Hey, Steve Harvey, Who Says I Might Not Steal Your Girl?
The book was a gift, a dark joke uncovered on Amazon, purchased by one co-worker for another. I saw it while fumbling through invoices in the office: “How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men.”
这本书是一份礼物，是在亚马逊上发现的黑色笑话，是一个同事买来送给另一个同事的。我在办公室的一堆发票里看到了它：《如何与白人女子约会：亚洲男士实用指南》(How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men)。
“This book is wild.” I said.
“Steve has a chance now!” screamed Joe.
For those still wondering, yes, Joe, myself and Steve are all Asian-American men. Steve had just been on his first date with a complicated, whole human being who happened to be white and female. Joe, in all his excitement for Steve, decided to roast him by purchasing a used copy of the book for $20.
I took a photo, posted it on Instagram, and some 8,000 likes later the book price shot up to over $500 on Amazon, since there were only five copies available. There were over 500 comments on the photo as well, but unanimously no one actually believed the book to be of any utility outside being a gag gift.
Asian World Press published the book in 2002. If you go to their web 1.0 site, you’ll see it is the only book shown among dead links for construction, business and travel guides. Asian World Press feels like an accident and the book a severe miscalculation. But even if we agree that publishing a dating book pegged specifically to Asian men who want to date white women is unconscionable in 2002 — and much more so in 2017 — there are still people who believe Asian men are inept and undesirable to any women outside their race.
这本书是2002年由亚洲世界出版社(Asian World Press)出版的。如果你去他们那个web 1.0风格的网站看看，就会发现它是各种建筑、商业和旅行指南的死链接中的唯一一本书籍。亚洲世界出版社感觉像是一个意外，这本书则是一个严重的失算。但是，即使我们同意，为那些想和白人女子约会的亚洲男士特意出一本约会书，这种事发生在2002年是不合情理的——在2017年更是如此——仍然有人认为，亚洲男人在其他种族的女性眼中显得笨拙无能，毫无魅力。
Steve Harvey is one of these people.
On Jan. 6, Steve Harvey did a roundup of dating books on his talk show, displaying an image of the cover of “How to Date a White Woman,” and said the book could be only one page long: “ ‘Excuse me, do you like Asian men?’ ‘No.’ ‘Thank you.’ ” He then asked an imaginary black woman if she liked Asian men, and acted out her response: “I don’t even like Chinese food, boy. It don’t stay with you no time. I don’t eat what I can’t pronounce.”
As my therapist would say, I have a lot of “feeling” about his sentiments.
Before ever reading about the history of discrimination against Asian-Americans — from the “yellow peril” to the Chinese Exclusion Act to the Japanese-American internment camps to the model minority myth to Vincent Chin and Pvt. Danny Chen – every Asian-American man knows what the dominant culture has to say about us. We count good, we bow well, we are technologically proficient, we’re naturally subordinate, our male anatomy is the size of a thumb drive and we could never in a thousand millenniums be a threat to steal your girl.
就算尚未读过亚裔美国人遭受歧视的历史——从“黄祸”到《排华法案》(Chinese Exclusion Act)，到日裔美国人拘留营，到模范少数族裔神话，再到陈果仁(Vincent Chin)和二等兵陈宇晖(Danny Chen)——每个亚裔美国男性都知道主流文化是怎么看我们的。我们数学好，我们爱鞠躬，我们精通技术，我们天性顺从，我们的性器官差不多是U盘那么大，我们哪辈子也不可能对你构成威胁，偷走你的姑娘。
As a kid, you believe the things you’re told about yourself. But as I grew, I started to see things unravel. I wasn’t subordinate, I didn’t count good, I hated bowing, and outside downloading GIFs of Daisy Fuentes, I was terrible with computers. My first reaction, and the reaction of everyone at Chinese language school as well, was that I was defective and destined for life on a rack at T.J. Maxx begging to get chosen despite my imperfections. So many Asian-Americans I grew up with bought into the expectations the dominant culture placed on them and did everything they could to meet them. I recognized from a young age that I couldn’t and began to plan for life on the margins.
作为一个孩子，不管别人说你什么，你都会照单全收。但随着年龄增长，我发现有些观念开始崩塌。我不顺从，数学不好，讨厌鞠躬，除了下载黛西·富恩特斯(Daisy Fuentes)的动图，我的计算机简直一团糟。和中文学校里的所有人一样，我的最初反应是我有缺陷，像折扣店T.J. Maxx里的东西一样，注定要备受煎熬，乞求有人不顾这些缺陷将我选走。从小到大，我身边有那么多亚裔美国人认同了主流文化赋予他们的期待，尽一切努力去满足那些期待。我在很小的时候就认识到自己做不到，于是开始规划边缘的人生。
I realized that people on the margins aren’t afforded the privilege of being complicated, whole, human beings in America; we have to create that existence ourselves, and it is that experience that I feel fundamentally binds us. Over time, I began to find solidarity with my singularity and difference. Yet the one joke that still hurts, the sore spot that even my closest friends will press, the one stereotype that I still mistakenly believe at the most inopportune bedroom moments — and I know Joe and Steve do as well — is that women don’t want Asian men. Attractiveness is a very haphazard dish that can’t be boiled down to height or skin color, but Asian men are told that regardless of what the idyllic mirepoix is or isn’t, we just don’t have the ingredients.
That doesn’t mean we give up. Steve goes to the gym; Joe buys every piece of Supreme clothing he can afford; and I’ve got jokes. They’re the cultural modifications we see as antidotes to our issues with masculinity. But no matter how successful I was, how much self-improvement was made, or how aware I was that stereotypes are not facts, there were times I thoroughly believed that no one wanted anything to do with me. I told myself that it was all a lie, but the structural emasculation of Asian men in all forms of media became a self-fulfilling prophecy that produced an actual abhorrence to Asian men in the real world.
That’s why this Steve Harvey episode is so upsetting. He speaks openly about issues facing the black community, he is a man of God, and he has a huge platform to speak from. Unfortunately, he’s also the type of guy who orders Krug champagne for himself and Cook’s for every one else. For his own personal profit, he’s willing to perpetuate the emasculation of Asian men regardless of how hypocritical it is. He isn’t the only one doing this in 2017, but as I told myself on New Year’s, I’m not drinking anymore of this Cook’s they’re trying to pour, and neither should you.