by guest contributor Michelle Leung
In one of MasterCard’s recent commercials, initially titled “Meet the Family,” a white/Asian couple celebrates their engagement and makes arrangements for their parents to meet each other. With all deep racial-psychological implications aside, I initially loved the MasterCard commercial, just because an interracial couple (especially white/Asian ones) was finally featured in a commercial, and I found it to be “cutesy” and reminiscent of my own interracial relationship.
However, after reading several comments from other readers on Racialicious, I realized that I did have a major bone to pick with the commercial. It also led me to somewhat understand certain people’s view towards white men dating Asian women: that Asians/Asian women, even if born in the US, will continued to be viewed by the mainstream media/society as “exotic” and un-American/foreign.
(By the way, judging from priceless.com, the site of MasterCard’s commercials and photos, the commercial’s title has been changed to “Meet the Japanese Parents.”)
Now the commercial started to incense me a bit, based on how the Asian mate in the commercial, once again, just has to be from a foreign country (Japan), whereas her white fiancé’s family is from Chicago. This reinforces the mainstream media’s view that white = American. Once again, Asians are condemned to having to answer questions of our possible un-American birthplace of origin for the rest of our lives.
Judging from my personal observation, black Americans who grew up in a predominantly white community like myself (while they obviously have other serious racial issues to contend with) don’t have to worry about feeling un-American. They don’t have to deal with questions from so-called well-meaning members of the majority. Questions like: “Your name’s Jane Smith? But you’re Asian!” to an Asian adoptee. To a US-born Asian who lacks a foreign accent, “You speak English so well!”. And the worst one: “Where are you really from?” Read the Post Mastercard’s ‘Meet the Family’ commercial promotes perpetual foreigner stereotype