L grew tired of the harassment she received on dating apps and websites from people who rejected her because she only wanted black men. She felt that the response was unfair and discriminatory.

It’s a stereotype that permeates popular culture from pornography featuring Asian war brides to the portrayal of John McClane’s emasculated Chinese coworker in Die Hard. But is it true?

Asians aren’t racist

While the members of BTS have an incredible amount of power and influence, they are not immune to anti-Asian racism. They know what it feels like to have racial slurs thrown their way, be blamed for the spread of COVID-19, and have their stories of hate and violence dismissed.

SHAW: L would post in her favorite Asian women subreddit about the yellow fever rumors and how much she loved her white boyfriend, and every time someone on Reddit would chime in with “but I bet you’re only dating him because you prefer white guys,” it hurt. It made it seem like they thought she didn’t care about her own racial identity and was simply a victim of white privilege.

But it’s important to remember that we live in a structurally racist world and that it’s dangerous for us to stereotype individuals based on the color of their skin or their sexual preferences. We must be more mindful of how our words and actions can negatively impact others, even those we don’t know.

Asians aren’t emasculated

While it’s wonderful to see Asian men getting more visibility in Hollywood, we need to address toxic ideas of masculinity that have plagued the community for years. These notions have led to sexual assault, violence and other forms of oppressive treatment, especially for women, as seen by the Atlanta spa shootings.

When L began dating her current boyfriend, she noticed a dark corner of the Internet where men complained that she never dated them and blamed her for being a “white girl.” It’s an ugly form of racialized misogyny that fetishizes Asian women.

In the white imagination, Asian Americans represent what they fear about being less “masculine,” causing them to fear emasculation. It’s why movies like The Big Sick pit the main character, Kumail Nanjiani, against black men in a battle over desirability. While some may argue that this characterization is progress for Asian representation, critics say it reflects the same fetishization of brown bodies.

Asians aren’t self-hating

L gets this comment all the time, especially if she filters her dating app so she only sees Asian men. She knows this is problematic and has been working to course correct.

But it still stings to be told that her choice to date a black man isn’t because of love and only to rally support for black people. It also makes her feel like she’s not good enough to date a black man.

There are a lot of reasons why this sentiment is prevalent. From Mindy Kaling’s Bela character on The Sex Lives of College Girls to Devi on Never Have I Ever to Louis CK’s bad jokes about Asian men’s penis size, the stereotype is pervasive.

And even if these stereotypes aren’t true, they still make people feel bad about themselves and their culture. That’s why it’s important to recognize that not all Asians are self-hating. Some are just trying to survive in America, and that’s hard work.

Asians aren’t trying to bring down black men

When women like black men, some Asians think they’re exhibiting internalised racism. This is an odd thing to say, as racism is a complex issue that doesn’t simply stem from one’s race or ethnicity.

But for some, this accusation is a way to deflect criticism of their anti-black sentiments or their desire to see more black representation in media. When Kumail Nanjiani starred in The Big Sick, for example, some South Asian critics were upset by the movie’s images of brown women being tossed into a cigar box, a montage that echoed a hypersexual stereotype that has long been used to pit Asian Americans against Black Americans.

This image of Asian masculinity is linked to the model minority myth, which stokes white fears about being emasculated and replaced by black masculinity. As a result, Asians have been used as a wedge to minimise the role of racism in society and thwart attempts to address it.