Interspecies, I mean interracial, dating/sex/love seems to be the subject that has raised the most interest among Hyphen’s blog readers – 120 comments since July '05 and counting. The membership of the Bitter Asian Men Club (BAMC) seems to be growing by leaps and bounds as well.
By all indications, it may not cease to be an issue that has warranted such ferocious debates today even when the majority of Western Europe, North America, Australia – heck the rest of the world, for that matter, will be either Mexicans or Chinese because there is a certain amount of self-fulfilling prophecy involved on the part of the BAMC’s members.
While I empathize with and understand the sentiments expressed by the “imagined” and actually rejected Asian men out there, partisans in this debate tend to resort to tired clichés and stereotypes and, at times, down-right absurd responses in reaction to the question about their preference/choice of sex/love mates.
I always wonder what would have happened if Western Europe had not gone on a rampage in the name of Christianity. What would have happened if the conquistadors had been women? Like all forms of warfare, and just a matter of variation, men in conquest plunder the village of the defeated, destroy their culture, rape their women, humiliate and emasculate (castrate!) the men, literally and figuratively.
For those of us born, raised and schooled in North America and Western Europe, being captives of history borne out of the West’s successive religious crusades, conquests and colonization, our minds can’t seem to be able to look at sex and love simply a matter of the heart…and the proper usage of the tools. Together with an open mind, of course.
When I got off the boat in the San Francisco Bay in the early 1980s, somehow I did not get the memo that Asian men were not desirable. I always thought that I had the same equipment as other men, granted that there might be variations. Like other tasks and chores, practice makes perfect.
I was further boosted by the fact that I now had more choices. Had I remained in Vietnam, my choices for sex and love would have been quite limited. I figured, if I cast my net wide, the odds would be better: Asian women, 20%, white women, 20%, Latino women, 20%, Black women, 20%, Mestiso/Mixed-race women another 20%. Had I included the gay and bi category in this equation, my odds of getting some would have been even better.
Co-incidentally (don’t know which part of my brain that triggered it) I soon fell under the spell of punk and alt-rock music. In smoke-filled, ear-shattering, dark dungeons (these venues somehow tended to locate in the basement!) that were the punk music nightclubs, it was not all difficult to hook up, even for an FOB with a poor command of English. In this atmosphere, it did not take much for me to communicate what I wanted: Can I buy you a drink? Do you want to leave now? Let’s go somewhere. And with the hairdos, the clothes, not to mention the garish make-up, I did not look so bad among the punksters.
The subsequent conversations with these women now had been facilitated by some good loving the night before. They became much easier. Besides, we had punk music and our social/political beliefs to talk about.
However, it wasn’t long before the Yellow Peril-Hop Sing-Kato-Dr. Fu Manchu-Bruce Lee-The Green Berets-The Deer Hunter-Apocalypse Now virus entered my blood stream and began to play tricks with my otherwise fully-empowered Asian-born mind. As I became more “American,” I learned that the “White Men” had discovered literally everything, from the Yeti to the G-Spot. They have written books on which fork, among four on the table, to use when you take a woman out to a fancy restaurant on the first date. I also discovered that growing up without Hollywood and Madison Avenue, America’s brain trust and repositories of social code of conduct, moral values, tastes and aesthetics, I had been going about life all wrong. I now have to unlearn my backward oriental ways.
About the same time, December 2, 1990 to be exact, a reporter named Joan Walsh, whom I believe is now Salon’s editor-in-chief, wrote the 5,370-word article feature in the Sunday Magazine of then-real-newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner called “Asian Women, Caucasian Men.” The piece dealt with then-exploding interracial dating phenomena on the UC Berkeley campus that gave birth to the Bitter Asian Men Club. (ModelMinority.com somehow managed to keep it here in its archives).
The Asian men in this piece, and many that I have read since, didn’t come out looking so good themselves either. It seemed, like then and now, some members of BAMC are obsessed with being rejected by Asian women and that their only recourse is white women, knowing full well that they are not wanted here either.
I was aware of the prostitution industry that was an integral part of the American military adventures in Asia and that many of the soldiers ended up marrying former prostitutes, and even brought them home to moms and dads. But things like “Asian women fetish,” or white men “like rice” instead of “white bread” were a bit much for me. I understand that if one eats chicken for a while, a big slab of beef looks rather tempting. That’s OK. But not because there is something WRONG with the chicken.
Furthermore, I found the notion that some Asian women choose white men because Asian men remind them of their cousin/uncle/father/brother was rather absurd. You think white women say the same thing about white men?
“Mary Jo, honestly, I don’t think I want to go out with Billy Bob. He reminds me of my brother Jethro. His idea of fun is to watch NASCAR every weekend, except for his old high school’s football games. He chews tobacco & spits in the corner. And, boy, how much I hate it when he crushes those beer cans against his forehead.”
If the lackluster manhood on the part of the Asian men is in question, look at the rest of the country. Look at the domestic violence and date rape statistics and the perps that get picked up for the misdeeds. The majority of them don’t look Asian to me. Look at the social values shared by the majority of Americans (read: white), they don’t look all that enlightened to me. (Since we are talking about the mixing of the races in North America, Australia and Western Europe, so please leave the Asians in Asia and their problems out of the debate).
It all boils down to the fact that our minds have been poisoned by histories borne out of conquests. Contemporary liberal ideals about love and sex have been manufactured and maintained by the ruling elites where most of us are not even welcome to join their club. Read all the books about love and sex, watch all the videos and DVDs for the best pick-up lines, it still cannot beat practice. Rejection is part of the deal. My dad loved to say this: If you step on a pile of poop, wash your feet and keep on walking. You don’t cut them off.
Sonny Le is a San Francisco Bay-based communications consultant and an occasional pontificator who has the complete collection of John Hughes' 80's teen-comedy classics and Porky's I, II and III. He is also a Hyphen advisory board member.
He recommends the following books for your further edification: Jack Rutherford’s Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Harry Frankfurt’s On Bullshit, Karen Armstrong’s Islam: A Short History, The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions and many other fine titles. Or, "If books are too much, go to Wikipedia.com and type in 'Dark Ages,' 'The Age of Enlightenment' or 'Renaissance Period.' Learn about the histories of the British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company. Better yet, read a few history books not written by dead, or living, white people.”