Movie Friday: How to hit on an Asian girl

I live in Vancouver, which is a city that has a very large population of east and south Asian people. Having spent a number of years in Brampton, Ontario, and having done a degree at the University of Waterloo, I am more or less used to being in an environment with a large minority population. Some people, however, seem to have a difficult time dealing with the diversity, and retreat immediately into crude stereotypes when interacting with non-white people. If you think you might be one of those (and you are attracted to women), here’s a few handy tips:

Many people (mostly white people) express a great deal of incredulity when people of colour (PoCs) share stories like this. “How could anyone be so stupid?” they ask. Or, more commonly, “you’re exaggerating”. Life as a PoC in most cities in North America is emphatically not a non-stop barrage of racial insensitivity and adversity. However, it doesn’t take a lot of these kinds of comments to make you feel as though two things are overwhelmingly true:

  1. Your race/ethnic identity is the most important thing people see when they look at you
  2. You are the ‘other’ – a person who is tolerated but not part of the group

Now I don’t get hit on a lot (and when I am, most of the time I can’t hear the comments over the sound of me saying ‘yes’ and high-fiving myself), but it’s a pretty safe bet that when I’m flirting with someone who seems interested, at some point I will hear either “I just love black guys”, or “I’ve never been with a black guy before”. I’ve yet to hear “I’ve never been with a viola player before” or “health economists are so sexy” (and we really are – we’ve done extensive studies proving it through the use of computer simulation). It’s not a huge problem, but it’s just one of those things.

While it’s tough enough for women to walk down the street without being openly and unapologetically objectified by strangers, when you add race to that equation, life becomes even more difficult.

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  1. Beauzeaux says

    “I’ve never been with a viola player before”

    I’m afraid this would be a dealbreaker.
    Why do so many people take an instant dislike to the viola?
    It saves time.
    No, I’d never be able to resist cracking the jokes.

  2. Bill says

    I admit, I experimented with viola — when I was a youth. But the restrictive weirdness of the viola clef was too much for me, I went back to standard bass and treble with decent instruments like piano and trumpet.

    While the privileged part of me wants to think that this can’t happen, the reality side of me is sure it does. I once saw an idiot named Carolyn Merchant speak (she has a whole chapter to herself in the wonderful book “Higher Superstition”). She repeatedly, and I mean over and over, used the phrase “men and women and people of color.” (Yes, I’m in the USA, so it’s “color.”) Rather hard to find a more solid representation of the two “overwhelmingly true” points above for PoC.

    When this was pointed out to her, she was completely confused, simply did not understand. I was quite distressed that a well published and paid-to-speak academic could be so momumentally unintelligent.

  3. says

    Did she mean to separate “men and women” from “people of colour”, or was she talking about men of colour, women of colour, and people of colour? The second option might be an awkward way of including transpersons who might not necessarily identify with the other labels.

  4. Bill says

    Nope, it wasn’t a poorly worded outreach to other genders, it was men and women (the establishment whites), with “people of color” existing outside the gendered whites because…. well, no one there really figured that one out. I’m guessing that it was either because she figures people of color have a different relationship with the environment (radical environmentalism was her topic), or because she thought it polished up her edgy credentials to acknowledge that not everyone is white.

  5. says

    Reminds me of this picture.

    TL/DC (too lazy, didn’t click): picture is of a bunch of grinning kids of different ethnicities and the caption reads “everyone deserves to be treated equally. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or yellow or brown or normal!”

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