asian fetish yellow fever

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Asian Women Don’t Need Your Yellow Fever

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Jun. 4 2019, Published 8:14 p.m. ET

“I’ve never been with an Asian chick before, are you as _____ as they say?” Another white boy messaged me on Tinder, as I cringed and ranted to my friends about how tired I am of messages like these. The truth is, the fetishisation of Asian women can come from any non-Asian races, no matter the skin colour.

For decades, East Asians have been seen as the model minority in America. There is very little that the Western Hemisphere actually knows about yellow people, aside from the stereotypes that they are hardworking, obedient, and quiet. In the recent years, however, a new stereotype has arisen — that Asian women are sexual creatures for white male consumption: sensitive, smart, docile. If you look at the world’s cultural history, Yellow Fever is not a new concept. But it’s been made more prominent since the rise of interracial marriages between Asian women and white men in the West, particularly in the US. To be specific, it’s been popularised even more after Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg married Priscilla Chan, an Asian-American paediatrician and philanthropist.

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A few months ago, I went on a date where a white guy asked me “do Asians do drugs?” He was innocuously curious because “you just all seem so…intellectual, and sensible.” By that, I think he meant geeky and vanilla. At that point I was drunk and easily triggered, so I told him how ignorant and offensive his comment was to people of my skin colour.

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“It was a compliment. Why are you so offended?”

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“It was a compliment. Why are you so offended?”

Do I even need to explain this? Why does anyone ever get offended? Your ignorance is offensive because we are human beings, with individual thoughts and ideas and stories, unbounded by the colour of our skin, the shape of our eyes, or the height of our nose. I am an individual, and not a stereotype that the media made for people like you to blindly believe.

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“You know that there are drug dealers and gangsters in East Asia too, right? And dumb Asians exists as well.”

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“You know that there are drug dealers and gangsters in East Asia too, right? And dumb Asians exists as well.”

Slightly problematic statement, I’ll admit, but I was trying to make a point and my point was made. Stereotypes in all forms are unfair, prejudicial, and toxic, because by stereotyping people, you are putting a cap on their potential (or lack thereof) to be anything outside of the box of unhealthy social construct. By attempting to enforce stereotypes — doesn’t matter if they’re positive or negative — upon people, you are implying that people of a particular group exist solely for your expectations and needs.

I am a writer, a young creative, a feminist, an Asian “chick,” a social justice warrior, whatever you want to call me. But I’m not your oversexualised geisha, and I’m not a sexless nerd either. I hope this revelation that I am actually just my own person isn’t too hard for you to accept. Take it or leave it, this life is mine and I don’t need you to whitesplain or mansplain my identity to me.

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