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Seeing Things From Another Perspective

Guest Column Constance C. Lai

In reference to the column by Stacey E. Blau ["Honesty about That Which Disturbs Us," Nov. 18], I believe that there should be more truthfulness in discussing the topic of white male-Asian female relationships and the factors behind them. However, the truth may not be all that politically correct either.

I take my personal experiences as an Asian born and raised in America. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania where I did not know any Asian boys my age because of the simple fact that there weren't any in my school district. This type of environment conditioned me to like white middle class boys. It was natural, or at least seemingly natural, just like playing with my Barbie doll seemed natural.

The fact that I was not white always put me in the position of the exotic other even though my parents raised me as an English-speaking American girl. I grew up with very little knowledge of Chinese culture, and I therefore could never really understand my status as other at school because to me, I was as American as any of my classmates. Unlike what I was to encounter in college, my status as exotic other was never seen as a sexual exoticness. Rather, it actually precluded me from dating.

When I went to college at Rice University, I encountered the typical white male with an Asian fetish for the first time. Here were white guys who were actually interested in dating me, an Asian. It is very difficult however to distinguish a white male who is purely thinking exotic sex from a white male who is actually interested in you as a person from a white male who is genuinely interested in you but who is also thinking about exotic sex in the back of his mind, and therefore I think this is where a lot of Asian women get caught. They don't know the difference and then once they do, the question arises, do his good points outweigh the bad?

Another reason Asian women are attracted to white men is because many have had bad relationships with their Asian fathers who unfortunately fit the stereotype. When an Asian woman sees a white girl being genuinely hugged by her father, it is only natural to want the same thing, for both herself and her future children.

It would be too difficult to try to convince an Asian man to change his ways, so Asian women go to where they see it already existing - in the relationships of typical white families. Granted, this may be idealizing the white family a little too much, but growing up watching Family Ties can definitely lead one to the conclusion that the typical white family is much more open and affectionate than one's own.

I do not want to sound as if all Asian families are dysfunctional or that all Asian males are mean uncaring people, because they aren't. But these psychological wanderings explain what I feel accounts for many of the white male-Asian female relationships that exist today.

There is always talk about white men having Asian fetishes. But what about Asian women who have white fetishes or Latino fetishes or even black fetishes? Believe me, they exist. It's just that no one wants to admit that Asian women can be just as fetishizing and erotic in our thoughts as a white male.

I'll end on a more liberating note to Asian women: Don't be afraid of your sexual desires, but don't be a slave to them either.