“Hey, I couldn’t help noticing that you two are a couple, so I just wanted to ask you, ‘What would attract a White girl to an Asian guy?'”
It was a Sunday morning. Junwen and I were walking out of the Santa Monica High School auditorium, where we had just attended a church service, when a young Asian man ran up to us to ask this question. Without thinking I burst into laughter and turned my face into Junwen’s shoulder, I suppose out of awkwardness and complete surprise.
The man must have felt the need to qualify his question, leading into his explanation with another question: “Do you go to school here in California?”
“Well,” I replied, not really sure where this line of questioning was going, “I did just finish grad school, and my husband did law school here…but before that I studied in Florida.”
“Okay, then maybe you know, but I grew up here in the Valley and then went to Berkeley, and what we’re taught is that the Asian male is marginalized because of certain stereotypes, such that the White female is never interested in dating him. So I was just wondering, since you’re together, what do you think would attract a White girl to an Asian guy?”