It’s not that white people don’t love or care about their families, it’s just you are much more likely to hear that a Caucasian friend is estranged from their family than you would an Asian, or Latino. I blame it on culture.
When you live in a society where the White Man has been the dominating terror throughout, you create a minority culture that sticks together stronger than an UHU glue stick that has had time to dry. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe if we did a blanket study, we’d find that white culture is just as family oriented as non-whites. And maybe I’m confusing a friend-focused society with replacing a family one (in the United States), as opposed to both of them coexisting side by side.
I love using this example because its subtle putdown hit me full face like a gale wind.
After my Waldorf teaching fiasco, I returned home to Hawaii because I wanted to be loved and accepted again, and frankly I was at a loss. So after spending my 20s out in the world, I came back to my mother’s house when I was about 30.
Out running errands, I ran into a high school friend’s mother.
“Oh, Lani! I didn’t know you were here. How long are you visiting?”
“I’ve moved back.”
“Really? Where are you living now?”
“I’m with my mom.”
“Wow,” pause, “I’d never let one of the girls do that…”
This remark really stuck to me because this mother had lived on the islands for a long time. Extended families living together is not uncommon here because: a) Hawaii has a lot of Asians, b) Hawaii has a large immigrant population, and c) Hawaii is insanely expensive and this is a way to help make your money stretch. So this remark, mixed with my own guilt and trepidation about being back home, made me feel rather crappy.
Now I’d like to think a Japanese or Filipino mother would have been overjoyed at the thought of a daughter retuning to the nest but that’s the difference in cultures. For the Wonder Bread families, the thought of your adult child returning home is akin to shame, “you didn’t make it out there” and you are a loser. There is probably a little bit of “why are you enabling your child” mixed in there as well.
As an American, I understand this mentality. But as an Asian, let me tell you, I appreciate the knowing that I am always welcomed home. And as a Thai, I know that it is my responsibility to take care of my mother.