**Please note that all references to Asians would be in relation to East Asians. However much of this article could relate to both East and South Asian men***
For as long as I can remember I have always been attracted to all types of men. Men from different races, cultures and religions. I’m a born and raised New Yorker and therefore was fortunate to experience an array of different cultures from all over the world. I was raised in a predominantly black neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, in which the majority of the residents were immigrants from various parts of the Caribbean. Then there was a mix of Black Americans, and Latinos and Caucasians. As far as any Asian representation, outside of the Chinese restaurants and local fruit and vegetable markets (mostly Korean owned) there were less than 1% that resided in my neighborhood. That would include East or South Asians. New York has one of the largest Asian (East and South) populations in the United States. However depending on where you live, your day to day interactions will vary.
When they say representation matters, it really does matter for all people. For me, not unless I was conducting business with one one the shop owners in my neighborhood, I didn’t have many opportunities for social interactions with Asians. From 6th to 8th grade I did have three Asian classmates. Siblings Dot and Mei who were Vietnamese and Maryann who was, as I recall, Chinese-American. After more than 25 years how do I still remember their names? Because they literally were the first and only social interaction I had with any Asians at that time.
Maryann was born and raised in the U.S., so interacting with her was no different than interacting with any other of my classmates. However, Dot and Mei were both immigrants to the U.S. coming here as toddlers. They were not only learning the language, but also the culture. They were learning about what it meant to be “American”. Which in fact means learning from and about all types of people from all over the world. It meant being the minority among other minorities, which in this instance, was being Asian with a mostly black student body and mostly White administration. It means different cultures share what the American experiences means to them and their families. It means sharing knowledge and culture during lunch. It means finding out what rice paper is when making spring rolls, or about Caribbean curry chicken, or southern style fried chicken. It means learning that we all eat way too much rice, just in different ways. It’s about the mixing and sharing of cultures all under the same roof.
From my perspective, I didn’t see any racial or cultural divide. Of course being 12, 13 and 14 years old there were the usual issues. Teasing about weight, or height, who had a crush on who, wearing classes, etc. At times there was teasing about accents, because at least half of the student body were immigrants. However it didn’t matter where your accent was from, just the fact that you had one. Yet, I don’t recall anyone teasing Dot, Mai or Maryann about being Asian. Oh, there was one time someone asked Dot if he knew karate. He kept saying he was Vietnamese not Chinese, but this one boy was persistent. One day Dot just kicked the shit out of the boys leg. That was the last time Dot was asked about his martial arts skills. If you were to ask anyone of them, they may have a different perceptive, which at times is the case. However everyone shared their culture and experiences with one another. Maybe it’s because kids just want to be kids. They wanted to be accepted in the circle, make friends, laugh, share, and fit in. It would be years before I had another opportunity to socialize with other Asians day to day.
Hi, were you there the whole time?
My next social interaction with Asians was my first job when I was 17 years old. I worked at a large chain music store and two of the managers were Chinese-American, Eddie and Micky. They were fucking crazy, in a good way. It made going to work everyday fun and on occasions hung out after work. Eddie would try and teach me some words in Chinese, which I later learned were mostly curses. He could remove meat off a chicken wing with one bite (LOL), which I still don’t know how. He also introduced me to Chinese broccoli, which to this day is one of my favorite vegetables. From Micky I learned that Asian people love hockey. Mostly because of the large Chinese and Korean population throughout Canada. Although I only worked with them for about a year, 20 years later memories of them pop up from time to time.
Except for a few co-workers here and there I didn’t socialize with many Asians on a day to day basis. Living in New York City I see Asians everyday, on public transportation, walking down the street and in stores. However I now realize; did I every really “see” them or at least acknowledge their existence in the same spaces.
Around 2017 is when my exploration into Korean entertainment started. Mostly at first with Korean Hip/Hop and R&B, a drama here and there and then KPop. Now there is not a day that goes by that I’m not actively watching 2-3 K-Dramas or C-Dramas at a time, or listening to KPop, Hip/Hop, R&B, etc. Because of this I find that “all of a sudden” I’m seeing Asian men EVERYWHERE!! Let’s be clear, I know they have always been there daily. It’s just now I really notice them, but I wonder why now. Here is a likely reason.
By definition “My Mind’s Eye” means the mental faculty of conceiving imaginary or recollected scenes
The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is actually a term for ‘frequency illusion’, a type of cognitive bias your mind creates. Basically, when you learn something new, it stays fresh in your mind; you’re paying more attention to it than other things. Because of this, you see it more often when going about your daily life. The phenomenon where something you recently learned suddenly appears ‘everywhere’.
Synchronicity is when you’ve set your intention to manifest something into your reality using the Law of Attraction, and a lot of different events occur in your favor which are moving you towards your desire. Synchronicity is energy that aligns with purpose. Situations may look like random accidents, but they are not. All comes piece by piece, and the key to receiving is to be actively involved in the process by putting energy in the direction you want to go.
So, to put it simply, all the daily exposure to Asian men has my ass seeing them EVERYWHERE. They were always there, however now I notice them more frequently than before. Almost, in a way, willing them mentally into view.
Is it just me?
Within the last year a friend of mine started getting into Korean Dramas and KPop. She blames me, but I refuse to hold that bag! Any who, recently we were at New York Comic Con, 8th year straight. (Yes, yes I am, that geek/nerd girl who’s into manga, comics, sci-fi and fantasy) We were walking around the convention floor where there are literally thousands of people. She says to me, “Damn, there are a lot of fine ass Asian men here”! I bust out laughing ,cause one she was right, but two, I knew what had happened. She asked me why did I laugh. I said to her, “There have always been fine ass Asian men here for years. You’re just now really noticing them because everyday you’re mind is flooded with images of Asian men”.
I had to explain it to her like this. It’s like being one of few black or brown people at an event (KPop concert). Even though you’re not looking, you will always spot another black person in the crowd. At that point you give the obligatory head nod of acknowledgment and move on. That black or brown face in the crowd is familiar to you, it’s an image you see everyday. Therefore it’s the first place your eyes go. So these men have ALWAYS been here, just now they are more “familiar” to you.
Even at this years New York Comic Con there was a panel about Asian representation in comics, sci-fi and fantasy. The discussion panel was a combination of East and South Asian writers, actors and creators in entertainment. The focus was not only about representation for all Asians, but positive representation to be seen by the masses.
What Have I Learned
I learned that it is so important to have social experiences with people of various races, cultures and religions. The only way to really understand each other is to sit down and learn from one another. It’s about realizing that most of us have more in common than not. Most cultures strive for the same thing, to be understood, to be respected, to be heard and to be seen. Well, dear Asian men all over the world, I see you, I hope you see me too.
Until next time…..