Saturday 16th December 2017,

Guest Posts

Ξ 12 comments

Asian American Men Could Use a Little Self-Examination

posted by Randall

Asian American MenBy John J Chen

Guest Blogger

(Note from the Editor: Two weeks ago, AsAmNews ran a guest post from Ric about the new ABC series Mistresses and its portrayal of Asian American women and the absence of any AAPI men in the show. That lead to a discussion about Asian American women who prefer to exclusively non-Asians. This is John Chen’s response to that discussion. Note-the man pictured is not John Chen, just an AAPI man.)

I don’t expect anyone here to agree, but, in my opinion, there’s plenty of blame to go around aside from Hollywood, and I want to say much of that blame includes me—as in: us Asian males. There are two observations I’ve been wrestling with that I think holds us Asian males back:

1) Inadequate verbal/social skills. Simply put, we dominate in IT professions because success there doesn’t hinge on prolonged face-to-face interactions, and people/verbal skills. But the success gained here is a bit hollow in the larger social picture as we never learn to appreciate, nor cultivate, those “soft skills.” I think we all know how soft skills like putting a stranger at ease with storytelling or humor helps with the ladies, right? Yet all too often I see our brothers at social functions interviewing, if not interrogating, a girl of interest, instead of giving her reasons to smile, laugh and take in the guy’s company.

2) As highly, if not over- educated we are as a demographic, we’ve done zilch to apply our education and success in engaging our culture in public discourse about our centuries old preference for baby boys over girls. There’s no place for this in a modern society, especially if it seeks to be attractive to women. I can’t imagine much anything else upgrading our public-relations rating with women than this. And what women want, media responds to, and Hollywood produces for.

Western media and culture that puts the western male at the pinnacle of the universe is a freight train no one is stopping anytime soon. We can cite offenses and throw rocks at it til the cows come home—it might make a smidgen’s difference, but isn’t doing so simply affirming the status quo’s higher ground? Wouldn’t we be better off acknowledging our opportunities for self-improvement instead? Life is a competition. Mating is a competition. Winning a girl’s attention, in hopes it turns into affection is a competition. Are we asking “How do we measure up? And if we don’t, what are we doing about it?” as much as we’re saying “Western media hates Asian males?” Rather than throw stones at the Western media freight train, why not build our own freight train? It’s not as if they didn’t build their own.

My 2¢, and likely a measure of self-loathing.

(About the author: John lives and works in NYC as a User Experience Architect for a startup online retailer, and is a licensed uncle to nieces and nephews on both coasts and in Houston.  To any unsuspecting ear, John is happy to ramble on about his Asian brothers’ challenges and opportunities to step up in the Western world. John is also longwinded.)

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  1. AsAmNews says:

    Re: AAPI Men Could Use a Little Self-examination: John, there's always the danger of the victim blaming the victim. But a little self examination can be good. I think your points are worthy of discussion. Thanks for sharing your thoughs.

  2. AsAmNews says:

    From @VotePositive via Twitter: Re: AAPI Men Could Use a Little Self-Examination: "Well said John. Well said."

  3. AsAmNews says:

    From U-ring Gadu via Facebook Re: AAPI Men Could Use a Little Self-Examination: "Also Asian culture plays a big part into valuing materialistic pursuits, status, "not sticking out", conformity, apathetic, apolitical, and that type of Confucianism is the part of Asian culture I Hate,."

    1. AsAmNews says:

      From John J Chen Via Facebook Responding to U-ring Gadu comments on AAPI Men Could Use a Little Self-Examination: I vaguely recall reading that Confucius specified certain virtues to be upheld in Han/Chinese society, not for the virtues' sake, but so the Emperor would have unquestioning, hard working and docile subjects. The law of unintended consequences has had a few millenia to have its way with that, when you see how our culture is now everything that you take issue with.
      When I visited/worked in Shanghai, HK and Singapore, the guys with the most girls, most adulation, most status and social currency weren't the successful Asian/local guys.
      It was the western ex-pats who strut in with the same size checking accounts, but with the extra heapings of a worldwide public relatons org, Hollywood films, that has been telling women the world over for the last century, that the Western male was the man of their hopes and dreams, because stories and movies were about him and him alone, villain or saviour. Western males also, as a whole, are consistently more assertive, more agressive, and unapologetic in going after what they want. Much of it is culture, but I've been postulating it's also historical dietary norms—we eat like grazing cows (vegetarians), while they eat like predators (omnivores)—which one has to be aggressive to survive? Consider the comparatively paltry level of meat proteins, combined with all the rampant soy-based products, in Asian diets floods our physiology with estrogen-like molecules, and molecules = chemistry = brain chemistry = behaviour = attitude = assertiveness vs. docile-ness (is that even a word?). And this is how my crazy mind works.

      1. crazy MMer says:

        re: Asian American Men Could Use a Little Self-Examination: sounds like a self-hating apologist Asian man. all the bunk theories of diet is moot when you consider Northern Asians: Chinese, Mongols and Koreans eat mostly meat based diet anyhow.

        it’s the racist haolewood propaganda media for sure. Asians in Asia don’t help because they prop up WM in their medias too.

      2. Lisa says:

        RE: Asian American men could use a little self examination: Western men are feisty and it’s no wonder they wreck marriages and relationships between Asian couples by stealing Asian women from tiger Asian husbands and boyfriends who could kick their butts! Western mixed race Asian men are the worst. But anyway, women of every culture are taught to choose fiery, feisty men over laid-back, calm ones.

  4. Ric says:

    Re: Asian American Men Could Use a Little Self-Examination: What a stupid response to my entry. I suppose humor and sarcasm doesn’t

    Translate over well on web blog. Nor does independent thinkings that

    Media is key issue here and whom they like portray on boob TV.

    Plenty Plenty Asian males doing just fine in real life.

    Having a gf or being married to say girl of your dreams doesn’t change or neglect what main “hidden” issue found in that blog I wrote

  5. macys says:

    Re: Asian American Men Could Use Self-Examination:I agree with what most of what John is saying. However, I think it speaks more to men with immigrant parents. Why I say that? It is my belief that immigrant fathers did not lead by example for their poor sons. Okay, maybe not ALL sons turned out the way John is talking about, but a lot. Immigrant parents were too busy striving for the American dream 24/7. How many of those immigrant dad’s gave their boys a bees and birds talk? I mean seriously? My immigrant mother never even told me about menstruation. I came home and wondered, “what the hell happened to my bottom?!” My husband is a 1st generation AsAm and is the only and oldest son. He has a younger sibling. While my husband is an “ok guy”, he lacks social skills. He can’t and won’t host dinners at our house, barely allows non-family to stay over, almost never. Hates small talk, can’t hold or initiate a conversation – maybe just at work and like a few co-workers. He rather disappear and sneak out in a social event if he is ever made to attend one. How in the world we ever got together is still a mystery. We each have 2 versions of how our relationship got started to this day. Anyways, so you can guess he’s an engineer. He writes to do lists to me in all caps. He only includes his name in any birthday card or mother’s day card he gets me, if he gets me one. He can’t write and put thoughts into words out of his mouth or on paper. He does not speak effectively. He’s a man of few words in public. He hates confrontation and doesn’t seek justice if he’s been wronged because he doesn’t know how to speak his thoughts and feelings. Yes,..he lacks social skills.

    1. crazy MMer says:

      Re: Asian American Men Could Use a Little Self-Examination: whether or not this is a true story is moot; but somehow your husband represents “all” of the AM out there?

      those of you stereotyping Asians into the traditional professions need to see the diversity of Asians in the entertainment industry in SoCal.

      just because your mind is narrow, doesn’t mean the world fits into what you think of it.

  6. AsAmNews says:

    From @aaplay via Twitter Re: Asian American Men need a Little Self-Examination: "@johnthedesigner Curious as to whether you are the John J. Chen who wrote the @AsAmNews piece on Asian American men. Great response article."

  7. SomeAznGuy says:

    re: Asian American Men Could Use a Self-Examination: This post has some extremely good points. Props!!

  8. Ric says:

    RE: High Rate of Interracial Marriage Among Asian Americans: What about Asian American women ?

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