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Some participants did mention interethnic marriage as a potential tradeoff in the context of a society where race matters and that it could cause them to lose certain racial privileges than if they instead entered an interracial marriage with whites.“This tells us that despite the ascendant celebratory discourses about multiculturalism and diversity of recent years, we still have to remind ourselves that pressures for ‘Anglo-conformity’ and desires for ‘white privilege’ may still be strong and alive in contemporary US society, which indicates the ongoing existence of racial hierarchy,” Chong says.

The individuals she interviewed were all at least second-generation Americans, and most lived in metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, DC, which all have sizable Asian-American populations.

The couples’ national origins included Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Cambodian heritage.

As Chong investigated how the couples sought to preserve ethnic traditions, food and holiday celebrations were the only cultural elements passed down among generations in a concrete way.

Most couples had spent much of their lives eating Asian-ethnic foods, so they had no reason to discontinue eating them.

“In short, these couples recognize that sometimes, the ‘default’ culture for the families and children end up being ‘American’ rather than ethnic, with elements of ‘Asianness,'” Chong says.

“Culturally, their kids are just as immersed in the mainstream culture as they are in ethnic cultures, and they even feel that their families are American as anyone else’s.” Respondents for the most part said they did not choose to marry fellow Asian ethnics necessarily because they were seeking to preserve Asian racial boundaries and culture, resist oppression, or to demonstrate racial pride, she says.

Yet they routinely cooked mainstream American food, such as spaghetti and hamburgers.

One couple described their gatherings with other Asian-American couples as tending to be “Americanized” where only the food “is sort-of ethnic.” Many couples also reported they grew up in households where English was primarily spoken, even though almost all expressed a strong desire for children to learn languages of both spouses; however, many lamented it was difficult to pass down because they themselves did not know the language well.

The article quoted Lucas' account when police approached them and asked how he knew her and what their relationship was.


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