Ask the Yangxifu: Negativity From Friends (And More) About Dating Asian Men

A B&W photo of a girl looking sad
(photo by Taston via Flickr)


Here, in Eastern Europe, seeing white girls with an Asian guy — and what’s even more shocking — a guy shorter than her, it just blows people’s minds! People in the street are staring at you in a sarcastic way or sometimes even making comments like “what is she doing with him? Are they really dating each other?!” Even my friends find it hard to understand. So I wanted to ask you, if situations like this happened to you, how did you feel that time, was it bothering you? Did you feel hurt? How did you overcome this prejudice?

As I wrote before, I’ve never actually had anyone say anything negative about John and I to my face. But, look, I’ve experienced enough bullying as a child and adolescent (kids used to make fun of me because of my “plain Jane” looks, and my quiet, sensitive and awkward personality) to fill a lifetime of bad made-for-TV afterschool specials. So believe me, I totally understand how you feel.

Still, my reaction depends on the source of that negativity.

Let’s say some anonymous asshole shouted some racist crap at John and I in some shopping center in downtown Cleveland, a place I go to maybe once a year, if that. Sure, it’ll bother me, but only temporarily — I’ll shake it off sometime, if not sooner than later. Ultimately, it’s something random, I don’t know them, so in the grand scheme of things, what they think doesn’t mean squat.

On the other hand, let’s say it came from a friend — maybe not the same blatant crap as the guy above, but something nevertheless judgmental and racist. Something that makes you feel as if there’s something so disastrously wrong with you because you dared to date someone different. “Bothered” wouldn’t even begin to describe my reaction — try “betrayed,” with a generous dose of tears. Ditto if it came from people who have control  or power over your life (which was the case with my husband).

Sometimes, when you dare to love “outside the lines” so to speak, it opens you up to a new — and sometimes ugly — reality, even in your own country. People who once embraced you with open arms might, all of sudden, slam the door in your face in all kinds of ways. As I once wrote, “It’s an education that nobody asks for….” — especially when you get it from the people you thought would always be there for you.

Any “friend” who dares to challenge or question your decision to date an Asian man should have their friendship status revoked immediately. Just don’t expect to feel as if you’re “walking on sunshine” after you sever the ties. We often “mourn” broken friendships much like a breakup, and sometimes the lost friendships hurt more because they lasted longer.

Also, do whatever you can to distance yourself from the negativity. I know, easier said than done sometimes. But one thing you can do to empower yourself is with better company. In other words, find yourself friends who understand the kind of prejudice you’re dealing with — that might be other people in cross-cultural or interracial relationships, or even other folks who are Asian. Look online for groups or forums — or perhaps start a group of your own to talk about these issues.

Believe me, it helps. I’ll never forget the outpouring of understanding I received after writing about my husband’s discrimination. All kinds of people stepped forward to tell me their stories — often privately by e-mail — and I started to realize that, hey, we’re not the only ones. Looking back, I can’t imagine making it through without their support. They reminded me to live courageously, and to continue to fight for what I believe in.

Good luck.

P.S.: You also might consider getting your hands on Kissing Outside the Lines: A True Story of Love and Race and Happily Ever After by Diane Farr. See also my abbreviated review here.

What advice do you have for A? What do you think?

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43 Replies to “Ask the Yangxifu: Negativity From Friends (And More) About Dating Asian Men”

  1. Pick your battles. You certainly don’t need to put pressure to live with your decisions. At the end of the day, it is how you want to live your life that matters. If your relationship lasts, you will get used to the new normal.
    I don’t think you need more courage to date anyone, you just need to follow your heart, a privilege after seeing how many people choose their partners based on 19th century standards in China.

    It is also universal people tend to react negatively when a woman date a shorter man. Sometimes, you face the negativity head on. Your “ignorant” friends can change as well. I hope your guy plays his part in all this.

    Jocelyn, I am surprised you haven’t encounter bad experiences in China. There are plenty of people who will do just the same.

  2. I thankfully never had any of my friends or family give me any crap about dating my husband. In fact, they all thought he was handsome, nice, and a really cool person. However, I did receive loads of crap from my ex. He said every racist remark in the book as well as immaturely sent insulting emails to my husband (then boyfriend), and it angered me to no end. Actually, first off I DID sever ALL ties with him, and threatened to report the proper authorities if he ever spoke to me or my husband again. If anyone were ever to give me any crap about it, I would look them square in the eye and say “That is absolutely bigoted, and I will have NONE of it.” Also, if I were ever to see a “look of disapproval” from a stranger or a mean snide comment, I would just piss them off further and give my man a huge hug and a kiss and hold hands and walk off smugly. 😉

  3. Please stay away from friends that don’t support you! We just let go a few friends last yr. Life still has to move on people. The world still turns without a few friends. Don’t stay with or talk with negative people PERIOD!. They will turn you into one of them ( negative people). I’ve talked to lots of people in my life and I do know what I’m talking about it.

  4. @A. Hey Eastern European girl, I am happy that you took the risk of dating an Asian boy despite all the negative criticisms which you had to tolerate. Let me tell you that as a White boy living in the Southern USA where there used to be a lot of prejudice against Blacks, I heard many stories from eleder members of my family about the hurtful things that we Whites did to the Blacks. But now we Whites generally do not have this prejudice anymore. So, things do change in time. Once interracial marriages were outlawed until a brave interracial couple dared to challege the status quo and their efforts resulted in the right to have an interracial marriage in the case of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967). So, the moral of the story is not to give up and keep fighting.

    @ A. I am a little bit confused though. I read a Chinese man’s (Winston Wu) historial account of his dating odyseey in Eastern Europe and Russia and he said that he was more successful than in the U.S. You can see his account online at: Then go to his free journals at: Then you can download his 2002, 2003 and 2004 stories. He boasted about his successes after successes with Eastern European women and Russian women. Thus, I am confused as to how you are facing so much prejudice when you are with a Chinese man. Maybe you can explain it to me. Thanks.

  5. i found this is true that east European countries are more “hostile” to Asian men. I remember, several times in China, I tried to talk to woman from east European countries, I can sense they were just not interested, not because my personality, but because the fact I am Asian.

  6. I found all this really surprising. My Korean boyfriend, who is as you know much shorter than me, and I spent a lot of time in eastern Europe and this has NEVER happened to me.

    A kid once pulled the corners of his eyes, but many people gave us the awwww-what-an-adorable-couple look.

    I can’t even imagine anyone being so openly racist to tell me I shouldn’t date an Asian man. Or think they have a right to tell me who to date.

  7. @A – I imagine you might have a sensitive personality and care very much about how others think about you. I was like that too. Nowadays, I would hold my head high and keep walking. The strangers on the street have little impact in my life, I don’t care what they like or not.
    Friends can be made and break as personal journey goes. I came to US knowing absolute no one. Over the years, friends are made, friends are forgotten and friends are turned to strangers even rivals. So if friends give you hard time, cut them out of your life and make new friends who are happy for you.
    Finally, when people stare it may not be “what is this white girl doing with an Asian” stare, it may be “what a cute couple” stare 🙂 I always think it that way, smile and walk on.

  8. You have to be doing something wrong to be attracting the negativity in the first place.

    This has never happened to me not even once when I when out with girls.

    And I look Asian, not white or anything.

    It’s about how you carry yourself.

  9. “You have to be doing something wrong to be attracting the negativity in the first place.”

    No. There are always some ass*ole around the corner. That comment of yours is so not sensitive.

  10. Hi Jocelyn,
    In Spanish we have a say (a bit rude):
    “Dientes, dientes que es lo que les jode”
    Dientes means teeth, and the last is something like.. f**k. Meaning, smile (show your teeth), that’s what they hate the most!.
    I am also sure when I go to Europe is when I will face this people, but I am lucky and I know is not among friends, which already talk to him in Skype, they are waiting for his visit and even traveling from other provinces to spend some days with us…but I know it will be the case in the street or in a coffee, with people that don’t know us at all and like to judge.

    But guess what..whatever! Are you happy with him? YES YOU ARE
    Did you know that everyone in this planet is different? YES!

    Do they know that when they talk about you they make you stronger? And with “you” I mean, both of you, your relationship!. No, they don’t know that, but I know it Jocelyn, and I will say something weird..
    Take it as an opportunity to get closer to your husband, to understand each other!

  11. Eastern Europeans are prejudiced towards Asians. I used to have a friend who traveled to Russia, and the friend told me that they constantly ripped him off for one reason or another. I’m from Eastern Europe, Russia, and my family had bad misconceptions about Asian men, (yes penis was one of them…)

  12. I found Eastern Europeans don’t have the same concepts of what considered to be appropriate, much the same ways as many Chinese would do. It has something to do with the repression and ideology differences. In general, I found less tolerance and overt racist attitudes.

  13. Different people gave me very different accounts of how Asians are treated in Eastern Europe from very friendly to very hostile. Maybe where you are matters a lot. For example, Moscow is not considered a friendly place by a lot of people (even white Americans complained about it).

  14. I live in Poland and I know that if my Asian bf came here, we would be given LOTS of stares and comments as well. What’s more the region I’m living in is very xenophobic and people with different skin colour are shouted racist crap at, beaten and such :/ I’ve personally seen a black man being shouted at on the street by a skinhead :/ That’s why I want us to live in London or some place equally open-minded, in London I’ve seen so many interracial couples in every possible configuration! And no one stares, it’s just wonderful.

  15. * forgot to add that in big cities, like Warsaw , there are many foreigners and thus people dont stare that much but still….. Polish people still have a lot to learn about being open to other races…

  16. Friends who don’t approve of your relationship certainly don’t deserve to be called friends. If you love him and he’s treating you well they should be happy for you.

    It must be hard if you get this negativity from more friends than just one or two. Strangers might be easier to deal with (just ignore them, you’re a brave woman for going against prejudices like that).

  17. People with inferiority complex display the most vicious prejudice against others. Such behavior is obvious in east Europeans , south European, underclass of any ethnicity. Bottom line , prejudice is underclass behavior .

  18. @A – I’m also from Eastern Europe and my family and friends never made critical comments about the fact that I’m with a Chinese guy. They were only saying that he’s hot (even my mom). Just ignore those people, why do you care what they think? Do they care what you think about them? I don’t think so. And friends who are so shallow to care about his height or race are not real friends.

    @chiao – I’m Polish and I hate to say it but you are right – Poles are xenophobic and narrow-minded and they don’t accept people with a different world view even between each other (thank you, Catholic Church!). Still, I don’t think that my Chinese bf would get more stares in Poland that I get here in China. I live in Shenzhen, which is a big city and there are many foreigners here but still people point fingers at me, shout “foreigner” and wave their hands directly in front of my face while I’m riding a bike (quite dangerous). I don’t think that any of these things would happen in Warsaw or Cracow, my hometown.

  19. @airen,
    Whats your definion of underclass ethnicity?
    It sounds “funny” when I read that you say people from those countries are more racist but you divide countries in upper and underclass…
    I wonder how you classify places..?

  20. @chen gang,
    I would not interpretate those women did not like you because of that, I would say they are not used to be approached?
    I sometimes find it very annoying too, and I know the person can be nice but it can be even disturbing if you are in a hurry..
    People stop you to ask:
    Where are you from?
    What are you doing here?( sometimes very loud and it seems like they just want you out)
    Who is that?
    Can I be your friend?
    I just listed some of the most common questions, people can approach you in many ways but loudly and with a list of questions is a bit scary!
    Another question, in a supermarket:
    Do you have boyfriend?( no hello?)
    Maybe these girls experienced that and they just avoid this kind of situations 😉

    Or maybe you are right and they did not want to, but is better when you think they had these experiences 😉

  21. @Laura:

    I guess I shouldn’t have generalized like that, and you may well be right that these women had previous unpleasant experiences interacting with Chinese men. Just want to mention that I didn’t approach them on the streets (I know that can be annoying), rather in social/party settings.

  22. “Let me tell you that as a White boy living in the Southern USA where there used to be a lot of prejudice against Blacks, I heard many stories from eleder members of my family about the hurtful things that we Whites did to the Blacks. But now we Whites generally do not have this prejudice anymore.”

    We can all hope, dream and live in our own world.

  23. @Manny

    You never fail to entertain me. I guess your tactics is working after all. For some people they do believe that.

    As a southern white boy, your knowledge of Asian culture, Asian actors in Hollywood movies, frank confession of Whites treatment towards Blacks in old days and solid support for younger White sisters to Asian guys, is peculiarly interesting. Might I dare to say you’re an Asian dude growing up in Texas, pretty fed up with ABC girls, donning White keyboards, hoping to swap the racial identity?

    Keep up the good work. Entertainment from blogosphere is once in a blue moon event I can’t miss for the whole world.

  24. It doesn’t matter if Manny is White, Asian or Black and everything he has said was a hoax. At least we have something to talk about. You know he could be White. Remember Whites think differently from Asians . People think I’m a kid but I’m in my early 40’s !!!!!!!!!!!!! My commitment is very strong in whatever I do or whatever I say. Manny doesn’t have to show proof that he’s White. Just like I don’t have to show proof that I’m in my 40’s . Time will show that he/she is honest. Everybody has to prove himself/herself here regarding honesty. At this point, I just like to listen. I don’t get paid for searching the real truth.

    Bruce 🙂

  25. @Rdm

    I do not know what ethnicity Manny is. However, he is dead wrong when he says folks are not really prejudiced anymore down south. I will bet anything that an Asian guy will not be able to chase white women down south like a white guy from down south can chase an Asian woman in Hong Kong, without getting serious threats to his life…true of Tuscaloosa, AL and also true of Athens, GA, although these towns are supposed to be “liberal.” Heck, the Asian guy wont be able to do it in Seattle and get away with it. Honolulu more likely.

  26. @RDM and @ Bruce and @ everyone else. You are all so funny trying to discredit me. As Bruce said, I need not prove anything to anyone. So, long as I know that I am telling the truth it alone is sufficient for me. I am not asking for money, I am not seeking fame or attention, and I am not trying to sell anything. I am simply trying to learn a little and get myself a “fortune chickie” and this is all I want. I am getting very close to getting a “fortune chickie” now. Once I get her and make her my girlfriend, I will more than likely disappear from this site as my purpose will have been accomplished. Thanks for all your help especially to Bruce who appears to be the most caring and willing to help me. Maybe one day I will even exchange visits with him and then I can offer my 2 sisters to him on a date. Hee, hee, hee…….

  27. Ever since the genocide in former Yugoslavia, the Orthodox Christians have gained a perhaps well-derserved reputation in bigotry.

  28. Manny,

    In Chinese culture, I will resist your offer. Pushing back and forth and then we both disappear LOL hahahahhah ehheheheheh LOL :). Disappearing is not the right choice in life. How long can one avoid problems? Manny, you know that I’m married right? You should have made that offer 15 yrs ago :). Not many women can replace my wife right now. The Yin and Yang is just toooo balanced in my life right now 🙂 LOL. I’m looking for inner and outer beauties. A woman who is beautiful on the outside just won’t make it with me.

    Bruce 🙂

  29. @ Bruce. Idid not know that you are married but I now know this fact. I am happy to know that you can resist the temptation of my 2 sisters as they are a little arrogant and think that they can get almost any guy they want, especially my sister Pam who knows that she is super hot. I am glad that you will be able to humble her as she felt so humbled after her charade in Hong Kong when she received no attention despite her self-perceived beauty. You seemed to be a more disciplined man than I am. I have great difficulties resisting beautiful Asian women.

  30. Of course, I like beautiful women like any men. I like both intelligence and beauty combined. Your sister Pam is still young and she is self absorbed and wants attention. Do you know that real beautiful women don’t need somebody to tell them that they are pretty 24/7? I have seen some hot women with ugly guys too so beauty is in the eyes of the beholder! I also want a respectful woman also. Not someone who will kick me to the curb when something or someone new is coming along. Manny, you never send me pictures of Pam so I have no idea of her hotness. In real life, I’m a very disciplined person as I’m a consultant. I used to know a lot of beautiful asian women.

  31. Strange conversation which has moved off topic. Even if Manny is a white southerner, they dont even want to integrate the sororities at the University of Alabama by including Asian women in houses such as Chi Omega…south has not changed much…and as David says an Asian guy cannot be seen chasing white women in Mountain Brook, AL the same way, Manny or any other white southern male can chase an Asian woman in Hong Kong. I have been around for a very long time…longer than even Bruce…I definitely was not born yesterday!

  32. We don’t have that many asians in the south so not much change. You guys are correct that whites are not that accepting when asian men are doing the chase on White women. Of course, I’m aware of that. Asian countries/societies are more accepting in ways. Hell with that anyway! Change is on the way. Don’t let a country/society dictates you. We all have to live our lives. Sooner or later, the South will be more inviting for AMWF. Time is what we need… Maybe another 50 yrs 🙂


  33. “We don’t have that many asians in the south so not much change.”

    That is why physical attacks on Asians are very rare.

    “You guys are correct that whites are not that accepting when asian men are doing the chase on White women.”

    The anti-immigration groups, FAIR and CIS are targeting the visas for Asian women married to white American men..they know they cannot stop it but want to slow it down and mire it in more bureaucracy. Not accepting will be a refreshing change. But, let an Asian try to do to white women down south in Tuscaloosa and Athens, what Manny claims he did in Hong Kong to Asian women, I will still have to bet that the Asian guy wont make it out alive or at best he will be sent to a hospital in a coma.

  34. My advice to A is to eventually find a circle of friends who accept your union with an Asian guy. (Or vice versa if one was an Asian woman).

    I’m a little shocked by several commenters here, of the current situation and attitudes in the deep Southern U.S. states towards Asians in general.

    Here in Canada we don’t here much about Alabama, OK, Louisiana at all.

  35. @Jean:
    “Here in Canada we don’t here much about Alabama, OK, Louisiana at all.”
    That is because the Canadians have their own set of problems. Ever heard of the McLean’s article two years ago..”Too Many Asians at Canadian Universities”?
    I used to live in Winnipeg, MB…not too many problems there with asian-white couples on the street. Granted I lived during one of the worst winters in Manitoba history 1981-82. So not too many people on the streets period except a few drunks and beer bashers. However, that is not what I heard from Asians at Queen’s University…
    and this is not the only site where I heard about Queens. And then there were times in Calgary and Edmonton where Asians and Canadians of Asian origin were not admitted into pubs and clubs…

    Alberta is very racist from immigration officers to people on the street and this is not just to IR couples, although they are not like MS, AL or TX where they have dragged minorities behind the trucks.

  36. She’s not alone. None of us are. I live in the United States, and I experience it all the time. “Oh, so you like small dicks? Oh, so you must love K-dramas, right? Oh, so you only like Koreans? Oh, it’s just a passing phase. Have you ever BEEN to Asia?” Thing is, I speak an Asian language, I can read and write in another, I can cook Asian food, I was raised as a Buddhist within the Chinese community, and yes, I am dating a non-Korean Asian man. For all intents and purposes, I was raised as a Chinese woman.

    But you don’t have to be an albino Asian woman in order to justify dating an Asian man. Your reasons are your own and nobody else’s business. Just shrug it off. At times I have been known to get rather loud or become an exhibitionist (grabbing a Cantonese guy’s ass in front of people, for example). But most of the time I ignore it. It’s nobody else’s business who I bring into my life, and it shouldn’t be anyone’s who you bring into yours.

    Here’s another girl, a bit more local to the lady asking the question, who catches Hell for dating Asian men:

  37. @David,
    Interesting, skin colour is nowadays still a colour, such a pity.
    I have heard all kind of comments:
    – “Hopefully your kids will have your skin”
    – “What a pity your friend married an Egyptian with such a dark skin”
    – ” When you go back home you come darker” ( This followed by a whitening cream as gift)

    Is a pity that the girl in your link feels like that, I understand what she means, but everyone should be proud of his/he roots, understanding the pros and cons, but feeling proud ! Is sad when someone needs to fight every single day, hope this changes..SOON

  38. Laura:
    Thanks for your youthful optimism, but as a person who has lived at least more than two thirds of his life, I doubt changes will come. Expat Edna might not say so here, but I am pretty sure back in the UK her bf has many relatives who find his dating a non-white women outright revolting!

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