The 4-1-1 on I-R on N-P-R. Man, these acronyms and short cuts are all over the place.
One of you (not sure if it was meant to be anonymous or not) sent me this article and podcast on NPR. NPR covered our favorite topic just a few days ago. Because I and everyone else on this site are experts on the phenomenon, the NPR article didn’t say anything that we already didn’t know. It also didn’t mention the general idea of what we know–this IR (interracial relationships) issue is like a bone in the throat for us, and Asian America is stuck in cultural purgatory around this issue. However, as always, articles like this confirm and build on what we already know–IR is somewhat on the decline for Asian Americans, and people are starting to think more about family, etc, according to the news media. As people trying to educate and elucidate, we need to hear the issue from different angles.
So two observations and one conclusion:
Observation: I’ve just begun to notice how the media pooh-poohs Asian men. It’s like they don’t want to give us what URB4N might call “the bitter medicine.” They dance around the issue, trying to front like there’s no problem when everyone, including the people they interview, know that something is amiss.
Example 1: the Tierney article. The article is entitled, “Single Female Seeking Same-Race Male,” and that’s true–for black women, white women, and Hispanic women. For Asian women, however, if you read the article closely, Asian men are at a disadvantage. According to the stats, a white man only needs to make $24k less than average to be viewed as equally attractive by Asian women. That doesn’t sound like “Single female seeking same-race male” to me! So why not highlight this difference?
Example 2: The NPR article above. If you listen at around 5 minutes into the podcast, Angela DeClaro says, “I’ve never dated a Filipino guy ever, nor have I really been attracted to one.” If you look at the text of the article, however, the last part of that sentence somehow got omitted. What happened to it? Was it not relevant? Was the height factor somehow more relevant? I would think that the fact that she’s not attracted to Filipino men would be more relevant than her height. She probably thinks so too, otherwise she would’ve mentioned the height factor first.
I’ve noticed this before, but recently it’s become abundantly clear. I’m curious as to why the media does this. Is it to keep Asian men from getting angry? Is it to prevent Asian women from being accused of selling out and loving the White man? Is it because the media is worried that WE Asian men AND Asian women will accuse THE MEDIA of racism if they tell the truth of our condition? It’s clear that often the numbers and the interviewees tell a different story from what is reported. So why the discrepancy?
Observation #2: Actually, this is Mama Nabi’s observation. Often the IR divide comes from power, possibly nothing more. That is, the groups with more power, become the models of what someone is supposed to date. If Asian men (or some Asian women, as we’re hearing on the Female IR podcast thread) are left out, the answer is empowerment, probably in the cultural sphere, as that seems to be where we are lacking. More on this later.
So here’s my conclusion:
First, what has been said about the topic has been said. Frank Chin started this discussion 35 years ago, and he covered it well. As it stands with bigWOWO, we have a bi-gender podcast, a woman’s podcast, and a male podcast. We’ve got excellent blog discussions on the topic. We should continue to discuss it because it helps us individuals to understand it and because it helps us to reach others who don’t have that background, but at the same time, we need to realize that what we will say has probably already been said. We’re not going to create much original content in describing the status quo.
That brings me to the second part of my conclusion–I think we need to do something about this. Most of us want things to be good, so why not fix it? There may be–well, there WILL be–a lot more to discuss about this issue if we take steps to fix it. I actually have ideas, and if others are willing to get out and do something, maybe we can talk. As with much of my other work, I think the solution needs to take place within an institutional setting. In other words, we need to build an institution to create the change.
What do you all think? If you’d like to join me in this, sign up and sound off below. (Hint–this is going to take work well beyond what a website can offer, so if you want to do something about it, prepare to get your hands dirty…) Let’s build the institutions. We learn by doing. I think we’ll learn it better than anyone else if we do.