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Pet Sins May 2002 Issue
Asian and female in America: privilege, objectification and marginalization

Asian women have at times faced a degree of resentment, not just from other people of color, but also from Asian men, for their perceived privilege in white society. Asian women, especially light-skinned East Asian females, are the most favored for IR marriages with white men, leading to the perception that they have acquired an 'honorary white' status. Accusations, founded and unfounded, of individual Asian women carrying a superiority complex by virtue of their racial privilege, have been reared at various times.

The social advantages of being Asian and female can translate into better professional opportunities in white-male-controlled workplaces, a situation that can be unfair for less well-connected but perhaps more-qualified individuals of other races or genders.

Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that white discrimination against Asian women is far from dead. There have been cases of sexual predators, both white and black, who specifically target only Asian women.

Asian women trying to assert themselves in the workplace are sometimes not taken seriously, or viewed as a potential toy by default, no matter the gravity and dignity a particular individual might conduct herself. Some women play along with white expectations and even turn 'favorable' stereotypes to their advantage. But there are Asian American women who want to be treated no better and no worse than any other person, including other people of color. And not all Asian women want to be valued and sought out for their 'race'.