Yesterday, I tweeted the following statement:
There are few things in the world more condescending and creepy than a white guy hitting on an Asian girl. #doesnotincludemybrother-in-law
I got a lot of calls from people to clarify, and so I want to explain exactly what I meant.
The tweet was inspired by the fact that I was sitting next to a Chinese girl at the computer lab yesterday. A white guy from a previous Japanese class decided to stop by and talk to her. He opened up the conversation by saying hello in Japanese, and then about how Taiwan is not in fact owned by China (and then spouted off some facts that are the complete opposite of reality). I’m not sure why he decided that would be a great conversation starter with a Chinese girl, except that he wanted to show that he apparently knew more about her culture than he did. All in all, it was incredibly awkward and terribly condescending. None of the topics he talked about were about her as a person. Just her as a label. Just her as a simplified representation.
This shocked me. I thought this whole kind of exchange was a Mormon thing.
There’s a common trend at BYU where white guys will go on missions to Asian countries, and return enraptured by their women. Because of that, they launch into this dating campaign, only dating Asian women. What they don’t realize is that it’s super creepy, condescending, and offensive. Imagine my shock to be sitting in a secular school and watching this. Thus, my tweet. Apparently, this isn’t an isolated Mormon phenomena but a systemic plague.
Some people wanted to know how exactly is it creepy, condescending, and offensive, and so I promised a blog post and here it is. Guys, four tips on what NOT to do when an Asian Girl is awesome and you want to ask her out.
1. DO NOT refer to your desire for Asian girls as “yellow fever.”
This was a common term at BYU. I assume that it’s just as common outside as well. Don’t use it. EVER. Denounce it’s usage vehemently wherever you hear it. And this is why.
First of all, dude, you’re comparing your lewd, lustful desires to a disease.
PROTIP: When writing love poetry, do not compare your love to diseases. Examples:
Roses are red, violets are blue, Malaria kills millions of people a year. Like my love.
Shall I compare thee to the pustules the size of grapefruits localized around the lymphnodes of my love? On a summer’s day?
Secondly, you’re referring to a racist term that is super old when refering to Asians. Here’s a hint, guys. Racist terms are offensive. Just sayin’.
2. DO NOT assume that you know everything about their culture, and never assume you know more.
This should be a given, but apparently guys struggle with this. If you want to show off the fact that you know something about Asian culture, be subtle. Use chopsticks at a restaurant but don’t make a huge fuss about it. Follow the social customs but don’t draw attention to it. Here’s what not to do:
– Use words from their native language, especially if you are butchering them (hint: YOU ARE BUTCHERING THEM).
– Use words from another Asian language that is not their own (hint: JUST DON’T SPEAK ASIAN EVER UNTIL AT LEAST THE FIFTH DATE).
– Tell them in great detail of your travelogues in Asian countries, as if this makes you automatic soulmates.
– Worse, do not tell them what you know about Asia that you learned in Japanese 101.
– Do not draw any attention to the fact that you know anything about their culture ever. Chances are, you have a horrifically inaccurate, simplified version and you will make a fool of yourself by setting yourself up as an expert and then dispelling that fact before you open your mouth (hint: We can tell).
3. DO NOT assume all Asian girls are stereotypes.
This should also go without saying, and it’s totally in your best interest, dude. Do you know what your stereotype is? Obese, constantly eating fast food, lazy, stupid, and lecherous towards Asian women. It’s true.
Do not assume that an Asian girl knows about/likes any of the following things. In fact, you’d be safe NOT bringing any of this up for at least two or three dates:
– Hello Kitty
– Cuisine of any kind
– Asian languages
PROTIP: Above all else, do not talk about how Asian girls are so “polite” and “subservient” and not “uppity” like American women. This is just offensive all around and, in 37 states, is grounds for obligatory junk kicking from every female in a five mile radius upon utterance.
4. DO NOT ask her out just because she’s Asian.
There is something that white people in America will never understand (at least this generation), and that is prolonged racism. It’s not your fault guys, it’s because you’ve just never had the opportunity to be exposed to it for long periods of time. Asian heritage is a huge part of our identity that is in our face all the time, and most of us are conflicted by it. It’s best if you don’t draw attention to it, that you not say that ambivalent, conflicting portion of them is what drew you to the girl (even if it was).
It works in all areas of life. Hugh Nibley was a famous BYU professor and guys would date his daughter just to meet her dad. They would not even get past the front door sometimes, spending three hours talking to her dad instead of taking her out on a date. Do you know how she knew she met her husband? When on the first date she asked him if he’d like to meet her dad now and he said, “Who’s Hugh Nibley?”
This is not to say you should feign ignorance. Don’t be an idiot. But if you know something about Asian culture, then here’s the best advice I can give you:
Keep your distance, but don’t look like you’re keeping your distance.
PROTIP: Star Wars references are always good on a first date.
If you can start to see a pattern here, then you’re intelligent. All of these acts that men do when many of them ask out Asian girls is demeaning. It’s degrading, and it dehumanizes. You are not in love with or infatuated with a person – you’re infatuated with a concept, and you’re using that person as a stand-in. And they can tell. My sister can tell when you don’t really care about who she is, as long as she’s Asian. And it’s offensive.
These four tips are just the start. I’m sure all of my Asian friends who are female could tell you plenty of other tips if hitching up with an Asian girl is truly your life’s goal (and you girls totally should in the comments). Heck, all of these tips, with a little bit of adaption, are appropriate for any type of meeting up with any girl. It’s just common sense – treat them with dignity and respect and humanity. Unfortunately, this is apparently A Very Hard Thing To Do for many males.
I wish this was an isolated kind of event and that I’m just ranting for the sake of ranting. But I’m not. Ask any Asian girl about this. It’s a regular occurrence. And ask my sister about her husband. He’s white. He went on a mission to Korea. But here’s one thing you can bet – he never did any of these things to her.
At least, not on the first date.