Asian Men, Socioeconomic Status, and the English Language

Research has pointed to the fact that intermarriage is more common among those with a higher socioeconomic status and among those who are more educated (such as holding a college degree or higher). The advantage of a higher education often time means that there is an increased exposure or opportunity for exposure to individuals from other races/ethnicities. This exposure also means that the idea of marriage outside ones original culture is an acceptable one. Along with that acceptance is the key advantage of having the mastery of the English language. With the mastery the English language an Asian man can express himself well, feel competent in that given society, and understand and have greater cultural awareness.

Let’s take for example, Asian Americans who speak English fluently such as groups that have been in the U.S. for longer periods of time, like Japan or China. They are more likely to be better assimilated into the larger culture and are more likely to marry someone of a different race. Why? When language is not an obstacle, it makes it much easier to talk to the pretty girl you always see, or to relate to the greater culture around you. Without the proper language skills groups often segregate themselves, (as Asian cultures here in the U.S. still do) and that leaves little chance for men to have an advantage in the dating market. This is also true for men living in Asia that have a mastery of the English language. They also choose to meet white women and marry interracially, but due to factors such the low availability of white women in Asia, and long distance dating, it often makes things more difficult.

So for Asian men with higher/middle socioeconomic status and good education, it would naturally follow that he would be in a better position to travel, meet, socialize, date, and marry interracially if he so chooses. There are rare cases although were Asian men have come from lower socioeconomic status levels and still have mastered English, dated, and married white women. These cases are far less prevalent although.

Ability to Express Oneself:  I want to point out that the advantage is really an increased chance due to the fact that self expression is so important.  Even though a man may have the best intentions, if he can not express his feeling well, then it will make the process of meeting women and gaining trust all that much more difficult.

Language Proficiency: As long as there is a common language between two people, a common tool, then there should be little difficulty when it comes to communication. Often times we see white females that specifically learn a particular Asian language so that they can freely live, work, and, socialize with Asian men.

Travel/Cultural Awareness: It is an unfortunate truth that those who have more money have the advantage of being able to travel and to appreciate other cultures. That being said, those Asian men who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel west have the advantage in meeting white women. Those Asian men who live in North America or Europe already have the advantage and are usually not discouraged from being in interracial relationships.

Any thoughts?

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A Decade Later – Have Perceptions Changed?

In 2001, Yankelovich Partners surveyed 1,002 Americans about Chinese American and Asian American stereotypes for the Committee of 100.  While this may have been over a decade ago, I find it still relevant and useful information. Among the many results I found, the two most interesting facts were regarding family disapproval of a marital partner and general attitude to Chinese Americans.  Approximately 24% of the sample indicated that an Asian American marital partner would face family disapproval and only 32% of the sample had positive opinions about Chinese Americans (43% Somewhat Negative and 25% Very Negative).

I have included a portion of the results in pie chart format. Since I am not Caucasian, I suppose I will comment on my own thoughts.

Historical Fears

Being Canadian myself, I went to take a look at some Canadian history of Asian immigration. After the Gold Rush came the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway between 1880 and 1885. With poverty on the rise in China, approximately 15,000 Chinese labourers helped construct the railway often by moving rocks and the handling of unstable explosives. The Chinese worked long and hard hours, often for 30-50 percent of the regular pay. After the railway was completed, the trip back to China was unaffordable so they opted to remain in Canada.

With growing fear of the Chinese, in 1885 the Chinese (and only the Chinese) were imposed of a $50 head tax that would increase to $500 per person in 1903. (According to Canada in Making, that would be the equivalent of 2 years of salary) Even the Japanese faced heavy racism and were relocated to “internment labour camps” away from coastal British Columbia during the Second World War. What made matters even worse was that the majority of their personal assets were confiscated by the government and auctioned off.

Mind you that this was almost seventy years ago, and times have changed. Even in the 1970’s my father recollects his experiences with negative opinions against Asians in Canada.  Working various jobs to pay for post-secondary, he would be often be called by ethnic slurs, but fortunately did not face any physical abuse. In light of everything he took it all in stride and years later managed to reconnect with his high school sweetheart who recently moved to Canada from Hong Kong. I’m sure he would have been open to a Caucasian woman, but the perceptions in the 70’s may have been considerably harsher. (Had he done that I probably wouldn’t be here writing this article)

A Recollection of 2001

When this survey was carried out, I realized my perceptions of Caucasians were definitely different a decade ago. At that time, I would say about 90% of my friends were Asian, but because my involvement in competitive soccer, I did have a few Caucasian friends. I was one of those smart-athletic Asian types of guy. To my Asian friends, I was probably the only male that had experience in an AMWF Relationship. In all honesty, looking back when I was in that particular AMWF relationship, it was really under our common love for soccer.  I was physically attracted to White Females back then because they tended to be more athletic. This is probably because I was just beginning to develop emotionally. Yes I could talk about cultural specific things with Asian Females like our overbearing mothers, but I just felt like friendship was the only viable option.

Having a large Asian-based circle of friends was both comforting, but at the same time it was restrictive. With the majority of them being Hong Kong Chinese born Canadians, we stuck together. Birthdays were not forgotten, and I remember the intense nights of Pictionary or other group games. (Yes they were a nice bunch of friends) The more enjoyment of being as a group we shared, the closer we stuck together. Somehow only the White Males would be brave enough to enter our group, which we fully welcomed, but the White Female just never happened.

You could say we just grew too comfortable to make our group open to non-Asians. Perhaps we were viewed as a clique, but when your circle of Asian friends is large enough, it seems as if it doesn’t matter if the group looks closed off.

Present Day 2011

With a stronger level of emotional development and a level of maturity ten years later, I still do find White Females extremely attractive but for different reasons. Not only am I physically attracted to them, but also how they offer a completely different perspective on life that is more complementary than anything. Emotionally it has been very satisfying to communicate on a level beyond the frivolous and absolutely incredible when we respect each other’s viewpoint despite our differences. I am always blown away about how creative and expressive White Females can be (beyond basic fear and cheerfulness).

There is one slight problem, White Females like that are very rare. So Asian Men, if you do happen to run into an amazing person, don’t let the opportunity slip away – just go for it.

AMWF Relationships and Children

In the United States About two million American children have parents of different races, including marriages between whites and Asians. So, as we are living in an era when acceptance of all colors and combinations thereof are becoming more the norm, the idea of understanding the nature of multiracial families becomes an important topic. Now for some, this may be a little premature, but as an AMWF couple you will not only understand the identity of your relationship together, but you will be responsible for your children’s sense of identity.

“What are they?” “Where did you get them?” “ Your children, they don’t look anything like you?” “Your little girl has blond hair and Asian eyes!” These are things you may very well hear people say to you, and your children will also hear it. No doubt your child will at one point or another be singled out because of his/her unique mix of Caucasian and Asian features, or because mom and dad don’t “ match”. These questions may be sporadic, and born out of curiosity than cruel intent, but will it leave your children struggling to categorize themselves? As we  currently try and fit into five standard racial group: Caucasian, African America, Native American, Asian, or Latino, will our half Asian half white children feel they have no way to identify themselves?

In America’s growing generation of multiracial children I feel that children of AMWF relationships can achieve a healthy identity despite the confusing situations they may face. The old idea that being two or more racial heritages means confusion about whom he/ she is, I believe is no longer an issue. In fact, encouraging and supporting a multicultural life including becoming familiar with language, traditions, and customs, enriches your childs life. For the majority of multiracial children, growing up associated with multiple races and cultures creates an open-minded individual that can greatly contribute to healthy adult adjustment. I think that any confusion about being half white half Asian is a result of the reactions people in our society have when they can’t understand it. This sends a message that being that way is different, when in reality they are no different then any other children.

When I think about how we choose to define ourselves, it has nothing to do race at all. Sure our genetic makeup will define us in some ways, but it is not who we are. If you ever ask a child about differences in skin, hair color, or eye shape, you find that to them it’s a detail to be noted but it doesn’t actually mean anything. That way of thinking is even better then being “color blind” because to children there is no awareness of a perhaps cultural difference or sordid historical pasts between countries. Regardless of how we look, I know that our identities and the identities of our children do not need to be a factor. In choosing the AMWF relationship that means you’re white women, and you’re an Asian man, and you are choosing to have your children will be half white and half Asian. You’re choosing to introduce them to mixed cultures and all the traditions, foods, and events that are involved with that. To me, this is something we should be proud of because our children will define how our society thinks and views the AMWF relationship for generations to come.

The Connection Gap – Neglected AMWF Issues

Physical attraction is a funny thing.  As an Asian Male what you need to know about most is that it begins with a pass or fail. What I mean by that is that even before someone is remotely attracted to you, there needs to be a minimum level of hygiene, grooming, and overall image. Otherwise you will face some form of rejection from a female of interest. Even before you open your mouth you have already been pre-categorized into a no, maybe, or yes kind of guy. The reason for this is that people do not enjoy being emotionally torn apart by a relationship that could have been easily avoided.We do our very best to avoid the creepy, abusive, or twisted individuals, sometimes they manage to slip through the barriers.

When it comes to short-term relationships, the short-term criteria doesn’t necessarily equate to a fulfilling long-term relationship. In the short-term relationship, the excitement lies in the intensity and mysteriousness of the relationship. I would even go as far as to call it the honeymoon phase where passion often expressed in a physical manner. This may also include the provision of gifts or gestures that Asian Males use to show their affection. It is not uncommon to see gifts early on, or have him decline your offer to split the bill. To this day I still witness the typical feud between family friends and my parents when it comes to paying the bill for dinner. Being a provider is one quality Asian men pride themselves on.

Perhaps that may draw parallels to why Asian Parents tend to pressure their kids into taking a professional career. With a generous amount of remuneration, they would be capable of being solid providers and not struggle financially. Traditionally it would be common to have the husband of the family be the sole income earner while the wife would allocate the household resources. This is what Asian men believe makes them a man. To this day, even I still believe it to be true – well at least partially true. Enter long-term relationships.

While being a solid provider is great, that is also the problem in a long-term relationship with an Asian Male. That’s all it is. You believe him to be a good person – someone trustworthy, loyal, and attentive. You know for sure he cares for you, but deep down inside as a White Female, you still feel incomplete.  This is what I like to call the Connection Gap.

The Connection Gap

The easiest way to explain this is to break it down from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Essentially it is as follows:

Level of Need Asian Male White Female
Physiological As the provider, this can be attended to financially. A healthy lifestyle and a place to call home.
Safety/Security A stable job, house, and car. A comfortable lifestyle, extravagant is bonus, but not required.
Social Some friends, co-workers, neighbours, and family. Always large gatherings for special events.

Parents may play a large role in the decision making process.

To enjoy an event with others (i.e. sport event at the bar with the boys).

The “status” of being taken.

A network of family, friends, and partner to share life with.

Establishing and maintaining a strong connection with her partner. A close support network to turn to no matter how tiny the issue is.

Bonding as a group through conversation (girls night out).

Being surprised with signals of affection every now and then.

 

Esteem Largely based on having a happy marriage often with direct family support.

“If the partner is happy, then I am happy.”

Friends are present physically and virtually to share milestones and accomplishments.

To not be hated by anyone.

Being appreciated and needed by her partner and close network.

Sharing accomplishments first with the ones she loves the most.

Having love reciprocated in a genuine manner

Self-fulfillment Engage in activities that require sufficient skill and challenge.

Technical: Photography, Model building

Creative: Music, Acting, Singing

Generosity: Volunteering

Transcend beyond the physical and engage mentally, emotionally, and possibility spiritually.

Engage in charitable (youth group), creative (painting), or spiritual activities (yoga).

Now this is just a hypothetical example illustrating the two different viewpoints that applies to males and females and not just AMWF exclusively. Where the Connection Gap lies is when the Asian Male is focused on the Safety/Security or Social Level when the White Female is looking for Esteem and Self-fulfillment needs. Consequently the Asian Male will feel content with the relationship because he clearly is doing his job providing. While having basic needs and safety taken care of is excellent, there are often higher levels of esteem and self-fulfillment that are neglected in an AMWF relationship. If left unattended for extended periods of time, the relationship risks deterioration.

Dealing with the Connection Gap

If not already in a relationship, a White Female may choose to find someone who she feels able to meet that social, esteem, and self-fulfillment needs. As a result, instead of choosing Technophiles, the White Female may opt for the Comedian archetype. Asian Males who are naturally the Comedian type will attract many through their jovial temperament. Others prefer the Ambitious to provide the energy and intensity she craves on a social and esteem basis.  Individuals are few in numbers, but are often the most suitable to meet the self-fulfillment needs given their creativity, expression, and awareness.

What about the poor Technophile who was pushed aside? There’s nothing to fear – the most important thing to remember regardless of TCAI group is the ability to open and maintain healthy channels of communication between each other. While there is no perfect formula, there are two general steps. The first is to encourage healthy communication by taking a proactive stance. Instead of her always trying to bring up issues, take the opportunity as an Asian Male to genuinely let her know that you care and want to listen to her. After that is done, be sure to carry out actions deemed necessary.  Even though there are inherent gaps in the connection, by making an honest effort you move one step closer. Continue the process and grow together in the AMWF Relationship. The sooner you address the situation, the better. Don’t wait for things to get to nuclear levels as an Asian Male. Not only will the relationship become unmanageable, but it may lead to its eventual demise.