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‘AMBW’ is a growing internet-dating subculture with Facebook groups, meet-ups, and websites. Photo courtesy of Asian Men and Black Women Connections (NYC)
Black women have been told for years that dating outside of our race is basically the only chance we have to beat the single odds and find a mate. We battle with the fact that black men are in prison at alarming rates — lessening the dating pool — but we also struggle with the notion that when it comes to attractiveness, we’re at the bottom of the totem pole. We won’t get into the nonsensical studies that came to that conclusion, but it seems the attacks launched at black women during this whole married and undesirable debacle have brought about an unlikely ally: Asian men.
In a piece on Vice, Zach Schwartz goes “Inside the ‘Asian Men Black Women’ Dating Scene” and uncovers some interesting parallels. He writes:
Recent statistics have shown that East Asian men…are viewed as the least desirable male partners in American society. In a 2007 speed-dating study by Columbia University, women said yes to an Asian man 50 percent less often, demonstrating a “significant preference against Asian males.” A 2008 Princeton dating study found that 93.4 percent of white women with a racial preference said they would never date an Asian or half-Asian.
The unattractiveness of Asian-American men can be linked to their perceived lack of masculinity. Masculinity in American culture is an idea often predicated on aggressiveness and promiscuity. In Asian culture, however, masculinity is generally tied to mental strength, being a provider, and accepting familial responsibility. Furthermore, Asian boys are taught deference to authority at home. …
The perceived passivity in Asian men can be interpreted through American eyes as femininity, and the consequences of this manifest in everything from Asian men’s near-exclusive representation as “bottoms” in gay porn, to the bamboo ceiling, a term for Asians’ lack of leadership representation in the workforce. Although Asians are five percent of the population, they only make up 0.3 percent of C-level executives. In society, the idea of an Asian being an alpha male can be a foreign one.
Perhaps the most insulting reminder of Western attitudes towards Asians is one of size. Western culture views penis size as a symbol of masculinity. Even though it’s been debunked numerous times, there remains a perception that Asians are less well-endowed. Combine that with society’s distaste for shorter-than-average height, and many Asian men are made to feel that they are lesser.
Sound familiar, in a roundabout sort of way? It should, as Schwartz concluded, after noting that most Asian women don’t prefer to date Asian men (we know that sounds familiar!):
In the way that Asian men have been distorted to reflect femininity, so too have black women become masculinized. …
As it stands today, many black women and Asian men have been left in the casual-dating corner. Which might explain why some have banded together to create the AMBW community, which includes websites, Meetup groups, and online forums.
It makes sense, two outcast groups cross each others’ paths and literally find out the other is the ying to their yang. It’s the stuff of movie (and statistic) magic when it’s not born out of fetishization, which subjects in the article admitted is a problem in some cases, though overall what the Asian Men Black Women (AMBW) community is really about is true desire.
Rhea Alexander, a black woman who runs AMBW for Life spoke to that authentic desire, telling Vice:
[The Asian man] is a domestic dad, that gentle soul. He is unmoved, he is unbothered… He understands his own struggle as an Asian man, and his pressure to conform to white standards. That is what I believe is the invisible magnet between Asian men and black women.”
Are you part of the AMBW community?