if she is set in her ways, but I’d still hold out hope that she comes around.

If she doesn’t, that really is unfortunate.  But, you have to do what is best for the two of you and that may mean moving on from her.  It will be hard, but she is the one that is causing this, not you!!

I just don’t understand or tolerate racism of any kind!  Good luck!

Post # 6
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

I ditto quiche on this one. I think it’s interesting how it’s “cultural” but ultimately it’s racist. Boy it sucks!

My mom is half-korean and had to slowly ebb her way into my dad’s “all white aristocratic southern old money family” and she told me some awful stories. Eventually they got to the point where everyone was cordial, but my mother never “loved” her in-law family until they got so old they realized nothing would change. Ultimately, you have to make yourself happy. Interestingly enough, my parents are both quite racist, too (i know, wtf, right?) and can understand that their reaction would have been JUST like your mom’s. Then again, I notice that my parents discrimenate against everyone who is poor or fat or doesn’t have good teeth or all these stupid little things that just drive me freakin’ bonkers and make me wonder how i ever turned out so accepting Smile.

Anwyays, I digress. It will take a very long time, I’m sure, and hopefully your boyfriend will show her that despite the color of his skin, he is an “exception” to the general stereotype (at least in her mind) so that while you can’t change that she is racist, you can possibly show her that your man is one of a kind and nothing like what she preconceives. Hopefully that will slowly make her realize that not all darker-skinned people are part of her stereotype, but for now try to focus on just him, then slowly move on to the bigger picture like his family and nationality. Start small. I bet he can butter her up, too, by bringing some flowers over or something like that when he does meet her. I have an indian friend who’s marrying a white guy and it was really really hard for her for about 5 years. She was within months of getting engaged and they were still pushing “good” Indian boys on her. Needles to say, her bf kept buttering up the mom (flowers, cards, christmas gift, etc) and recently my friend was diagnosed with celiacs disease and she said that her mom FINALLY saw how supportive he was and finally accepted that he was just a blessing to her daughter, despite how she may feel underneath about indian-white relationships. So, let your relationship be the exception to your mom and hopefully that will help open her mind a little at a time. And be grateful that this is all something OUR children won’t have to deal with and it gets phased out with our parents.

Post # 7
613 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

huh…i really think its social darwinsim. an entire generation of people will just have to die off for us to move on as a country. we have a black president now for god’s sake!

My post is really not a comment on how to deal with your parents but more so on your distinguishing between domicans and african americans. im sure it is not your intent, but the statement that ‘he’s not african american, he just has brown skin’ really rubbed me the wrong way. so what if he is african american? then your mothers concerns would be more justified? I mean ‘african blood’, ‘milk chocolate colored skin’? what year is it! is this still how the masses view people of color (specifically black or african americans)?

obviously, you are not a racist and are very offended by your mother’s beliefs. But as an african american, it can be very hard to stomach any inference to how any person of color is ‘smart and successful so they are really different than all the others’, which is kind of the tone of your email. news flash: there are successful blacks/african americans/people with brown skin all over this country and all over this world. your boyfriend is not an anomaly.

But good luck to you. I hope your parents are able to grow as individuals and let go of the mental blinders that they have own. if they are very religious, perhaps you can appeal to that. I mean jesus would never accept your mother’s beliefs or behaviors.

Post # 8
119 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I will be completely honest. I know exactly how you feel because I have been in this situation many times with my VERY TRADITIONAL JAPANESE father, when I brought home my first and second boyfriends, one was african american and the other was half polish and half-haitian (and very light-skinned).  My father even refused to call them by their names.  I eventually just gave up trying to convince him, and my fiance is by all means caucasian, and my father likes him ok.  I do think there is hope for you if you are willing to fight that hard.  I wasn’t.  I got tired of trying to talk to my parents, when it was obvious they were racist with no good cause (both previous boyfriends were in the school to become doctors).


Post # 9
1962 posts
Buzzing bee

I am so sorry that you are going thru this but I have to get on boat with the FutureMrsMorgan.  I don’t know if it was your intent but it almost seems as though you are implying that if your mom could understand that he is dominican and not american she would feel better about him being black.  And that distinction is coming across in not such a good way.

Post # 11
262 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Hey sweetbliss,

My Fiance is Vietnamese, his family moved to the US when he was 3 years old and he’s the youngest of 4 children.  He is now 37 years old and I was introduced to his family last year.  My family is Irish/ Norweigan.  His family has been very kind and welcoming to me, in particular his sisters and his father.  His father told me “I like you.  You know the world.  People who have done serviee like the military or Peace Corps know how other parts of the world are.  Other Americans can have such a narrow view”. (I was in the PC in West Africa, and his caucasian son in law was in the Navy).  I think his family is pretty incredible, his parents often talk about the challenges of coming over to the US with 4 small children during the war.  They’ve suffered a lot but they have found a lot of happiness in the states.

That being said, I wonder sometimes how close I’ll ever become with my Future Mother-In-Law.  She is not very warm towards my Fiance, but I think that is her style.  Apparently when my FI’s oldest sister became engaged years ago, their mother was very upset, apparently even verbally abusive, towards her daughter for  marrying a caucasian man.  However, now he’s been part of the family for years and everyone is okay with this now.  I think by this time, everyone is just happy that we are getting married and happy for my Fiance because he was single for a very long time. 

It is important to have your family’s love and acceptance, I think we all feel that.  I agree with the other bees on giving this time and being patient with your family.  Ultimately, they want you to be happy and they may need some time to let the idea sink in.  This is an opportunity for your mother to move past her prejudices, which will be helpful for her as a person, even though it may take time and be very difficult.  If she is anything like my Future Mother-In-Law, she may often be concerned about how others will judge the family.  Demonstrating the happiness and healthiness of your relationship will go a long way, and everyone enjoys seeing a happy couple in love.  Good luck.  Be patient and reach out to people to talk about this. 

As for the comments on skin color, I do think it is important to note that racism is racism, whether it is because someone is this color or that color or from this background or that background.  It all stems from assumptions people make based on someone’s appearance and/ or background.    It is clear that you didn’t intend to offend anyone, but it is important to be thoughtful in the places where you feel defensive and protective of your partner.  Just ask youself, where is that coming from?  I think anyone in an interracial partnership needs to think long and hard about these things, and talk about them with one another and to be prepared to have these discussions in the future with the children! 

Post # 12
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

I got the impression she was just trying to physically describe her particular Fiance and where he came from, and ultimately, the point of the matter was that her mother won’t accept the fact that he’s Dominican because all she will see is his skintone and automatically associate with other races. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common problem and racism is what is no matter who/what color. BUT, it’s an issue to her mom and she wants her mom to like him, no matter what. “Dominican” encompasses a variety of people of skin colors, as it is a combination of mexican and african heritage. As such, they are a very blended culture (much like Americans!).

There is never going to be a 100% politically/ethically correct way to go about describing someone in this context and she shouldn’t have to worry about describing someone she loves or explaining a sticky situation with her mother regarding how she describes the person she loves.

I’m part korean and even I make comments sometimes that could be misconstrued and I certainly don’t think long and hard always before I open my mouth. It’s just impossible =]

I think providing more information about your mother and her “particulars” will give you more feasible feedback from the hive, though. I hope in time she just learns to see that you are happy and that THAT is what matters.

Post # 13
1357 posts
Bumble bee

@Sweetbliss : I can totally relate. I am white and my fiance is black. It took a long time for my parents to get used to the idea. But they have. Once they got to know him, they were able to look past their stereotypes and see him as a wonderful human being. It took a lot of patience and humility on the part of my fiance and I am so thankful to him for that. Also, about the “choices of words” comments – I can see how people might find them a little out of line, but I know that was not your intent. My mother constantly says the “wrong” things about race but it’s out of ignorance or just not thinking, not out of malice. Like you. Race is a funny thing to have to deal with, and everyone’s interpretation of what is okay and not okay to say is different. It’s part of life we will have to learn to deal with as interracial couples. 🙂 Good luck – and know that you CAN get through this! 🙂

Post # 14
92 posts
Worker bee

I have a couple of friends who got married and the countries they were from did not get along (old and modern warfare does that sometimes). Both families had disapproving initial reactions. The groom’s parents accepted the bride early one when they realized how happy she made him, but getting the older generation to accept her was rough. On the bride’s side, her family wouldn’t even acknowledge the groom’s presence when he dropped her off to visit her family, but he would always say hello and goodbye to them anyways. They were together for almost 10 years before they finally got married and it was only right before the wedding before the bride’s family accepted that he was not going away and he truly made her really, really happy.

The other thing that faced both families when they realized the two were really going to get married was the prospect of grandkids. Both parents really wanted grandkids and really wanted to be involved in the grandkids’ lives.

I know this story isn’t necessarily comforting to you, but ultimately, it’s for your family to decide where their priorities lie. Do they cling to their prejudices? or do they do what makes you happy? Do they continue to disrespect him? or do they accept that he has been a decent man to you? It may take a lot of time, heartbreak and drama, but there is always hope that people do and can change.

Post # 15
317 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011


I didnt had that problem with my mom. But sure did with my brothers and sisters (not all).   Im Mexican and Fiance is black.

To be honest I love my family but I dont care if they like or not who I will be getting married to. I will be the one going to sleep and waking up next to him. My family wont be there everyday.

I think if they want to be part of my life they dont need to like him. But sure need to respect him and be polite.


What Im saying is YOU and only YOU could make this work with family and Fiance. Because is up to us as well  how much we let the family get in our relationships with Husband/Fiance?

Atleast thats what I think!


Post # 16
9 posts

Hi SweetBliss!

I know what you’re going through! I’m asian and my fiancé is Greek. Both of us have deep roots in our culture. Surprisingly, my parents were ok with him. They eventually warmed up to him.

His family is a different story. We are cordial with each other, but I think this whole wedding planning brought out the worst. I’ve heard all the racist jokes (can she actually see through those eyes) to the disgusted looks anytime we were eating sushi or anything remotely asian (apparently duck sauce is made out of rat droppings). But with the wedding planning, my Future Mother-In-Law has called us screaming at him that “it’s not her wedding and you need to put your foot down! It needs to be in a Greek Orthodox Church and your kids need to be raised orthodox and she can’t be controlling and so selfish” Mind you, this was a week after we got engaged and no plans were even made yet.

My only advice to you is just take it with a grain of salt. You have to give her a level of respect cause after the marriage, everyone lives is integrated in one way or another. But, you can’t let them get to you either. I find myself just walking away and talking it over with my fiancé. In the end of it all, we’re starting a family together and his opinion is the only one that matters. They will be our family to, but our married life will take precedence.

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