Home > humor, life > The multitudinous benefits of being an ethnic minority in America

The multitudinous benefits of being an ethnic minority in America

February 5, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

A brief exchange that occurred a few days ago:

Me: walking down to Mr. S, minding my own business.

Slightly unkempt guy walking a dog in front of me, looking back over his shoulder: “Hey! You are very beautiful.”

Me, a little startled: “Huh? Oh, thank you…”

Him, slowing down to match my pace: “So, what’s your ethnicity?”

Me, immediately slightly defensive: “Uh, I’m…Chinese.”

Him: “Oh! You must be quite an athlete, then – the Chinese are such amazing athletes! I’ve seen videos where they start training their girls at six or seven years old…”

Me, thinking, Yeah, it’s nothing short of child abuse over there… Aloud: “Oh yeah? I guess so…”

Him: “Anyway, I can tell you’re athletic by your gait.”

Me, slightly bemused: “My gait?”

Him: “Yes, gait. You know gait? G-A-I-T-”

Me, slightly annoyed: “Yes, I know gait. You can tell I’m athletic by my gait?”

Him: “Yeah, I used to be a trainer, I can tell how athletes walk.”

His dog starts pulling and barking at something in front of us. Slightly unkempt guy pulls sharply at his leash and admonishes him before turning back to me.

Him: “Hah, he’s just jealous. You know jealous?”

Me: “…”

Him: “Anyway, have a great day!” And turns a corner.

Good fucking riddance.

Sadly, this is not a unique occurrence. I am often asked about my ethnicity, and when it’s a white guy who’s doing the asking, I immediately cringe, and my defenses (as well as my hackles) go up, assuming he’s got a case of yellow fever. I know, I know – it’s an unfair and sweeping presumption to make, but it’s also been reinforced by past experiences. As soon as I notice that a guy is specifically interested in my ethnicity, I lose all interest and patience in him.

(A friend of mine, who openly admits to being primarily attracted to Asian women, can attest to just how cold and brusque I can be about this. I refused to associate with him and barely acknowledged his existence for the first three years I knew him.) – Sorry, AB!

To have to deal with that in the world at large is annoying enough, but now that I’ve also entered the kink community, the fetish is not only much more prevalent in my social circle – it becomes that much more blatant. A quick scroll through the “Asian” group on Fetlife is enough to make me gag.

There are many different viewpoints regarding ethnic fetishes. On the one hand, a person cannot necessarily help what they are attracted to, and an attraction to a certain race may be equivalent to being attracted to blond hair or a certain height. It’s just another physical attribute that a person considers in the overall makeup of someone they’re checking out.

On the other hand, I am more than the single dimension of my ethnic background, and I am certainly more than the perceived beliefs of what that ethnicity says about my personality and my behaviors. And I’ve found, more often than not, that those who fetishize my race narrow in on those aspects; they aren’t viewing race as one part of my overall person. They are, in fact, replacing my individual personality with one they’ve already constructed in their mind to fit their fantasy.

There is nothing that grates on me quite as acutely as having another’s fetish or presumptions pushed on me. I can’t imagine that anyone appreciates this, actually. Sure, there are people who embrace having their own race fetishized, and who am I to judge them? But don’t assume I am one of those people, and don’t start talking and behaving towards me as if I’m agreeing to act on your fetish!

I suppose a possible analogy I can make here is to bottoms (especially submissive males, it seems) who assume anyone who is dominant will dominate them, especially if they just start submitting to them without regard for whether the other person actually wants to engage. The opposite also works: tops who are somehow arrogant enough to believe anyone who identifies as submissive will automatically submit to their domly self. (Spare me my ribs, they may crack from laughing at the thought!)

All of these circumstances are rude, disrespectful, and self-serving. Asian fetishism is no different.

[note: I went off in another direction altogether from what I was thinking when I started writing down the short conversation I had with slightly unkempt guy. Besides the blatant interest in my ethnicity, it was actually his only-too-happy assumption of my English ability and vocabulary that royally pissed me off.]

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Categories: humor, life
  1. February 20, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Now you have me pondering the times that I–a white woman–have been in relationships with Asian men and black men who preferred white women. I never considered their preferences to be a fetish, although I always wondered how they came to their proclivities.

    I do see though that there are a lot of stereotypes, generalizations, and assumptions about Asian women, and these have been perpetuated (and perpetrated) for ages, in movies, stories, paintings, and such.

    Interesting how the situations are so very different from one gender to the other.

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