Single White Female Syndrome.
It is always such a surreal experience when I find myself noticing the degree to which Asian cultures are adored in the West. If I turn on my television and watch an action movie I'm likely to see a white hero kicking the crap out of someone by utilizing Asian martial arts techniques. Some American action films have been influenced by the styles of Asian martial arts movie makers. Many restaurants in our hippest cities will be serving nouveau cuisine with a distinctly Asian influence. Plus there are minor yet pervasive Asian cultural traits and practices that have become integrated into western culture; karaoke, use of chopsticks, Asian fashions, Japanese innovations in comfortable and user friendly car interiors, and interior home designs are but a few.
Quite possibly the most important Asian influences in modern western cultures are Eastern religious practices and their accompanying terminologies which have become increasingly integrated into American spiritual practice. It has become commonplace to hear people talk about karma where they used to talk about punishment of sin, and reincarnation where they used to talk about being saved. Eastern style meditation and spiritual growth through self-realization are concepts that are profoundly integrated into the popular mentality. In fact, such is the appeal of Eastern spirituality that the Dalai Lama is one of the few Asian men (perhaps the only Asian man) in America that white people will watch and listen to without striving to replace him with a whitewashed version - although I hear that there may be plans afoot to make a movie about him with Zac Efron in the lead role.
Of course, the irony is that despite this adoration of "Asiatica" the actual Asians themselves remain somewhat in the cultural margins. This appropriation of Asian culture goes hand-in-hand with the restrictions placed upon postive images of Asian men, many of whom notice this bizarre state of affairs and liken it to not getting an invitation to their own party.
It's cool to be Asian - except when you actually are Asian.