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Degrading Asian stereotypes ruin dating, must be forgotten

By John Shim

Oct. 16, 2002 9:00 p.m.

America is rapidly abolishing many ethnic and racial limitations
that once pervaded our society. For example, golf, once a sport
enjoyed only by white men, is now dominated by Tiger Woods. On the
other end of the spectrum, the once predominantly black arena of
hip-hop is at present extolling the works of Eminem, a white kid
out of Detroit.

Yet, in all of this ethnic groundbreaking and interracial group
hugging, I’ve discovered a rather alarming exclusion. In the
field of interracial dating, Asian males consistently get the short
end of the stick or receive the largest proportion of the
rhetorical shaft.

I feel cheated out of a myriad of romantic experiences that
could have been brought to fruition were I not an Asian male.

Mine is not the ranting of a self-absorbed and embittered loner
(although I have had a great deal of familiarity with these
things). Nor am I a cultural sell-out by any means. I appreciate my
ethnic heritage and the culture I was raised in. However, I cannot
help but lament the poor condition the Asian American male faces in
the game of love.

I liken the situation of Asian males in the interracial dating
scene to the bracket system of the GRE. If you answer the first
easy question of a section correctly, you get bumped up to a higher
group with questions that are more difficult but worth more points.
Conversely, answering the first question wrong will shift you to a
lower bracket where the questions are easier, but alas are worth
less points. 

Being an Asian male is like answering the first five questions
on the GRE incorrectly; you’re not totally screwed, but you
have a lot of ground to make up.

Unlike some of my black friends, who explained they
have to downplay the stereotype of the hypersexual black male,
Asian guys have an exact opposite, but no less burdensome cross to
bear: the label of “un-manly” most frequently
prescribed through the slur of penile abbreviation.

The reason behind this is that historically Asians have been
invisible in American media, with a few stereotypical exceptions.
As a whole, Asian males have either been portrayed as overbearing,
or more frequently the opposite: effeminate and obsequious to white
(and therefore better) men. Asian females, on the other hand, have
been depicted as servile and ready to please. Sometimes they are
given an image of exotic and dangerous sensuality, a sort of
“Dragon Lady” aura.

I cannot begin to explain how dehumanizing these stereotypes
are, but nevertheless they exist in abundance. And males of other
ethnicities gulp those myths up, just as the females swallow
without question the falsehood of Asian males being subservient and
inferior to Occidental men. 

And do you know what infuriates me the most? It’s bad
enough that my attempts to extend my romances outside of my race
are thoroughly ridiculed. But to top that, many (no doubt), will
attribute these failures to my lack of aesthetics, finances and
penile length.

What I find is women from other ethnicities are not into my
style, but to my great dismay, women who come from the same
continent as me are being snatched up left and right by men who
aren’t Asian. How unfair is that? A minimum of fair play
would dictate that if I’m hampered by the media and society
in pursuing an interracial relationship, I should at least be able
to pursue Asian women.

I am not advocating a whole-scale commodification of Asian
females, as if they are “mine” to divvy up and allocate
along racial borders. I simply offer this argument to highlight the
sheer absurdity of the situation.

I subscribe to you, reader, the notion of dating without the
influence of the media or society. Most Asian women are not the
servile, sexual objects the media makes them out to be, just as an
astounding majority of Asian males are also not accurately
portrayed. Yet, many people ““ Asian and otherwise ““
stubbornly adhere to these views.

You should date regardless of color, but do so because
you’re truly attracted to a person’s individual
characteristics. Don’t actively seek a person’s company
because you feel that “her kind” is bred to serve you,
just as you should not disregard someone because the media says
that his penis is small (figure that one out on your own).

And from whatever branch of the world you come, if you come
across a girl who likes long walks on the beach, sassy repartee and
indulging in an occasional game of Tekken Tag Tournament, please
note the above e-mail and introduce me.

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John Shim
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