Friday, October 5, 2018

Racism With Benefits.....

Chloe Bennet And Logan Paul.

Recent revelations that one of Asian-America's high-profile critics of Hollywood anti-Asian racism is in a relationship with a media figure whose work has been criticized for its anti-Asian racist content have come as no surprise to me. It's hard to ever be surprised by Asian-American progressive ludicrousness. Of course, I'm talking about Chloe Bennet and her dreamy, blonde bombshell beau, Logan Paul.

Having gained some publicity for decrying anti-Asian racism in Hollywood, it came as a bolt from the blue when Bennet rekindled her relationship with Paul, whose YouTube content has been criticized for being racially insensitive, and, sometimes outright racist, towards Asians. There is some mystery around why Bennet would date someone whose work exemplifies the kind of casual media depictions of Asians that propagate popular racist stereotypes which contribute to the limited scope of Asian roles and representation that she has publicly decried. When people inquired - via Twitter - why she was dating Paul, Bennet's response was......
“Cause he’s kind, creative, funny, vibrantly curious about life, weird as fuck in all the best ways, a big dork, and he’s one of my best friends. It doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, but it doesn’t have too. He’s changed my life for the better and I’ve done the same for him.”
....also known as...."he's dreamy!!"

If only the purveyors of racist content looked more like Hitler and less like Hitler's Ubermensch. That being said, the way things seems to be heading, I'm not entirely sure some Asian women would not be able to find the good qualities in a Hitler look/act-alike and date him anyway. Maybe the phenomenon is an Asian feminist version of the Christian sentiment of "hating the sin, NOT the sinner!" in which Bennet hates the racism but not the racist, although I haven't seen much evidence of Bennet actually hating on the racism.

All of this aside, Bennet's dating choice brings to the fore the decades-old Asian-American gender conflict - specifically the matter of disparate high out-marriage/dating rates of Asian-American women, and how that plays into gender-specific anti-Asian racism in America.

In previous posts I have illustrated the gender-specific nature of anti-Asian racism in America, highlighting the unique place of privilege that Asian women seem to have been given in white society. History tells us that even as US immigration laws severely restricted - to a mere handful - general Asian migration into the country, tens of thousands of Asian women were allowed to by-pass these restrictions by virtue of being "war brides" of, largely, white G.Is. During the early part of the 20th Century, white women who married Asian men were forced to forego their citizenship status whilst white men who married Asian women were not similarly disenfranchised.

During the internment of the Japanese during WWII, white women with Japanese spouses were forced to enter the camps with their husbands or be separated from their children and face the break-up of their families. Japanese women with white husbands were not required to leave their homes, or families and were permitted to remain outside the camps. Finally, famed African-American activist for the repeal of anti-miscegenation laws, Mildred Loving, was dragged from her bed by the Virginia police  in the middle of the night and jailed because she broke the law by being married to a white man. Yet, Asian war-brides in Virginia were free to live openly with their white husbands.

As these examples suggest, Asian women have been afforded a unique place of racial privilege throughout Asian-America's history. The magnitude of this privileging is such that we could reasonably say that they had been afforded their own racial category separate from, and above, other Asians and minorities. Laws and racist social norms had been put aside to permit the existence of this privileged racial position in which your race is basically altered to circumvent racial restrictions. That is, as long as you are partnered with a white man.

Like these many thousands of white-partnered Asian women before her, Chloe Bennet has the opportunity to ignore racialization and racism by partnering with a purveyor of it. Even her own stated principles of decrying media racism that limits roles for Asian actors seem to have gone out the window since she is dating someone who propagates the very popular racist stereotypes that the media wants to disseminate.

This is why the gendered racism that characterizes the Asian-Americans experience needs to be at the centre of our dialogue on race. This unique racial category afforded to Asian women precludes any attempts to forge an Asian-American political identity since it seems impossible to do so when large segments of your community choose partners who promote, or who are sympathetic to racist Asian stereotypes. Some of these women are even open about their own racist attitudes towards Asian men and seem to view us as a different species, let alone a different race.

Interestingly, Logan Paul's racist content seems to mainly target Asian men which may be why Chloe Bennet is able to be more forgiving of it. Regardless, Bennet's dating choice is merely more evidence of the chasm in racial identity between Asian men and women, but also of the privileged status enjoyed by Asian women who seem to see no conflict between the racist beliefs of their white male partners and their own racial minority status.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I feel the "honorary White" label belongs to Asian women only, not men.