Wednesday, November 11, 2015


The unattractiveness of Asian-American men can be linked to their perceived lack of masculinity. Masculinity in American culture is an idea often predicated on aggressiveness and promiscuity. In Asian culture, however, masculinity is generally tied to mental strength, being a provider, and accepting familial responsibility. Furthermore, Asian boys are taught deference to authority at home. "'The loudest duck gets shot' is a Chinese proverb," observed critic Wesley Yang in his 2011 essay on the popular misconception of Asian-American success. He offered its Western correlative: "The squeaky wheel gets the grease," where complaint often yields reward.
The perceived passivity in Asian men can be interpreted through American eyes as femininity, and the consequences of this manifest in everything from Asian men's near-exclusive representation as "bottoms" in gay porn, to the bamboo ceiling, a term for Asians' lack of leadership representation in the workforce. Although Asians are five percent of the population, they only make up 0.3 percent of C-level executives. In society, the idea of an Asian being an alpha male can be a foreign one.
Perhaps the most insulting reminder of Western attitudes towards Asians is one of size. Western culture views penis size as a symbol of masculinity. Even though it's been debunked numerous times, there remains a perception that Asians are less well-endowed. Combine that with society's distaste for shorter-than-average height, and many Asian men are made to feel that they are lesser.
In the way that Asian men have been distorted to reflect femininity, so too have black women become masculinized. The idea of the "strong" black woman is one that is either feared or mocked, or, in the case of tennis champion Serena Williams, both. Throughout her career, Williams, arguably the greatest female tennis player of all time, has served as a lightning rod for racist gender notions. During the 2014 US Open final, the New Yorker reported on the reaction to Williams on Twitter: "Some people wrote admiringly about her obvious strength and fitness, but there were also observations about the size of her butt, her thighs, and suggestions that her toned arms made her look more like a male boxer or linebacker than like a women 's tennis player."
As it stands today, many black women and Asian men have been left in the casual-dating corner. Which might explain why some have banded together to create the AMBW community, which includes websites,Meetup groups, and online forums.
AMBW communities are still in their infancy, and with that come growing pains. The cultural strife and racist notions between the two groups in America—cue the opening scene of Menace II Society—will sometimes surface. In one of the Facebook groups I was in, an Asian man posted a video of black teenagers waving guns in Chicago, saying, "Why would anyone want to be a part of this culture?" with the crying-laughing emoji. Swarms of Asian men and black women came in to destroy him, but the fuse had been blown. When tectonic plates meet, earthquakes always happen.
A black woman about her previous relationship with a Korean man: "Mind you," she said, "my ex-boyfriend's mother did not like the fact I was black, so I dealt with everything you could think of." At the meet-up, Kemi described how her and her boyfriend were once followed by a group of black men, who questioned and mocked her boyfriend's race.
But "swirling"—or interracial coupling—can bring cultures together. They can demystify cultural differences by forcing two sides to understand each other. In that way, they can help repair the world.
"As time goes on," this black woman said, "you're going to see more people discovering the beauty of AMBW relationships, and you are going to see all these gorgeous 'Blasian' children." In fact, I hope my own babies are Blasian—the inheritance of these two rich, underappreciated cultures would be one of the greatest gifts I could give them.

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