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How Our Interracial Relationship Changed Us for the Better

Growing up I had heard stories about relationships going bad because the husband or the wife wasn’t Hmong. “He beat her,” I heard. “She ran off,” a neighbor said once. I even heard stories of Hmong couples’ relationships going bad because of non-Hmong third parties. “A white man lured her away.” In general, what I heard was that non-Hmong people ruined Hmong relationships. So when Alex and I met, this knowledge should’ve repelled an interracial relationship. The truth was, in the moment, I didn’t think about any of those stories, and I doubt that anyone really does when it comes to falling in love. On our eleven-year-journey together, I found that what my heart always knew to be true was true: race had nothing to do with whether or not a relationship worked out.

A Legacy of Fear + A Strategy to Overcome It

I am standing on an empty dirt road surrounded by fields of grass, golden from the heat of the sun. The coins dangling from my belt jingle every time I turn or take a step. Too loud, much too loud. I grip the handle of our black umbrella--an unreliable piece of junk Mom can't seem to toss--with one hand and try to close it with the other. It refuses to budge. I’m alone, the stupid umbrella won't close, and the poj ntxoog is coming.

Windows of Opportunity, Choices We Make and Other Things

There was a strange buzz in the air, not like a bee’s or a dying refrigerator’s, but like the invisible, electrical energy of a community attuned to one thing. Like excitement about a new school going up or the fair coming into town. Except this buzz wasn’t an excited buzz, it was a bittersweet buzz tinged with finality. My neighbor’s daughter had just been captured for a man. A bride kidnapping. A practice we brought over to the United States from Thailand and Laos.