Asian guys and White girls relationships can be phenomenal. That’s what AMWF is. “The personal is political” was one of the rallying cries of the feminist movement in the 1960s. In fact, this slogan didn’t just apply to the feminist movement; it applied to everything else that was going on at the time. Whether we’re talking about the civil rights movement or the gay rights movement, the native American independence movement, or a range of other social movements, this saying resonated loud and clear.
It’s very easy to think that your personal experiences are unique to you. You have to look around you to see that your decisions and experiences have a wider impact than you care to realize. This is this is due to one central fact: People are not isolated beings. We are social animals. Whenever we talk to each other, whenever we do something, it has an effect on the broader world.
While it is true that the world doesn’t really care what we think about privately, it does sit up and pay attention the moment we talk about those ideas and, more importantly, the moment act on them.
Any discussion of AMWF relationships or relationships between Asian males and white females must be viewed in this context. It’s not just an Asian guy – whether he is Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Thai or whatever else – falling in love with a white American female.
It goes beyond that because as much as you think that you falling in love with somebody with blond hair, blue eyes or red hair and green eyes is a personal thing, you cannot discount what other people think. Sooner or later, you have to piece together or connect what you’re experiencing with what America experienced before and what America thought before.
I’m not trying to overly politicize what should be a purely personal matter, but we’re not doing ourselves any favors by choosing to believe that this is purely personal and doesn’t have much of an impact in terms of history, social, and cultural trends.
The attraction between Asian males and white females takes place in a certain social and historical context. This may explain certain patterns. This can also be predictive because once you see certain patterns in the past, you can safely make predictions in the future.
Here’s what we know once we go beyond the realm of purely personal attraction.
The Influence of Politics on Sexual Attraction
In contemporary American culture, Asian males are stereotyped as nerdy, geeky, bookish and overly intellectual. They’re not all that athletic but they more than make up for it in terms of brainpower. They’re also portrayed as not very social. They’re portrayed as those who tend to keep to themselves or they tend to hang out with other bookish, nerdy guys regardless of their color.
White females, on the other hand, are given the luxury of individualization by mass media. You really can’t say outside of the dumb, blond stereotype that all women are one and the same. They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, and I’m just talking about Caucasian women. There are many different tones of Caucasian women and the stereotypes regarding these women outside of the dumb blond bimbo stereotype or the backwards Southern hick chick stereotype almost doesn’t exist.
There is this disparity, and it is no surprise that a lot of white females are in for a pleasant surprise when they find an Asian guy who is sociable, somewhat athletic and outgoing in addition to being smart, driven, ambitious, and wealthy.
It is no surprise that in recent years, there is a rising trend among certain cosmopolitan white women, particularly educated, upper-income white women, to view Asian men as trophies.
The Rise of the Trophy Asian Male Partner
You might think that this is a step in the right direction. You can easily be forgiven for thinking that this sea change in upper-class, white female perception of the Asian male is a long time coming. After all, we have lived through decades of Hollywood and mass media stereotypes of Asian males essentially being sexless.
Regardless of what 80s teenage movie you watched, the theme is still the same. The Asian guy is nerdy. He’s all into books. Even if a woman comes into his life, he wouldn’t know what to do with her. He is withdrawn and even antisocial. However, he sure can be relied on if you have a particularly complicated math equation to solve or you have some sort of engineering problem.
Nevertheless, outside of those stereotypical situations, Asian males were safely marginalized and essentially dismissed. They are invisible precisely because too many Asians, many of which were middle-class immigrants or at least had middle-class of values, were too busy fitting in.
Please understand that any kind of social phenomenon always has two sides. Stereotypes do have a kernel of truth contained within them. It may not be the complete truth. It may have been distorted to serve some sort of economic, social or political agenda, but there is still that truth and part of the reason the Asian male seemed to be so absent in any talk related to romantic attraction is because Asians in general, and I’m not talking about refugees here, bend over backwards to fit into the American mainstream.
When you come across an Asian person, one of the most offensive you can ask the person is “How long have you been here?” Basically, this says that just by looking at them, you automatically assume that they’re foreigners. Chinese people would automatically tell you, “Well, Chinese have been in America since the 1800s.”
While that is true technically, we all know that the largest surge in Asian immigration happened after 1965. That was when the US Congress changed its frankly racist and exclusivist immigration policies and opened America up to migration from non-European countries. However, there is still that historical connection and because of that, a lot of Northern Asians, particularly Chinese, take exception to the question “How long have you been here?”
Another variation of this is when you comment to an Asian American person, whether male or female, that they speak English really well. Again, this goes back to the idea that this person is somehow foreign or that it is some sort of accomplishment for this person to pick up English so well so quickly. They would then answer you and say, “Well, I was born in Alabama” or “I’m a third-generation Californian.”
There’s a high level of touchiness among Asians regarding the idea of being foreign and this just highlights the fact that a lot of them, while not all, try to fit in really well in the American mainstream. Pair this with the typical first-generation immigrant zeal and focus on hard work plus ambition, it is no surprise that Asian American males statistically earn more than any other demographic group in the United States. They earn more than Jewish males. They earn more than white males except for certain demographic breakdowns.
When we’re talking about racial gender groups, Asian males are at the top. This is why the perception of Asian males is changing. They’ve gone from the nerds no woman wants to touch with a ten-foot pole to preferred partners.
However, here’s the problem. It still relies on stereotypes. Not all Asians have a lot of money. Not all Asian males fit the stereotype of the young, upwardly mobile, ambitious, hard-charging, innovative Asian man.
In reality, when you look at the demographics of Asians in America, there is quite a distinction between Northeastern Asians and everybody else. This difference is dramatically highlighted when you compare upper class Chinese Americans who have been in the US for a couple of generations with fairly recent refugee immigrants from Southeast Asia. It’s like day and night.
This is the point of the whole Asian male mystique. It overcomes old problems but brings new problems with it because it’s still based on this idea that Asian males are somehow unitary.
The Distinct Challenges of Asian Male-White Female Relationships
Given that the personal is political and it is susceptible to all these inputs that either people live through others read into the relationships, you can see why Asian male and white female relationships have their fair share of challenges.
The good news is that, by and large, AMWF relationships are based on common middle-class values. The typical Asian values tend to line up with what mainstream middle-class American values should be. This is why Asian male-white female relationships tend to do well statistically speaking.
The chances of Asian male-white female marriage ending in divorce compared to a white male and white female marriage is 59% greater. However, we have to look at this in context. When compared with other interracial unions, this is actually not all that bad because black male and white female marriages are twice as likely to split up as white male-white female marriages. That is alarming because around half of white male-white female marriages end in divorce.
Interestingly enough, the divorce rate of Asian males-white females doesn’t compare all that well with the divorce rate between white males and Asian females. In those marriage unions, only 4% end up in divorce.
The Financial Realities of White Female and Asian Male Relationships
While the cultural barrier is there and language and body language issues may be a problem, there is a lot going for a white female and Asian male relationship. In particular, this type of interracial union actually, on average, earns more money annually than all other unions. I’m not talking about other interracial unions of Asian and black, white and Hispanic, or white and blank. I’m talking about all other marriage unions. I’m talking about white and white, Hispanic and Hispanic, or black and black.
According to the recent figures, white male and Asian female as well as white female and Asian male marriages, on average, have a household income of $71,000. This is quite high compared to Asian and Asian households at $62,000; white and white at $60,000; white and Hispanic at $57,900; white and black at $53,187; black and black at $47,700; and Hispanic and Hispanic at $36,000 per year.
The Prevalence of Cultural Barriers
Usually, when people talk about Asian male-white female marriages or white male-Asian female marriage, the first objection or issue people raise is the cultural barrier. This is not as big as you may think. As I had mentioned earlier, first-generation Asians tend to come in as immigrants. They weren’t forced here. They weren’t already here and they were conquered. A lot of them had middle-class values back home. They may not have had middle-class incomes but their values were middle class.
This made them more likely to assimilate. This also meant that, coming in, they shared a lot of the values and goals of the majority culture. Accordingly, they are rewarded quite well by the system. Part of this mindset, of course, is the willingness to overcome traditional cultural distinctions and adopt a greater American consciousness.
Of course, in the age of multiculturalism, this can only go so far. Culturally, we no longer believe in blanket assimilation. Whether you like it or not and agree with it or not, that kind of “melting pot” thinking is a relic of the past. That worked in the 1950s, possibly the 1960s, but currently, we’re in a multicultural age.
So, there is quite a dilemma among Asian Americans. How do they succeed in American mainstream society and pursuing the same values as the mainstream while at the same time retaining a distinct identity.
This is how the language of “cultural barriers” should be analyzed. It’s not a question of people not being able speak English or not knowing shared common American values. That’s not the issue. The issue is how a person can, whether Asian female or Asian male, retain some of their Asian culture while at the same time being thoroughly American.
There can be certain sensitivities there and oftentimes a lot of this back-and-forth or this cultural discussion is framed from the perspective of the majority culture. Whatever cultural barriers there may be can be due to just hypersensitivity or reading too much into something.
This, of course, doesn’t excuse a flat-out racism, intolerance, or just really harsh insensitivity. However, this goes both ways. It’s not politically correct to say that but that’s true. It goes both ways.
I remember, as an Asian male growing up in California, one of my relatives saying that white people were like cats and dogs. When a blond mother gives birth, you don’t know what the hair color of the kids will be. Some may be redheads; some may be brunettes. When a brunette woman gives birth, one of her kids may be blonde.
That was kind of a source of curiosity for that person. I’m sure she didn’t mean anything by it but, as you can well imagine, this can lead to some cultural sensitivity if you are in a relationship with a white female. How can you compare a person to an animal, right? That’s always an issue.
When it comes to any kind of interracial relationship, regardless of whether it’s AMWF or WMAF or white female-black male, it all boils down to the people in the relationship. As much pressure as society and relatives may put on the couple, it’s still on them. At the end of the day, whether the relationship works or not, it boils down to the couple themselves.
This is why it’s a good idea to understand the boundaries of all these different issues but, at the same time, recognizing that at the end of the day, it’s about you and your partner as people. Do you listen to each other? Do you share each other’s goals? Do you operate from the same set of values? Do you think that your relationship is a third-party apart from you individually that demands its own respect and demands its own commitment.
If you believe that, then I have good news for you. Regardless of how badly you screw up or your partner screws up, there’s a very high chance that your AMWF relationship will make it through the hard times. Why? It’s no longer about you and her individually. It’s about the relationship. If you’re able to commit to the relationship, you would be able to talk to each other and treat each other with a high degree of maturity, sensitivity, and compassion.
Sure, one of you may have a tough time getting his or her act together. One of you may take a long time maturing as an adult, but you know what? The more you commit to that relationship, the more time, patience, and inspiration you give that other partner to go up. That other partner may be you. It doesn’t matter. As long as both of you agree on the value of the relationship itself, standing apart from your individual feelings, any income disparity you guys bring to the table, you will be fine.
That ultimately is the secret to the success of not just AMWF relationships, but all other relationships because, at the end of the day, relationships are built on commitment. It’s not about what you want or what your partner wants. It’s about what both of you together could agree on and what you could commit to.
This way, you’re no longer thinking and acting or talking based on what you feel. This goes beyond emotions. When you’re able to do that and enter that state of mind, things become possible. Your relationship becomes more durable. If you’re able to commit over the long term, this increases the value and staying power of the relationship.