Love Lives of Asians Like Never on TV: Wong Fu’s “Yappie” Is Smart New Youtube Series

Before it even aired on Youtube, “Yappie” – the brilliant new rom-com series from the filmmakers at Wong Fu productions – was already drawing attention, though not for reasons it deserved. (See Yes, There’s a White Guy in Wong Fu’s YAPPIE So Get Over It and Wong Fu: No, We Are Not Sell Outs — Why We Created ‘Yappie’.)

But if you actually watch the entire Youtube series (it’s only five episodes, 20 min or less each, and totally free), what you’ll find is a thoughtful exploration of life and love through the eyes of an Asian-American guy named Andrew – played by Wong Fu’s Philip Wang — and his mainly Asian friends.

Wang cited inspiration from series such as “Insecure”, “Atlanta” and “Master of None”. And the basic storyline — which centers on Andrew’s journey of self-discovery and soul-searching through his relationships, including with friends, lovers and family — isn’t necessarily groundbreaking on the surface. Yet Wong Fu’s “Yappie” feels like nothing I’ve ever seen before on TV.

“Yappie” takes the familiar, such as ideas about yellow fever (as it relates to white guys and Asian girls), and then cleverly subverts it to great comedic effect. One exchange between an Asian woman and a white man at a bar takes a surprising turn when it ends up reflecting dynamics more typical among Asian men and white women in the interracial dating world. This is just one of many examples of how the series excels at setting viewers up to assume one thing, and delivering something else entirely.

Wong Fu’s “Yappie” has also cast a Blasian woman, Janine Oda, as Andrew’s love interest. It’s refreshing, and not just because you hardly see Asian men and Black women paired up on TV or in the movies. Her presence opens up a lot of conversations rarely heard in the media – from race relations between the Asian and Black communities to Asian identity itself (at one point, she reminds Andrew that she still has her “Asian card”). And all of the interracial dating issues going on in the series will especially resonate with anyone who has ever, to borrow the title of the Diane Farr book, kissed outside the racial lines.

Also, just as Yes, There’s a White Guy in Wong Fu’s YAPPIE So Get Over It points out, the white man cast as a series regular offers comic relief, turning the tables on decades of movies that have used (and abused) Asian actors as the token “Asian sidekick”.

While Wong Fu’s “Yappie” sees the world through an Asian lens, you don’t have to be Asian to appreciate it. After all, the main character of Andrew is a bit awkward and uncertain about life in a way that transcends racial boundaries, making him incredibly endearing and relatable to audiences. And it’s a pleasure to watch Andrew in these moments where he pushes himself, even a tiny bit, outside boundaries drawn by his family or society.

The first season of “Yappie” proves that Wong Fu still has many compelling stories to tell. Let’s hope this is the start of more series to come.

If you’d like to see Wong Fu’s “Yappie”, start with the first episode below on Youtube. Or, if you’re based in China, you can catch the first, second, third, fourth and final episodes.

And if you need a teaser first, catch the trailer below on Youtube or, for folks in China, here.

Guest Post: The Traditional Chinese Wedding That Changed Me & My Dating Preferences

Have you ever attended a wedding that changed the way you thought about yourself — and who you want to date? That’s what happened to Joanna Scarpuzzi, who writes, “Even though I thought I had grown up under much Chinese culture and influence, nothing had prepared me for the experience that this wedding was.”

Do you have a story about a life-changing wedding — or another guest post you’d like to see featured here? Visit the submit a post page to learn more about how to have your writing published on this blog.
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Joanna Scarpuzzi
Joanna Scarpuzzi

Growing up in a mixed family (my dad is White-American, and my mom is Asian-American), I was excited to see who my siblings and I would date and eventually marry. All of us kids were homeschooled until were in 9th grade so our circle of friends was pretty small. I remember my sisters and I having crushes on White boys and Asian boys alike. My brother, also, dated a Chinese girl, a mixed girl, and a White girl, in that order.

It wasn’t until we were college age that our preferences became more evident. My sisters felt that Asian culture was too traditional and exclusive dated White boys. I, on the other hand, moved to China in 2010 to teach at an international school in an attempt to learn more about my Asian roots. During my six years abroad, if someone were to ask me if I could see myself married to a Chinese man, I would have told them, without a doubt, yes! I loved everything about Chinese culture: the food, the language, the community aspects, the filial piety.

Then, I attended a traditional Chinese countryside wedding. A group of us foreigners spent a weekend at a hotel awaiting the wedding festivities for our friend and coworker. The whole time we were there, we were not allowed to do anything remotely relating to helping with preparations. We were treated like honored guests.

The morning of the wedding, we joined the friends and family in the courtyard of the house. Cousins climbed up on the roof to bang pots and pans and set off firecrackers to welcome the wedding party.

After a short traditional ceremony in the courtyard, the bride and groom were ushered into their wedding chambers where they sat on a red-blanketed bed with posters of naked babies on the wall behind them. On that bed, they played some teasing games while the groom’s friends and relatives tossed nuts and dried fruit at them.

It was during this time that I realized how very different I really was. Even though I thought I had grown up under much Chinese culture and influence, nothing had prepared me for the experience that this wedding was. It was so different from my expectations for weddings, and made me realize I would not want a wedding like this, which made me wonder if it was really just the wedding or if it was something more.

It was this experience that caused me to ponder on the fact that perhaps I wasn’t being honest with myself when I told people I could see myself ending up with a Chinese man. Maybe I’m more independent than I thought or maybe my version of being raised the Asian way was a mixture of East and West. Maybe I wasn’t willing to give up being “comfortable” in America to truly connect with my roots. Whatever the reason, someday I hope to find a man who embraces my world, a perfect blend of Chinese and American culture.

After living in China for the past six years, Joanna Scarpuzzi is now back in the US and writes about teaching and her experiences with culture, specifically Asian culture.
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Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”: 3 Reasons You Should Watch this New TV Series

A year ago we all mourned the loss of Selfie and its revolutionary casting of John Cho as Henry Higgs, wondering if we’d ever see another Asian American man as the object of her affections.

If only I’d known that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend would parade into this Fall’s American TV lineup and pretty much steal the show, featuring a white woman (played by Rachel Bloom) so obsessed with an Asian hottie (played by Vincent Rodriguez III) that she ditches her New York life to follow him to California (West Covina, to be exact).

It’s such a fresh, fun show for television. And even better, there are great arguments for why anyone reading this blog needs to watch (if you aren’t already). Here are my top three reasons you should check out Crazy Ex-Girlfriend:

#1: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend “Always Wanted the Male Lead to Be Asian”

Rachel Bloom and Vincent Rodriguez III from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Rachel Bloom and Vincent Rodriguez III from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

That’s right – from the beginning, the show’s creators intended to cast an Asian man as the romantic lead:

Since Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is set in the San Gabriel Valley, they wanted to make sure the lead and background actors represented the culture. “We always wanted the male lead to be Asian because I grew up with Asian bros, and I hadn’t seen that represented on TV.” Rodriguez, who plays her object of obsession/affection, is Filipino.

In a world where we’re pushing for more diverse casting on TV and in the movies, this is outstanding – and totally different from Selfie. According to NPR Codeswitch, “John Cho wasn’t supposed to star in the My Fair Lady-like ABC sitcom Selfie.”

While we’re at it, given that creator and star Rachel Bloom is white herself, that means she meant to have an AMWF attraction (or, more aptly, obsession) in the show. How cool is that?

#2: For the First Time, an Asian American Guy Is Clearly the TV Heartthrob

Vincent Rodriguez III and Rachel Bloom from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Philip of You Offend Me, You Offend My Family tipped me off to this fantastic reason to watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend:

Yes, the romantic male lead is an Asian American dude. And while rare, we have seen this before—most recently, in last year’s short-lived ABC comedy Selfie where John Cho was the male romantic lead to Karen Gillan–but here’s where Crazy Ex-Girlfriend takes that trope one step further and turns it into something I don’t think has ever existed on a prime-time broadcast network series before: the Asian American guy is the undisputed objection of affection for the white female lead. [emphasis added]

As progressive as a show like Selfie was, the premise is still based on the traditional love-hate relationship between the main guy and girl. Yes, you know the two leads are meant for each other and will eventually get together, but there’s a lot of back-and-forth in regards to how they feel about each other. With Bloom’s character in Crazy Ex-Boyfriend, there is no ambiguity. She is completely obsessed with Josh Chan—he is presented as the epitome of the “perfect” male specimen and she will do anything to win him over.

Josh is Andrew McCarthy in Pretty in Pink—the cool, sophisticated guy that Molly Ringwald has a crush on, but thinks he’s too good for her. When was the last time you saw an Asian American guy playing that role? We’re lucky if he even gets to be Jon Cryer’s Ducky (and yes, there is a Ducky equivalent on the show, but he’s the white guy).

Exactly.

Take a look at this pic of Vincent Rodriguez III. Doesn’t he remind you of that ultimate college hottie? You know, the one all the girls drooled over?

Vincent Rodriguez III from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

And if you’re still not convinced, then you must watch this clip where he stars as his own boy band. Justin Timberlake, eat your heart out.

#3: TV Critics Totally Love Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Here’s another area where the show excels over Selfie – the critics think Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is actually good TV.

The New York Times applauded the series, saying, “…this is a show about willing yourself, even past reason, to hope. Amid an overly cautious fall crop of network series, it could just be crazy enough to work.”

TV Worth Watching gave Crazy Ex-Girlfriend an A-minus, and said:

The situations and characters aren’t entirely novel to be sure. But Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s vibrant premiere episode nonetheless is able to make the sale…. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend romps and rolls without really missing a beat.

In fact, TV Worth Watching’s founder David Bianculli named Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as one of Bianculli’s Best Bets, adding, “If you found, and stayed with, last week’s series premiere, you’ve already seen one of the fall’s best new series.”

Vulture.com calls Crazy-Ex Girlfriend “Crazy Good” and writes:

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is that glorious anomaly, a welcome surprise. There’s a running gag in which our heroine Rebecca hears an “I’m in love” bar from South Pacific‘s “I’m in Love With a Wonderful Guy.” I hear it, too…. It’s funny and sharp and perceptive, with an emotional depth and magical attitude that reminds me of other outlier shows like Wonderfalls and Ugly Betty.

Frazier Moore of the Associated Press has great expectations for the series:

IF this series can sustain the infectious abandon of its pilot, and IF it can continue to do justice to the rapturous Rachel Bloom (its star and executive producer), THEN “Crazy” will be the fall’s big crazy breakout hit.

This show has a 96 percent certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes from the critics, plus an 86 percent approval rating from viewers, proving the public loves it too. And if you dare to watch (especially the hilarious and spot-on “Sexy Getting Ready Song”), I can almost guarantee you’re going to become a fan too.

OMG, I just laughed so hard I spit out my green tea. 😉 Seriously, though, you must watch this show!

P.S.: If you still can’t read enough about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, read this terrific article Vincent Rodriguez III: On facing challenges as an Asian American actor and scoring a lead role in CW’s ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’

Guest Post: That 4th of July When I Met My White Girlfriend’s Racist Grandpa

A few weeks ago, I sent out a call for guest post submissions from Asian men. Well, my first guest poster who responded also happens to be one of my new favorite bloggers — Big Asian Package (Hung Asian Man Talks Sex Politics – Straight Up). So excited to run this post!

Do you have a great story or experience you’d love to share here at Speaking of China? Check out the submit a post page to learn how to get your writing published here!

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The blogger behind Big Asian Package (https://bigasianpackage.files.wordpress.com)
The blogger behind Big Asian Package (https://bigasianpackage.wordpress.com)

I’m an Asian American man. I started writing my thoughts to contribute my point of view to the social environment that injures me through stereotypes and racism. It hurts Asian men, our friends and families, and it hurts our partners. The predominant public commentary is critical of me and everyone who looks like me; they belittle me (why, even?). So why wasn’t I hearing from more Asian men?

I think I felt tempted too… it’s social withdrawal. Put it this way, how rational would it be to participate in a social system that starts you at the bottom, keeps you at the bottom, and laughs the whole time doing it? I think Asian men have seen enough to know that they’d be painted into another angry minority caricature (“angry black man,” “bitch feminist,” &c.)  I suspect this is a major reason for the lack of Asian male voices.  In the end, the racism in the echo chamber of the Internet proliferated, possibly exceeding overt anti-Asian sentiment displayed publicly. It’s too much already.

In the context of the Asian Male White Female (AMWF) relationship, something unique has emerged. As AMWF couples encountered unique difficulties, ones stemming from prejudice, the women started speaking out in large numbers. They told their stories, shared them, and built a community of support and celebration around one thing, and it wasn’t Asian men, it was love. It was being allowed to love in the way they wanted, to love whomever they wanted… however hot and sexy this Asian man might be!

This experience is one of the events that led to my unease when I’m invited to a family event with a… well, more conservative family. They’re tricky places to encounter hostility because around folks I know, family, I’m usually relaxed, not on guard, and trying to have a good time.

(Photo from the US National Archives via Flickr.com)
(Photo from the US National Archives via Flickr.com)

It couldn’t have been a more poetic holiday for this memory. It was Independence Day in Ohio, the Fourth of July, and my girlfriend, who was white (Czech, Polish, and German heritage) brought me to her family’s barbeque and picnic in their newly completed solarium. There was potato salad, macaroni salad, and a number of other misleadingly named things that cause heart disease by the mountainous bowlful. The Stars and Stripes were gratuitously displayed. Kids risked fingers with low-grade explosives. It was a good time. The centerpiece to the whole affair was the barbeque which they managed to overload with some forbidden pyramid of smoking meats. I used to work at a grill, and even I thought that was an obscene amount of meat.

Well, I’m a vegetarian (yes, vegetarian grill cook, I know) so when I was offered some, I politely turned down my sector of the pyramid. Whoops. People looked over at us.

I learned that, at least in the 90s, this was an American social faux pas on par with sneezing in someone’s face. There was murmuring. I heard an aunt exclaim, “How?…What?…”

I tried to redirect and talk about how good all the salads were, but this was like trying to wipe the sneeze off of their collective faces with my bare hands. I could feel people’s eyes still on me. It was too late. I had declined the centerpiece of the American Independence celebration.

“I have to go to the bathroom,” I said. I put my red, white, and blue plate down on a small table and strode over to the bathroom, shut the door, and breathed again. I’m a teenage boy so it’s not like I have a whole lot of composure to begin with, but I muster together what I can, and go back outside. People had resumed doing whatever they were doing and I wasn’t noticed. I picked up my plate, ate a few bites of the potato salad, and went back to the tarp covered table for more.

Potato salad (Photo by Christina via Flickr.com)
Potato salad (Photo by Christina via Flickr.com)

“Are you happy about those secrets?” said a voice from beside me.

“What? I’m sorry?” I said. It was my girlfriend’s grandpa.

“The nuclear secrets. I know you came here to steal from us,” said her grandpa,

“I go to school…” I say, protesting.

“You’re Chinese, I know you are,” he says quietly, triumphantly, like he’s got me checkmated.

“Yes,” I say, now seriously confused, not quite believing what I’m hearing.

And here’s where having a lady with a sharp social sense comes in handy. Because where I might turn to look at a guy friend and receive some eyeshot that says, yeah, pound that racist, I got an arm around mine, a brisk walk out to the street, and a fresh piece of cake for me to eat as she drove us home. What a sweetheart.

We didn’t talk about Grandpa Bigotnasty much after that. She apologized for him; I told her not to, and we just went home. I never saw Grandpa B. again either. My girlfriend was mortified by her family and understood I wouldn’t go anyplace her grandpa would be. I guess you could call this an incident of social rejection. I think I like the term social withdrawal better because it implies that it was more of my choice. It doesn’t really matter in in the end. I’m not there at her family events anymore because we broke up.

If I’m in an interracial relationship now, I sometimes try to talk to my partner about this anxiety over family gatherings. Sometimes I keep it to myself though…and hope that next time around, there won’t be a Grandpa Bigotnasty at the table.

I’m an Asian American man in my 30s living in the U.S., Northern California. I was born and raised in the Midwest and in a predominantly white community that seemed to embrace every stereotype ever heard about Asian folks. I write about my sexual experiences and the politics of sex for straight Asian men. Don’t get a little bit of the truth, get the full package – http://bigasianpackage.wordpress.com.

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Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

Why The Walking Dead’s Glenn is the best Asian male character on TV today — and must not die!

The other night, I was on Facebook when I discovered a message in my inbox from a friend: “Jocelyn, you should do a blog about Steven Yeun….All the fans are really concerned about Steven Yeun’s character on the TV show.”

He meant, of course, “The Walking Dead” – one of the most popular TV shows in America.

Sure enough, I headed over to the Facebook page for “The Walking Dead,” and here’s what I discovered:f-the-comics

dear-writers-dont-you-dare

Yeah, they’re worried Glenn will die in the season finale (which will air only hours after this blog post goes live).

Now, I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t actually watch this show. There’s a good reason for that – I’m incredibly sensitive to violence and, according to everything I’ve heard and read about this show, it’s full of lots of bloody, gory and frightening scenes. The kind of things guaranteed to give me nightmares. (You should have seen me years ago after I watched the Tom Cruise reboot of “War of the Worlds” – I had trouble sleeping for days!)

TWD-S3-1024-F

But “The Walking Dead” remains on my radar for a very simple reason: because Steven Yeun, playing Glenn, is doing more to smash stereotypes about Asian men than any other actor on TV today, as this article by Nerds of Color – titled Glenn of The Walking Dead is the Best Response to Anti-Asian Stereotyping – illustrates:

Glenn is a new class of Asian American character, one that I’m not sure we’ve seen on-screen before.

Unlike previous Asian American characters, Glenn is at once Asian American and incidentally Asian American. Conspicuous among other Asian American characters, Glenn’s racial background does not define or justify his presence. He’s not the computer whiz, the scientist, the intellectual, the geek, the doctor, the technician, or a host of other stereotypical roles typically relegated to the Asian token. Although it is implied that Glenn’s parents were strict, Glenn himself was a pizza boy prior to the zombie apocalypse and assumes the role of forager and fighter — not “medic” or “ninja,” two roles that might be stereotypically Asian yet fulfilled by other members of the group. In short, there’s almost nothing inherently stereotypical about Glenn and his presence in The Walking Dead.

Plus, when has any Asian American male character been hailed as “the beating heart” of a series?

Yeun’s amiable nature is familiar to fans of AMC’s hit zombie series. As Glenn Rhee, he functions as a likable everyman, the closest thing to a romantic hero in an unrelentingly brutal apocalyptic world.

“Steven is the heart of the show,” said Glen Mazzara, the “Walking Dead” executive producer who’s set to leave the series at the end of this season. “Everybody loves that character; everybody’s rooting for that character. He may be tortured and sensitive, but he’s always a hero.”

Of course, I haven’t even mentioned the biggest reason that draws many of you to “The Walking Dead” – his relationship with Maggie, a white Southern Belle.

(Photograph by Williams + Hirakawa, via http://www.lamag.com)
(Photograph by Williams + Hirakawa)

You Offend Me, You Offend My Family nails why this AMWF pairing matters so much:

In the second season, Glenn matured and gained a greater self-confidence, but more importantly, he found love with fellow survivor Maggie (Lauren Cohan). And if it’s rare to see an Asian male engaged in anything romantic or sex-related on American television, it’s even rarer to see him in a nuanced relationship that develops over time. Yes, it’s cool to see a brotha getting to knock boots with a hot white chick, but what’s even cooler is to see that coupling grow into the romantic heart of the series.

Yep, he’s your average Joe who shows courage AND gets the girl. And he just happens to be Asian. For a TV show, this is totally revolutionary.

Steven Yeun as Glenn on “The Walking Dead” – the most-watched drama series ever broadcast on American cable – proves that when you let Asian men step outside of the stereotypes to play great characters who are fascinating, nuanced and real to life, the public will watch.

That’s why we need Steven Yeun out there, playing Glenn to the very end of “The Walking Dead.” That’s why Glenn cannot die! You’re not just killing the heart and soul of the show; you’re killing, as YOMYOMF calls him, the “Most Interesting Asian Male Character on American Television.”

394490-the-walking-dead-glenn-and-maggie

I don’t even watch the show and just the thought of this character getting killed off makes me feel totally outraged!

When AMC broadcasts their season finale for “The Walking Dead,” I’ll be on the Beijing subway, heading for the Beijing South Railway Station – the start of my journey back to Hangzhou (I’ve been in Beijing this past weekend to help promote How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit). But I can guarantee you, when the clock strikes 9am Beijing time (which is also 9pm Eastern time in the US, the start of 90-minute season finale), I’ll be silently wishing and praying that Glenn survives to the next season.

What do you think?

Guest Post: “Korean-American. Or Amerasian. Or a hapa. Why so many labels?”

Ms. A writes, “My mother is Korean and my father is a mix of many things himself, mostly white. I suppose that would make me Korean-American. Or Amerasian. Or a hapa. Why so many labels?” Her essay captures the frustration of dealing with labels, and what it feels like when you don’t quite “fit in.” 

Do you have something to say about being biracial and Asian, or raising biracial Asian kids? Or do you have a good love story or other guest post idea that fits the scope of this blog? Check out the submit a post page to learn how to have your writing published here.

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(Photo by Meg Wills via Flickr.com)
(Photo by Meg Wills via Flickr.com)

“What are you?”

For some reason, that question has always bothered me. Sarcastically, I’d once responded “I’m human. What are YOU?” Of course I knew they meant to ask my background or ethnicity. Being bi-racial, mixed, or “hapa”, this was a common question. I suppose what bothered me was that the question had a deeper meaning to me. What ‘am I?

My mother is Korean and my father is a mix of many things himself, mostly white. I suppose that would make me Korean-American. Or Amerasian. Or a hapa. Why so many labels?

Growing up, I never had an issue about being mixed. But somewhere down the line I ended up having an identity crisis. To non-Asians I suddenly became “the Asian one”. When I was with full-Asians, I was “the American one”. I grew a dislike to referring to myself as “half” Korean and “half” American. It felt like being partially part of something, yet never being fully part of it. Just half.

Perhaps this had to do with the community and if you live in a community that is familiar with diversity.

Of course, the feeling of not belonging in either “worlds” also had a lot to do with my upbringing. Sometimes I would have an American mindset of things, other times I would view things the Korean way. We spoke English, ate Korean, confusingly having conservative Korean values yet simultaneously liberal in other aspects. In Korea there is a Chinese-Korean dish call jjambbong that was a spicy noodle soup that didn’t have just one type of seafood and vegetables but a large variety mixed together. That’s what I was. Or maybe like a New Orleans gumbo.

As I got older, I realized that culture is a part of you, but not your entirety. It’s a blessing to have more than one culture a part of you. And yet because of that reason, it’s why you don’t have to choose to be solely part of one completely. It’s only natural values may clash and you may physically/visually not belong to a single race. Embrace who you are as an individual first. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to not always fit in. Its. Okay.

Ultimately what defines you is who you are as an individual. People should remember you for who you are in the inside and the qualities you display as a human.

Ms. A is a woman who believes your imperfections are your perfections and that self-discovery is a never ending path.

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Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

Debunking the “Model Asian” Myth: Five Ways Asian-Americans Still Face Discrimination (Pub’d on HIPPO Reads)

Debunking the “Model Asian” Myth on HIPPO Reads

Last week passed in a huge blur as July entered my life, along with a lot of new things that will keep this blogger SUPER busy through the entire month! That’s why I’ve been late to tell you about an article published in late June that I’m sure will resonate with many of you: Debunking the “Model Asian” Myth: Five Ways Asian-Americans Still Face Discrimination.

The accomplished Kaitlin Solimine (she’s also a contributor to the new anthology How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit) asked me a few months back about doing a piece for HIPPO Reads, a website known for “Real World Issues, Academic Insights.” Originally, it all started when I shared an article about the bias against Asian students in academia (one of the most shocking findings from a recent Wharton School study) and she brought up doing a guest post for HIPPO Reads. So I said, “Sure, I’ll do it.”

Well, the article soon morphed into something far beyond the problems that Asians face in higher education in America, and now offers a more comprehensive snapshot of the many ways Asians just aren’t getting ahead in America (despite the “model minority” label Americans love to attribute to Asians).

Here’s a snippet of the article:

In April 2014, the public was collectively shocked when University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School unveiled the results of a study examining racial gender biases in faculty mentoring. This finding particularly struck a chord: “We see tremendous bias against Asian students and that’s not something we expected. So a lot of people think of Asians as a model minority group. We expect them to be treated quite well in academia, and at least in the study and in this context we see more discrimination against Indian and Chinese students than against other groups.”

For most of the American public, such a finding was confounding. After all, for many Americans, it seems Asians reign at elite colleges and universities and go on to live the American dream. Eugene Volokh, for example, in this Washington Post piece, points to the overrepresentation of Asians at the Silicon Valley behemoth of Google as an example of “how the Asians became white.”

Statistics can be deceptive, just like our own stereotypes about Asians in America. If Americans think Asians have truly made it—or even have an unfair advantage—perhaps it’s time to think again:

Read the entire article right now. If you love it, by all means share it around! And as always, thanks for reading!

Why limit yourself? Logan Lo shares his interracial dating story

(photo by kevin dooley via Flickr.com)

Logan Lo wrote, “Life limits you enough, why do it to yourself?” That’s true in many things, including the dating scene he writes about today in his guest post. An Asian-American blogger in New York City who authored the book The Men Made of Stone, Logan stepped outside of his own comfort zone in interracial dating — and eventually met his Irish/Italian-American wife.

Thanks so much to Logan for sharing his story!

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When America was young, the last place you’d expect to be the preeminent United States city was New York. After all, it was solidly occupied by the British for the entirety of the war. It should have been Boston, Philadelphia, or even Charleston.

But a great fire happened in 1776, which burned much of Manhattan; so much so that the Commissioner’s Plan of 1811 allowed them to re-map city streets into the current, orderly, grid-pattern. Immigrants – like my parents – who then came to America found that they could navigate the streets, even if they couldn’t speak the language well.

We all have these fires in our lives, don’t we? And we face that choice to let it leave us broken, unchanged, or better.

Essentially, all of your life’s problems can be divided up into three categories: Health, wealth, and relationships. When I was 33, all three of these things took a massive hit. It was my great fire, if you will.

As I tried to right myself, took it as an opportunity to not just get my life back to where it once was, but to make it better.

Health and wealth each probably deserves their own entries so let’s just talk about relationships.

On that front, I realized that, like most people, I just kind of ended up with the people I dated. They were always women that were just hanging around with people I hung around with and we just gravitated towards each other. At 33 years of age, I never walked up to a total stranger and said, “Hi, what’s your name?”

So that’s exactly what I did for few years.

Along the way, in addition to meeting and finding out about all of these really interesting people, I found out more about myself.

For example, I learned that there are a lot of 22-year-old women out there in the party scene. Unfortunately, I also learned that 22 year olds and 34 year olds generally do not have a lot in common.

Something I found out about myself was that I liked girls with colored eyes.

It’s just a thing. Everyone has a thing.

But this particular thing meant that I – as an Asian-American – was often asking out people that weren’t Asian. And I heard something so often that I had a pat answer for it:

Her: You’re the first Asian guy I’ve ever been attracted to.
Me: Ah, you’re missing out. We’re lovely. Plus, wait until you meet the really good looking ones.

Which brings me to the point of this post and the most important thing I learned about myself during those dating years: Life limits you enough, why do it to yourself?

Let me be honest and tell you that the first year or so of me talking to complete strangers was absolutely terrifying. I’d never done anything like that before. I always had one reason or another to do it because it was outside my comfort zone.

After all, things outside your comfort zone are, by definition, uncomfortable.

And when you’re not comfortable, you either stop what you’re doing or stop making excuses and deal with the discomfort. I decided to do the latter.

I cannot tell you the number of times where I’m out with friends and one of them shot themselves down before someone else could.

Him: Let’s get outta here.
Me: Why?
Him: There’re four or five guys to every girl here.
Me: Come on, we’re having a good time. (laughing) Besides, there’re four or five regular guys to every girl here. There’s only one set of you and me. These, my friend, are great odds.

Along the way, I met a beautiful girl who has become my favorite person in the world. She has green eyes, an easy laugh, and a surprising tolerance for all my little idiosyncrasies.

And I was the only non-white person my wife ever dated. And this was true with almost all of the women I dated.

The thing is, I wouldn’t be happily married to my favorite person in the world, nor have met all these people, if I let kept shooting myself down before someone else had the chance to do so.

Do you know the story of the four-minute mile?

Essentially, for thousands of years, it was thought that it was impossible that someone could run a mile in less than four minutes. But in 1954, a fella named Roger Bannister ran it in 3:59.4 minutes.

Since 1954, so many people have broken the “four-minute barrier” that’s it’s gone from an impossibility to “the standard of all male professional middle distance runners.”

Even more interesting is the fact that Bannister did it while he was a full-time medical student! The world limited him enough and he chose not to do it to himself.

So then, I end this entry with a conversation I had dozens of times while I was out and about.

Me: So what’s your story morning glory?
Her: (rolling eyes) Does that line really work?
Me: You’re talking to me aren’t you?
Her: (laughs)

Life limits you enough. Why do it to yourself?

Logan Lo is a native New Yorker who’s been blogging since 2006. In between practicing law by day and teaching Filipino fencing by night, he’s managed to get married and write a popular article on online dating titled “eHarmony vs. Match,” as well as a book on Asian gangs titled The Men Made of Stone. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and his plant, Harold.

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Saluting Blogs Written By Asian Men

(Screenshot from http://www.angryasianman.com/)

Since it’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month here in the US, I didn’t want to miss this chance to give a shout out to blogs I follow and link to written by Asian men. Since this is by no means an exhaustive list — and I’m always looking for more great reads — please comment in on your favorites so I can add them to my reader! Continue reading “Saluting Blogs Written By Asian Men”