What Else Should Matter?
On the cover of a weekly magazine a couple shyly smiles out to the world. Happy faces on a magazine cover aren’t unusual, except the racial combination is a reason to pause. A young Asian American male and an African American female cuddle up to illustrate the December 13 lead story for AsianWeek magazine.
The cover story is about a book called BlAsian Exchange, the debut novel from author Sam Cacas. A former AsianWeek writer, Cacas pens the story of a young Filipino man who is attracted to black women and African American culture.
“I wanted to write about interracial attraction/dating/marriage for about 10 years, because I felt that the Asian man’s perspective on attraction to black women has not been covered by either the mainstream media or the black media,” Cacas told AsianWeek. “Given my intimate involvement with black women for the last 33 years of my life (I have been married to a black woman for seven years and previously to another black woman for nine years). I felt I had a perspective that the public needed to hear, and I had to just write my own story.”
Cacas may be in a small minority. According to the most recent statistical information, Black female/Asian male pairings make up less than 0.1% of interracial couplings.
Stereotypes and negative media portrayals of African American women and Asian men may be one of the barriers between them. In the past Asian men were mostly characterized in the movies and on television as desexualized brainiacs and black women have been caricatured as harpy Sapphires. The two groups have been put at the bottom of the interracial pyramid with black men and Asian women the most desired mates in the cross cultural dating game.
College student Jimmy Zhao admitted that TV and movie images may influence people’s perceptions of African Americans back home in China. He told the Harvard Crimson, “The only black people you’re going to see on TV are in rap videos or other negative images.”
African American women are also just as likely not to date Asian males. In a Racial Preference in Dating study that was published in spring of 2007, African American women were 65% less interested in Asian men than they were in Hispanic and white males.
Cacas believes that the interest is there. Along with being a writer he’s also a moderator for an online discussion board called PowerCouples_AMBW on Yahoo that boasts over members which is mostly black women.
“The image of black women and Asian men needs to be broadened beyond their archetypal racial uniforms of accepting notions of white beauty,” Cacas said.
Over the past 20 years relations has been strained between the black and Asian community. Nothing has equaled the violence between the two groups since the 1992 LA riots, but recent news stories of boycotts and arguments in places like Prince George have shown the underlying problems between the groups. In early 2007 Kenneth Eng published a column in AsianWeek magazine titled “Why I Hate Black People” which listed reasons why blacks were in his disfavor. Uproar ensued in both the Asian and African American which resulted in the firing of Eng and the publishers of the magazine writing an apology.
So far AsianWeek’s readership has greeted the interracial couple cover and Blasian book article positively. An Asian reader wrote in, “That I should live to see this day! When “races” are not only comfortable with one another, but have reached the understanding that “race” is but one facet of ANY relationship. The sine qua non herein is LOVE, baby. If love resides, presides, then nothing else matters.”