Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Interracial dating and its challenges

Interracial dating can have its ups and downs but the growth between the two lovers is a bond that cannot be broken. Vanessa and her boyfriend talk about the difficulties they faced when the first began dating in high school. Photo credit: Photo by Min An from Pexels

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[Intro Music]

[Music by @singtoconley – Flora via @hellothematic]

Vanessa: Hi guys and welcome to TalonMarks Podcast my name Is Vanessa Maya, I am currently a staff writer here for Talon Marks and today we’re going to be discussing the topic of being in an interracial relationship.

Vanessa: Uhm me personally I have been in my relationship for about eight years now and I’ve had the honor of being in this relationship with a very amazing person, who is here with me today-

Larry: How’s it going guys my name is Larry

Vanessa: Alright, so a little about our, our current relationship status

Vanessa: uhm our ethnic backgrounds are clearly a little different from one another

Vanessa: uhm, to start off my, my cultural background I am currently

Vanessa: Currently? [LAUGHS], I am Hispanic, uhm both parents were born in Mexico and I was born here, so I am Mexican American

Larry: uh, myself, I am Cambodian American. Both my parents were uh born in, born in Cambodia, fled to America in like the late ’70s and yeah I’m the first, I’m here as the first generation Cambodian American

Vanessa: So …. a little bit about uh, us, and how our relationship started. Uhm- we both just happen to go to the same high school and we’ve never seen each other or met. Well we uh met after high school … and… you know we got together at the time we were both you know teenagers

Vanessa: I was 19 you were actually a new twenty-year-old and so it was different

Vanessa: Uhm- I personally never really thought that I would ever get or be in a relationship outside of like my own ethnic culture. Uhm, never in a million years thought I would date, … someone who’s Asian.

Larry: Yeah, same here, I mean growing up my parents always wanted me, uh be with someone from the same race, you know

Larry: you know, my mom always told me that she wanted a Cambodian girl, woman, whatever, and obviously living in Norwalk how often do you see another Cambodian, which is rare, so that’s why

Larry: but yeah that’s-

Vanessa: Ok so let’s talk about some of the challenges that we first faced, uhm, being you know as a new couple, uh you know clearly you know in the beginning it’s all fun and exciting you know and sooo… I think one of the first things that we start to come in too when we’re getting pretty serious is getting to introduce one another to each other’s families

Vanessa: uhm I feel like with me on my end, my family is pretty open, uhm they, I think they were just as surprised that I was introducing someone who was Asian. I don’t think they would have ever expected me to date an Asian guy, uhm but for you, I think was a little bit more different

Larry: Yeah, soo… I mean like I said earlier like my parents were just heavily- well my mom was just kind of heavily forcing me to like wanting me to have uh, you know the same race girlfriend, so like she was always saying “ oh I want a Cambodian girl”. You know obviously, I didn’t listen to her, I did my own thing but you know that was like the biggest challenge that I had to go through, you know it, it literally took me, what? Two years to finally like, you know- you know, have that courage to finally introduce you to my family. Which was hard, like I know it was tough for you on your end, like I know you really wanted to you know meet my family.

Larry: But the crazy thing was

Vanessa: But…

Larry: Hold up…

Vanessa: But it was more so, it was more so, like I …. To make things clear, I actually had met practically almost every single family member except

Larry: My parents-

Vanessa: His parents

Larry: yeah like everybody, even my grandma met her first, you know like everyone was accepting, everyone was nice, they loved her, you know but it just took me such a long time because my mom is just so hardcore, … you know

Vanessa: So… when you’re saying like so hardcore, so what exactly is It for those who are probably aren’t understanding

Vanessa: Like what is it exactly that you think your mom was not going to be accepting of.

Larry: I don’t know, I think she just wanted that, that perfect picture of having, you know obviously, uhm, her son dating another Cambodian girlfriend. Like obviously that’s what they want, like, but you know, now that we live in a different time, a different area like you know, it’s kind of hard

Larry: Like obviously they were born in Cambodia where they’re only meeting Cambodian people versus here living in America which is so diverse. We meet all kinds of people, you know we’re not forced to just only hang out with Cambodians

Larry: You know I had the privilege of hanging out with all types of people, you know, Asians, Americans, Whites, you know, African Americans, Latinos!, uhm you know European people

Larry: it wa, it was just a mixture of all types of people, which I had you know the opportunity to meet everyone

Larry: but I feel like my parents are just so stuck in their little bubble were like they didn’t want to meet anybody else besides their own race

Larry: Which I understand because you know coming from Cambodia they were so scared Larry: you know they, the only person, the only people that they trusted were their own people

Larry: you know because you know coming to America not knowing you know, the language, the culture, the environment- it’s hard for them so they’re just kind of scared, you know to be taking- stepping outside the box, you know meeting new types of people

Larry: which I understand, but like us, you know me growing up, you know went straight to school, I was you know introduced to so many cultures. That’s why I was so accepting, I didn’t see it like “ oh I can only hang out with Cambodians”, it wasn’t that way for me.

Larry: but I think like my mom had this picture that she wanted Larry: but I didn’t know, I assumed

Vanessa: well I feel like for you it was probably easy to be able to a kind of just like hanging out and be more uh accepting of other like, like other cultures because you played sports so obviously you were more outgoing

Vanessa: you… and especially living in a community that’s more like hispanic dominant, uhm I think you kind of just came naturally for you to just kind of be comfortable around others like cultural backgrounds and stuff or being exposed to it.

Larry: yeah like I mean growing up like uhm I pretty much had this second mom, like one of my good friends and growing up they were hispanic and I would always go to their house every single day, you know I would listen to their conversations and you know to do exactly what they do.

Larry: Have family dinner with them, you know just to socialize with them, you know the building that bond with a different race was just good you know learning experience

Vanessa: So let me ask you,… uhm I feel like because once you’re in an interracial relationship you don’t really pay much attention to you know maybe other peoples comments or when we’re walking down the street uhm other people are staring … did you ever notice that in our relationship?

Larry: I mean, I guess, not really, but I think one time, that occurrence was like we were at a burger spot in Norwalk, Tams … and this guy was like surprised that you were with me, you know, I mean who doesn’t like,

Vanessa: laughs

Larry: I mean it happens all the time, I guess I don’t really care so much about it

Larry: but yes, I I I’m pretty sure it happens. Even especially you know going, when we go to Long Beach were over there, there is you know a lot of Cambodians right, me bringing you along, eating our, r, r, r , you know, our food, you know

Larry: when they, when we sit down, we eat, they’re looking at us , always because we have that interracial relationship

Larry: but I think it’s not that, they’re , they’re just interested or just amazed like “ oh thats cool”

Larry: I think its more accepting now , it’s just out in the open now, everyone is … Larry: there’s nothing wrong with that

Larry: like obviously, so when we got together it took me two years to finally introduce her to my family, my mom and dad

Larry: you know, when I did, it was such a big relief, because you know my mom obviously loves her, my dad loves her too, they’re always inviting her to our family parties

Larry: but that like, I don’t know why that- that first two years I was just so afraid because you know my parents weren’t going to accept her

Larry: and I and I didn’t want that

Larry: so my way of just avoiding it, was just avoid it

Larry: I rather not risk, or deal with it

Larry: so yeah I mean that’s such a big relief finally to just kinda introduce her to the family and just everything was just

Vanessa: yeah, and the next 6 years after that were easy breezy Larry: yeah like constantly my family always wants her over, you know

Larry: Family trips, all that stuff

Vanessa: All right, so …

Vanessa: getting into more another obstacle or challenge, uhm …

Vanessa: you know clearly, both of us coming from different backgrounds we both have different religious views

Vanessa: uhm, I’m catholic, I was raised catholic and you were raised Buddhist

Vanessa: uhm, which you know is…

Vanessa: we don’t really, you don’t really practice buddhism a lot, it’s more so like your elders,

Larry: yeah

Vanessa: your grandma

Vanessa: so… with me, my parents uhm my moms catholic my dads Christian, so…

Vanessa: they’re pretty , I would say more so my dad’s pretty devoted, uhm

Vanessa: within our past, within our relationship, you know there has been comments made in the beginning

Vanessa: my grandma was a little opposing of me being with someone who wasn’t catholic because her number one worry was that I wasn’t going to be able to have the opportunity to get married through the church

Vanessa: Her initial reaction when I first told her was, “ why? “

Vanessa: and I remember I was telling you about it and you got a little upset because you have a really strong opinion in which you feel like

Vanessa: certain religious views kind of

Vanessa: not

Vanessa: like I don’t know how to exactly put it but

Vanessa: you just feel like , theres jus… there’s just so many restrictions

Larry: yeah, I mean, you know me growing up, religion wasn’t really forced into us

Larry: you know, yes we are, we believe in buddhism, but we didn’t practice it a lot, you know Larry: once a year we would go to the temple and pray, thats it

Larry: but It wasn’t like, oh you need to have class, learn this, do that, you know I think the purpose of being buddhism is prosperity, peace and thats what was kind of engraved, engraved into us

Larry: and when I hear like obviously when your family talks about religion, going to church every Sunday

Larry: it’s a little intense for me

Larry: like you know, like I’m not saying I don’t believe in it

Larry: I mean not saying I don’t believe in it, it’s just that I don’t need it to kind of

Larry: let it lead my, my path, right

Larry: so thats why I realized that religion helps you right, theres a purpose

Larry: that’s how I always view it

Larry: people believe in god because you know they have that faith

Larry: right, they use god for faith

Larry: you know, and a purpose

Larry: that’s what I always thought

Larry: I could be wrong, I probably am wrong

Larry: right, but thats why I was like , no… I don’t need the religion to tell me how to run my own life

Larry: but yeah we have that different cultural, I mean religion , religious background

Larry: you know, i’m not too uhm hard on it, you know obviously I’m really curious about it

Larry: like one day I would like to kind of sit down and listen, you know

Larry: hear it out

Vanessa: yeah but uhm,

Vanessa: well going back to it, so…

Vanessa: lets say …

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Vanessa: so our parents

Vanessa: my parents, my moms uh first initial reaction was that you know at the end of the day it is what it is, it’s your life you’re gonna do what you please , no ones going to force you

Vanessa: but then there is you know like my dad

Vanessa: who, he’s …

Vanessa: he’s a pretty hardcore Christian

Vanessa: uhm he clearly believes in the fact that you know we shouldn’t move in together, live together before marriage

Vanessa: and so…

Vanessa: and then also that you know, uhm that obviously in order to prevent sinning we have to get married first and get married through a church

Vanessa: so stuff like that, like even now that we’ve been together for eight years now, do you feel like thats still an obstacle in our relationship?

Larry: I don’t think so

Vanessa: is that something that you’re like opposed to?

Larry: speaking of sinning, my last name is Sin, how does your parents feel about that?

Vanessa: they don’t mention it ( laughs )

Larry: they don’t know

Vanessa: ( still laughing )

Larry: what’s their, what’s their thought about that, like

Vanessa: they don’t care

Larry: oh well, well like, it’s in my name, my last name is Sin, so thats why it’s always so funny

Larry: it is a funny thing to talk about, but obviously

Vanessa: it’s not funny, it’s ironic

Vanessa: the fact that you don’t believe in religion, you don’t have really religious views, you don’t practice your own religion

Vanessa: and yeah, your last name happens to be Sin, S – I – N

Vanessa: it’s very ironic for my dad

Vanessa: uhm yeah, but uhm,

Vanessa: ok, but yeah , you know so obviously you know that’s probably one thing that you know I feel like we have it easy

Vanessa: we… we’re very fortunate that you know luckily like our parents are accepting of it

Vanessa: uhm we’ve been to a couple of you know weddings and stuff

Vanessa: and even now

Vanessa: like What your aunt, two years ago?

Vanessa: got married to someone who’s hispanic and they were able to merge both cultures in one

Vanessa: and it worked out

Vanessa: so it got, it actually got me hopeful because that’s kind of like one of the one things that made me like super nervous

Vanessa: is that if we ever get to that point in our lives where we were to get married , like how would that work out

Larry: and thats the thing like you know being in two different cultural backgrounds we have to compromise

Larry: you gotta pick and choose

Larry: you know, we cant always get what we want

Larry: but at the same time we’re gonna, you know add a little spice of what, our each of our own cultural value and religion brings to our table

Larry: if that makes sense

Vanessa: so… okay, so introduction of parents was our first challenge

Vanessa: and then second was our, obviously our religious views

Vanessa: uhm would you say we had to over come another obstacle ?

Larry: I think just values too.

Larry: Values is such a big thing, you know

Larry: I I, the way I see your family values and my family values, sometimes I may disagree Larry: you know but, thats just my opinion

Larry: you know we all have different values

Vanessa: so what are your values?

Larry: I mean my family values really are just, hardworking, ambitious like

Larry: uhm, very family oriented and just …

Larry: I don’t know I guess the value that I view from my family is like they work so hard

Larry: you know they fled to America with nothing, you know , with like no money and they came out, turned out great

Larry: thats why I value my family so much because it gives me reason to push myself harder

Larry: because without them you know I wouldn’t be here

Larry: so thats why I value my family.

Larry: reason why what I’m doing now, to push myself every single day, every morning, to you know, to make my parents proud

Larry: that’s what it is, just making, I value the most is making my parents proud

Larry: making them, making them feel that what they did you know turned out great for their kids.

Vanessa: so you value hard work

Larry: hard work and thats just a big thing

Vanessa: well I mean obviously thats kind of the same values that we have

Vanessa: I think like one of the differences is that I value

Vanessa: I value how close my family and I are

Vanessa: we’re very, we’re very open with one another uhm especially about our feelings and emotions

Vanessa: which is one of the things I noticed is that you and your family aren’t Larry: not at all

Vanessa: you guys aren’t big on saying “I love you”

Larry: no

Vanessa: or even just sitting down talking, having a conversation, having dinner together

Vanessa: which by the way, up until I graduated high school my family and I would always sit together at the dinner table and have dinner every single day

Vanessa: which is something that a lot of people actually don’t do that now

Vanessa: and now that’s something that I miss

Vanessa: but yeah just little stuff like that I noticed that you and your like

Vanessa: I don’t know, is it , do you, is it like an asian cultural thing

Larry: no, no not at all

Larry: I think it’s just …

Larry: I don’t know, just , in the beginning obviously we do have like our family eatings

Larry: like when we go to restaurants and eat together

Larry: but I guess when it comes to like at home

Vanessa: but I’m just speaking about being more like emotionally open

Larry: no, not at all

Larry: being opened, like my feelings , thats why I always kept it inside me

Larry: I never told my parents how I felt because you know it’s just like an awkward type of thing to even like kind of bring up on

Vanessa: so do you think thats what kind of played a factor in you opening up about our relationship

Larry: oh yeah

Vanessa: of kind of bringing it forward

Larry: like yeah our family has like family oriented values but I think when It comes to like the emotional side

Larry: no, no emotional side. Larry: not at all

Vanessa: just to me

Larry: yeah

Vanessa: but… I feel like thats probably one of the things that you probably learned from our relationship

Larry: yeah, opening it up, because it was hard for me to open up

Larry: I, I always say I don’t know

Larry: like I just didn’t know how to open up, I wasn’t used to that

Vanessa: and believe me and ladies I’m sure you guys know that when it comes to your man expressing his feelings it’s probably one of the most frustrating things ever

Vanessa: to hear

Vanessa: but uh… ok so what do you feel like you have learned being in an interracial relationship

Vanessa: like being with someone from obviously another, another culture another ethnicity Vanessa: what’s something that you’ve picked up over the years that you

Larry: just, the food

Vanessa: ( laughs )

Larry: right

Vanessa: yes, because Mexican food is the best

Larry: right, you know

Larry: home food at home is just Cambodian food, right

Larry: you know, being in an interracial relationship like I get to explore

Larry: I mean I love Mexican food, you know

Vanessa: and let me tell you guys I feel like my boyfriend is more Hispanic than I am

Larry: and that’s what I realized like, in in

Larry: what brings people together

Larry: and I learned this in class like one of the one thing that brings people together and food is such a big thing

Larry: food brings people together

Larry: food brings people joining together

Larry: it brings them joy, right

Vanessa: it does, well duh who doesn’t love food …

Larry: obviously right, we get to experience new types of food Larry: and we all have a great time eating great food together

Larry: and thats what helps us kind of join in together

Larry: I think that’s one of the biggest thing

Vanessa: well hopefully maybe thats how we’ll merge our families Larry: yeah

Larry: bringing food together

Vanessa: yeah cook something up and introduce it, to one another.
Larry: mhm

Vanessa: ok, so now lets get on to a little bit more of a serious subject

Vanessa: uhm, this obviously has been a huge year for

Vanessa: a year for people to fight you know, uh racial injustices

Vanessa: uhm you know, we’re currently living through a time where racism is

Vanessa: I mean obviously racism has always been a big issue but it’s been more forward this past year

Vanessa: I mean this year and so …

Vanessa: do you feel like right now with people
with a lot of African Americans, Hispanics, even like Asians uhm getting a lot of hatred

Vanessa: do you feel like in a way that’s kind of like impacted our relationship

Vanessa: I mean I feel like we’ve been so fortunate enough to not have experienced anything

Vanessa: but has that kind of changed like your views on like maybe just like how

Vanessa: I don’t know, I personally feel like we’re very fortunate that we live in a time where can even be together

Larry: and it’s also where we live

Larry: like we live in Southern California where like …

Larry: it’s so diverse compared to other states

Larry: if we were living in the south, totally different right Larry: different perspective, different values

Larry: people are different over there

Larry: that’s why it’s crazy, where we live at it’s appropriate

Larry: it’s it’s the norm

Vanessa: yeah, more acceptable

Cut from 22:20 – 23:55

Vanessa: but like I said, like you know we’re very fortunate that you and I have never personally experienced any of that

Cut 24:00 – 24:46

Vanessa: all right, so before we end todays podcast is there anything that you would like to share

Vanessa: any advice you would like to give to anyone who is entering a new relationship

Vanessa: uhm with someone who isn’t of their

Vanessa: isn’t of their same ethnicity or cultural background

Larry: yeah I mean if you love that person and you want to be with that person don’t let race uhm , you know

Larry: block you from making it happen, I guess

Larry: like, it shouldn’t be a question, it shouldn’t be that

Larry: that shouldn’t matter at all

Larry: if you really love that person, you know

Larry: White, Asian, African American, Hispanic

Larry: that shouldn’t matter

Larry: you love that person, you know behind the skin tone

Larry: it’s just, just

Larry: if you love that person, then yes

Vanessa: and just to piggy back on that

Vanessa: uhm, you know every relationship it’s never easy

Vanessa: uhm, you know a new relationship is supposed to be exciting but also a little scary Vanessa: so…

Vanessa: you just never really know what to expect

Vanessa: and so… I guess thats just one of the things is Vanessa: don’t let fear keep you from pursuing it Vanessa: you know, just like my boyfriend here Larry

Vanessa: he was afraid of his parents

Vanessa: uhm you know uhm coming forward being with me Vanessa: but that didn’t stop him for two years

Larry: you just got to deal with it and move on

Vanessa: yeah

Vanessa: we kept going and fortunately you know it worked out for us

Vanessa: and I guess like how he mentioned earlier you know

Vanessa: we’re living in a world were, yes we’re fighting racism

Vanessa: but at the same time you know it’s more accepting to see interracial couples Larry: yeah, see it all the time

Vanessa: so, just don’t be afraid to go for it and you know at the end of the day

Vanessa: it is what it is

Vanessa: people are going to be accepting of it or they’re not

Vanessa: but in the end all that matters is how much you care for the other person

Vanessa: and how far you’re willing to go to protect that person and make them happy

Larry: and one thing is also don’t care about others opinions

Larry: only care about yours, thats the main thing

Larry: once you, once you get over that its gonna be easy

Vanessa: at the end of the day, it’s only you and the other person

Vanessa: That’s it

Vanessa: Alright well thank you so much for joining us today Vanessa: uhm, this was interesting

Vanessa: But thank you. You really made me put- have a new perspective in our relationship and I appreciate it,

Larry: No problem, thanks for having me

Vanessa: All right guys, thank you for having us

Vanessa: Bye!

[Outro Music]

Audio Edit by Rebecca Aguila

Transcription by Vanessa Maya

About the Contributor
Vanessa Maya, Staff Writer
Vanessa Maya is a staff writer for Talon Marks. She is currently working on completing her AA in Journalism and is hoping to transfer to Cal State Fullerton in 2022. Vanessa’s goal is to someday work for a major news magazine that allows her the opportunity to travel the world.
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Interracial dating and its challenges