These stereotypes have roots in America’s postwar military incursions into Asia.In Japan, a network of brothels permitted by American officials opened as United States troops began arriving in August 1945.
Tila Tequila — Playboy model, reality show star, aspiring rapper and one of a handful of female Asian-American celebrities — is often seen through this trope.Does she resent being typecast as the hot, horny Asian as much as I resented being seen as a “model minority”?The brothels employed tens of thousands of women until Gen.Douglas Mac Arthur declared them off limits in 1946.I knew I had succeeded when a friend remarked that I wasn’t really Asian, I was white, “because you’re cool.”As I skipped classes to smoke in the courtyard, read Baudelaire to seem the “interesting” kind of smart and attempted to distance myself from the stereotypes, I didn’t know that the idea I wanted to run from — of Asians as civilized, advanced and highly intelligent — had roots in white supremacy.
But between the white supremacist Chris Cantwell’s tattoo of a Japanese character and the Charleston shooter Dylann Roof’s speculations that Asians “could be great allies of the white race,” there are echoes of history’s most infamous white nationalist.“I have never regarded the Chinese or the Japanese as being inferior to ourselves,” Adolf Hitler said in 1945.
Richard Spencer, a white nationalist, has dated a series of Asian-American women, according to one of his ex-girlfriends. Spencer insists that it was before he embraced white nationalism.)The right-wing agitator Mike Cernovich, the writer John Derbyshire and an alt-right figure named Kyle Chapman (so notorious for swinging a lead-filled stick at Trump opponents at a protest in Berkeley, Calif., that he is now a meme) are all married to women of Asian descent.
As a commenter wrote on an alt-right forum, “exclusively” dating Asian women is practically a “white-nationalist rite of passage.”In November 2016, a photo of Tila Tequila giving a Nazi salute went viral. Tequila is the Vietnamese-American star of the short-lived MTV reality show “A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila,” and she was saluting at a dinner the night before the conference of Richard Spencer’s white-supremacist think tank, the National Policy Institute. Spencer had reminded attendees that America was a “white country designed for ourselves and our posterity.”Maybe it makes sense that the alt-right is so confused: On a neo-Nazi news site, a user asked advice on whether he could be a white nationalist if he slept with East Asian women, and he received dozens of spirited responses from both sides.
The main problem with white women, as many alt-right Asian fetishists have noted, is they’ve become too feminist.
By contrast, Asian women are seen as naturally inclined to serve men sexually and are also thought of as slim, light-skinned and small, in adherence to Western norms of femininity.
Yet after I was called “white” at age 14, it felt, paradoxically, like a compliment to be nicknamed Geisha Girl by another friend, a well-meaning gay white boy. But the nickname became our inside joke, and it symbolized the kind of femininity that attracted the boys I liked, but that I have never really possessed. Since then, I have acted out in all manner of ways to dispel the “model minority” image.