I'm Lena Chen, a writer, activist, and media producer who's been called a "skank" (by Bill O'Reilly) and "a small Asian woman" (by The New York Times). My favorite part of my workday is the hate mail.For the unlikely story that is my life, read on.
“Does Lena Chen date asians/has she ever?”, asked an IvyGate commenter. “If she does/has, I will save my vitriol-laden ‘self-hating asian’ spiel for another day (and another year). If she doesn’t, well, what a tool she is.”
Just to clear the air on the topic, Asian guys are totally part of my repertoire, though commenters have often attacked me for only being interested in white men. Any regular reader of my blogs can probably deduce that I have no motivation for limiting my pool of potential bed partners. My sex life would be approximately 50% less interesting for it.
I think the reason so many people are under the impression that I exclusively date white guys is because I go to Harvard, the supposed playground of the privileged white male. So though I don’t reveal the identities of the guys I blog about, it’s just assumed that they’re 1) Harvard students and 2) not racial minorities. I actually don’t have a type. My last real crush was on a non-Harvard Asian guy, who I obsessed over for weeks (a fairly painful experience for my friends), and besides his lack of interest, the only reason I forgot about him is because I met Patrick. Of course, no one realizes that because I don’t give physical descriptions of my blog subjects (nor do I blog about everyone I’m interested in), so people extrapolate from public information and make yellow fever/Nazi jokes about the guy they do know I’m dating.
It’s a little insulting, because race is so insignificant a factor in compatibility that I get pretty outraged myself when people express any preference for it at all. Class (and education) is more of a factor than race. Political affiliation, religion, even nationality matter more. (Patrick being German, for example, does make a difference in how we relate). To be honest, I don’t even necessarily put a lot of emphasis on looks so skintone is totally irrelevant. Previous to Patrick, my friends openly lamented that some of my interests were simply unpresentable (think: geeky) or were too lazy to make themselves presentatble (think: slackerish). And it’s true, many were just not conventionally attractive by any standard, but that’s not why I was into them. Ironically enough, the only physical preference I’ve noticed over the years is my lack of attraction to blondes and men with lighter features. But since I’m currently dating the physical epitome of all that is Aryan, I’m clearly open to making exceptions.
Obviously, I’m not advocating that we all begin dating people we can’t bring ourselves to kiss. I think “types” are fine if you’re flexible about them and aware of why your preferences are what they are. However, I continue to find it strange when people claim that a certain race “just isn’t [their] type”. It’s even weirder when they make that claim for members of their own race (black men who refuse to date black women, etc). I’ve come across a lot of people, even Harvard kids, who as a rule, do not consider “x” group of people attractive. You do realize that your preferences are not organic but socially ingrained, right? We don’t magically exit the womb with a natural inclination to pursue those who look like Abercrombie models. To say that you simply can’t help your lack of interest in one race is to say that you fully accept the extent of your media-assisted brainwashing. So, the completely non-introspective statement “not my type” is not an acceptable excuse to rule out an entire portion of the human population. Maybe it’s not exactly a racist attitude, but I still think it’s extremely close-minded.