Dealing with parents against interracial dating
My biggest travails were with Seung's aunts and uncles who were, sort of, auditioning me or interviewing me and at times just staring at me without one word, to decide if I should have an audience with his mom and dad.
By the time I got to his parents, they were a walk in the park.
One summer night after my junior year, my girlfriends and I went to a bar known for its outdoor deck and dance scene. College ended and I was back home with my parents in-between four years of make-believe independence and a lifetime of uncertainty.
Laughing and getting down to pulsating beats paired with silly rap lyrics, it wasn’t long before I felt a body behind mine. The only thing white about the man who was “getting low” behind me was his enormous smile revealing his larger-than-life teeth. One afternoon, my mom asked if I ever heard from Quinn. I answered by standing up straighter, feeling the bones in my spine harden.
The first involved age — no going on dates until I turned 16.
The second was about sex — no boys allowed in my bedroom. The only boys that ever saw where I slept were glossy ones I duct-taped to my bedroom walls from magazine cutouts. So did a third (and final) parental limitation on dating.
M-A: What was it like meeting them for the first time?
Between water refills and a shared plate of quesadillas, we realized we had nothing in common. Throughout my time in North Philly, my dad’s harsh command never came up. I don’t believe my parents are racist, but they’re uncomfortable with the unfamiliar. It was time for my undergraduate liberal education to put me in a cultural blender and press puree on everything I thought I knew about religion, feminism, and race.His little comment—a quick remark he stuck in during a goodbye—was his way of telling me that when it comes to dating, it’s worth it to break your parents’ rules.In Southern California, generations of immigrants are creating an evolving definition of "American." Multi-American is your source for news, conversation and insight on this emerging regional and national identity.He extended a hand and introduced himself as Quinn. Quinn wore cowboy boots, dressy slacks that were too big for him and a fitted T-shirt with ugly swirl designs on it. The next day, he took me on my first grown-up date. The desire to please my parents suddenly became secondary to my desire to tell the truth. “Quinn is black.” The jaw of my strong-willed, outspoken Italian mother dropped. After a few months I moved out of my parents’ house and into a row home in South Philly to begin my journalism career. She roared with laughter, thanking me for being upfront. As I dangled the keys of my new house in my hands, I explained that I didn’t really click with the guy.We danced a few more songs and spent the rest of the night flirting. He goes by the American version because he thinks it’s easier for new people to pronounce. Our night ended at a diner with mirrored walls and bright lights. Silence filled our picture-perfect, antique-inspired living room. I started my postgraduate life much like my undergrad one — as a single woman with no dating prospects. I called my mom to tell her I had forgotten a few of my belongings at home. I broke the news that my new romantic prospect was Republication, knowing that wouldn’t sit right with my blue-collar Democrat family. She offered to deliver the last of my stuff the following day. I kissed my parents on their cheeks, saying goodbye.
She was determined to fight for her beau, and he for his parents to accept her.