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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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. 

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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.

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Why You Suck At Interracial Dating: You Want Him To Look Asian But Act “Caucasian”

As a professional Internetz navigator, I have learned to develop a thick skin for stupid comments. Youtube comments, Facebook comments, and yes, WorldStarHipHop comments. I avoid responding to idiotic comments since I have zero patience to debate the logistics of blackface with a 34-year old manlet from Kentucky. In rare instances, a comment or two will jolt through my system and I’ll feel a sudden urge to speak up.

This was one of those instances.

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I get it, she had a blast with Mr. Italy – that’s cool! Heck, that guy could have treated her out to Sizzler on an early bird special and finished the night eating a cannoli out of her cornhole – WHO KNOWS?! But why the comparison? Why do Asian men need to learn a lesson from Italian Men? And why am I so upset about this minor, no-need-to-worry comment that could have been flicked like the booger it was? Simple: a lot of people who date interracially fail to understand the qualities of an ethnic group because they’re constantly comparing it to others.

This is a driving force as to why people think Asians are shy, Blacks are aggressive, and Latinas are sex-crazy. Instead of appreciating the aspects of one culture as a unique and individual category, they constantly weigh it against a particular standard (which is generally White, Western culture.) They may see a cute Asian guy who failed to maintain eye contact and they’ll propagate, “ugh! He’s so shy! Why can’t he be like White guys and just look at me?!” Instead, she could have asked, “Does he come from a place where eye contact is disrespectful? Is eye contact only reserved for close friends and lovers? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!”

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“He grabbed by boob 8 times. But why? Wait… isn’t 8 a lucky number in China? SWEET!”

Too often I see this comparison made. It’s almost as if people wanna date Asians but are secretly looking for all the characteristics of a Southern White guy or a New York Black guy (whatever the hell that means.) This makes just as much sense as visiting the local Sushi bar, ordering a spicy tuna roll only to complain, “ugh! this tastes nothing like a bacon double cheeseburger!”

Furthermore, I think there’s another discreet yet equally damaging effect that develops when you’re always measuring the quality of cultures in reference to another: language. Asians guys are timid compared to Blacks. Black women are ratchet compared to Asians. Asian women are docile compared to Whites. White men are more stable than Latinos. These note cards organized in our compendium of language, though tiny and modest in appearance, begin to construct a dictionary used to define that ethnic group.

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Sadly, THIS was how America used to compare and define its members…

It starts to turn into: Asian guys aren’t just more timid compared to blacks, they ARE timid by definition. But are they? As easy as it is to view Asian men as too shy or too weak and that they need to “learn from Italian men,” couldn’t that same Asian man say, “that Black girl was too aggressive and too violent for my taste”? While she’s swooning over Mr. Italy’s generosity and canoli-eating skills, what if he’s looking back at her as easy and gullible compared to Italian girls?

Why It Matters

"Oh hey there! I'm just about to pour you some tea!"

“Oh hey there! You’re just in time for a nice cup of tea!”

In your quest to find love outside the colored box you were drawn into, you will meet someone. You’ll meet a great man or woman and they’ll be the opposite of you with hair that feels lighter, eyes that look darker, or skin that tastes sweeter. They may may be concerned about different political issues or social issues, have contrasting expectations for who does the dishes or an assorted  opinion on how loud is loud when talking on the phone.

These are some of the moments you might expect from an interracial relationship.

Moments when your expectations collide with theirs. If you’ve listened to what I was trying to say, if you know how to accept the beauty and the individuality and the specificity of each culture as they are, without lamenting over how right or wrong it is compared to your own culture or another, if you can do that you’ll not only be equipped with the knowledge of interracial dating 101, but you won’t fret over a collision of cultures because you managed to find harmony between them.

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The Asian “I Love You”: When His ‘I Love You’ Is Different From Yours

I guess you could call me lucky.

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Growing up, I was an incredibly tame yet cheerful child. I’m willing to wager that this was due to my close bond with my Mom. Even to this day, she’ll ask me to sit on her lap like some 160 lb man-child while she recollects stories from my childhood. The struggles we went through when our family immigrated and what a blessing I was in her life. Most importantly, she said and still says: I love you – and I’ll say it back.

I guess you could call me lucky because when you compare my warm upbringing to the one other Asian Americans and Asians experienced, like a debate over which is better, Pho or Ramen, the two are total opposites:

You could brush it off and say, well, that’s the culture! They say I love you in different ways! True. Very true. But when you’re an Asian American man dating interracially and your wife is, say, African American or Latina American and they are used to expressing their appreciation and love in a most verbose way, using carefully chosen words to convey their emotions, where does the Asian “I love you” factor into it all? What happens when verbal and non-verbal “I love you’s” collide?

"What the hell, man! Why didn't she swoon over my cover of Maxwell? I KNEW I should have given the final rose to the Black chick with the natural hair!!"

“What the hell, man! Why didn’t she swoon over my cover of Maxwell? I KNEW I should have given the final rose to the Black chick with the natural hair!!”

Each and every one of us regardless of culture or gender all possess a unique set of love languages: ways that we feel love. For many Asian cultures, love is shown through gifts and actions. That’s probably why the parents of your Asian boyfriend of 2 years haven’t said they love you but they always bring over food or give you plastic bags filled free slippers or apples. Random gestures that, in your western mind, may mean nothing but, to them, mean everything.

"Bai Li, I bought this Physics book at the garage sale so you can prepare for 3rd grade! WHAT? Not Interested?! YOU DON'T LOVE ME!!!"

“Bai Li, I bought this Physics book at the garage sale so you can prepare for 3rd grade! WHAT? Not Interested?! YOU DON’T LOVE ME!!!”

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Western love: it’s shown through words and touch. Peek your head into any sleezy nightclub and you’ll definitely see guys wording and touching their way into a girl’s heart via “let me touch your boobs.” See where things get complicated? See why interracial dating in the AMXF landscape can be so difficult? The way a person demonstrates love is often the method they expect to see it returned. A kiss for a kiss, not a kiss for a bag of persimmons.

So tonight, ladies and gentleman, when you go to bed next to your Asian boyfriend or Latina American girlfriend, make sure you show your love in a way they can understand. Be it a foot rub, a surprise cookie from Ms. Fields, whispers of sweet nothings into their ear, or a gentle kiss on the cheek. And maybe then they’ll close their eyes, kiss you back and think to themselves…

“How did I get so lucky?”

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15 Reasons Why Barack Obama Is Actually Asian

The other day I came across this photo of Barack Obama with his extended family. Notice anything?

HELLA ASIANS UP IN HERE! Upon further investigation I was SHOCKED to find out just how Asian Barack truly was. Could it be? Could it be that Asians aren’t just Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Nurses, and Pharmacists? Could we actually be… THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?! Here is definitive proof that our 44th President is indeed a full blown Asian.

1. His Mother re-married an Indonesian man

Obama spent a few years in Indonesia and his step-father was Indonesian. Now, I’m not the most experienced when it comes to Indonesian people but I do know this: they’re brown like me, they probably like eating meat and rice, and they most likely sing Karaoke – so you KNOW Barack indulged in some of that!

2. His Sister is half-Indonesian

You already know Obama and his sister grew up on Anime. YOU ALREADY KNOW THIS!

3. His sister married a Chinese man

Uhhh, hello? Asian Brother-in-Law = Blasian hangouts! The two of them probably drink Ramune, eat pocky sticks, and gossip about how much they like Hawaii Five-O.

4. His half-Brother married a Chinese woman

OH COME ON!! Obama is so Asian when he breathes he smells like Oyster sauce. His brother can even be seen online wearing traditional Asian clothes and you know, YOU KNOW Obama walks around the White House wearing it too.

5. He loves a good MMO RPG

Here’s a photo of Obama playing Starcraft with his online friends, Young Ji and Seonghee. He’s probably winning.

6. He knows how to do “The Asian Bow”

If you read my last post about “How to do the Asian Bow” then you’ll notice that Obama is an expert. He knows not to look into the eyes, bow low, and keep his feet together. HIS FORM IS IMPECCABLE.

7. Obama loves taking selfies

Originally, this picture was of Obama throwing up an Asian peace sign but his buddy didn’t think it was Kawaii enough. Whatever, man…

8. Obama enjoys a good K-Pop marathon

Mr. President has often been spotted watching re-runs of Flower Boy Ramen shop though his favorite pastime is keeping himself updated on the latest K-Pop stars.

9. He’s a big FOODIE

Asians are the biggest, most obnoxious foodies in the world – and so is Obama. President Barack Obama also has a private instagram where he photographs his meals and posts captions like, “nom nom nom” and ” yummy! ^__^”

10. He LOOVES shaved ice

Maybe it’s the Hawaiin in him, or maybe he’s just HELLA ASIAN LIKE THAT. You see, Asians are too cheap and lazy to turn on the air conditioner because they’re afraid of getting a high gas bill. Instead, they eat shaved ice. It’s cheaper, and it tastes like childhood memories and success.

11. Did I mention he LOVES shaved ice?

There’s an infinite supply of photos of Obama eating shaved ice. He’s totes addicted.

12. He’s always chillin’ with his fellow Asian brothers and sisters

Here he is in Korea with his buddies discussing where to go for good Bibimbap.

Now he’s meeting the president of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino, as they shake hands and agree to a Karaoke battle. I think Obama won after that killer rendition of Richard Marx’s “Right here waiting.”

13. Mr. President loves making noodles

I always thought of myself as a noodle expert, but Barack takes it to the extreme: he hires his Chinese noodle buddies to make it for him fresh. That’s dedication!

14. He loves making corny word puns

Asians love making word puns. Here he is whispering a good one into Michelle’s ear.
Barack: Knock Knock
Michelle:
Who’s there?
Barack: Pho
Michelle: Pho who?
Barack: Gurll, your body looks un-PHO-gettable!

15. Barack has those beautiful Asian eyes

YOUR MIND HAS BEEN BLOWN.

Has Society Grown More Openly Racist? – When Racism Turns Into Hatred

As much as I can, I try to refrain from cursing too much in person and on this blog. But few words can explain how I feel at this moment but: what the fuck…

Perhaps it’s my recently heightened interest in social and political matters that has made me notice all this racism, but is it just me or do people seem extra racist nowadays? On a scale from Ghandi to Adolf Hitler the racism three years ago was at a cringing “Michael Richards” whereas now, we’re entering Neo Nazi territory. So my question to you and the rest of the world is, what the hell happened in these last few years? What particles are flowing through the faucets of America to ignite such horrific racism?

You see, it needs to be noted that the racism we’ve been seeing is not just a matter of comedians trying to be funny or individuals who accidentally/unknowingly make a racist remark (ex: “Wait, is it true? Do Asians really eat dogs?!) No. The racism we’ve been seeing is boiling at such a high magnitude that it’s entered the wake of pure hatred. Just as you would differentiate a killer who stabs a man out of self defense and one who knowingly plots a murder scheme, we also need to magnify the fact that none of these racist acts are an “accident” of any sort. They know what the fuck they are doing and they’re trying to communicate a very clear message.

When we look back at our history and examine the moments that have illustrated clear cases of racism, the element that seems to be a consistent friend of racism is fear. Not just any fear, but the fear of something or someone foreign taking over you and your people, i.e. Xenophobia. This is the underlying fear that caused the Chinese Exclusion act, current anti-immigration policies and this is the same fear that I believe to be the root of all this racism we’ve been seeing online.

I also need to note that a high percentage of people who have been making these tweets are remarks all seem to be young White Americans. Now, I could easily (and foolishly) arrive at a conclusion that white people are just racist fucks who are the cause of all this hate. I could, but I won’t. I know this isn’t true because for every racist white person you see, there are probably an infinite number of white people who would gladly punch them in the face. White people aren’t racist, just THESE White people are racist.

So what exactly is going on in society that might incite this Xenophobic fear? I mean, it could easily be anything. From the re-election of Barack Obama and him being accused of his nationality, the growing strength of China and our massive debt towards them, the war in the Middle East, nuclear scares from North Korea, increases in immigration and the list goes on. I think Bill O’Reily said it best during his interview with Fox News:

“The White Establishment is now the Minority.”

Can we read that again? The White Establishment is now the Minority. The “Establishment” part is what really juts at my side. It almost brings rise to a question of whether or not Bill and others like minded view the White “Establishment” as some sort of business with a plan in mind. But in some aspects, it sorta makes sense… With Xenophobia, there are two parties in play: the foreign group and the local group. The foreigners in these cases are Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, etc etc while the local group includes – based on the people who are displaying these racist behaviors – a majority of White Americans.

Ironic, isn’t it? Since White/European nations have  imperialized country after country, you would think they would welcome outsiders with open arms. Okay, so maybe these kids aren’t exactly scared of an Asian invasion or a Mexican wave coming in to convert all the Whole Foods Markets into Mi Pueblos. Let’s face it, our generation didn’t go through the wars our parents endured so their sense of nationalism may be different. In that event, I’d like to suggest that it’s plausible that Xenophobia is an effect and the cause of some individuals is actually the fear of White identity slowly eroding.

It doesn’t take a social scientist to notice that some of the most privileged people on this planet are heterosexual, Christian, White Males. That being said, most modern movements challenge every single one of those things: we’re fighting for same-sex marriage, there’s a large rise in Atheism, most ethnic minorities voted for Obama during the election, and Women are gradually chipping away at the glass ceiling above them. These identities are being protested against and the power of the straight white male identity is shrinking smaller by the day.

So then what’s up with all the racist Tweets? Think of it like this: When America wanted to keep its army bases in the Philippines in the late 1890’s, the Filipinos reacted by protesting and engaging in war. When Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese the Americans reacted by dropping an even bigger set of bombs. My guess is that, since much of today’s fears exist on conceptual realm – no one is mass murdering White people, they’re just moving next door and working at their job –  the reaction has to be greater or equal. So it doesn’t make sense for waves of White people to go off and kill Asians because Psy performed at the American Music Awards, instead they just yell “CHINK!” on Twitter. To them, this is a logical equivalent. It’s a form of protest that fits the problem they see.

The bare bones reality is that all of their fears really do exist. Asians are the highest paid ethnic group in America. Gays can marry in Maryland and Maine. More Women are being elected into top-tier political positions. Mexican immigrants are establishing homes in the states . Things are changing and although you and I see this as a good thing, others do not. And that’s okay. That’s actually understandable. The straight white male has long dominated this world and our country has benefited from the minds of many of these men. But the new generation needs to understand that Blacks, Gays and other immigrant groups don’t have some agenda to take over. We simply want what they want: a chance to succeed and make something happen in their lives. It just so happens that we’re doing fucking amazing things and we’re giving these men a run for their money.

Racism in America will always exist – I’m sure of it. There will come a day when a new majority is created and perhaps they will behave just as poorly. All we can do is sit back and watch this thing unfold before our eyes. We can change things. We can prevent some of this racist behavior by voicing our opinions. By writing blogs and sharing articles we can highlight that this thing exists. Racism is getting incredibly nasty nowadays and its abundance has been growing quicker than spoiled milk under the sun. So stand the fuck up and post something. If you feel what I feel, even just a little, then do something. Now take that hand of yours, craft a message, and throw that wrench into the cogs. We have work to do.