My mother is a Chinese immigrant, my father is a Black man from the South
They are two “opposites” that seemingly don’t belong together in this world that stringently imposes an unspoken destructive cultural separatist mentality.
In response to my mother loving and marrying a black man, people would always say:
“You’re so brave!”
Her humble response:
“Brave for what? Loving the person that I wanted to love?”
My parents opted out of societal notions that cultures ought to be kept separate, a notion that is insidiously ingrained in so many of us, reinforced by the conditioning still inherent in our systems of power (the mechanisms of which are kept imperceptible and unacknowledged so as not to be eradicated). Arriving on the other side of this cultural separatist notion, they experienced a freedom that others never allowed themselves the privilege of attaining, but oftentimes the world made them feel that this freedom wasn’t freedom.
If you are born in an insane asylum, you do not know you are insane until you find yourself outside of those walls. My parents found themselves outside of those walls, and they had to blaze their own path of fierce independence, often times only having each other for support.
Sometimes I sit in silence, overwhelmed with anger at how society forced my parents to have to navigate life in the way they did, but they always remind me that, to them, it was never a burden, it was just the right thing to do. I’ve dedicated my life to that principle.
There is social acceptance, and there is the right thing to do. There is popularity and fame, and there is the right thing to do. There is the opportunity at gargantuan monetary wealth, and there is the right thing to do. And if the two do not align, I will never take the former over the latter. My parents taught me that, not just in words but in their actions. Their hearts speak louder than the troublesome establish beliefs of the world, and I’m forever grateful for this inheritance.