Oh Chloe Bennet, honey, what are you doing??
Logan Paul is an infamous, racist piece of sh___ okay, never mind. We already know what he is. But Chloe? In addition to being an actress on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” she is also an outspoken advocate of Asian American representation and very opposed to the practice of whitewashing/yellow facing in the media. So what is she doing with a man who so clearly has no respect for Asians and Asian culture?
Okay, I’ll stop there. I don’t think calling Chloe Bennet out for her poor choice of a relationship is needed at this point. She knows who he is and is willing to look past it, to our extraordinary horror. She’s going to do whatever she wants and nothing we say can stop her. She has her own issues to work out and that’s on her. As much as it sucks, that’s the reality.
Here is what we can do though: We can withdraw our support of (RUN), a pro-Asian organization that she launched. It is clear that she is not the kind of person who should be running it.
The real issue here is why very few people have addressed this relationship publicly and why many more are so hesitant to do so.
The short answer is, it will cause a gender war within the Asian community where Asian women will be the ones to bear all of the harassment and abuse that comes from it.
A small group of extremely bitter and misogynistic Asian men online will use any kind of vilification of Chloe and Logan’s clearly appalling relationship as a permission slip to vilify ALL Asian women who are in relationships with white men.
I know this first hand. A year ago, I wrote “Dear Asian Women” and it turned into a nightmare because of the amount of people who used it as a shield to justify their hate for these kinds of couples. I’ve learned a lot from the experience though.
The gender divide is a big issue in the Asian American online community. Part of the reason Asian women do not participate in discussions about subjects like internalized racism is because some of the most vocal people on there would rather rot in self-pity than listen to another viewpoint. If you’re new to those spaces, especially as a woman, your initial take would be that they have fallen into primitivism — they hate any kind of Asian woman/white man relationship and they hate any kind of progression towards a more matriarchal culture. Any empowerment of Asian women is squashed immediately if that Asian woman doesn’t fit into the very narrow definition of their ideal. Asian women with white partners are told that they are no longer part of the Asian community and no longer have a right to voice any sort of opinion.
I’ll be very clear about this. The gender divide is not caused by Asian women upholding and perpetuating white supremacy. I also believe Asian Americans do have the resources to dissolve the problems in our community but I think a certain group of people would rather just complain.
Feminism, especially Asian feminism, is looked down on in these spaces. Let’s talk about that. They’re dismissed because so many public figures are partnered with white men. If so many Asian women activists are partnered with white men, then it should say something about that dynamic. To say they are all anti-Asian, anti-Asian male and perpetuating white supremacy is such a myth. It is an absolute falsehood and it’s absurd. People who make those claims are guilty of tribal avarice. They want their very narrow definition of Asianness to be the only point of view but that is just not how things work. Having a white partner will not protect you from any kind of racism, even if it is a white man. If anything, you’re going to be more of a magnet for it. So most women respond by pushing back — publicly. They should be commended for it.
People who say that Asian women with white partners are not allowed to have a voice for the Asian community absolutely love to use President Barack Obama as their example. A recent biography about him talked at length about how he broke up with his half-Japanese, half-white girlfriend in order to find a Black wife so he could appeal to identity politics. (I like to use Jordan Peele and Cornel West as examples of Black men who have white wives and are still pro-black and have made huge impacts in their community.)
So what about Chloe and Logan? Well, we can either use this as an opportunity to talk about internalized racism and problematic interracial couplings and all the nuances involved without attacking each other or we can just keep silent about it like we have been for so long. Our community deserves a chance to unite and move forward. Asian Americans deserve a vibrant culture, a strong identity and a welcoming circle that people want to voluntarily be a part of, after all.