Understanding The Asian-Girl-White-Guy Relationship

Asian girl and Caucasian guy. Hand in hand walking down the street. It’s a sight that’s becoming more and more common in public these days.

Sometimes these are scenes of true love. Sometimes these two people of different heritage are attracted to each other purely because of the “exotic cultural difference aura” hanging in the air between them.

Love is complex. Inter-racial love is perhaps even more complex. Photo: Mabel Kwong

Love is complex. Inter-racial love is perhaps even more complex. Photo: Mabel Kwong

Just how do both these kinds of Asian-girl-white-guy relationships work?

The idea of Orientalism offers an explanation as to why the latter type of relationship exists. According to Professor Edward Said, Orientalism is a system of thought in which the West think of themselves as superior over the East in terms of economic and social development, fostering unequal power relations.

As the documentary Seeking Asian Female shows, there are cashed-up, “yellow fever” white men out there who splash out on so-called instant “mail order Asian brides” whom they reckon are submissive enough to be doting wives and cute with their China-doll bangs. It’s worth noting there are many Chinese, Vietnamese etc. women in Asia who voluntarily sign up to become Asian brides, willing to be objects of objectification, not true affection. Not all of them do so to swindle a white man’s money, but do so to escape poverty and put their homemaking desires into action in today’s modern society. In a sense, both parties end up satisfying each other’s perverse pleasures and domesticating fantasies, so creating workable relationships.

Also, in Asian cultures maintaining “face” is much esteemed – having a well-to-do spouse or simply a spouse is admired greatly and lusted after. Definitely a viable proposition as to why some Asian women don’t mind being an “accessory” hanging off their white husband’s arms.

And how do some Caucasian men come to fetishise over Asian women and vice-versa? It’s no secret the media constantly perpetuates notions of Orientalism today and as pretty much daily media consumers, we are often susceptible towards buying into endless stereotypical, often sexualised constructions of Asian women/Caucasian men on TV or YouTube. Or perhaps some of them have lived in secluded towns all their lives where only one Orientalist-drenched train of thought towards other races goes around and that’s all they know.

Then there are Asian girls and Caucasian guys who are sincerely in love with each other. The well-traveled, well-educated Gen-Y individuals appear to be more receptive towards stepping into this kind of relationship. Take for instance this couple: Beijing girl Hannah and Australian guy Alex meet in China, help one another speak the other’s language, come to accept their cultural differences with an open-mind and today reside loved-up in Sydney.

For such a relationship – and any other inter-racial relationship – to last the test of time, mutual respect for each other’s cultures is a natural necessity. Mutual respect goes beyond simply acknowledging each other’s traditions; it’s also about cultural tolerance. Like he taking his shoes off in her house and she going out to barbeques under the sun with him. In line with Hannah and Alex’s story that explains how Alex puts up with Hannah’s “sajiao” tantrums, making the effort to question the importance of and even partaking in the significant other’s customs warrants a stronger understanding of their not only their heritage, but their heritage-influenced personality.

It’s always heartening to see such couples learn each other’s language, especially from scratch. But maybe this is what keeps these relationships going. Don’t we always stop and stutter when we’re speaking to someone in a different language? It can be frustrating, but also fun and amusing – someone’s always saying something in a funny accent and it forces the two people to communicate. Not to mention learning a language and being able to speak it fluently takes time, just like how love often takes time to blossom.

Recently, there was a brief discussion about Asian girls going out with Caucasian guys in the comments section of one of my posts, and Shunlake mentioned:

Comment

In the context of love, sometimes heartfelt actions speak louder than words.

What do you think are the foundations of Asian-girl-Caucasian-guy and inter-racial relationships?

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561 thoughts on “Understanding The Asian-Girl-White-Guy Relationship

  1. Genetic code is a poor judge of relationships. My wife is mixed Chinese/Filipino, I an mixed Cherokee/German genetic code. Between us we have a son. We are human first and foremost, not a stereotype hyphenated grab bag of cultures or whatever the flavor of label is that day. We make our own life that works for us, and what someone else thinks of that is of no consequence.

    We are of one race, the human one.

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    • ‘We make our own life that works for us, ‘ Good for you and I think more of us should live that way. Culture and personalities are always changing, and no two people or relationship will ever be the same.

      Like

  2. I’ve always found raven hair the most attractive in women, even as a little kid. Also, I’m a scientist, play violin and piano and listen to classical music and opera regularly. So even though the asian cultures are very different from my very New England Irish upbringing, I’ve always tended to meet and gravitate towards asian woman because of the common interest in music and science. I’m now very happily married to a Japanese woman who is also a scientist and shares my affinity for classical music whom I met working in Japan. We are blessed to have two healthy and cheerful kids and we now live in Connecticut. For me I think she is the perfect match and she is a fantastic mother to our kids.

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    • We all gravitate towards who we gravitate. It’s lovely to hear that you’ve found someone who shares the same interests with you, and get along with. Sometimes it’s what we’re interested in that brings us closer in the first instance.

      Like

  3. Hi Mabel,

    What an insightful article. You’ve written about an issue that doesn’t surface in conversations too often. In addition, those who are on the receiving end of racial prejudices don’t often have access to platforms to express their concerns in literature form.

    I have dated men from every race you can possibly imagine, and am currently see a white Australian male who I met while working in Melbourne.

    I am in tertiary education, reading a medical degree. I also own a business, play sport three times a week, am a first aider for several sporting associations, conduct clinical research and own a firearms license which I use to go hunting. I was brought up in Europe and spent my days as a teenager in musuems, royal societies, sport clubs and volunteering in hospices.

    I never considered myself anything but normal and happy, mostly grateful for having four normal limbs and a working brain. As I planned to go on a hike with my then boyfriend, I overheard his mother, who he was living with then, say “Why can’t you hang out with someone more sophisticated, and do something more trendy”.
    FYI, I spend my days seeing patients, attending clinics, and my nights attending conferences, ballets, musical theatres, and the pictures.

    I was offered a job as a doctor by the largest health service in Victoria. (I’m aged 23, and my boyfriend is nearing 30)

    In comparison, my boyfriend was unemployed.

    I experienced then, an awesome amount of disbelief when it was implied that I was unsophisticated. I felt anger, which is so uncommon for me. I grew up around two younger sisters, and developed a kind nurturing temperament. I was head of house back in school and a senior Prefect. I organised parties with adult canvas painting, and held school information sessions at the Victoria and Albert museum, the Saatchi gallery, and the British museum in London.

    His mum had never travelled out of Victoria, Australia.

    I felt anger beyond belief that I could be stereotyped as a poverty stricken, PR-seeking, uneducated, unsophisticated Asian student by my boyfriend’s mother. (this is such a rant I know, but I couldn’t help but share my story with an online community who understands).

    I might not have been knighted, or won a Nobel prize, and I’m definitely far from being perfect. But I think it’s unwarranted to be labelled unsophisticated simply for my external appearance. It insults me to the very core to know that how I look denotes my social and political knowledge. In fact, I come from the UK, a country which prides itself on progressiveness. A good health service which doesn’t discriminate patient base on their residency status, and allows all settlers to vote in national elections, whether or not they have residency permits. It values the contributions one has regardless of their nationality or skin colour.

    Many of you probably experience this stereotyping to some extent and I would like to know how you feel, and how you’ve learnt to manage it.

    Like

    • It sounds like you are an extremely driven individual leading a well-rounded life. Doing a medical degree, running a business, being active at sport and taking time out for entertainment – it sounds like a juggling act and you do it so well and at the same time, you are independent on your own two feet. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been stereotyped for the way you look and the perceived at first glance – and maybe that will change at some point if that perception hasn’t changed yet.

      ‘I never considered myself anything but normal and happy, mostly grateful for having four normal limbs and a working brain.’ Love how you sum yourself up, and I think that is how many think of ourselves no matter what kind of relationship we are in. Quite a few will be quick to judge, and they might still continue to judge even after getting to know you. This might come across as pessimistic, but sometimes you can’t change someone else’s perceptions about inter-racial relationships or about other cultures in general. Our education, work and experiences do shape who we are but sometimes others don’t see achievements as a means of defining character. Fair enough. But there is definitely more to someone and relationships at face value. I think managing these kinds of perceptions is up to the individual: let it go and move on after trying your best to change perceptions, or just let it be and live your life.

      Thank you so much for the spirited response, Elspeth.

      Like

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