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Pet Sins May 2003

Chinese man despises Asian intra-racial relationships

I have been hanging out with a group of Asian gay men for a few years. I myself am not a gay male. Once, at a party, I overheard the group talking about an ethnic Chinese gay man, called S.

One of them said that he was disgusted with S. because S. had made the following comment when he saw an Asian gay couple: "Isn't it disgusting to see 2 Asians together?" According to the person narrating the anecdote, S. was of the opinion that Asians should be paired with whites, not with each other.

The other listeners begin to chime in with their own anecdotes about S.'s internalized racism, his alleged desire to be white, and his scorn for darker-skinned Asians, such as Southeast Asians.

These comments shocked me because they revealed to me a side of S. that I had previously never seen. I had been acquainted with S for a number of years, and although I was not friends with him, we were on cordial terms. S. had dated only white men. But never, over these few years, had he given me any indication that he was racist against his own people. He never said anything about any sort of racial preference in my presence. In fact, I got the impression he was proud of his heritage because he loved cooking Asian dishes when entertaining, and spoke in accented English with his Asian friends even though he could also speak American English.

Perhaps it is easier for me to believe that such comments are baseless gossip. But I've seen it happen before - East Asians who date whites put on a very "open-minded" face when moving in white circles, and appear to treat all people - black, white, yellow or brown - with equal friendliness. Then in the company of their Asian friends, they show their true colors - voicing their scorn for Indians, Thais, Africans etc. But S. did surprise me because he hid it exceptionally well. I believe he is one of those people who makes a good guess about who may or may not share his racial views and adjusts his behavior in their presence.