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The traditional mindset of the Chinese
I can understand your situation and why it may be happening. Chinese people (as china_gal had mentioned), by default, have been reared up in the traditional way of thinking that to get married is to carry on the generational family name with the bearing of descendents that will further carry on the name as well. Duty to one's family is foremost, and one's individualistic desires and wants are shoved to the back, so it is generally expected by tradition that one must marry for the sake of perserving the familial structure of social harmony and balance - and that includes marrying within the race. So it is in this way of conservative thinking that many Chinese who have been brought up by parents dwelling in this mindset often have a generational disconnection from them having lived in a world removed from that of the lives of their ancestoral counterparts.
In your case, you say you live in England, so it's that exposure to a different world that expands and broadens your horizons of other cultures and values. For myself, I live in America, and the U.S. emphasizes a great deal of personal satisfaction and self-fulfillment in many aspects of life, including that of marriage and love relations. I applaud your strength and establishment of a firm belief in holding true to your own values as an individual. I understand that it can be hard, but according to what chna_gal had said, live your life as it is. Even if your parents are rooted in their own traditional way of thinking, they do need to realize that the black race is just as human as any other race including Asian, and they should be regarded equally as any other Chinese man. Even if the culture and emphasized values of a different ethnic group may differ from those of the Chinese background, the Chinese need to be more open-minded and receptive to the differences they might come across, because it is inevitably bound to occur as the world is becoming more ethnically diverse and distributed in the contemporary way of living. Therefore, there is an apparent influx of shared values and common beliefs that tend to eventually override and revolutionize what has already been stressed in old-fashioned thinking.
So I say...stand up for what you believe in! It is time to break loose the barrier that separates conservative and contemporary thinking. As you have specified in your previous posts, your boyfriend seems like a nice guy, wanting to learn Cantonese as well as gain the respect from your parents. Your parents need to look beyond external skin color to realize the true internal state of who he really is, including his personality and true behavior. Differences in race and skin color only dwell on the shallow surface of the well, but to dive deep down into the depths is to explore and understand who one is as an individual, not determined by his colored status! In my personal experience, my parents tell me that they prefer that I marry within my Chinese race, but that sure didn't stop me from getting to know a white guy I starting crushing on last school semester!
I am still young (merely 19) and am a student at the university level, and though I haven't quite experienced what you or china_girl have gone through, I will try to offer some advice the best I can (from the Chinese American perspective, haha). Work your way through and let your parents know your true feelings about your lover. They may initially be resentful and stubborn, sticking firmly to their upheld beliefs of an old-fashioned mindset, but also communicate to them about the benefts of an interracial relationship, as they already have dwelled enough on the disadvantages. Communication is essential between the relationship of you and your family as it would help establish common ground and reduce conflicting feelings of bitterness and animosity. It would also promote understanding and enrich your relations with them. Most importantly, show your love for them. Let them know that you would not abandon them for the sake of your lover even if they are against the prospect of your interracial relationship; then they would be able to realize the seriousness of what you are putting up with in order to reach out to them. Also, if given more frequent opportunities for your parents to know your boyfriend better from the inside - in regard to his true personality, I think their perception of him would be much more of a benevolent than a belligerent behavior (as well as being less judgmental based on skin color alone).
I wish you the best, and I hope you will remain strong and forthright in your beliefs and values. Stay firm and true to them and don't lose hope!
[ Last edited by yongshi at 2006-10-21 02:26 PM ]