Double Unhappiness

This is an open letter to my Asian brothers that have misguided ideas about relationships:

Recently I’ve been reading some of the message boards on Facebook groups like Asian Americans Not Brain Washed By The Media and Asian Media Watch. Something that really annoys me is the double standard some of the male members seem to hold in terms of interracial dating. This seems to be a growing idea:

But then on the flipside, these men seem to revere the reverse paradigm:

I find this to be incredibly hypocritical and offensive.

First off, I try not to judge people’s choices in the matters of love. It’s hard enough to find someone you really connect with — if that person happens to be of another race, then so be it. (FYI I find Korean flavored women to be my preferred choice if anyone was curious).

But this kind of double standard that certain Asian men uphold as virtuous is actually antithetical to what I believe to be the cause behind Asian American community groups. I find it alienating to Asian women (Don’t you realize that that’s where half our power comes from?). To set up this idea as a basis for progress is truly detrimental. It plays into the exact power dynamic these groups say we are trying to fight. In both cases, we are upholding White as better than Asian.

If you are an Asian male and you feel that bagging a white woman is the pinnacle of Asian male success, then you have to accept that the reverse is valid for Asian women. You have no right to criticize Asian women for saying ridiculous things like “I don’t find Asian men attractive” or “Dating an Asian guy would be like dating my brother/father (who I feel have persecuted and judged me)” or “I would love to date an Asian guy, but Asian guys don’t find me attractive.” By supporting the Asian Male/White Female coupling to be the highest achievement in dating, then you are also validifying all three of the Asian female arguments for NOT dating you!

For me, I find both versions (AF+WH. AM+WF) problematic in much broader general terms. Yes, Asian women are over-exoticized by the media and there is a suspect amount of Asian female/White male couples out there. Yes, Asian men are treated like eunichs in American society. But the answer is not to turn on Asian women and at the same time say, “By the way, I want to date White women because it empowers me.” This is how the dominant culture wins. They divide and conquer us.

The most threatening thing to the power paradigm set up by mass media is to create a new one where:

Asian Female + Asian Male = Good

This is the most threatening because the equation does not include any outside elements. Once White doesn’t even factor in then we can truly make some progress within the Asian American community.

As far as a true solution goes, I have always believed that if you want to get Asian women to date
Asian men, two things have to happen: First, Asian men have to
appreciate the beauty of Asian women. Second, Asian men have to try to
be the most attractive person they can be.

Think about it.

27 thoughts on “

  1. person + person + love and respect = good, right? maintenance of culture in balance with national identity = good, right? who needs to threaten the media? why not say screw you to the media?

  2. This is a topic that kind of hits close to home for me. I may be a little more sympathetic to the Asian male.
    In my family, the Asian male usually always gets married either to another Asian or a different race. When they get married to a person of a different race, their friends consider the male like a “hero” or a “pioneer” or say things like, “WHOAH you lucky turd, how’d you snag the white??” because it’s not everyday you see an Asian male coupled with a person of a different race.
    However, since it’s more typical to see an Asian female with a Caucasian male, it puts more pressure on the Asian girl. The Asian man feels betrayed and thinks he’s “not good enough.” So he considers marrying outside the race is an achievement.
    As you said, the media does overglorify the Asian female mostly as a seductive, manipulating woman. I’ve known people who, when they have seen an interracial couple between an Asian girl and a White guy, have said things like, “Oh she’s dating him for the money, physique, green card, etc…Asian guys might agree, but I think they get upset more on racial terms and their ego. You understand how SOME (I’m not saying all of them) Asian men are sorta male chauvinist, it’s part of their culture.Anyways (AM+WF) (AM+AF) (AF+WM) it’s all good to me.

  3. cut off an entire group of people and it only sucks for you. you just lost an entire pool of potential people that you could have connected with. if you have incredibly high standards, i suggest staying very open minded and patient. there are too many cool, ridiculously attractive, and hilarious people in the world. let go of your expectations and what you think you want, and then it’s like neo: you can see the matrix. and there are so many incredibly attractive weemens everywhere. who knows if this applies the other way around.i’ll stop preaching, for i know not.an enlightening post, senor.

  4. very well written post…i agree…to have any white in the equation just makes it so that white is the prize when really, it isn’t the case when the whites have oppressed so many other races for so long…as for getting asian women to date asian men, i think factor #1 isn’t a problem as asian men do seem to appreciate our beauty. it is the second factor that is more important

  5. good points… though i would say we challenge the power dynamics of our society effectively only when we are balanced inside and out. Of course we know that power is not only based on race, but also class, gender and all those other isms… Personal intentions and actions also matter with regards to challenging power dynamics of our society.peace

  6. to the commenter above me, yes… any time a guy objectifies a woman, it is never a good thing. if the asian guy is dating an asian girl for the mere fact that she is asian, it’s just an asian fetish and the same as a white guy dating an asian gal. the bottom line is, dating women should never be seen as an indicator of social status.when it comes to relationships, race should just stay completely out of the picture.

  7. I like YoungIlKim’s comment.I think at a certain point in our lives, when we mellow out and reflect a bit more – we find that happiness isn’t so cut and dry and that we can’t consider what the world thinks anymore. With so many people getting married around me, I’m just plain happy that my friends have found someone good and decent to spend the rest of their lives with.

  8. I agree with most of your comments and I start from the same basis of not meddling in other people’s choices of love and preferring Korean women myself.
    However, I guess the one thing that bothers me about Asian women in general (and this may be stereotyping or offensive) is that I don’t find that many who think critically about and argue persuasively about the white-asian dynamic.  Again, no person, woman or man, should have to defend their relationship choices with a dissertation.  But I think at a certain point, we all have to assess our identities in American society.
    Asian American males — we have evaluated our own negative portrayals in U.S. society incessantly but have not given due time to our chauvinistic behavior. 
    Similarly, I feel that Asian American women understand their exoticization but have not reflected appropriately on how they benefit from it.
    When Asian American men raise the topic of WM-AF or AM-WF relationships around Asian American women, I feel like the women either (1) stay silent (which is similar to how whites react when black raise the topic of white privilege); (2) deny the disparity in pairings (which reveals a lack of observation and thought); (3) comment that they have lots of white female friends who find Asian men attractive (which is promoting the exception rather than the rule); or (4) admit the disparity but come up with ridiculous explanations (e.g., “I can’t date an Asian man because he reminds me of my brother/father” — although I’ve never heard a Hispanic or black woman or man give the same reason to justify their disdain for their own).
    Sure, I guess even raising the topic can be alienating and threatening to Asian women.  Some people feel that raising the issue is akin to self-pity and therefore self-defeating because it expresses low self-esteem.
    I believe that when a person (whether it’s a black person to a white person; short guy to a tall guy; an overweight woman to a thin woman; or an Asian man to an Asian woman) raises these kinds of issues, it’s NOT out of self-pity or to curry sympathy but rather with the hope that the other person understands that he or she benefits in life NOT by merit but because of generally immutable characteristics.
    But typically the white person will dismiss the black person as being an “angry black person”; the tall guy dismisses the short guy’s comments as coming from a dude with a “napoleon complex”; the thin woman dismisses the overweight woman as being jealous and having no self-control; and the Asian woman dismisses the Asian man’s comments as bitter, controlling, chauvinistic or untrue.
    There may be a fine line but I think the issue is not self-pity or bitterness or jealousy but rather the hope that the other person recognizes his or her advantage came without merit but the fortune of circumstances.  It’s like with bilingual Korean Americans — are you linguistically brilliant or did you just happen to immigrate to the U.S. between the ages of 5 and 12?
    On another related point, I’ve seen a few movies and TV shows where black women are allowed to rail, seemingly without restraint, against white women and black men (e.g., Waiting to Exhale, Something New, etc.) and somehow their situation comes off as sympathetic.  If Asian men were to do this . . . well, I can’t even imagine this. 
    I really hope that one of your future films addresses the issue of Asian relationships in all their complexities, a la Brother McMullen or Barcelona.

  9. dood i totally agree.. relationships should be about happiness and well ppl treat each other but I’m still down not down if a white boy hits on me I’m sorry that’s just my Preference… and it still annoys me when ANYONE not just white ppl have asian fetishes.. blehh.. but i mean I’m not here to judge other ppl and what they want to do with their lives. AND as for Asian men dating white men its not my cup of tea but like I said whatever makes them happy. =/

  10. As a child from a mixed marriage, this topic usually makes me very very sensitive. In fact, at University.. this was one of the reasons that I ended up distancing myself from the Asian American organisation there and instead dedicated myself to the Film Festival that I was involved in.
    I would go one step further that it isn’t just asian males in chatrooms with a double standard but also quite a few Asian American academics as well as many Asian American commentators who seem to have adopted this very “us vs. them” mentality when it comes to interracial marriages as if white men are stealing from the Asian American male’s birthright.  And as far as the media is concerned with the lack of asian male role models, well… Asians need to start promoting and supporting Asian role models in order for Hollywood to notice. I feel of all the ethnic/racial communities in America, young Asian Americans seem to be the most apathetic in supporting causes.. atleast in comparison to African Americans and Latino Americans.
    But I do agree with you that male asians seem to have a double standard when it comes to interracial dating and they need to respect and treat asian women better if they hope to date them,.

  11. so you’re saying that:1. asian males don’t appreciate the beauty of asian women.2. asian men aren’t trying to be the most attractive person they can be?i don’t get it. where do you come up with these idiotic and asinine notions?you preach that there needs to be equality and parity, yet you place the blame solely on males. again, idiotic and asinine. i know plenty of asian females that won’t date an asian male b/c they feel that asian males will treat them like a typical asian female, but white males will not. then if you ask the white males those same girls date, they say they want the typical asian female. quite the conundrum, eh?otherwise, i agree that the media needs to portray us differently. but please, enough with the broad generalizations.

  12. Third, Asian men need to refrain from referring to womens’ ethnicities as flavors or likening women to food. Among other things.

  13. Well said. From my point of view, the thought thatAsian Female + White Male = Evil, Racist, Exoticization of Asian Womenbothers me the most because it makes it sound like Asian females belong to men (no matter what race) and overlooks the fact that Asian women get to choose who to be with.

  14. amen.
    and it’s not a matter of hating white folks, that’s just what they try and say because you’re telling the truth, like they’re the only race that should strive to be race blind, hello, it’s because they’re the freaking majority, they can afford that luxury, asshats, they can say racism doesn’t exist bc they don’t encounter it unless they are perpetuating it or trying to correct it.. racism is just an issue taht has too many fronts to fight on…

  15. Thank you for the post. It’s very rare for an Asian/Asian-American male to have the same opinion on this matter. I personally think that Asian guys aren’t attracted to me because I’m so Americanized that it turns them off. I’m also physically larger than my fellow Asian ladies who are typically in the size 0-4 range. I prefer white guys because they don’t mind as much that I’m the way I am. I have the freedom to be myself, and I think that’s the most important thing in any relationship.

  16. are asian and white the only options  for everyone here? i have dated men of all races: asian, black, latino, white–but they were all american. actually i think some of the most interesting couples i know are asian-black. but now i think i’ll move onto international. lol. mmm, brazilian? italian? south african? i’m going to thailand in a few weeks… but bottom line, it’s who the person is that matters to me, not the color of their skin. life is short, and it’s hard to meet the person you connect with, why limit yourself to 10% (or 20 or 30) of the population? differences create richness in a relationship, if you’re strong enough to go there.

  17. I’m an asian girl dating a white guy, and I find our relationship works the best for us when we both just think of the other as “someone I love,” not “my trophy boyfriend or girlfriend.”  If anything, I point out the race issue more because I’m more worried that my parents will have a hard time totally accepting him as a non-asian guy.  He’s never expressed that concern to me about his parents.

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