Asian-American men, like sundry populations before them, are running the risk of becoming objectified pieces of love meat, according to a column in today's San Francisco Chronicle that explores the current and future state of interracial dating, from the male and female Asian-American perspective.
The author, Jeff Yang, recounts the dating advice his Asian-American parents gave him as he left for college: stick to your own race. Given out of awareness of the challenges that interracial couples faced thirty years ago rather than racism, Yang goes on to explore how these attitudes, specifically for Asians, have changed.
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One-third of Asian marriages in 2006 were to members of another race, though the coupling of an Asian-American woman with a [insert other race here] man is more common than the reverse.
"According to the U.S. Census' 2006 update, 19.5 percent of Asian American women outmarry, compared with 7.2 percent of Asian American men. And that, to some, speaks volumes about the sexual desirability and social status of Asian men in America," Yang writes.
But, he points out, the desirability level is consistently increasing. Yang refers to sites like AznLover.com, a 6,000-member social networking site dedicated to connecting with Asian men with women of other races, and groups like "Black Woman and Asian Men Interracial Connections" on Meetup.com.
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As in any case where race is highlighted, the possibility to become stereotyped or objectified increases, as many Asian-American women have experienced from meeting men eager to date their stereotype: that of a delicate, demure "Geisha." Yet, Yang concludes that any objectification Asian-American men face might be just one growing pain in our journey to race neutrality:
"Ultimately... it's hard to see these disparities as being anything but temporary – and local. Any sexual imbalances that exist due to the unique alchemy of sex, race and class in the United States fade in the face of a globalized world; one in which the playing field is different, and so are the players and rules."