Dear Candace, Is it Racist to Prefer Asian Women?
Why are dudes who are into Asian women considered racist? How is it different than when someone prefers blondes? It’s not that big a deal.
Let’s begin by noting that it always, always, sucks to be called out for your physical attributes alone, even in admiration. This is, for instance, the basis for why catcalling isn’t cute, complimentary, or welcome by most women. It’s a fairly unpleasant feeling to realize someone is talking to you because of an out-facing characteristic, whether you’re blond or Asian or tattooed or wearing those goddamned hipster glasses. Yes, I realize this is how attraction begins. No, I don’t think that makes it ok. Yes, this applies to Asian girls who only date white guys.
That being said, blonde people weren’t placed into Internment camps. Oh, did that just get too real? Sorry not sorry.
This is a question I seem to find myself answering on a near weekly basis and the question I have for you is: how else can you see this but as a racial problem? If this were solely about physical traits, ie dark hair, light skin, almond shaped eyes, you could find evidence of people who look like that all over the world from Puerto Rico to Egypt to Namibia to fucking South Dakota that have no trace of East Asian ancestry. If it’s not about physical traits but about cultural appreciation, well shit son…keep watching your Bruce Lee movies and comparing the “most authentic” ramen places. But stop chasing women to give yourself some kind of unmerited clout. They aren’t little Japanese monsters you can trap in a red and white ball. You don’t need to catch ‘em all.
Furthermore, the cultural problem is rather insidious when you consider that the stereotype of an Asian woman is that of a physically small, quiet and relentlessly cheerful cartoon character with a high pitched voice whose only passion is instagraming pastries. Yes, she exists. That’s how stereotypes are perpetrated. But stereotypes have no place in reality and they often stem from histories that are at best uncomfortable and at worst heinous. Here’s MTV’s Franchesca Ramsey explaining it in cohesive video form:
You can tell that there’s a racial issue at stake by the questions and statements posed to Asian women at large and at great variety/consistency. I once dated a man for 2 months before he said to me: “you know, you’re the first Asian girl I’ve ever dated”. What was I supposed to do with that? Thank him and feel grateful? Laugh and feel special? Wonder at how a 28 year old man in the Bay Area went that long without an Oriental goddess in his life? Between the unwarranted questions like “do you really eat egg rolls in China” or “did you watch a lot of anime growing up” or self-satisfying conversation starts like “I backpacked around Asia for two weeks” or “I’m really thinking about learning kanji”, I’m pretty sick of having my race thrown into my face (no matter how kindly meant) when I’m just trying to get some whiskey, dude. Here’s another video to show you how ridiculous this behavior is:
Lastly, for those of you who think we (yes, I am now speaking for the literal billions of Asian women in the world) exaggerate the problem, perhaps you could learn from current events and stop trivializing the problems of people living perspectives that you are not. Trust the experiences of someone who spends day in and day out seeing, hearing, and feeling his or her or their own lives. It falls on all of us to respect people and not concepts. And no, I do not care about your black belt in Tai Kwon Do.
For more educational but entertaining perspectives, I urge you to read Kim Wong-Keltner’s The Dim Sum of All Things or cry forever while watching The Joy Luck Club. Ali Wong’s special on Netflix, Baby Cobra, is also a delight.
“Dear Candace” is a weekly advice column about people: meeting people, talking to people, dating people, working with people, pretending to be people, etc. If you have a people problem you’d like Candace to help you solve, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Broke-Ass Stuart’s tumblr to “ask me anything”. Disclaimer: Candace is mostly just a know-it-all.