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Specifically, I shared with her the expectations of the Filipino family, which are very difficult for me to understand because I wasn’t fully raised within that family structure. To put it very simply: Filipino children are basically supposed to be at their parents’ beck and call. I had to let her know that this is a thing that exists in the world, and that I don’t necessarily abide by it, so there will be guilt.I think she feels the guilt more than I do, now, where my family is concerned. She comes from the southern Midwest, where respecting your elders is something you never, ever question. I remember meeting one Filipina in college and she mentioned how she thought it was so disgraceful that I didn’t date exclusively Filipino women. We always find it hysterical, especially because we’re always engaged over a meal. Maybe next time we’ll ask what makes us look like we’re not married? And in the end, we’re really very similar as Americans. They came from two completely different worlds and cultures and spoke different languages, and what they had in common was America.A majority of who I am today was developed while traveling during these formative years; it was a very difficult and challenging time — having to adapt quickly into two very different opposing cultures and lifestyles.I went to an international school where I met many other multinational kids, and I remember being so inspired. How do you share with someone whose family has been in this country for generations, who looks like an “American,” whose parents’ native language is English, what it means to have become an American, like, yesterday?Meet our dear Mash-Up Duane Fernandez, first-generation Danish-Filipino-American, who shares what it’s like being married to a white woman: the marvelous Rebecca Fernandez, nee Parks, an American Southern lady with roots in English and Native American cultures. Duane Fernandez: I am a first-generation American, born into a very “I Love Lucy” style family.
I can almost see the disappointment radiating off people who find out that my partner is white.But as it turned out, both our families have welcomed and supported our relationship.The criticism—direct and implied—that I’ve felt most keenly comes from a less expected demographic: woke millennials of color.I was also nervous about introducing him to my Somali-Yemeni family.It wouldn’t have surprised me if they balked: Families forbidding dating outside the clan is a story much older than .