As some of you may already know from my personal blog, I am in the throes of preparing for an upcoming divorce. I have not filed yet but it's already quite ugly, given that we also have a Little Nabi to
fight over consider,and I we have abandoned all hope of future relocation to Korea in order for LN to learn her mother's side of culture and language. As a matter of fact, that aspect of our future plans was the first thing PN, my soon-to-be-ex husband, brought up as something he would not allow if I were to proceed with the divorce plans.
Some of the things with which I initially wrestled included not only the demise of aforementioned plan but also racial and cultural components of our family now and in the future.
1. The in-laws. My in-laws did indirectly contribute to my decision to sever marital ties. Aside from personal conflicts and disagreements, one of the big issues that cropped up too frequently for my comfort was general disregard for other races and culture. (My in-laws are white Midwesterners.) They do not consider themselves racists because they disparage only blacks, Arabs, recent immigrants of color (*ahem* that'd be me... oh but I am different because I speak English and am not a 'refugee'), and Mexicans. The thought of LN spending any time with these people, the grandparents, a great-aunt, the great-grandmothers, an aunt.., all of whom having made no secret of how they feel about "those" people, was a frightening one especially given the fact that PN, although admitting or agreeing that the articles they forward or statements they make are indeed racist, never backed me up 100%. If I ever attempted to respond to them, he would quickly shush me or demand that I allow him to
ignore deal with it as they are his family.
2. Culture. Any time I've talked about cultural quirks or traditions from Korea, PN tended to be condescending, i.e. That's weird/strange. When he had thought that he would have an opportunity to have an easy life, i.e. not working much, possibly teaching English to random people for spending money, if we were to relocate to Korea, he made an effort, however miniscule, to actually show interest in learning the Korean language. Now, he's made it clear that he won't be taking any part in helping LN learn more about her Korean heritage. I cringe at the thought of how his attitude may affect LN's own regard toward this half of her cultural makeup.
3. Racism. PN has in the past defended his friends' use of the N word. In a similar fashion that John McCain tried to defend his use of the word "gook", as in, they have black friends, it's only a word to describe a certain type of black people, NOT all black people. Yeah... not good enough. He stood firm in his defense of his friends not being racists at all... and, of course, they all laugh about other ethnic groups as well, just not about Koreans, at least not in front of me. I fear the things he would inadvertently teach LN by laughing with them.
Whenever I fretted over situations that may affect LN's own views regarding her mixed heritage and racial background, he's been very dismissive, convinced that racial tauntings are of distant past or that LN wouldn't experience it too often. While it concerns me that it even has to happen once (she's been a target/witness to two overtly racist incidents and numerous subtle ones already), it also concerns me that her own father would be so dismissive and refuses to have a dialogue regarding how to go about handling these events. ("I'll just snatch [the racist kid] up and make sure he doesn't do it again" does not constitute a reasonable solution.)
So I also wrestle with the possibility that I may overcompensate and push LN too hard toward Korean culture and end up getting the opposite reaction... It is especially daunting due to the fact that we live in a predominantly white state and, unless I make specific efforts, we can go for days without running into anything Korean.
Ah, yes, I tend to overfret. I wonder if I'd ever get over the feeling that I'm basically tossing my child into a hyena pack every time I send her off to spend time with the in-laws by herself... it's one thing if I am there to remove her when the talks become increasingly hateful (FIL also berates MIL for being a stupid or a woman or both, great role models they are) but another if she were forced to sit through it without anyone stepping forward on her behalf.
WWaKMD? (What would a Kimchi Mama Do?) VERY VERY HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING, if your family were to split up, how do you think your family would handle these aspects? If you and your spouse both come from Korean heritage, would it be equally split or is one more culturally-obessed (like moi) than the other? Is your Korean/Korean-Am. spouse actually less interested in cultural/racial issues than you, the non-Korean/KA spouse so it would fall under your jurisdiction?
Just curious... (with ulterior motives to garner tips/advices)