There were many reasons my wife shouldn’t have married me according to the people in her life. Her (Our?) friends told her marrying a foreigner was a terrible idea because foreigners are terrible spouses. Her family told her (before ever meeting me), “That foreigner is just marrying you for sex, and he will disappear one day.” That was probably one of the nicer things they said to her about me back then. The list includes (but not limited to):
“Foreigners steal girls, and sell them. He is just going to sell you.”
“Foreigners beat their wives, he will beat you.”
“Foreigners always have a second family back in their home country, and you will be his second wife.”
“[Other stuff about dastardly foreigners].”
The majority of people in her life were not pleased she married a foreigner, and they told her. We had some of her family at our wedding giving us gifts while saying, “I do not approve of this, you should not be marrying the foreigner.” XX once told me her family would have preferred she married a Han man, then another ethnicity from China (56 of them here), then a foreign born Han/other Chinese ethnicity, then from Asia, and at the bottom of the list is the other foreigners.
Her friends have since quieted down about us as a couple. I am not sure they have changed their tune, but they have shut up about it at least (win?). At least her immediate family has gone from active dislike to a neutral, not-dislike over the past year and a half . Some days the neutral not-dislike might even cross the border into liking me. There are still some aunts/uncles/cousins who still actively hate the fact she married outside of China, they make sure she knows.
Even with the not-dislike we “enjoy” now with her family, there is the crap she has to put up with most everyday. Walking down the street with me she will hear people talking about her/us. The old people are the most vocal, but the younger people sometimes chime in too,
“Oh look at her. She is a terrible Chinese, marrying herself out like that.”
“She must be a prostitute, hanging off the foreigner like that,” *We would be holding hands, maybe an arm around the shoulder*
“I’ll bet she can’t have babies, so no respectable Chinese man would marry her, she had to settle for a foreigner.”
“She must be Japanese, because a good Chinese wouldn’t have married him.” *Once* *China doesn’t like Japan, this was meant as an insult*
Even when I am not there, people sometimes recognize her as the girl who married the foreigner.
I am not crying foul over this for myself. I may mutter to myself about it because it annoys me, but it doesn’t get me worked up because of me. Most of the time, I tell myself, “Idiots being idiots.” I do however feel awful for XX about it. The majority of people in her life (family/friends) were not (are not in some cases) pleased she married a foreigner, and they told her. On top of that, a steady stream of her townspeople feel the need to spew their intolerance at her too. She is surrounded by this garbage on a regular basis.
What makes me feel even worse about this is I don’t know when it is happening. I can’t shoot a dirty look, or tell them to take a hike. She doesn’t want to complain because she says, “Who cares what they say.” But, every once in a while she lets the truth out that she is tired of people being idiots. Some people say these things about/to her because they are bigots, and some of them because they are racist. XX sometimes says, “It isn’t their fault, they are just uneducated,” and some days the words have a stronger tone. We don’t seem to encounter these problems when we go to the bigger cities, even our big (but not that big) city. Just in the small towns. There is nothing I can really do for the problem. I can hold her, I can listen to her complain, I can love her, but I cannot do anything to fix the problem. I suppose you can’t fix stupid.
I don’t really know the point of this. I guess it is more of a vent than anything. I am well aware there are plenty of people here who don’t say this, and there are plenty of people here who don’t think this. However, plenty of people who don’t say it are little comfort when plenty of people are saying it. It is a small town, and there are some minds set in their old fashioned ways.
I know there are people in the west who would say the same thing in reverse, and I also know I would call them idiots too. We have not experienced this in reverse yet though. I suppose the difference in the west would be I could (would) be able to say, “Go suck a lemon,” (or…) and walk away not oblivious about what just happened. It happening in one place does not in any way excuse it in the other, both sides of this one are idiots.
We have a contract here until Feb. 2019. We have decided this town isn’t big enough for us. At the end of this contract we are going to move on to greener pastures somewhere other than our little half horse town here. Thanks for listening to my vent.