Accepting My Attraction to White Men

I was at a party hosted by a gay friend of mine a few evenings ago.  It seemed that every man there was gay.  Then a young man walked in and we struck a conversation.  As he became more involved in the conversation — his eyes looking at me without being distracted, his gesturing accompanied with smiles — I became self conscious.

I didn’t want to appear to be overtly enjoying this conversation, lest others would see me being obviously attracted to young white men.  For years, through my involvement in fighting against racism, I had acquired a mentality to look down at both rice queens (those who are attracted to Asians only) and potato queens (those who are attracted Whites only), as such racially based attraction didn’t seem to be as respectable as attractions based on personal qualities, not just skin colours.

So, I turned my body slightly sideways from my interlocutor and occasionally turned my head away from him, to show others (if any of the others were observing me) that I wasn’t enthusiastically into talking to him.  I betrayed my true enjoyment: I enjoyed talking to him.  He seemed to have a healthy mind and a healthy body.  He was well versed in current events and held balanced views of them.  He ran 5 times a week.  Seeing that I seemed to be less interested talking to him, his enthusiasm and energy in our conversation waned.  Eventually he excused himself to get a drink.  I felt a sense of lose.

I cared more about others’ acceptance of me than my own enjoyment.  Although I have experienced being attracted to Asians, Whites, Blacks and Indian since I came to Canada, the times of me being attracted to white men has been more than the others combined.

I accept this reality.

There may be an explanation of this reality.  White men have high social status with high income and high positions in corporations and governments in our society.  White men are handsome with plenty of glamorous presentations in movies, magazines and advertisements.  White men have high morality with a strong sense of fairness and democracy as demonstrated in the many non-profit organizations and democratic institutions they have founded.  And I like to be associated with high status, high income, handsome-ness, high morality.  I accept this reality about me.

I accept my fear of being regarded as a potato queen by others.  I accept that to a certain degree that I am a potato queen.

This is who I have been, who I am and where I am at now.  But this now does not necessarily define where I will be tomorrow and who I will become in future.

I remember that I used to consider the looks of white people ghostly and feared them.  I was probably six years old…

One windy afternoon, Waipo — my maternal grandma — took me to the big road by River Xiang.  Soon we were in the middle of a huge parade.  Red flags and banners flapped around me, making Pla-Pla sounds.  People marched in big steps and they were carrying spears, iron rods, wooden sticks and bricks.  Waipo magically found a thumb-thick iron rod in her hand.  It was as tall as me.  “Down with the American imperialists!”  The crowd shouted and spears, sticks, rods and arms were raised above me like trees in the woods.  “Down with the British imperialists!”  Another forest formed above me.  I braced myself for a battle with the imperialists.

“What do they look like?” I wondered aloud.

“They are hairy.”  Waipo replied.

I ran beside her, one hand held on to hers.

“They have long legs, arms.  Hong tou hua se — red heads and all sorts of coloured faces.”

I saw the image of big hairy painted monkeys and felt afraid.  I looked through the vertical space between the people in front of me, and the space under their swinging arms and between their legs, hoping to see the imperialists coming towards us.  But I could not see through the parade.

“Where are they?” I looked up at Waipo.  She looked shorter than the grownups around us.

“The other side of town.”  She looked at me and pulled me closer, “How do you have so many questions?”

I shut up, and began to worry that Waipo might be too short and too old to win if the monkey she was fighting against was taller than the man walking beside us.  I wished that she would pick a small one and beat him down.  What about me?  Would the grownups leave children alone?  But they might have child monkeys too.

Waipo pulled me off the road before we reached the town centre.  As we walked home, I nervously asked, “Are we not going to beat the imperialists?”

“We have!” she wiped her forehead, her iron rod mysteriously gone.

Confused, I was relieved that the fight was over.

Yet at night, I would often dream of those coloured imperialist monkeys marching towards me by the River Xiang, their hairy arms waving and legs jumping.  But we never met.  We just kept walking towards each other.

I have journeyed from a biased communist view of white people to a more favourable view of white people.  I believe that as I continue my journey, I will reach a more realistic and truthful view of white people and… white men.  When there is less bias associated with my attraction to white men, I will accept such attraction more with no worry or fear.

Equally, when I am attracted to a man of lower social status and income, less handsome, belonging to a racial or social group that is associated with negative stigmas in general view in our society, I will be more comfortable to accept that person as who he is and my attraction to him without worrying how others regard us.


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