Friday, November 9, 2012

Another One Bites The Dust

Asian Girl Boasts About Her Own Stupidity - Receives Cyber-Beatdown.

Several weeks ago, another Asian woman stepped up to provide more evidence that despite having high college graduation rates and a forbidding reputation for educational attainment, intra-community-stupidity remains one of the biggest obstacles to Asian-American flourishing.

In an article published in an online mag called XOJane, agent provocateur hopeful and latest outspoken useful idiot, Jennifer An, wrote a flighty confession on how her racism determines her choices in the world of dating and love. In short, she relates how she simply not only doesn't date Asian men, but will only date white men, and all because she is a racist. Better still, not only is she a racist, she's happy to be that way, so there! Unfortunately for An, being so casual about anti-Asian racism is a big no-no in America's "pretend it doesn't exist" consciousness. The negative reactions to her article from non-Asians, in particular, highlights the degree to which An, and other Asian women like her, over-estimate the value of their perennially childish contributions to the society they hope to ingratiate themselves into.

Despite this, it has to be acknowledged that the issue of race has many facets and nuances. So while it is true, in my opinion, that social and cultural conditioning create a default mainstream position that is hostile and suspicious of Asians, I also maintain that there are some who might be willing to look beyond the the pervasive anti-Asian attitudes, recognize it for what it is, and reject it. This is only one part of a larger race dialogue within American society that seems to be trying to negotiate the meaning of the American identity and how the multi-racial and multi-ethnic character of 21st Century America has or will alter that identity. In this light, this might be why An's piece (and its back-pedaling follow-up) elicited negative reactions from so many non-Asians. The nature of the opinions of An (and many other Asian women) opt to drag the conceptualization of this complex dialogue down to a high-school level and trivialize a subject which is a major issue for many people - of every race - and who are genuinely working to find resolution.

In other words, An's post is stupid and just as I alluded to here, the trend of young, well-educated, career-oriented, Asian-American women, who view their dating choices as some kind of grandiose activism and inflate its social, cultural, and political relevance is actually exposing itself as the work of attention-seekers who have no substantial insight to offer the race question - or even the interracial relationship question. No wonder white-male-run-mainstream-media loves to give these girls a platform to express their pointless opinions - it diverts the attention away from meaningful dialogue that recognizes the unfairly maintained power share that white males enjoy. Nice one.

Even though I'm disinterested in the combative character of the typical dialogue of Asian-American out-marriage and dating rates, there are aspects to the subject that are pertinent to the Asian-American experience. The first point of relevance is that Asian "IR" rates are often put forward as an indicator of decreasing anti-Asian racism. As I wrote here even academic studies cannot hide the fact that interracial marriage indicates an uneven softening of anti-Asian attitudes along gender lines with seemingly more willingness to integrate Asian women than men. Clearly, in the case of Asian-Americans, interracial relationships are a poor indicator of a general decrease in racism towards Asians. In the unintentional manner of an idiot savant, An's piece actually shows this to be true with some Asian women adopting - rather than changing - negative attitudes towards Asians as part of the integration process.

The second point of relevance is that interracial relationships between Asian women and white men have become (because of, and evidenced by, articles like An's) the central theme of the Asian-American dialogue - it even occupies the central theme of many (possibly most) mainstream depictions of Asian-Americans. What this means is that the predominant Asian-American story has become a story of white men and their Asian partners - diminishing or excluding all other narratives in the process. This is something verging on a moral issue since issues such as endemic racially biased physical and psychological abuse of Asian children in America's schools receives considerably less media attention than the problem requires even as the frequency of media coverage of Asian women's dating choices increases.

The third point is that the many articles written by Asian women on the subject display a remarkable childish self-absorption that is embarrassing at best and just plain creepy at worst. This phenomenon is bad for Asian people in general but it is especially dis-empowering for Asian women. One of the justifications for racist thinking in America and Europe's history has been that people of colour are childlike in their emotions and their intellectual capacity. Thus, because people of colour are unable to manage their own affairs it justified colonization, stealing of land and resources, and worst of all it justified slavery and indentured servitude and ultimately the second-class citizen status of non-white peoples - even in their own countries. Asian women who through this kind of flighty affect, and dizzy thinking, are simply prolonging the demeaning role outlined for them by white chauvinism. And these girls don't even have the excuse of being poorly educated.

Perhaps even more interestingly is that for many Asian-American women, like An, it seems that dating white men informs a significant aspect of their identities without which their sense of "American-ness" might be diminished. Furthermore, the basis for their sense of belonging in mainstream American culture hinges largely on their relationship to white men. This means that for some Asian-Americans (and it is not only the women), being American means absorption into white culture and unconscientious adoption of it sensibilities without questioning or challenging any prejudices that may underlie it. It also means that for some Asian-Americans what they have to say is meaningless without a white presence in the narrative.

Of course, it comes down to a conflict between the historical perspectives that inform cultural endeavour. Since historical experience forms the basis for culture, the fact that Asian and Asian-American history is written and owned by Western perspectives that are fundamentally hostile and disdainful of Asia (and often driven by racial chauvinism), any Asian-American culture is suppressed almost by definition because the history that should give rise to it is skewed. To express an accurate Asian perspective will necessarily be a source of conflict which is why is easier to adopt mainstream prejudices at the expense of an original or oppositional perspective.

This is the underlying reality of articles like An's. Instead of rising to the challenge of thinking for oneself, the authors choose a parasitic approach that is neither original, nor insightful, but instead upholds the status-quo of prejudicial thinking.


  1. Great breakdown, your work is appreciated.

  2. Great article. Hit it on the head again.

    I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this, but I got an idea that may help resolve this issue - To those that are able to communicate in Chinese or other Asian language, please consider giving light to the issues of the emasculation of asian men in the western media by insecure Hollywood directors in a popular Chinese forum.

    The more people there knows about this issue (especially with the large Asian market), the better it is for us in the long run.

    1. Yeah, it surprises (and disappoints) me that Asian audiences and production companies seem to be also buying in to the white hero/Asian male villain theme.

      I'm not sure what it would take to change this - I do think that there is already a degree of awareness in some Asian countries about anti-Asian racism in America, but I think that it is difficult for anyone looking in from the outside to really understand the racial dynamics of American society.

      What I noticed tends to happen - from Asian commentors on ex-pat blogs in particular - is that Asians in Asia buy into the black/white dichotomy of race dialogue without realizing that there is no distinct line between who has racist power over whom. Anti-Asian racism is a specific phenomenon with its own history and foundation that is separate from anti-black racism - yet we always seem to trying to jimmy our experience into the black/white dichotomy. That's one reason for the prevalence of anti-Asian racism today.

  3. Hey Ben, long time. I have a question though. How do white women feel about the Asian fetish? Are they tired of reading about AW/WM couples as well? Do they feel "threatened" or disgusted by it? How do they look at guys who have mail-order brides? I'm sure most of them don't care, but I'm sure some *real* feminists (and not white Kingstonians) see that there's something eerie about this whole fiasco is about.

    1. Hey Tommy, what's up! I think that white women have plenty of choices so there may not be an issue for them. Asian guys have to realize that they also have plenty of choices when it comes to dating - don't believe the hype!

      Asian guys have to stop talking about Asian women as though that is the only choice they have without which they're screwed. It is not true, and it empowers useful idiots like Jennifer An.

      For me, the IR phenomenon is only worth talking about because it does not indicate positive attitudes towards Asians as many people want to insist.

      at the same time, if you look at some of the comments from what seems to be white women on An's follow-up article you will notice that there is a "roll-your-eyes impatience about them. I think this means that people are starting to realize that some Asian women - like An, apparently - are only empowered because they are only dating the demographic that has most of the power and influence in society - white men.