Jarah Mariano is the very first woman of Asian descent to become a Victoria’s Secret model. And like almost all of our Asian American female “firsts,” she’s dating a White guy. We support our celebrities, but they don’t date us or any men of color. It’s like there’s a Asian Female Celebrity Club (I’m adding this one to my lexicon, along with “community store”) that somehow decided that men of color would be excluded from their dating pool. When we see that the AFCC members as a general rule don’t date us, it kills us a little bit. We feel shortchanged, especially given how hard we work to promote Asian Americans trying to make a name for themselves.
In the Jamie Yeo and Zhang Ziyi posts, we’ve talked a lot about why this happens, how it happens, and the effect that it has on us when minority celebrities have race preferences. No, I don’t know if Jarah Mariano has a race preference, but to chalk up the fact that nearly 100% of Asian female celebrities only date or marry White guys to coincidence seems a bit irrational. It’s like tossing a dice and getting sixes a hundred times in a row. Pretty soon you realize that the dice are loaded.
Just last week, I was reading a short story by an Asian American female author. I told a friend, “This woman is definitely married to a White guy.” She asked how I knew. I told her, “It’s simple. Her main character is an Asian guy, and he looks nothing like any Asian guy I’ve ever met in real life. His character is closer to how a stereotypical White guy envisions Asian malehood.” We googled this author, and sure enough, the author was a fifty-something Asian woman married to a White guy. Her lack of knowledge came through in her writing. The effect of the AFCC race preference extends beyond what the pairing represents; it extends as well to the ignorant views that people in power propagate.
So what can an Asian guy do? How can we survive the AFCC embargo?
Some argue that we need to leave the community store, and or that we need to decrease demand for Asian women. I don’t think Asian men want to do the former, and I don’t think Asian men can do the latter. As I mentioned in the Zhang Ziyi thread, we’re stuck with each other.
I think the solution is exactly the opposite of what some of my faithful readers are proposing. Sure, Asian men should date interracially more. That’s a given. But we need to stop treating dating and love as a negotiation, and we need to start treating it as an experience. Rather than leaving the community store, we need to shop our own store in more creative ways. Sure, the salespeople might not sell to us, and they may make us use the separate-but-equal minority male water fountain while giving steep discounts to other men, but we need to engage. The way to do that is generosity. Practice saying nice things to Asian women. Practice thinking kind thoughts. Create art around the Asian women you meet to express your feelings. Celebrate the ones who do support us. And most importantly–expect nothing in return.
There is plenty of love to go around, but to experience it, people need to feel open, unafraid, and unencumbered. They need to live in a world of abundance. When love becomes a negotiation, it loses its flavor. It starts to taste like business, which can be unpalatable even to a businessman. Let’s open ourselves to the experiences that life is ready to give. It’s the only way to live.
Edit: Oh, and one more message to the AFCC….“Come back, sisters!”
Edit 2: I usually don’t edit my titles after the fact, but in this case, I did. AFCC, the Asian Female Celebrity Club, just rolls off the tongue better. I’ll keep the link the same.