To All the Asian Men I Never Loved — I’m Sorry
A brutally honest look at my racist biases towards my own race
“I’m just not into Asian guys,” I would say flippantly as I dated my way through the rainbow of white, brown, black, and olive-skinned men.
“I’m not sure why,” I would say.
I may not have known why I didn’t like Asian men, but I did know that my preferences go way back. I recently found a journal entry I wrote as an 8-year-old declaring that I wanted to marry a blue-eyed blond man.
It took me 20 years to finally realize that it wasn’t an “innate” preference. I had been bathed in an infinite number of media sources and cultural innuendos suggesting to me that Asian men were meek, effeminate, and less endowed from the moment I was born.
Asian masculinity? Those two words were simply not used together in my childhood.
Why did it take so long for me to “see?”
Growing up, I could think of zero Hollywood male romantic leads that were Asian. Prior to the blockbuster hit Crazy Rich Asians, Asian actors in Hollywood had one role — to be a token.
Like the stereotypical bridesmaids, Asians were never allowed to be better-looking, richer, or more successful. Smarter, yes — but only if we were also geekier and awkwardly comedic. Any male actor wanting to play a lead role had also better know some Kung Fu. And never, never should an Asian guy deign to be sexually desirable.
Asian women, on the other hand, are frequently fetishized. We are seen as gentle, submissive, and exotic. It is not uncommon to see Asian women in the arms of white men on billboards but there were never white women in the arms of Asian men.
So, what happens when you have a lifetime of being told that Asian women are desirable and Asian men are not?
The ability to say, “I’m just not that into Asian men and I don’t need to explain or even question why because the whole world feels the same way.”
Over the years, I met many Asian men who challenged my biases of Asian male desirability. I met Asian men who were elite athletes with perfect bodies and six-pack abs. I met Asian men who were…