By Sophia Le
This is inspired by Grace Buchele Mineta’s blog post “Dear World, ‘He’s good looking, for an Asian guy’ is not a compliment. It’s kinda racist.”
As a few of you know, I am Vietnamese. Vietnamese American in fact. I was born and raised here in the United States, and English is not the only language I speak. I was born speaking Vietnamese, my earliest memories are being able to think in Vietnamese while I had to learn English to be able to go to preschool. Now I speak English more fluently than Vietnamese, but Vietnamese will always be remembered as my native tongue. In addition, my family has made sure that I still celebrate proper Vietnamese traditions, studied in Vietnamese schools so that I know how to read and write in Vietnamese, and can even sing in the language. Over the years I’ve developed a fierce love and passion for my heritage and culture, and wish to preserve it so I can keep passing it on to later generations. So. . .yeah, I guess you could say I’m pretty much Vietnamese.
Now that my origins is out of way (I’ll explain later why I think it’s significant), I’ll talk about Mineta’s observations on hearing all sorts of people from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds say to her about her husband, Mineta Ryosuke: “Your husband is pretty hot, for an Asian guy.” “I don’t normally find Asian men attractive, but Ryosuke is cute!” “Your husband is good looking, you know, for an Asian guy.” I take it that the list [unfortunately] goes on.
I’m sorry not sorry, but if I heard this spoken to me about my fellow Asian guy friends, I would be enraged and promptly call the person out.
Props to Grace, ’cause, yeah her husband is hot, cute, absolutely lovely. And not just for an Asian guy. FOR ANY GUY. Are people saying he’s hot for an Asian guy since he isn’t white and thus doesn’t fit Western ideals of handsomeness, sexiness, and what have you?? It completely baffles me! ‘Cause if we’re going to talk about how Ryosuke does not reach Western ideals, I would like you to show me WHERE. The man is very muscular, and as they say “literally shredded with 6-pack abs”. And last I checked from People’s Magazine of “Sexiest Man Alive” Editions, having prominent abs is definitely still ideal and a mark of sexiness.
See, the reason I felt the need to explain my origins is that I feel that as an Asian female, specifically Vietnamese female, I never had a problem with seeing fellow Asian males as attractive, hot, sexy, cute, handsome, what have you. And it’s not necessarily even out of bias.
I don’t have a handsome dad that I looked up to as example of who/what I could be attracted to. I did however, have handsome Asian friends whom . . .I may have had a crush on. And this is my whole point, that I think other people could observe. I didn’t crush on them because they were Asian since I am Asian. I crushed on them simply because they’re attractive! I’ve crushed on all sorts of ethnic backgrounds.
And maybe I’m simply a romantic, I can be attracted to whatever catches my eye. And that happens to be any men. I’ve met many other people who are like me, who find any men from any ethnic background as attractive, instead of thinking, “oh huh, you’re really attractive for a race that isn’t white” as other people, including the media, have done.
So yeah, it completely baffles me as to how and why people feel the need to separate attractive Asian men to be different from attractive American men, as well as insinuating that others think that simply being Asian does not equate to being attractive, or hinders said male from being attractive. It is absolutely absurd. Never again, do I want to hear an Asian culture being used against a person as a insult. It is NOT OK.
All I am asking is, please please please reconsider your words, your intentions. They may have been pure and innocent, but the execution and connotations it brings are simply a big no no. Consider the fact that what you are saying is actually racist. And I sincerely hope that is not your usual nature, that you are not that person who sees this as not a problem at all. ‘Cause I am not the only one miffed by this problem. There are many others who struggle with this problem but nobody says anything. You can help bring change with even just a few simple words. That is all, and thank you.