Why I don’t date White Boyz

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:

  1. “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.
  2. “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.
  3. “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.
  4. “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.
  5. “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

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10 Responses to Why I don’t date White Boyz

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  1. DK (@deekee420) August 27, 2013 at 1:49 am #

    It’s gotten to the point where Asian women are expected to only date white men and it’s weird or strange if women of any race are attracted to Asian men. SMH .. Asians really need an identity in America ..

    • Alison Roh Park (@alisonrohpark) August 27, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

      Thx for your commend DK…it is really something to think about–the Sonia Shah quotation is really what I feel defines Asian American, completely political in nature with just the poor excuse of phenotype to classify us, and often without a really framework to look at how class, gender and sexuality play out in this identity! Otherwise this “identity” is represented basically as a redux of the same ole stuff!

  2. Louis Armmand August 27, 2013 at 4:50 am #

    Alison:
    You have really struck a chord here. When a student at UC Berkeley, one of the few African Americans on campus in the mid 1960s, it really bothered me to see so many of the Asian girls with white guys, exclusively it seemed. I had been an organizer and attendee of the August 28, 1963 March on Washington, and was searching for a stronger political movement to join. I participated tangentially in the Free Speech Movement of October-December 1964, but didn’t trust the all white leadership of the FSM. So I begin to study Marx, Lenin, Che and Mao, and then I discovered Franz Fanon’s works and finally the light-bulb came on. We had all been living under the legacy of colonial/imperial slavery and oppression: intellectually, psychologically, and ideologically.

    From there I moved rapidly to help build a large-scale Bay Area political movement which completely radicalized, organized and trained many African American youth of the time in resistance to US imperialism.

    Most of us were under age 23 and relatively inexperienced in the necessaries of revolutionary struggle, so when Hoover’s Co-Intelpro came down on our cadre we were no match to the techniques of infiltration, agent-provocateurs, and assassination. Many comrades perished, were imprisoned or exiled. In short, our movement was broken, and all but destroyed. Yet it left a legacy of resistance that the African American people and all of our many allies, domestic and international, continue to cherish. In enabled us to recognize that the historic destiny of our people to the world struggle was to help push the time forward toward the revolutionary re-ordering of American society as a real “peoples democracy” in every sense of that phrase.

    As that day approaches, we all have a duty still to educate our youth of all ethnic backgrounds to the real class nature of US society and the role racialism serves to divide and conquer al of us in the “99%” whether we realize it or not.

    Today, we have so many ideological and intellectual tools with which to fight back: Start with Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the U.S.,” Walter Rodney’s “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,” then Franz Fanon’s “The Wretched of the Earth.” After these jewels have been thoroughly digressed you will be fully prepared to absorb other works designed to build your social and political arsenals for the future.

  3. SJC August 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    interesting article. thanks. but there are so many east asian women in the west who are paired up with white men, that im wondering if the author of this piece might be in the minority (its something im seeing more of with south asian women too actually, in london at least). but definitely, the casual racism against asians/asian women in songs by artists as big as drake and kanye is something that leaves a sour taste in my mouth – it makes it seem like its ‘ok’. im going to try and find the sonia shah article you mention.

    • Alison Roh Park (@alisonrohpark) August 30, 2013 at 3:34 am #

      Hi SJC. I sometimes feel like I am in the minority here, and there are some specific reasons for which the white male-asian female pairing is so common (though not the majority), visible, and even promoted. I was going to go into the colonial logics here, and the history of military prostitution and sex tourism in “the East”, war brides etc but didn’t have room (I’m longwinded sometimes as it is)! Shah is great, anything on racial triangulation might be interesting, and if you can get your hands on it, the documentary Slaying the Dragon (the original from the 80s) is great. And the pervasiveness of exotification/subjugation of Asian women in the western masculine imagination is just awful. Thx for your comment!

  4. SJC August 28, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    also, i think songs like that/movies like hangover 2 are as much about dehumanising the asian male as they are fetishising asian women.

  5. JunJun August 28, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    My friends and I used to share stories about going on dates or in my case, meeting white guys and one of the first questions we always asked was, “So… what’s your type?” More often than not we’ve heard, “I’ve only dated Asian women/men” and they never understand how gross that is. I’ve even been solicited to be “kept” on a dating website. I’ve never dated a white guy and never plan to.

  6. Tricia August 29, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    This is interesting. I, along with many other black people, were under the assumption that Asian women worshipped white guys! In South Korea and China, attractive young women drool over ugly, old white men and are proud to be seen on their arm. AS a black female, I have been on Asia Friend Finder and specified I wanted to meet Asian friends. Usually, some unattractive white guy will message me saying how much he loves my photo and can I IM him. His profile states he’s looking for: ” a petite, Asian female who loves to be spoiled”, or some nonsense like that.

    When I tell him I only want to meet Asians, he gets offended as if I should be grateful he’s interested! lol Such is the myth that all people of color desire them.

  7. fabulosity August 30, 2013 at 4:08 am #

    I completely feel you on this. I’m a gay Asian and oh dear God, the shit I put up with. It’s why I don’t go out to bars anymore. Imagine getting those types of comments in PERSON. If I put up a gay version of that, I will let you know. Hahaha.

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