But after their marriage ended in divorce, she remarried a man who is white.
"My parents have prejudices, but they've accepted it," Nguyen told NBC News, describing occasionally feeling different with her parents and other single-race couples. My native tongue will eventually fade, and history will take its course." As more interracial couples marry and have children, the stigmas associated with such relationships will gradually fade away, predicted Daniel Lichter, a sociology professor at Cornell University.
“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.
“In the case of Asian-American interethnic married couples, they are clearly not ‘assimilating’ or becoming ‘American’ through interracial marriage with white Americans, but one cannot say that they are not American or even that they are not assimilating in some way,” says Kelly H.
Chong, associate professor of sociology at the University of Kansas, who conducted interviews from 2009 to 2014 with 15 interethnically married couples and eight Asian-American individuals in long-term relationships.
Chong says that the experiences of interethnic couples reflect a highly complex process of assimilation that challenges assumptions and even stereotypes on many levels, including what “Asianness” means for the general public and for the participants themselves.
The four key elements of ethnic culture respondents mentioned were language, food, holiday celebrations, and values.
She says in recent decades sociologists have examined racialized assimilation, meaning that immigrants of color may be assimilating into American society in many ways, including the adoption of mainstream culture and becoming incorporated into American social structures while maintaining racial—and some degree of cultural—distinction.
“Interethnically married Asian-American couples, who remain racially distinct and are likely to be more successful in preserving aspects of their Asian ethnic cultures, may be incorporating into the US society in a different way that pushes us to question the validity of the classic uni-linear assimilation trajectory, one based mostly on the experiences of older European ethnic immigrants,” Chong says.
The article quoted Lucas' account when police approached them and asked how he knew her and what their relationship was.
"They were questions that quite frankly made me feel like that they were questioning me being like the client of a prostitute,” Lucas said.
But Pew also found non-whites (40 percent) were more likely than whites (29 percent) to view the rise in interracial marriages as a good thing for society.
The generational differences were illustrated by the experience of Hai Nguyen, a Vietnamese woman, who married a Vietnamese man because of their common traits, cultures and their families knew each other.
Musician John Mellencamp recounted to the online news publication how his 1980s hit “Jack & Diane” was actually a song intended to describe interracial sweethearts: The song says Jack is a football star, but Mellencamp said the original lyrics described Jack as African-American.