Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Readers on interracial dating and parents' rules

Photo by jude hill/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A post yesterday highlighted author Diane Farr's new memoir about interracial romance titled “Kissing Outside the Lines: A True Story of Love and Race and Happily Ever After,” and her accompanying recent essay for the New York Times about the early days of her relationship with her Korean American husband.

After he warned her that his parents would likely not accept her, the Irish-Italian Farr recalled her own mother's admonition: She could marry a man who was German, Irish, French or Jewish, but “No blacks and no Puerto Ricans, though, or you are out of my house.” Friends of various ethnic backgrounds told her they had all been handed similar rules about who they couldn't date.

In the post, I asked readers to recall conversations that took place in their households regarding interracial relationships - if their parents imposed rules, and how these rules played out in real life. There have been a couple of interesting responses, including this unusual one:

Rory wrote:

My mother is a tall woman from Northern Ireland. I was told I could not marry anyone who was shorter than 5'6" and/or Catholic. The height issue was because, as a teen, she saw all of the tall boys (I'm 6'7") date short girls, and she felt left out at 5'11." The Catholic issue came from her upbringing as a Methodist in Northern Ireland.

I ended up marrying a 5'6" Episcopalian, so I guess I followed her rules.

And Barcacule1889 wrote:
American is not a race. German is a race. Indian is a race. But even Indians are so ethnically diverse. But even the notion of race is biologically suspect since biology does not recognize race only evolutionary adaptations by people groups. As for me, I cannot see myself marrying someone from India and bringing her back to the USA.

I prefer to marry any American since I have grown used to the American culture where I moved to 17 years ago from India. The issue is what kind of American? To be honest, I prefer sunkissed blondes.

Go ahead, rake me over the coals now!

Oh, Barcacule. At least you're honest.