Ami and Yuan Q, from South Carolina a beautiful couple.  When working in her business at Ami Creations, Ami can be found retouching, restoring or even digitally reimaging photos.  She is really in her element as a professional makeup artist/ hair stylist preparing makeup and hair for brides and bridesmaids, or even designing graphics for the wedding.  When Ami and hubby can relax at home, life these days is pretty low key.  Transplanted from New York and China respectively, they enjoy a quiet life in Oklahoma with their miniature dachshund.  Now in South Carolina, they’ve been living there comfortably for quite some time now; and being an interracial couple is not a key topic in their daily lives. Ami and Yuan are prime examples of how online dating can work and result in a successful marriage.  Ami and I had a discussion about her life and marriage. Ami’s website is www.amicreations.com

What is your husband’s ethnicity?ami 3

Northern Chinese

How did you meet?

Online

And how long had you known him when you got married?

2 years

When were you married?

May 21, 2006

Was this your first interracial relationship?

No

How did you feel about interracial marriage and relationships before you were in one?

I grew up in a heavily diverse environment and have always been open to interracial relationships and marriage.

 

Do you feel any different about interracial marriage and relationships now?

No.  I feel as I’ve always felt, however we both bring so much to the table and learn so much from one another, we are soul mates.  I have been in interracial relationships where I’ve been viewed more as an object rather than a partner, my husband and I have the fulfilling relationship that was lacking with the others in my past.

What about the Asian, specifically Chinese aspect?

I love the Chinese culture, some aspects can be challenging, and we have had minor culture clashes, but that is where communication and willingness to compromise comes into play.

Did you ever or do you now face skeptics and criticism from friends and/or family about your interracial marriage?

Not at all, they all love him and are very supportive.

Do you recall how you first informed your friends and family of your interracial relationship and subsequent marriage?

Oh, they know me.  They were just shocked that this one was Asian is all.  One close friend was not very happy about it, she showed a prejudice that I didn’t like, so needless to say we are no longer close.

What about your husband’s family?ami

No, they have been very supportive.

Did you or he face any criticism from them?

At first his grandmother was put off, wanted to find him a Chinese woman, but after they learned more about me and saw more photos (they are all in China) they were put at ease.  Now they are looking for grand and great grand kids  — go figure!

Have you ever felt pressure or experienced a significant difference between your non interracial and interracial relationships?

Yes, there are cultural differences that are apparent, however not so much when the person is American born.  My husband is foreign born, so there is a drastic difference, he holds a lot of traditional Chinese values and ways about doing things.  I love it and feel that I’ve lucked out with such a man.

Yuan and I learn so much from one another.  We enrich each other’s lives in so many ways and motivate and inspire one another in such profound ways.  We have grown so much as a couple and it’s nice to reflect on all of what we have been through together and what we’ve taken away from each challenge.   We have a true partnership and we both consider ourselves blessed to have each other.  As well, we have supportive families behind us!  Some people search a lifetime to find what we have.  We continue to count our blessings and never take each other for granted.  Marriage takes work and we are both selfless people.  Yuan and I never see anything much as “I” but “We”  and that is a big part of what makes our relationship work to be a happy and content one.  We have a willingness to sacrifice and compromise where it’s needed.

Do you feel that there are societal criticisms and pressures concerning interracial relationships from both the blacks and Chinese?

In general yes, and those are because of stereotypical ideas of the two races; and the fact that there is not much interaction between the two.  For Yuan and I, those factors don’t play too much of a role, because we don’t going around making it an issue or focusing on the fact that we are an interracial couple. People react to the way you react to them, and what type of energy you give off.  If you appear to be uncomfortable, that will make them uncomfortable. We are comfortable everywhere we go and that makes those around us feel the same and look past our skin color difference and more to what we are talking about and doing, which is normal.

Do you attribute this to negative images of Asians in general in the black community?

Unfortunately, the negative stereotypes of Asians in the black community come from a F.O.B. (fresh off the boat) image mentality.  My husband doesn’t fit into any real Asian stereotype, so I like when people recognize that.  The first thing they see is that he is 6’4″ and the next thing is that he speaks with a flawless American accent.  So those first impressions can really be helpful to change some of those closed minded perception that they may not have been able to help in prior times.

Do you have children?

Not yet, but planning.

Since you are planning on children, how do you think race will figure into child rearing for you and Yuan?

Because we understand that we don’t yet live in a post racial era, we will need to have any children we have understand, be comfortable, and proud of who they are.  We will teach this as young children and prepare them for what they may possibly face on down the road.  They will understand that no one could define them but themselves. People will try and place labels on them, but we will teach our children how to stand up in the face of any racism!   We are not naive —- thinking this will not be a factor — that would be neglect and they could suffer an identity crisis as they grow up.  Although Yuan and I want our children to embrace and understand both races and cultures; we also want to instill that they are human beings first and foremost.

Because children, teenagers, and even adults can be so cruel, we want them to be strong to stand up in the face of any mean spiritedness, questions, discrimination they may face.  We will do our best to show them how to teach the ignorant person a thing or two about their judgments or prejudices and why it’s irrelevant.  When ignorance goes unchallenged, people are able to get away with prejudices and they need to be confronted.

What do you think your advice would be to them if and when they first experience it whether here or in China (or elsewhere)?

I’d like to think that we will have our children embrace important aspects of both cultures and have them understand why that in itself is so much more than race.  When children have a good sense of self where they can be really proud, provides an indestructible foundation.  It will give them the courage to be educators, optimists, content, and productive citizens.  There will always be people to challenge their identity and even tell them that they look more of this or less of that.  This is when that strength of identity will factor in so that children don’t succumb to societal or even peer pressure.  They can begin to create within themselves and simply fit in although they will still be “unique!”

Where do you live?

South Carolina

Do you think South Carolina in general is a good place for interracial couples and families?

Well, yes.  I look at the way Yuan and I are received and people for the most part are very warm and friendly.  If they have opinion, they keep it to themselves, because we have never been confronted.  When people look, they do just that and at times will even smile at us because they catch themselves or just find us “cool” or interesting.  Now, children may be different I don’t know, but being that this is a mixed state of predominantly Indian/White and some Indian/black mix, I can’t see people openly being so hypocritical, insensitive, or intolerant towards a different mix.  Maybe it will throw some kids off, but that is when proper manners and etiquette will help tremendously.

ami 4

What do you do for fun?

When Yuan is not working on computers, and when I’m not on location or doing photo re imaging and restoration work, we both like to spend our time together.  We adore going to the park, movies, on scenic tours to look at fall foliage or winter snow, long road trips, or trying out new restaurants.  We are very simple, laid back people.  We are not a partying couple, so no drinking and smoking here, however I will have that occasional glass of wine with dinner every now and then.  We have just about everything in common, we are each other’s best friend, kindred spirits, and we are pretty much joined at the hip where I think we are beginning to look alike.

Also, I have been learning Mandarin Chinese.  It is a difficult language to master, but I will benefit from it, especially for when we go to China to visit with family and friends.  I have class with a friend every Monday, and because she’s been a teacher in Shanghai, it is very easy for her to teach me, and we both have lots of fun.  I imagine my lessons would be worse in China, possibly because of stricter lessons, so I’m taking as much advantage here as I can.

Do you have any suggestions for black women just entering interracial relationships?

Know who you are and stay true to yourself.  There are some people who change their essence when they enter interracial relationships.   I find that mainly with those who seek out interracial relationships, just to be in one.  What is the purpose of being with a non black man just to be with a non black man? Where is the substance?  Although I met my husband online, I didn’t seek him out; we sort of found our way to one another.  You have to be natural, and be yourself and conduct yourself like you would in any other relationship or around your good friends.  When people are trying too hard to be something they are not or something they are unsure about, those things are discovered fast and you will leave the partner feeling cheated from who you really are.

If it’s meant to be, your partner will accept you for YOU, flaws and all.  There may be some cultural clashes; but if those arise communicate and be willing to compromise.  You will do this if you truly love each other.  There is always a common ground, and always a way to relate to new issues that come up, but you have to be able to listen and give a sincere effort.