One practical problem to speaking Chinese at home when I have my own family and household, whether I eventually go into an “interracial marriage” or not: family devotions.
I would love to speak Chinese at home and speak no English. No major problems there. The thing is, I can’t read. More specifically, I can’t read enough Chinese, and I also don’t want English alone to become associated with God and with the high intellectual pursuits, or I will have managed to convince whatever the number of children God gives that God really is a white man’s god. The fact is, I ain’t an immigrant from Asia. These are real questions to consider.
The troubles of assimilation
I really don’t want to paint such an inaccurate picture, and being “white” in the most explicitly Christian sphere of life, that is, our hearing from and communication with God, would put me into such a dangerous position. If so, it would seem sheer hypocrisy to talk about God being the God who loves all people of every ethnicity and works to redeem every culture. Furthermore, it’s obvious to any young child that Chinese mom and pop look different from the white people they see elsewhere.
For my kids to become more assimilated to “average American” culture isn’t in itself a horrible, horrible things in my eyes, but it certainly holds a host of issues that I don’t know how to take on: how will it affect how I proclaim Christ to a family in my charge if, God willing, I start one to God’s glory? It seems to be such an old problem. It seems to be something many people must have dealt with before. Yet for some reason it seems to be something so acutely limited to my own life at this degree that I find myself unable to just rely on the assumption that somehow the reality that generations of immigrants do assimilate more and more makes everything fine and dandy, albeit difficult at times.
Sometimes I suggest in jest to some of my friends that around my family, after I get married, I’ll speak English only with an Indian accent. Maybe there’s a reason I think of such totally odd things. It’s a hard change, and let’s not even think about the language of instruction for the option of homeschooling. It’s something I’m sure I’ll struggle with as marriage actually becomes a thing of the near future rather than a hope for the indeterminate future.
Is there resolution?
What do I do? I suppose one way would be to prepare in advance the Chinese as well as the scriptural truths. One more reason to get better at Chinese. How else? Use a third language. French, maybe? The Latin Vulgate? No way looks simple, and every way will take a lot of work.
And what if I marry someone who neither speaks nor understands Chinese? The default way seems to be just becoming white in a very bland, suburban way and suppressing many aspects of the other cultures, all the while asserting one’s own Asianness. This, to me, will not do. Something needs to be done to make a household more emphatically Christ-honouring than melting-pot American. Neither will throwing in food and clothing and superficial things do anything substantive, since a culture is so much more. Too complex. I simply have no idea how the cultures would interact.
So I come back with no answer. What are your thoughts?