February 13, 2008

So what do your parents think about the White Guy?

This is reposted from my blog at The Fighting 44s. It's similar to my last entry.

Props to “uRB4N” on his post:


Russell Peters was doing a comedy show here last week and he noticed an Asian woman and man in the front row. If you’ve ever been to a comedy show, you know better than to sit in the front. Anyway, he asked this Asian guy his name and he made the usual racial joke that his real name must sound like a kungfu move. He asked them if they were together. He said no and that they were just coworkers. He asks him if he’s single and he responds yes. He turns to the Asian woman and asks if she’s single. She responds no.

Without hesitation, he then asks how her parents feel about her dating a white guy. The whole audience was just laughing their asses off. She didn’t do anything except look down. He did manage to stick up for Asian guys though. He said that at least he knows why Indian women might flee Indian men because of arranged marriages but he also joked about body odor and being boring engineers but he actually said that there was no real reason for Asian men to get the shaft.

I was laughing like crazy when I read Russell Peter’s joke. It’s soo true, and it’s refreshing to see someone of non-Asian (or maybe non-East Asian) descent acknowledge our experiences. Especially in a place like NYC, an Asian woman dating or marrying anything other than a white guy is an anomaly. According to John Tierney in his New York Times blog page, an Asian man on average needs to make $24,000 more money than a white man in order to be viewed as equally attractive to Asian women. How is the average Asian American male expected to compete with such a strong race preference? ($24k is half the average income in the U.S. for non-Hispanic Whites.) Dialectic and xian have both blogged about this issue, and I agree with them on their important commonality; it’s an issue that cannot be ignored given the significance of the trend in the Asian American community. I understand that the interracial dating issue comes up often in the black community, but in the Asian American community, I would argue that it probably is the most significant issue.

I think it’s great that Russell Peters is blowing the silence on the issues that affect Asian American men. Oftentimes, society with its emphasis on masculinity intimidates us into remaining silent. It’s mostly the Kingstonian feminists who are responsible for this. Go to any university with a sizable Asian population, and you can hear them speaking.

“Asian women are making choices. After years of sexism and Asian chauvanism, what did you expect?”

“Oh, if you have trouble with women, maybe it’s because of you personally!”

“Don’t question my white boyfriend; you don’t own our sexuality!”

“Well, Asian American men just have to learn to step up! I don’t see white guys having a problem stepping up.”

“Racism? I’m race-blind. And so is my white boyfriend!”

It’s time for us to take control over our culture by talking about issues that really affect us. Model minority? Yes, that affects us somewhat. Job discrimination? That too. Racial violence? Yes. But nothing affects Asian Americans quite like the Eurocentric racial preference in dating. It affects us through alienation and misunderstanding. It causes a societal loss of spirit, a zeitgeist of hopelessness that permeates everything that we do. Between Asian men and women, it has caused countless misunderstandings and mischaracterizations, even in interactions that are not sexual in nature.

Those Amy Tan types are correct–it’s a personal preference, and no one should dictate what race a person should or shouldn’t marry. I don’t own their sexuality, and if a person just loves the White race, it’s not up to me or anyone else to condemn that preference. But their right to express a racial preference shouldn’t affect my right to question why that preference exists in such large numbers according to so predictable a trend, nor should it affect my right to discuss the way in which their racial preference affects me or millions of Asian men around the world.

The time for silence is over. We need dialogue.

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