May 29, 2007
Written by C.N.
As reflected in the numerous discussion threads across various message boards on the Internet, the topic of interracial relationships and marriages is a very popular and hotly debated topic among Asian Americans. As printed in Nha Magazine and New American Media, commentator Paulette Chu Miniter encapsulates many of the sentiments on both sides:
91 percent of Generation Y-ers say interracial dating is perfectly normal, according to a study by the Pew Research Center in March 2006. By far the most common interracial marriage in America today is one like that of my own—a white husband married to an Asian wife, making up 14 percent of all mixed unions. Interestingly, in 75 percent of Asian-white marriages, the husband is white.
Just about every Asian woman my age I know is dating or married to a white guy. And no matter how different their personalities or backgrounds, they all say the same thing—nothing against Vietnamese guys, but culturally they feel very American and therefore naturally end up dating “American” men, ie, Caucasians. “I have never dated an Asian guy, and will probably never date an Asian guy,” says my cousin Michelle Phi, a student at Texas A&M University. . . .
“I’m a very Americanized Asian girl who needs a very Americanized male,” Phi says. Also, “I fear the potential acquisition of another Asian family.” Another Vietnamese woman I know, a marketing professional in her early 30s, echoed those thoughts: “I think it is an issue of cultural assimilation. Overall, I have found Asian men too ‘Eastern’ in their thinking about women.”
As I noted, interracial relationships is often a very touchy subject for both Asian American men and women. Many readers to this site have cited my article and statistics to support both sides of the argument. As someone who has been interviewed a few times times by reporters doing articles and stories about this subject, I try to interject some objectivity and a sociological framework into the discussion as best as I can.
My position on interracial marriage has always been the same — it’s hard enough to find a person with whom you are completely compatible. When you find that person, his/her race may be one consideration but in the end, I think love, mutual respect based on a genuine appreciation of one’s racial/cultural identity, and interpersonal equality are the most important factors.
Upon reading Paulette’s article, I think she does a very good job at laying out the emotions and sentiments on both sides. It is very true that many Asian American men still have rather traditional and patriarchal attitudes about Asian American women and that is a large factor that leads many Asian American women away from Asian American men, and rightfully so.
At the same time, I can’t help but feel sad that at least among some of the Asian American women interviewees in the article, they also seem to be caught up in the exact same stereotypes about Asian American men that I presume they would cry bloody murder about if such stereotypes were applied to them. That is, they seem to be categorically rejecting any Asian American man available based on their belief that because he’s Asian, that automatically means that he’s not as Americanized or culturally “liberated” as them.
For example, the student at Texas A&M sadly states that she will probably never date an Asian guy — she’s not even willing to give any Asian guy a chance and would rather use the blanket generalization that since he’s Asian, that must mean that he’s patriarchal and sexist. End of story.
Ultimately, since this is America, that means that people have the right to believe whatever they want to believe and date whoever they want to date. However, that freedom also gives me the opportunity to say that using broad generalizations and stereotypes like the ones expressed against Asian American men in the article unfortunately only reinforce the larger societal stereotype that all Asians are foreigners and therefore, not real Americans.
While I believe that not all Asian American women have these stereotypical opinions, ultimately, it’s doubly tragic when such stereotypes are perpetuated by members of our own community.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Asian American Interracial Relationships Today" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/05/asian-american-interracial-relationships-today/> ().
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