On Interracial Dating – The Asian Panel (3 of 3)

Gimme Sugar

Welcome back to the Asian panel on Interracial Dating. Our panelists are:

N’Jaila Rhee, the mastermind behind BlaysianBytch.com (link NSFW); Elton, long time commenter and friend of the blog; refresh_daemon, blogger and occasional contributor; Christina Xu, friend of the blog and occasional contributor; Eric Zhang, occasional contributor; and Holly, contributor at Feministe.

Asian American dating can be equally contentious as black dating – so why the total silence in mainstream media outlets?
N’jaila: Its a simple and inconvenient truth, many non Asian Americans don’t see Asians as American as they are. People think we don’t matter and our opinions and issues don’t matter in “the mainstream”.

refresh_daemon: Agreed. Plus, as far as population goes, Asian Americans are smaller and consequently less visible overall. Furthermore, I think Asian Americans even now tend to be less vocal and prominent in mainstream media, so it really has to do with our general lack of presence, combined with the perpetual foreigner concept that gets attached to us.

N’jaila: I also know a lot of Asian Americans that see themselves as “White Minorities” who don’t need to be counted outside of the White mainstream. I think these people are insane.

Elton: I agree. But when institutions treat Asians as practically white, and downplay the fact that Asians experience racism, what do you expect? Especially in higher education, there is an invisible asterisk beside “minority” or “diversity” that says *actually we mean non-Asian minorities, and our definition of diversity is “fewer Asians.”

Eric: I specifically remember the moment on Tyra when a gay interracial Asian-white couple made an appearance.

About halfway through the clip, a gay Asian man in the audience and confronts the Asian man on stage. His speech mirrors many discussions I have heard about “self-hating” Asian women, and in particular the debate around eye widening. Growing up, I had always been aware of the epicanthic fold and “double eyelids,” but it had never registered to me as a beauty standard until high school when I met Asian girls who wore eyelid tape.

Seeing this discussion on a national television show was pretty groundbreaking to me, even if I first watched it with a bit of contempt considering the kinds of melodrama that gets milked – not just on Tyra – but on daytime talk shows in general. And I think bringing these kinds of questions – about self-hate and about racism in the gay community – to a national audience is a pretty bold move for groups of people who already receive very little recognition in the mainstream (gay interracial couples, gay Asians, etc.). On the other hand, and I say this knowing that talk shows like this aren’t really the best resource for having meaningful, thought-provoking discussions, the portrayal of the relationship and of the two gay Asian men was a little hokey and did very little to talk about interracial gay relationships other than “people are racist towards us and think I hate myself.”

I think people don’t know how to speak about these issues, especially in the Asian American community, because we are taught about racism against blacks and rarely about racism against Asians. I don’t believe that many people understand that racism against Asians happens in the first place, or that interracial relationships with Asians can be strife with racist attitudes. People ask me why I consider it racist for a white man to have a “thing for Asians,” or straight up tell me it isn’t racist in the least, and I often have trouble talking about it with them.

Holly: I’m nodding my head reading everything that everyone else wrote. Racism against asians gets buried easily. You can get away with a racist restaurant name, chinese laundry jokes, stereotyped accents. I’m not saying that because I think racism against other groups should be ignored! And in fact, it’s probably true of many groups besides asians too — but I think it does contribute to asians being “invisible minorities” and a lot of asians really like it that way. They want to be the successfully assimilated immigrants, even if the “difference” stigma won’t ever really fade away in the minds of way too many people who see us always as foreigners first and foremost. There’s also an aspect here that has to do with sexuality and gender — I think the hideous treatment of black women by our culture and its beauty standards is more of a “guilty secret” that a lot of well-meaning people would immediately admit exists. Liberals feel bad about this; it’s how we got “I Love My Hair” on Sesame Street. Asian women have a different problem that doesn’t create as much liberal guilt — exotification and another flavor of ridiculous idealization, fetishization, etc. It’s the fallout of a “positive stereotype”; although most people would agree that gross anime-chasers are disgusting, they see it as part and parcel of a typical problem that any “beautiful woman” would face. And Asian men are a total afterthought, because the liberal political culture isn’t even aware that racist stereotypes are constantly affecting Asian men’s gender too. Complaints mostly surface on forums where Asian guys are complaining about how nobody will date them — and it’s way too easy, in the mainstream discourse, to simply dismiss that as a bunch of dudes whining instead of looking at it as a symptom of racism + sexism.

Until fairly recently, many Asian Americans are partnered with whites in pop culture depictions. How does this impact the view on “acceptable” dating? How does it influence the idea of the “ideal partner?”

N’jaila: When I was younger I very much felt like the “normal” group of men for a woman to like was White. I felt abnormal because I had a strong preference for Black , Brown and Yellow men. I think for many people that’s always going to be true, White partners are going to be the most accepted because in this country they are considered “normal”.

I remember in high school one of my close friends was a Latina who basically told me I was “too smart” to like Black guys. It was so shocking and deeply offensive that our friendship pretty much ended right there.

refresh_daemon: Agreed with N’jaila re: white people as the default partner. But this also brings up a bit of the point that Elton touches upon below. Until recently, the general visibility of Asian men in pop culture has been very limited and rarely in the context of relationships. Most Asian men I’ve seen in pop culture have largely been paired with Asian women as well (John Cho being the only immediate positive counterexample that comes to mind in “Flash Forward” and “Harold and Kumar”–I would like to forget about the Donger and all the Yellow Peril films of the early 20th century.) Consequently, I do think that it reinforces, to some subtle extent, the idea of Asian men, in particular, staying within Asian populations when it comes relationships.

Elton: It’s frustrating that non-white women are rarely portrayed as equally attractive as white women.

It’s frustrating when I am attracted to a white woman and have to wonder if Eurocentrism is warping my perception.

It’s frustrating to worry about whether someone I like will return my affections because I am Asian.

Being an Asian male is like perpetually seeing a “look but don’t touch” sign.

Holly: It’s just generally disgusting, although I feel like I’ve watched this grow during my lifetime. When I was a kid, there were almost no representations of families that looked like mine — one white parent, one Asian parent. When I saw this start to appear, I felt relieved and less weird — but then it became the MOST well-represented type of interracial relationship, because it’s so innocuous for a white man to have a woman “invisible, feminized minority” on his arm. These representations really hastened the rise of “I want an Asian girlfriend too” throughout my teen years, and it wasn’t really an improvement. I think it’s made it much easier for Asians to date white people, that’s for sure — and that’s an improvement my mother would have been grateful for in her early years (before she decided she hates my dad and pretty much all other white guys.) One of the most disgusting flip-sides, however, is that “dating an asian woman” is the #1 low-committment way for a white guy to show that he is Not A Racist according to some really boring, minimal, conservative definition of racism. Look, he loves people that are NOT WHITE! He eats tofu! Isn’t he amazing? And yes, I have to admit that I’m also thinking of my own father here. It’s not WHY he married my mother in the mid-70s, but it was definitely a benefit, and it still is for such guys.

Eric: If anyone has read “Paper Tigers” by Wesley Yang, from New York Magazine, he follows the “Asian pick-up artist” who holds white women to the ideal. In Romeo Must Die, Jet Li and Aaliyah had a kiss scene that was cut because audiences did not respond well to an Asian man and a black woman being in a relationship. While it is certainly the case that media representations of interracial relationships in general, not just Asian ones, typically feature a white character, I am interested in the disparity between these representations and the visibility of mixed race Asian celebrities, like Naomi Campbell, Tyson Beckford, Cassie, Bruno Mars, Nicole Scherzinger, Chanel Iman, and Tiger Woods. It’s strange that there are so many highly successful mixed race black-Asian, Latino-Asian, etc., celebrities out there, and yet we rarely see couples who could be their parents.

I will say one of my favorite black-Asian interracial couples from television is Manila Luzon (who I wrote about previously) and Sahara Davenport from Rupaul’s Drag Race, though I recognize that they are really an exception to the rule.

N’jaila: I think you rarely see discussions of Blasians because to many people they aren’t considered mixed. Not to mention there’s sometimes very negative reactions to non-Asian looking Blasians like Naomi Campbell and Tyson Beckford. Growing up I felt very alienated from Asians, it felt almost silly to embrace a group I was part of that I felt constantly rejected me.

Also I think most people assume that if someone is Blasian that their mother is Asian and their father is a Black guy in the military. Growing up I NEVER saw a family on TV that looked like mine.

I actually got to sit in with J.T Tran’s workshop. I actually think is a naturally sweet natured guy, but his workshop made me depressed for a good month or two. #

refresh_daemon: The cynic in me wants to say that the reason why interracial couples who would resemble the parents of those multi-racial celebrities don’t really get featured in pop culture is quite simply because a white person isn’t part of the equation and the mainstream doesn’t care if there’s not a white person involved. Also, I think the mainstream tends to ignore the Asian heritage of most (all?) of those celebrities, regardless of how they choose to self-identify.

Is there anything else you want to add that was not covered above?

Elton: The difference between the way Asian men and Asian women are assimilated into Western society manifests itself as the interracial dating disparity. The Asian man is depicted as the foreign other, while the Asian woman is more welcomed and accepted by the West. Patriarchy places a greater onus on men to carry on the family line, so the dating choices of the Asian man are restricted by Asian culture (which wants him to refrain from dating altogether until he has completed his education, then enter an arranged marriage) and by Western culture (which wants him to avoid marrying Western women). Is this why it seems to be more permissible for Asian women to date outside their race or even to date at all?

N’jaila: I don’t know if I agree that Asian women are assimilated into Western culture. I think White male privilege allows White men more opportunities to date any race he pleases. You still don’t see Asian women being seen as examples of standard beauty, something exotic maybe but Asian women are over represented as only sexual objects for White men. #

refresh_daemon: I do think that, at least earlier on in mainstream media, Asian women were more openly accepted than Asian men in the sense that they were more visible in leading and ensemble roles on television and, to a lesser extent, in film. I think as of late we are closer to reaching parity between the two genders, at least in terms of presence (particularly in commercials), but there does seem to be a lingering disparity in terms of representations of interracial relationships with Asian women and men, with Asian women more frequently interracially partnered (usually with white men), but Asian men more frequently depicted with Asian women than with other groups.

Holly: I tend to agree that commercials are leading the way, but I still don’t see anywhere near as much representation of Asian men in fiction film & television. Reality TV is a little closer to parity, for obvious reasons. And I think this goes back to the whole gender + race question, where Asians are the “feminized minority,” and so Asian women (of a certain class status and adherence to western beauty ideals, obviously) are treated as “even more feminine than white women,” a package that comes with fetishization, de-humanization, and more representation.

Elton: Is it ok if I pose a question? As we know, who we are “allowed to date” (by parents, culture, society, and just plain who returns or rejects our affections) differs from who we’re actually attracted to. Much ado is made about the Asian man’s unrequited love for white women. Do you find that there is a difference between the kind of person you prefer (whether for friendship, romance, or sex) and the kind of person you are “allowed to date”?

Holly: That’s a very interesting question, although I probably have a weird answer as a multi-racial Asian with one white parent. I think my early upbringing and exposure to racism made me think of my Asian parent as the “weird, mean one that nobody liked, who ate smelly food and couldn’t speak English as well.” But I also identified much more strongly with her in terms of how I felt relative to my peers: that I was the weird outsider. On top of that, I was also unequivocally taught by my family that inter-racial relationships and kids were a good thing, no matter what anyone else said; they wanted to make us resistant to anti-miscegenation messaging even more than they thought about more pervasive racist ideas about non-whites. So I remember thinking when I was younger that I’d be following in my family tradition if I was in a relationship with a white person, because I wasn’t white, and that my kids wouldn’t be either. (This might be have been influenced by the fact that the first person I dated in high school was ¼ Japanese.) But I’m sure I also unconsciously thought of that as “dating up.” When I got older, I dated more and more people from other backgrounds — indigenous, Latina, South Asian, and a lot of them mixed in one way or another. I guess I still thought of that as “interracial dating” since almost any pairing would be interracial dating for me, and therefore kind of positive. I’ve only dated one person who identified as 100% East Asian, though, and I often wonder why — is it because of negative messages I received about my mother when I was little? Or because I spent a lot of my youth not feeling “Asian enough” either? Probably both and more.

N’jaila: I’m in a weird position where I feel like my natural feelings are going against nature. I feel like if I say “I won’t date Asian men anymore” I’d be doing so because so many people have told me that I shouldn’t be dating them. I don’t want to live my life according to other people, but at the same time most people do. So I feel like my entire romantic life I’ve been trying to box with God, I’m doomed to fail.

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  • Anonymous

    Wasn’t there supposed to be a South Asian panel? Any idea if that’s still on?

    • Anonymous

      Yup, it’s still forming.

  • Pingback: Denigration and Deification: Two Forms of Dehumanization. « Duct • Tape • Dance()

  • BMos

    no sorry, i accidentally typed that under your comment

  • Anonymous

    I’ve really enjoyed reading the Asian Panel! Something I’m very happy has been discussed is the “invisibility” of Asian Americans and the ways in which we often are not considered to be American – our perpetual Foreigner Status. Additionally, I’m glad that the feminization of Asians was discussed as well. I’ve definitely felt that stereotype applied to me in many situations. Mostly, it takes the form of people being very surprised by my assertiveness because they never expected a Chinese woman to be so vocal. I’ve often felt that if and when I deviate from the (white)feminine norm, which I generally do, it’s seen as even stranger and looked at more critically because I’m Chinese. It’s extra-unexpected.

  • Glassb25

    Since making my post at the first installment of the series, I read all three installments several times. I am having a hard time grasping the fact that Asians or Asian Americans can relate to non whites about so much, on so many topics in relation to American culture, but seem resistant to relationships to darker races. The majority of the panelists seem like they may have dabbled or at least thought of relationships with darker races (if they dated at all, which defeats the purpose in my opinion);  it just seems like they are trapped between cultural tradition and the American standard. 
    I feel like Asians and Asian Americans are truly missing out on great experiences with other races because of the fine line of minority invisibility.  It seems while there’s some comfort as being the most accepted minority (in comparison to being Black or Hispanic), at the same time still feel slighted as a pariah in ways or situations that challenge those comforts.  There are all sorts of variables like exposure and who you’re naturally attracted to that can effect your decisions on dating. I was just waiting for a panelists to speak on their experience as an adult dating someone of a darker complexion and what those experiences were like and how that affected their perspective, life, etc… On the second installment I got the sense, when speaking about darker color races not many Asians or Asian Americans have experience on a relationship level. All I got was how Asian men and Black women are experiencing the same perceived limitations  in dating.  

    • Anonymous

      Don’t forget, this is a cross section of who was able to respond in the time frame. I invited quite a few folks – a handful ended up on another roundtable, and some just couldn’t do it – our own Carmen, who is married to a black man, wanted to participate but couldn’t because of time constraints. Unfortunately, as you read more of the round tables, it’s very clear that blackness/darkness is definitely a third rail.

    • http://www.blasianbytch.com BlasianBytch

      I wouldn’t say they are the same. 

    • Eric Zhang

      This question of Asians mixing with blacks or other poc is very much dependent on history and politics on a global scale. In the past, when Asians faced more overt and blatant racism from the white majority on both de facto and de jure levels (ex. racialization of Chinatowns and other ethnic enclaves, 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, anti-miscegenation laws), it was actually fairly common for Chinese bachelors, for example, to marry women who were not considered white (including black women and Irish women). This was largely due to these groups of people facing similar kinds of discrimination and racialization – whites were “unavailable” to non-whites. There is an extensive history in the United States and in other countries of Asians marrying blacks – enough so that one of my close college friends wrote her undergraduate thesis about the history of Afro-Filipinos.

      However, it is true that the demographics of Asian Americans have changed dramatically over the course of the 20th century. Where previously it had largely been working class laborers immigrating to the US to escape war/famine/poverty in their home countries, because of changing immigration laws, in more recent years it has become largely middle to upper-middle class students and professionals who have the means to support themselves in areas that are considered more “white.” There was an article I read for school once about how fewer Chinese immigrants are now settling in Chinatowns and choosing to move directly to suburban neighborhoods because they can now afford that lifestyle, which has been my own family’s experience (and part of my complicated relationship with the Asian American community, because I grew up in areas with very small Asian populations and so had more contact with whites). Of course this is not to say that there are no blacks living in suburbia, but because of the history of racism and the ramifications of slave ownership that still persist, there are fewer black families that are able to afford a suburban lifestyle, and those that do are often deracialized as more “white” than “black.”

      I feel like I’m rambling off-topic again here which, apparently, I do quite often, but ultimately my point is that interracial relationships with Asians, as IR relationships are with anyone, are very complicated and have strong ties to the various histories of immigration, racism, and imperialism. During the 20th century, marriages between Asians and American GIs of all races surged due to the neverending wars between America and Asia (no, seriously – WWII, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraqi war), and creating the phenomenon of the Asian war bride. apl.de.ap, for example, is the son of a Filipino woman and an African American soldier. Many of us who come from later generations of immigrants, however, have grown up in a completely different racial atmosphere. My mother came to America in the 80s to go to graduate school and, later, earn a six-figure salary. My life growing up Asian American is greatly different from the lives of people whose families have lived in this country since the 1870s. My family did not live through the era of segregation or through the Civil Rights Movement, and so they have a very different perception of racial politics.

      So it’s very difficult to categorize Asian Americans as a collective identity, because even within the community there are so many variations of who counts as Asian, who counts as American, who counts as Asian American, who identifies as any of these labels, etc. Even within one single demographic there is dissension – some Filipinos consider themselves Asian while others do not. Are South Asians considered “Asian American”? What about people Middle Eastern people? Depends on who you ask! That’s one of the difficulties, I think, in combating anti-Asian racism, or speaking to Asian American experiences. It would be next to impossible to account for everyone’s experiences as an “Asian American.” So sure, while this single panel may not necessarily have that much experience dating other poc (although if you had read carefully, you would know that some of us have – N’Jaila especially speaks a lot about that), I think it would be a little presumptuous to take this panel as the end all be all of Asian American experiences with interracial relationships. As Latoya has mentioned several times, we are only six individuals who were able to answer her questions about our own personal lives in a limited time frame.

      • Glassb25

        I did read all panels several times, Eric. I also know better than to generalize an entire population based on 6 individuals. I understand the racial climate was different throughout history. I mean if you think about it Jewish, Italians, and Irish are now considered white, although they were harshly discriminated against as immigrants in a distant past. However, they have become more accepted over time just as Asians and Asian Americans have been. 

        It’s more my issue than yours; but it just irks me to know that Blacks will always be last place in most arenas (in this case dating) based on the color of our skin, even moreso with other minorities. Not because of personality or character, but based on stereotypes and preconceived notions. Blacks miss out on many opportunities. That is the bane of black existence, the opportunities  missed. Not saying that other minorities can’t relate, they definitely can.  It just comes off like there’s some underlying pride in knowing that you wont miss as many opportunities by comparison. That is not solely based on these panels… 

         As for N’Jaila, of course she would have experience with IR dating POCs; she is of a mixed ethnicity and her skin is darker, so she would have  more exposure to darker races by default.. but that’s not my point. My point is along the lines of what refresh daemon is corroborating with his point and that is:
        ” being AA, even as most are aware of the racism directed towards them, does not necessarily instill any kind of solidarity for racial/social justice and plenty of AAs absolutely fall into mainstream mindsets about attractiveness and desirability in dating. And that includes a disposition towards dating White (if not intra-racially or intra-ethnically) and away from dating those of darker complexion.” – refresh daemon

        • refresh daemon

          Glassb25: It’s hard not to compare yourself to others and try to create some kind of hierarchy of who has it worse, but we all have different kinds of troubles due to the way that race is perceived in our society and different countries experience race differently, leading to different impressions. However, colorism is a common one that extends to many different countries in this world.

          Still, just as you feel like darker skinned people have it worse, since even other POC are less inclined to see them as potential romantic partners, I also feel, as a straight Asian male, that I am very much subject to negative discrimination by women of all races, including Asian women, due to the widespread buying of stereotypes of what Asian men are like, culturally, emotionally, physically, sexually, romantically, etc. Elton expresses this in the first segment of the Asian panel by noting how he feels like Asian men are relegated to “look but don’t touch”, but I’d probably expand the likely sentiment to many Asian men feeling that they are the bottom of the ladder of desirability if you were to try to compare the different races of straight men together.

          I don’t let it bother me personally, because any woman foolish enough to believe in those stereotypes is probably beneath me, in terms of desirability. And while the injustice is great, I also know that those who are willing to look past the stereotypes are around and that we can continue to work towards breaking down the prejudices that infest our society. That’s enough hope for me.

          • Glassb25

            That is a great response and with many great points. Not only do I agree with your perspective but I learn from it as well. 

      • kim

        This is part of the larger problem though. America is generally ignorant to and uninterested in Asian and Asian American history. We are constantly thrown into this enormous monolith under the category “Asian”. Even the fact that a reader is taking this panel of SIX people as the “Asian” experience is more proof of that. I am AsianAm and I don’t relate to a single person on this panels experiences. (Not that I didn’t enjoy reading it because I definitely did). And not just the different ethnic backgrounds but where is the conversation about 2nd and 3rd gens, adoptees, the economic disparities between say Cambodian refugees and middle class Japanese Americans etc. I don’t just mean the interracial dating conversation but the larger overall conversation.

  • wendy

    I don’t think audiences were ready for an Asian man and black women in Romeo Must Die. Contrast this with this Youtube clip I found the other day. http://youtu.be/vFv2HX8bdcw It’s an AMBW cover of Drake’s Marvin’s Room. I think things have become very global and even more complex but thank you Racialicious for this series. At least we can scratch the surface. 

  • Anonymous

    THANK YOU for this three part series.  These are conversations that I only dreamed of having with my imaginary progressive friends.  As an oldster- model minority- Tiger Cub of the 70’s I didn’t have the opportunity–permission really– to have such open discussions, so I kept quiet, swallowed my questions and thoughts.   I am making up for lost time now by chatting with young(er) like-minded friends. 

  • hans anggraito

    I feel like the topic of immigrants v. 2nd gen was lacking coverage. What interest me about this topic is the alienation that first generation immigrants, such as i, feel against ones own ethnic background when one begins to assume the “gay” identity. On the flip side, my assuming of the “gay identity” or even just saying the word, feels the beginning of a creation of a legit american identity.  Almost as if “gay” gave me my U.S passport. But it doesn’t mean that i was to be greeted with acceptance by the other side.

    Here’s where i’m coming from. I’m indonesian, i came here when i was almost twelve years old. When we were younger, me and my siblings used to compete in games such as who’s the one with the least amount of “accent.” Even now as i’m speaking english relatively fluent, i always feel like i’m playing a character. It’s even worse when i try to speak indonesian, i’m in a state of arrested development where i mostly know how to ask for food. So when i was “coming out” to my mother in indonesian, i had to think and look up phrases to explain myself. There’s no nice way of saying “gay” in indonesian that i know of, only pejoratives like “fag.” So i just used the word “gay.” I didn’t really investigate the personal meaning of that word and the symbolisms that come with it at the time. But as i was saying it, i realized how out of body it felt, foreign, how bold, how american. I can’t speak to gay indonesians in the homeland, but it seems as though “coming out” is a gay american rite of passage. I took it as a validation of my american “citizenship”, more so than a green card or a driver’s license, because growing up without the right kind of status I never had those things. But within the gay world, it still failed to do that, because in addition to racial stereotypes and hierarchy, i always get “asked” to tell my “story” and, *sigh, shrug shoulders* that puts me right back to the beginning.  

    Going back to the topic. I never dated “in,” because i never felt that API was my “in.” My own generalizations towards asian-american (even though i am one) are: second generation, upwardly mobile, light-skinned, yaddayaddayadda. I generally don’t think that i share enough experiences with “them.” But it’s not like i go around dating gay immigrants either because well… i was never presented with many opportunities like it. I’ve been trying to play with my identities and others’ assumptions as i see fit, based on the situations. Disturbingly, since i’ve tried meeting people a year ago, i found myself pimping out my own “story” for chances of ‘luck’ ifyouknowwhatimean. So boys with medium to high racial awareness, if you’re reading this…. 

    • Anonymous

      There’s a lot that can be said about the opposition between one’s nation/race/ethnic identity and the western conception of gay identity.

      One thing that I had learned in an NAS class is that gay Indians are sometimes considered separate from their similarly identified counterparts that are more integrated into native societies. And it was because in some native societies your role and function in the nation outweighs the important of your queer identity, which could be same gender loving, gay, lesbian, two spirit, etc. This may not be how all native peoples feel, but it was one perspective I learned about.

      Even in Africa, coming from a general perspective I heard about in a conference so it needn’t apply across the board, love just is. It isn’t necessarily segregated by who you love. So there may not be this need for western titles of gay, lesbian, etc., at least pre-colonial era. Post-colonial, I imagine there is an embracing of new western and even older African modes of identifying one’s love for the same or opposite sex.

      So, for you coming up in a new nation separated from how those kinds of feelings translate in Indonesian society, outside of the pejorative term that is used to identify people like yourself, I can understand how having the US gay identity and coming out, that could dwarf your sense of being Indonesian. If that’s what’s going on, maybe I misunderstood.

      Have you found any kinship in gay organizations targeting SE Asians or Indonesians? Or those specific to first generation whether Asian or not? Maybe they’re not in your area but I feel they could be helpful.

      Primary representation of Asian American is the model minority, which you identified pretty much. I think sometimes it can be a binary where on one side there’s the 2nd gen light skinned Asian who is upwardly mobile and then there’s the FOB who is considered perpetually foreign. Actually there may not be much of a binary b/c these stereotypes tend to run together.

      I’m also wondering if you don’t really identify with AA b/c you view being Indonesian and gay as kind of mutually exclusive. So you can’t imagine your Indonesian identity coupled with the western gay identity. Cause I noticed before you point out American gay, but don’t really attach anything to gay identity outside of it being American.

      Regarding the last thing you said, maybe Racialicious should get into the matchmaking business. People connect here over many things, you could certainly make like minded friends here if anything.

      • hans anggraito

        when i was younger i didn’t identify with AA because of the second A. I guess not having the document to prove you’re an american coupled with the violent othering of “illegals” DO mess with the ol’ head. Also, the asians i grew up around in grade school in denver were 2nd gen vietnamese and koreans, who were pretty light skinned, mainly english speaking and tend to run in packs. As a sole dark skinned indonesian who was in ELA and who was a little FOBish (i lovethat you put it in all caps), they were as strange to me as the white kids or the black kids. When i went to high school however, the population was perdominantly mexican (i’m not gonna say ‘hispanic’ because that would be an inaccurate description) and i was very comfortable and i identified with the cultural duality that many of my friends was living in. It did bring alotof comfort that many of my peers and close friends were immigrants (many undocumented likeme) and we share common experiences and struggles. We even got to trade “3rd world” stories like drinking soda pop out of a plastic bag.

        How anzalduan the psychic drama that plays out in many gay immigrants’ lives is. Especially for ones who were barely maturing in their home countries then abruptly plucked and transplanted in a new land like the states. Translating emotions and sensations is very difficult when you don’t feel adequate in either language. In dating and romance, where so much of your goal and expectations is to be understood by and to understand another human being, it’s confusing when you barely know who your authentic self is. Maybe, i need a different goal in romance…

      • hans anggraito

        when i was younger i didn’t identify with AA because of the second A. I guess not having the document to prove you’re an american coupled with the violent othering of “illegals” DO mess with the ol’ head. Also, the asians i grew up around in grade school in denver were 2nd gen vietnamese and koreans, who were pretty light skinned, mainly english speaking and tend to run in packs. As a sole dark skinned indonesian who was in ELA and who was a little FOBish (i lovethat you put it in all caps), they were as strange to me as the white kids or the black kids. When i went to high school however, the population was perdominantly mexican (i’m not gonna say ‘hispanic’ because that would be an inaccurate description) and i was very comfortable and i identified with the cultural duality that many of my friends was living in. It did bring alotof comfort that many of my peers and close friends were immigrants (many undocumented likeme) and we share common experiences and struggles. We even got to trade “3rd world” stories like drinking soda pop out of a plastic bag.

        How anzalduan the psychic drama that plays out in many gay immigrants’ lives is. Especially for ones who were barely maturing in their home countries then abruptly plucked and transplanted in a new land like the states. Translating emotions and sensations is very difficult when you don’t feel adequate in either language. In dating and romance, where so much of your goal and expectations is to be understood by and to understand another human being, it’s confusing when you barely know who your authentic self is. Maybe, i need a different goal in romance…

  • Mickey

    “In Romeo Must Die, Jet Li and Aaliyah had a kiss scene that was cut because
    audiences did not respond well to an Asian man and a black woman being in a

    I read somewhere that during some screenings for “Harold & Kumar” guys booed when John Cho kissed his Latina love interest because they thought she was “too pretty/good” for him. People really need to get over themselves when it comes to this sort of thing.

    • Anthony

      And in the end she goes off with Europe and doesn’t even get with him. Part of why that movie didn’t impress me. I guess we have to make our own movies in life.

    • may

      I read somewhere that during some screenings for “Harold & Kumar” guys booed when John Cho kissed his Latina love interest because they thought she was “too pretty/good” for him.

      WHAT.  That is so depressing.  Especially because I know a lot of women who would emphatically disagree…

    • http://twitter.com/DYomoah Doreen Yomoah

      You know, that is really interesting. Should I assume that the guys who booed where white men watching the movie? If so, I guarantee the reaction would have been completely different if Harold were a white guy, or if say, the Latina love interest had instead been a black woman.