I am Canadian. I was born here, my mother was born here, my entire immediate and extended family lives here. However, my ethnicity is “Asian”. I don’t need to be too specific to get my point across here. I haven’t been in too many situations where someone was outright racist to me, but there have been small jabs throughout my life. The fact that I grew up in a country that places value in a eurocentric ideal of beauty has been very apparent.
Let’s go back to junior high. A classmate of mine was asking about my race, and when I told them, they exclaimed, “I can’t believe you’re full Asian. Your eyes are so big, you look only half!” The way they said this and the way everyone around me reacted made me feel like this was the best compliment I could have gotten. Now, if I heard that, I would be far from flattered.
I really do think this classmate meant well. We were young, around 12 years old, and they were trying to tell me that they thought I fit into the widely accepted standard of beauty. And while this was a nice gesture, this also has darker implications. I would compare myself and always end up glum because although I had some features of a white girl, I wasn’t a white girl. Therefore, I figured, I would always be second, less pretty, compared to a white girl. And it’s not just me – this is such a widely held belief. For Asian males and females – we have grown up in a society that tells us white is beauty.
A year later, things took a strange sharp turn for me. This was back when MSN messenger was a thing. I was messaging with one guy who actually did think I was pretty. This was my introduction to the Asian fetish. Our conversations became less than innocent after a while. Whenever I tried to turn the conversation around and talk about something else, he would tell me not to be so frigid and relax, take a joke! Me, being young, shy, and too polite for my own good, learned that it was best to brush these things off. I started high school with these people, and the comments would come to me online and in person.
Is it true Asians are the tightest? Is it true they will do whatever their man tells them to do? They’re always loyal and submissive. Some of them pretend to be innocent but they’re actually sluts. Are you an Asian hoe? Hey my friend hooked up with an Asian girl and she let him do this and that. Would you let a guy do that to you? I’ve only been with one Asian, I need to change that.
This is the kind of talk I would hear from the time I was 13 and lasted throughout high school. I have an old conversation from MSN saved because my friends didn’t believe me. Here’s some choice excerpts.
You can hang out with me and my friends. That is, if you don’t think they’ll rape you.
They would rape me? Why would you say that?
Well what if they were drunk and you were acting slutty? They like Asian hoes.
Ok, but I don’t act slutty.
No, but you should. You could get so many guys. You’re Asian.
By the time I left high school, just hearing his name would make me want to throw up. I couldn’t look him in the eye and I would go out of my way to avoid him.
If you tell me you think I’m beautiful or hot or whatever, but then you mention you have “yellow fever”, I am exiting that situation so fast. It’s not flattering. You assuming that I should be flattered for your attention under any circumstance is bullshit. You can be attracted to whoever you’re attracted to – but don’t think that telling me that you have a special place in your pants for Asians is going to go over well for you.
Yes, I’m more desirable to some, but it’s because of my race. That’s telling me that I can be easily replaced by another. That’s telling me I’m your hunting trophy or another number for your “Asian girl” count. I’m a landmark story you can tell your friends. I’m not a person to you.