“Fresh Off the Boat” author Eddie Huang called out Steve Harvey’s recent jokes about white women not wanting to date Asian men, writing in a New York Times essay that Harvey is one those “people who believe Asian men are inept and undesirable to any women outside their race.”
In a January 6 episode of his talk show, Harvey ran a segment about dating books, including one titled “How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men.”
“That’s one page,” he said. “‘Excuse me, do you like Asian men?’ ‘No.’ ‘Thank you.‘”
In his Times essay, Huang explains “the expectations the dominant culture” puts on Asian Americans.
“I realized that people on the margins aren’t afforded the privilege of being complicated, whole, human beings in America; we have to create that existence ourselves, and it is that experience that I feel fundamentally binds us,” wrote Huang. “Over time, I began to find solidarity with my singularity and difference. Yet the one joke that still hurts, the sore spot that even my closest friends will press, the one stereotype that I still mistakenly believe at the most inopportune bedroom moments…is that women don’t want Asian men. Attractiveness is a very haphazard dish that can’t be boiled down to height or skin color, but Asian men are told that regardless of what the idyllic mirepoix is or isn’t, we just don’t have the ingredients.”
The BaoHaus restaurant owner added that, “there were times I thoroughly believed that no one wanted anything to do with me. I told myself that it was all a lie, but the structural emasculation of Asian men in all forms of media became a self-fulfilling prophecy that produced an actual abhorrence to Asian men in the real world.”
Huang pointed out that Harvey’s remarks were “so upsetting” because the comedian “speaks openly about issues facing the black community, he is a man of God, and he has a huge platform to speak from. Unfortunately, he’s also the type of guy who orders Krug champagne for himself and Cook’s for everyone else. For his own personal profit, he’s willing to perpetuate the emasculation of Asian men regardless of how hypocritical it is.”
Read Huang’s entire Times piece here.