My marriage to a Chinese man wasn’t just the culmination of a beautiful love affair. It also kicked off the start of a new education for me, his white American wife. A true initiation into the world of racism, prejudice, and all of those unfortunate stereotypes I wish Westerners didn’t have about Asians, including Asian men.
Here are 3 stereotypes about Asian men that I’m tired of hearing:
#1: Asians = great at computers
I can’t tell how many times people have told me, “Wow, your husband is SO great with computers!”
Whenever I hear that, I want to flash them a painful grimace. As if I just witnessed that person step right into a big, smelly pile of…you know.
Seriously, people. Just because my husband knows how to delete the trash files from your iPad – and is Asian — doesn’t mean he’s the almighty computer guru. In fact, I’m the one who troubleshoots our tech problems, from deciphering error messages on the PC to configuring a complicated wifi network at home.
Being Asian doesn’t automatically make someone a wizard at things like math, science and medicine. But if you think otherwise, that definitely makes you naïve.
#2: Asian men are short
True story. An academic in America once had the audacity to tell my husband Jun, “All Asians are short, right?”
Cue face in palm.
You know, it’s easy to see a couple like Jun and me together, and then draw that kind of conclusion. But once again, you’re mucking around in stereotypes, as Alex Tizon reminds us in his wonderful memoir Big Little Man:
Are all Asian people small, and have they always been so?
The answer to both questions is no — a fact commonly known among educated Asians and Westerners who have traveled widely through Asia….
Today, the giant men of the Chinese national basketball teams, whose centers are among the tallest in the world, almost all come from northern and central China. The former Houston Rockets standout center Yao Ming is seven foot six, which even among tall nationalities is aberrantly tall…. Up until 2009, both the tallest man and the tallest women in the world hailed from northern and central China…. The tallest woman on record, Zeng Jelling, who died in 1982, was eight foot one.
Anecdotal records indicate that, during the time of the first waves of Chinese migration to America, men of northern China averaged about five foot seven, with a fair number exceeding six feet. This would have been roughly equivalent to the height of white male conscripts in the U.S. Army and many European immigrants of the time.
#3: Any question about the size of an Asian man’s penis
Who in the Asian community – or in an interracial relationship with someone Asian — hasn’t heard this lamest of all stereotypes? It’s right on par with toilet humor, and ought to be flushed into oblivion.
I’ve noticed that, by and large, it’s men who seem content to hurl this one into conversations. Usually anonymously, in a really seedy Internet hangout. Or in a typo-ridden comment… the kind that ends up in your spam folder.
In my opinion, any guy who goes around speculating about the size of someone’s manhood already has serious inferiority issues. Or just needs to get a life.
…to my Asian brothers out there: don’t give any guy, girl, or internet troll two seconds of your time when they joke about your dick. Your wang is the wangiest of all wangs. Keep it up, hold it proud, and use it wisely. After all, 60% of the world’s population is Asian which means one thing: we may have a negative stereotype about our shlongs, but at least we’re getting laid.
What stereotypes are you tired of hearing?