Entry #11: It was a disaster.



I took Dee's advice and told my parents about Chaz. I have to say they did not react the way I thought they would. At first I made it very clear to them how I felt about prejudice. I was talking to both of my parents but I was really addressing most everything to my father because my mother just will not express her opinion when Dad is around. I told them that truly intelligent people do not judge others by the color of their skin. And that the way I see it, racism is not something I want to participate in by treating people that way or by standing around silently while others do it. My father must have thought I was interested in having some kind of abstract philosophical debate because he listened carefully, then became very analytical, but at the same time remained his usual rational self. He said that, theoretically speaking, he agreed with me. That in a democracy the laws needed to protect all citizen regardless of race and ethnic heritage. He also said he believed that all peoples within a democratic society deserved equal opportunities for justice, employment, housing, education, medical care, etc.

Because he sounded so intelligent and rational I was encouraged to move the conversation from the abstract to the personal. I told him about Chaz. That he was white and that we liked each other. I told them about how Chaz had asked me to the school dance but that I had turned him down because I didn't want to get into an argument with them. I also said that I now realized turning him down that was a mistake because it made me a participant in racism. Neither of them said a word through any of it. So I took a deep breath and told my parents the last part: that the next time Chaz asked me out I was going to say "Yes!"

That's when my father lost it. All of a sudden the rational thinker became in irrational bigot!

He told me that our Chinese culture can only be preserved by remaining true to Chinese tradition. And the #1 Chinese tradition is for Chinese to marry Chinese. He was yelling louder than I had ever heard him when he said that forbid me to go out with Chaz and to develop a close relationship with anyone else who is not Chinese.

I was so mad I felt like my head was going to explode. This kind of stuff sounded like ancient times when they bound women's feet and arranged marriages for them with men they had never even met! How dare he tell me who I could be friends with? I looked at him and said, "Does that mean I can't have lunch with Dee anymore. She's black, you know."

My mother told me to stop being sarcastic because I knew very well that my father wasn't talking about having a relationship with a girl.

"Well, what if I told you that I'm bisexual?"

My mother looked like she was about to faint. My father glared at me and said, "How dare you talk to your parents like that? Where do you learn such language from? Not from your Chinese friends!"

"You think everyone who's Chinese is perfect. That is such a joke."

Then he started talking about JoAnn and how she is a very good girl who respects her parents.

I told him that he didn't know anything. Then I told them that I didn't care what they thought, I was going to go out with Chaz!

My father got very red in the face and was practically roaring when he told me that I was grounded!

I ran upstairs to my room and slammed the door. I've been crying as I wrote all this down. Whoever said that writing down your feelings makes you feel better was lying. I wrote everything down and my head and stomach hurt worse than when I started. I wish I could talk to Chaz or Dee but my parents won't even let me use the phone! I hate this!




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