My aunt and uncle, who live in Long Island, had gone there on an early date decades ago. My mom and her sister were visiting from out of town. None of them were of Asian descent, and yet almost immediately, the Asian jokes started: Asians are bad drivers. Asian men are undesirable. Asian men have small penises.
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I t was the moment that all romance fans look forward to at the end of a film, hearts bubbling with anticipation: the kiss. I was watching The Edge of Seventeen , a smart coming-of-age movie, in which Nadine Hailee Steinfeld had rushed to see her awkwardly endearing classmate Hayden Szeto. After a bungled date and a crush on another man, she had decided Erwin was the one she wanted. And then, instead of any show of passion, there came … an affectionate pat on the back as he introduced her to his friends. Moments before, I had been delighted that a Canadian actor of Chinese descent had been cast as the love interest of a white American woman. As the credits rolled, I felt cheated.
Lillian , a something who lives in New York and Boston, is a single Asian American woman who actively dates. Needless to say, her Tinder inbox is a hot mess. She posts screenshots of their messages alongside photos of herself looking stoic, fierce and totally over it. She posts those, too. We have our own inner lives.
Finally, there are moviemakers and writers who can debunk these racist stereotypes. The camera lingers on him and his fitness-app abs for a few seconds longer than normal, his shirtless body objectified just as thoroughly as actresses have been for decades. Think Halle Berry in Swordfish.