Are you alarmed? I won’t be offended if you are. Many White Boyz have been alarmed by this, for instance on Craigslist where once upon a time I sometimes looked for dates. “You’re a reverse racist!” “White guys can’t catch a break!” If you aren’t alarmed, it’s possible that you are an Asian woman who has visited the Internet during the last 2 decades. Maybe you, like me and the creator of Creepy White Guys, have been messaged by this guy on OK Cupid (yes, he copies and pastes this message to many lucky Asian ladies):
Or maybe you’re into really terrible music and watched the music video called “Asian Girlz” by Day Above Ground. My absolute favorite lines, as hard as it is to choose, are: Butt fucking all night/Korean barbecue/Bitch I love you/I love your creamy yellow thighs/Ooh your slanted eyes/It’s the Year of the Dragon/Ninja pussy I’m stabbin’. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Year of the Dragon (not so much the racist movie with Mickey Rourke from the 1980s, but the actual lunar calendar year). I also love Korean barbecue, although it doesn’t usually come to mind while some flabby, tatted-up White guy with appropriative tribal plugs in a ninja costume is romancing me, i.e. calls me a bitch and “stabs” my privates.
My choice (and note that I never say never, there may be a very special White Boy for me out there going through some anti-white supremacy, anti-heteropatriarchy, class-conscious, feminist reconditioning program) is not a judgment of any other woman’s choice (which would be ridiculously anti-woman, by the way), but few can deny that some of the most comprehensive political, historic, racial and social convergences occur at the sites of dating, love and intimacy, sex and sexual desire. The personal is political, and though I shouldn’t have to bear the burden of representation (e.g. like Day Above Ground didn’t have to worry about backlash from members of the White race in the way Levy Tran and the sad Indonesian guy did after Asian Girlz) I am intensely aware of and made uncomfortable by the historical and contemporary context of interpersonal relationships between Asian women and White men. Here’s a contextual list, borrowing in part from Day Above Ground’s brilliant and complex lyrics:
- “Bitch I love you.” It’s hard enough dating men. Period. We live in a white supremacist patriarchy if you haven’t noticed. I’ve been cheated on, lied to, and disrespected by men of color plenty, but I’m still holding onto the belief that collective, shared experiences can play a role in humanizing love.
- “Happy endings all over…Tofu/All over you all over me.” I don’t know how to participate in “normal” couples behavior, i.e. massage, cooking, eating, without these lyrics repeating over and over again in my head.
- “Oh, tradition, tradition, tradition, yeah yeah.” And? Everyone has traditions. For instance, Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, birthday cake, missionary style, driving on the right side of the road, the Gregorian calendar. In a racial context that doesn’t fit in the Eurocentric imagination as normal, basically everything that is non-white, becomes exotic, alien, “alternative” and other, with no room to expose the racial and cultural hierarchy that deems them as such.
- “Come on sit on my lap (right here baby). Or we’ll send you back.” Um, no thank you, gross colonizer. I think Sonia Shah says it best: “It is about understanding the global, driving forces that shape Asian America–imperialism, military interventions, trade, resource extraction, environmental degradation, forced and voluntary immigrations. These are the international forces that have created an Asian America.”* If you understand all this, maybe I will consider sitting on your lap, or at least let you sit on mine.
- “Fa ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra.” Essentially, this fifth point is meant to capture topics I will be reflecting on in future posts. I mean, there are so many. These are some things I jotted down some notes while (trying to) listen to “Asian Girlz”: rape and sexual violence; Orientalism and essentialism; militarized prostitution/war brides; yellow peril. You’re really in for a treat.
In closing, I really do want to thank Day Above Ground. Now when I Google “Asian girls”, some of the top hits are something other than porn or dating sites. Score.
*2003, Sonia Shah, Race and Representation: Asian Americans. In M. Evelina Galang, editor. Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images. Minneapolis, MN: Coffee House Press