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.

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6 Responses to A Decade Later – Have Perceptions Changed?

  1. AMWF Love says:

    Interracial marriage have been fully legal in all U.S. states since the 1967 with the Supreme Court decision that deemed anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional. The United States has many ethnic and racial groups and interracial marriage is fairly common among most of them. Something like 14.6% of all new marriages in the United States in 2008 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity. In 2010 that made 12.5 million people multiracial Americans. So I believe that perceptions have changed in the US, and the world is also slowly changing and sharing this same view.

    The US although has a particular mentality of individuality and so whatever your personal preference for marriage of dating may be, its really up to you to decide. I think that women are not against marring or dating Asian men, and I have yet to meet a family that would not accept that union. Of course there will be some parents who disagree, but again because of the multi-ethnic nature of the US, its not usually a problem. Asians do often stay in a “clique”, which really can hinder a guys changes of meeting that special lady. So if your interested, make a move, talk to her, and make it happen ( same for women also).

    Change happens slowly, but it can only happen if we take the steps to make it our reality. It’s up to us to remove the stereotypes and prejudices of our ancestors.

    -Laura

  2. john victor oetomo says:

    stereotype bullshit

    asian americans are very dilligent more higher working ethic than blacks

    • AMWF Love says:

      Hey John,

      Regardless of the fact that Asian Americans (or Canadians like me) feel misrepresented from the sample size, if we are to improve the situation we have to take some form of action. Everyone is a human being, and should be treated as one. No ethnic group should be viewed as superior to another for they may place different priorities on their beliefs and values.

      While I can understand where you are coming from, this article was written to invoke some thought about perceptions of Asian Americans. Yes that is correct, Asians who converse in English as their primary language – ones without heavy Asian accents. Our Asian Male friends in Asia may not grasp English as well as we do, and the results from our survey indicate that even Westernized Asians encounter perception difficulities.

      As for myself, I continue to write to bring awareness about Asian Men and AMWF Relationships. Times are changing, and if another survey like the one described above is done today, I’m sure the results will be significantly different. 🙂

      – Brian

  3. hemp says:

    Bruce Lee and Linda Lee Caldwell were one of Hollywoods first Asian man Caucasian women celebrity couples and that was in the 60s! Is it that Asian men are fed up with their female counterparts and that they take revenge by dating Caucasian women?

    • AMWF Love says:

      Bruce Lee is technically 1/4 German, 3/4 Chinese (from mom’s side), but we all remember him for his contributions to society. Thus having parents of a semi-mixed ethnic background made things much easier for Bruce. For Linda I would imagine it to be very difficult to find approval from her family members.

      In regards to your second point, Asian Men date Caucasian Women for various reasons. Some indeed are frustated with rigid Asian traditions, while others felt mutual intense initial attraction for each other. No matter what the reason may be, we hope that everyone finds love. In the meantime, Laura and I will continue sharing our thoughts and feelings to help those who wish to seek an AMWF Relationship (if not already in one) or simply to those who enjoy reading our blog.

      – Brian

  4. Jeff says:

    It has very little/nothing to do with history and our part in it. Look, it’s still happening in Germany:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/8582450/German-duelling-societies-in-non-Aryan-race-row.html

    This German served in the German Army, born and bred German, probably doesn’t know an ounce of Chinese… he is pretty much German other than his face. And that’s what people judged him on. I get this too in Britain, and in everywhere bar China I imagine it’s the same…whilst Africans, Europeans (blacks and whites to you and me) have been assimilated into their new country (America is full of European and African descent), asians, no matter how far back their family goes in their country’s timeline, are never fully accepted… ever. A seventh generation Asian in America can be more ostracised and be “less American” than a first generation Pole living in America, for example.

    Indeed, I think this is one of the reasons why AMWF relationships are so rare compared to the AFWM, because asian females have realised that their country of birth, a majority white one with an inherent culture of racial bias, will never accept her, her offspring as American or British or European, and thus choose a white partner so that her future timeline will be more accepted as one of their own.

    It’s quite sad really.

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