I'm an Asian girl. I don't date Asian guys. Yep, I'm one of those that date lots and lots of (mostly, but not always) white guys.
Why? It's simple: I'm a racist.
Yep, I said it.
And guess what? I’m not alone. I’m actually –- shudder to think -- part of a trend. Asians are marrying non-Asians at a rate much higher than any other racial group. This summer Pew reported that 37 percent of all recent Asian-American brides wedded a non-Asian groom. In an earlier study of the couples who married in 2008, 9 percent of whites, 16 percent of blacks and 26 percent of Hispanics did so with someone of a different race or ethnicity. Thirty-one percent of Asians did.
This trend has nothing to do with skin color. It has everything to do with patriarchy and cultural sexism and a lifestyle I grew up with and want nothing to do with anymore.
It would be easy to say that what I'm looking for culturally doesn't come in an Asian package.
Wesley Yang wrote about it in New York magazine last year and made my heart beat faster with the recognition of his rage against my cultural heritage machine. "Let me summarize my feelings toward Asian values: Fuck filial piety. Fuck grade grubbing. Fuck Ivy League mania. Fuck deference to authority. Fuck humility and hard work. Fuck harmonious relations. Fuck sacrificing for the future. Fuck earnest, striving middle-class servility," he says.
And. Fuck. Yes. To. This.
My mother (born and raised in China) is obsessed with career "steps" and "paths" and working for this magical future that I doubt exists. It’s like New Age self-help for middle-class strivers. She can't fathom that I'm a freelancer by choice and constantly laments "that economy."
The physical attributes of my ideal man? If we're being stereotypical about it, well, I like geeky, scrawny and without muscles. I like effeminate. Also, did I mention that Daniel Liu is fucking HOT?
And if we're talking about this, plenty of white guys have tiny penises. And I'm sure not all Asian guys have tiny penises. (Though, I'd have to sleep with some to find out for sure.) So really, not a physical thing.
Clearly, it's not those stereotypes.
Even if a charming, funny, intellectually curious, in so many words perfect man who has untied himself from the chains of Asian virtues came down my way -- even you, Daniel Liu whose hotness is practically a law of physics -- I would probably pass.
Partly, it's because I can date non-Asian dudes. More of me and other "racist"-against-other-Asian-men Asian women live in communities with people of other races. More of us attend those bastions of liberal thought mingling with other young, upwardly mobile types of colleges. More of us are in well-paying jobs, which expose us to people outside our ethnic enclaves.
But it's also because we still see ourselves as minorities, immigrants, outsiders. And we want the same thing new residents of America have wanted for hundreds of years: To be true Americans. Even among American-born people of Asian descent, only 28 percent describe themselves as "Americans."
I was born in Beijing to Chinese parents and emigrated to the U.S. when I was three. I don't have an accent. Aside from my very Midwestern one. My Italian cooking skills are far superior to my Chinese ones. My Spanish is better than my Chinese. My closet is filled with J. Crew and a healthy dash of Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren.
My pale, white-bread boyfriend jokes that I'm one of the whitest people he's ever met. And that's probably not by accident.
I date white men because the term "model minority" grosses me out. I date white men because it feels like I'm not ostracizing myself into an Asian ghetto and antiquated ideas of Asian unity. I still see myself as a minority. And with that, pretty soon comes connotations of "outsider." And I don't like that.
Dating white men means acceptance into American culture. White culture.
I realize my thinking is fucked up. I get that. But as long as men tell me over dinner, "I've always wanted to be with an Asian girl" and then still think they're getting laid, and as long as during beauty countdowns white girls are called "beauties" and Asian girls are called "exotic beauties" -- well, then white will still be the societal standard.
And yes, I am Asian, but I'm drinking the same Kool-Aid as everyone else. Junot Diaz describes it as white supremacy. The idea that white is still tops, SAT scores, corporate jobs and fancy degrees be damned.
In the Boston Review, Diaz says: "And yet here’s the rub: if a critique of white supremacy doesn’t first flow through you, doesn’t first implicate you, then you have missed the mark; you have, in fact, almost guaranteed its survival and reproduction. There’s that old saying: the devil’s greatest trick is that he convinced people that he doesn’t exist. Well, white supremacy’s greatest trick is that it has convinced people that, if it exists at all, it exists always in other people, never in us."
So here it is: I am racist. I'd rather not be. I'd much rather be swept up into that beautiful land of racially ambiguous beauties. But for now, I will not and will never date one of my "people."