Fu Man “Who?” – Understanding The Complex Emotions Of Being An Asian-American Man

In a lot of ways our computers, video games, and homework have all been a great distraction for us Asian Men. A porcelain tub we lean back in with eyes closed, dunking our cold and pale bodies as the water blurs our vision and capsizes our eardrums till we can’t hear or see the outside world’s bullshit. We log in, check out, and let all the voices of society silence themselves to sleep while we level up our way to emotional bliss. We escape the pain.

Asian guys are nerds who stay on the computer all the time.


I hate watching American sitcoms, they so rarely reflect the families us Asians grew up with. Most of us Whiz Kids were crafted in a factory that churned out star children; PhD machines who studied and calculated their way to an American dream that wasn’t even ours, but our parents’. It isn’t the dream we wanted but we still did it. Robots aren’t trained to think or decide for themselves. If you aren’t taught to value your own opinions and aspirations then what use is there in having feelings of your own? Feelings get you in trouble because feelings get in the way of The American Dram. You can’t do that.

My Asian ex-boyfriend never opened up to me.


Asian American boys: the bastards of America. Our fathers are off on different shores in distant countries with wives and kids we never met, or up to their necks in TsingTao till their eyes turn red, or buried under a hundred other “gook” bodies that litter the the soils of the Korean and Vietnam War. So you take these fatherless children and expect them to become men yet you deny them the opportunity to see any Asian father figure on the T.V screen they’re cemented in front of. The screens they spend hours and hours in front of. To America it’s a mirror but to us it’s a screen that doesn’t look back. We keep looking but we still can’t find ourselves.

Why are Asian guys so weak and timid? They need to man up!


What happens inside those tiny glowing screens? Like the sight of a thousand Chinese railroad workers hammering a steel nail into the ground the American message is simple and repeated over and over through caricatures and violent acts of racism: your father was no man, you are no man, and your kids will never be a man. Go home, little boy. You do not belong in the land of giants. Your voice does not matter because your voice isn’t loud enough.

This Asian guy I like won’t tell me if he likes me back. Why isn’t he speaking to me?


The problem with being an Asian American Man is that you are stuck at a fork in the road but you’ve been told to stay still: while America tugs on your sense of identity and masculinity you want to push back and voice your concerns. But how do you teach a group of men to SPEAK UP when they were raised to politely raise their hands? How do you untangle these robot wires and let these men feel? We may ace and code our way to a middle-class but given the open floor beneath our feet where no one is willing to see us– not Asian women, not other men, not even Asians from Asia – what difference does it make what we think? It’s like we’re still on that railroad pounding away at the ground. This is our life.

I give up on Asian Men. 


Asian Men are a complex and intricate group of individuals. Our own mental and emotional struggles are folded under our pillow by our unrelenting desire to succeed. To prove our worth to our parents that we can do it. That their efforts to cross those seas were not in vain. Dad, I can do it. Mom, I’ll make you proud. But when the the duty of your family pulls us to the right, the hunger to find our own identity yanks to the left, societal pressure drags us down, and the women who love us want us to stand up, we are bound to rip apart like a paper doll being fed into a room with paper shredders on all four walls.

I don’t understand Asian Men.

And you never will…

Because we don’t understand either.


21 thoughts on “Fu Man “Who?” – Understanding The Complex Emotions Of Being An Asian-American Man

  1. Love it bro. What people don’t realize is that the western world is still very racist towards Asian men. Asian men are the only people that get made fun of to their face. Hollywood and media have done huge damage with all the caricatures and penis jokes. Being an asian from asia, I can only imagine how hard and how confidence-killing growing up in such an environment must be. No wonder asian guys in the west appear shy and quiet and tend to stay in an asian circle.

  2. This is an eloquent and poignant description of what it is like to live in America with a dual identity. It is important to acknowledge and articulate the feelings of conflict and invisibility that contribute to the people we become.

    • C’est vrai tout ça mais la majorité des gens veulent vivre en ville, dans ce genre de bâtiment, bien loin de l’isolement.Si vous saviez le nombre de personnes qui me disent : »Mais comment tu fais pour vivre si isolée dans la campagne. Moi, j’aurais peur ».

    • junimar escreveu: document.write(’19 de abril de 2011 as 9:35′); hoje 18-04-2011………Dia 06-04-2011 perdi a oportunidade de adquirir um caravan 1986 ,04 cilindros,movido a alcool e com direçao hidraulica ,custava sò 2.200,00 reais ..Pois é , me faltou os 02 mil ,agora ja era.Esse post sobre o novo bugatti foi o melhor de todos.

  3. “Capsizes our eardrums…” interesting turn of phrase. I agree with your article. It concisely elucidates the dichotomy of living in America while being pulled by two strong cultural expectations.

  4. As a Japanese guy from Japan, I’ve always been curios about Asian American men. You guys are American, yet also very Asian. I try to understand you, but you are somewhat elusive. But I learnt something valuable today: you don’t understand yourself either!

  5. Great article and very well written. I think every Asian guy can relate to this growing up in America. Socially, American media has done incredible harm to current generation of Asian American men. It will continue as things stay status quo and media continue to promote “white is right” agenda over and over.

  6. I am an Asian American girl, and I have to say that this was very touching. Even I can relate to and understand this article, and frankly, I think everyone can a little. Thank you for writing this, it was very beautiful.

  7. As a Korean married to a Columbian this article is the truth…as is most of your articles. Out cultures are not hugely different in some ways. Out moms are identical almost, but when it comes showing emotion or the love aspect we but heads and this is something every girl I have ever been serious with as always said to me. Its hard for me to explain to my wife sometimes, this might help.

    • During the previous several years Pepsi has been known for creating and distributing oddly flavored versions of their renown Pepsi soda. They’ve made their soda clear, white, clear, red, and now they’re going blue with Pepsi blb&&.nusp;enbsp;sugar in soda

  8. you should blog more often these days. I moved overseas to Asia a few years ago and stayed there for quite sometime. obviously I dated all ethnicities being an ex-pat abroad, but specifically I dated Asian more frequently. every nationality possible damn near. I’m a open minded and love interacting with people from different cultures and such even before my move overseas, but I found my relationship with Asian men to be the best I’ve had.

    now, I won’t say it’s a fetish. I just grew very attracted to interracial dating and found that my culture, demeanor, and viewpoint being a BW seemed to be very similar to the Asian men that I dated. also, the fact that black women and Asian men are both often overlooked in the interracial dating pool makes it sensible also. maybe I’m trying to justify. although it’s true. BM are into other ethnicities and AW drastically speaking go for WM. it’s all good. I support the swirl 100%

    I won’t generalize though. my positive experiences with Asian men could all be a coincidence. there’s probably no racial genetical facts to explain my luck but honestly, I’ve grown a preference for Asian men as a result to my experiences. I’m not into K-POP or being what I’d believe to be racist. I’m definitely being my outspoken weirdo self. I’ve always been one to go against the norm anyway naturally, but I’m just hoping that my attraction is seemingly healthy.

    I’d like your thoughts too. be honest please. my best friend thinks I have a fetish but she also has a strong attraction and preference for men with dark skin. I think it’s only thought to be a fetish when it’s outside of your race.

    what do you think?

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  10. Good piece man. As an Asian guy growing up in America and who’s also dated a lot out of his race, we are stuck in a confusing conundrum. It is tough to date who we want when we are fighting two fronts:

    1. The American media / culture putting us down as well as setting standards on how we “should be”.
    2. Growing up in a traditional household that places emphasis on the qualities / traits that are not valued in America.

    I think it’s even more critical we (as Asian men) learn how to shed the programming imprinted on us (both Asian and American) that doesn’t speak to us. Maybe the problem isn’t so much about balancing American and Asian culture, but learning how to tap into what we truly identify with.

  11. I recently started following your Facebook page. I love you point of views and ability to articulate things that many of us feel, but cannot explain. This article is beautifully written. I also understand the struggles of not being able to properly express yourself because of the way culture and society pulls you in different directions. As a black woman, we are portrayed as loud, undesirable and low class. My family taught me to go against the negative stereotypes of black women every chance that I get. That made me feel frustrated because as a black woman, any sign of resistance is interpreted as my “angry black woman “side coming through. Your perspective however, has allowed me to view things much differently. You made me realize that all of these stereotypes benefit white men and it was designed to be that way. I hope that your writings help others find their voice and the satisfaction of finding yourself. Keep up the good work.

  12. G’day mate, Australian born Chinese dude here. Beautiful article. I’d like to add my two cents.

    Asian-Western men DO need to man up, ie. act with more agency based on clear self understanding, IMHO. The trick is that the “White Alpha Male” and the “Asian Alpha Male” are distinctly different animals racially/culturally, very important to not try and be something we are not (eg. typical individual self help and empowerment is geared for Whitey, family/clan level versions of the same are more the East Asian way) , even as the hybridisation of cultural values and norms inevitable in our banana status bears distinct advantages to either more pure strain, and allows us the possibility to see each more clearly.

    This clear seeing is impossible however if we adopt any of these three belief systems:
    1) White culture is the best
    2) East Asian ways are the best
    3) Race and culture do not matter at all

    One thing that helps that process IMHO – clearly differentiating the value of giving/expecting face, and the problems of cowardly refusing to face challenges. Don’t denigrate an emphasis on group harmony, don’t, don’t allow subtle social veils enable lack of backbone.

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