<em>The New York Times</em> Needs To Get Over Its White Supremacy Fetish

The New York Times Needs To Get Over Its White Supremacy Fetish

The New York Times has a responsibility to exercise greater discretion, rather than publish racially charged clickbait like an article arguing white supremacists have an Asian woman fetish.
Christopher Rufo

We used to think of interracial marriage as a sign of social progress. Now, thanks to The New York Times, we know it’s just another sinister tool of white supremacy.

Over the past few years, it seems like every week our media-academia complex discovers a new addition to the list of “things that seem completely innocuous but are actually white supremacist.” In recent months, for example, we’ve learned that math, logic, and even square dancing are “weapon[s] of white supremacy.” (You should feel a pang of guilt for every time you do-si-doed in elementary school.)

Here’s their latest hot take: in a recent essay for the New York Times Sunday Review, journalist Audrea Lim argues that “the white supremacists on the far right have ‘yellow fever’ — an Asian woman fetish.” Her evidence boils down to a few anecdotes about the worst-of-the-worst of white nationalism: perennial idiot Richard Spencer thinks Asian girls are “cute” and “smart,” Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin went to a shopping mall with his Filipina girlfriend, and Asian-American porn star Tila Tequila once did a Nazi salute.

To bolster her argument with historical context, Lim even includes a direct quote from Adolf Hitler expressing his admiration for the civilizations of China and Japan. Pro tip: when you’re quoting Hitler, you’re losing the argument.

How About Providing Some Evidence For Those Claims

Certainly, there is a stock character in American life of the lonely, socially awkward, middle-aged white man who wants a “submissive Asian wife.” A feature-length PBS documentary even follows one of these sad sacks in his quest to find a mail-order bride from China. It’s pathetic and trades in racial stereotypes, but that hardly makes it “white supremacist.” In fact, Lim provides no evidence that this phenomenon is even unique to white men, which begs the question: is it really true that white men have an “Asian fetish”?

Lim doesn’t say, but thankfully, we can find detailed statistical information through a simple Google search. According to research by the dating site OkCupid, American men of all racial backgrounds find Asian women highly attractive. In fact, Asian-American women are the only racial group to score net positive ratings from men of all ethnic groups.

If you think about it, Lim’s argument is bizarre. If someone told me Italians were the most handsome, creative, and intelligent people in the world, I would click my heels, praise their good sense, and go about my day. But rather than appreciate the fact that Asian-American women are considered highly attractive, Lim sees only a sneaking racial bias, a reflection of our upside-down cultural world where victimhood and oppression carry more social currency than even beauty and success.

More deeply, however, Lim’s argument is that the very idea that Asians are “civilized, advanced and highly intelligent … [has] roots in white supremacy.” Really? I worked as a journalist in China for more than a year, and it was clear to me that the Chinese think of themselves as civilized, advanced, and highly intelligent. If anything, it’s a self-identity that has been accepted, not invented, by the West.

Furthermore, in America, that positive image is a factual reality. Asian-Americans have higher median income and education levels than any other racial group does. Contra Lim, Asian-Americans are not a “model minority,” they’re model citizens with strong family bonds, high educational attainment, and high economic productivity. There’s nothing wrong with that — in fact, it’s a major accomplishment to celebrate.

This Argument Ends In Banning Interracial Marriage

Unfortunately, while the essay sets up the premise that white supremacy lurks at the heart of the relationships between white men and Asian women, it fails to deliver a conclusion. I’ll fill it in for you. If we take Lim’s argument to its logical end (and reject the idea that logic itself is “white supremacist”), maybe she’s suggesting that white men who marry Asian women are, in the language of the sociological literature, “colonizing their bodies.”

Or maybe white men are simply using their privilege as the progenitors of global beauty standards to extend their patriarchal dominance over a favored minority race. Or, to read into Lim’s ominous invocation of Hitler, maybe it’s all a secret plot to resurrect the Axis alliance between the great European and Asian powers. Of course, the author doesn’t go this far — her essay is ridiculous enough — but there’s no way you can accept her premise without concluding at the very least that interracial marriage between white men and Asian women is somehow wrong.

I take this insinuation personally. I’m a white man married to an Asian-American woman. We have two children together. Like the civil rights leaders in the 1960s, I believe interracial marriage is a sign of social progress. At its best, marriage is about human love, which transcends all considerations of race, class, and identity. One might even consider it to be the fullest expression of the idea of e pluribus unum, which I support by any means necessary — through assimilation, marriage, and the bonds of mutual citizenship.

While there may be awkward moments as we traverse the boundaries of ethnic identity, I believe that interracial marriage makes us stronger as a nation and will slowly help stamp out the real racism that still exists in America. Rather than conflate interracial marriage with the poisonous ideology of white supremacy, we should celebrate it as it’s practiced by millions of Americans: as an expression of love, unity, and tolerance.

Articles Like This Make Everything Worse

Ultimately, the best way to defeat the idea of white supremacy is to ignore cartoon villains like Spencer and Anglin. They’re bigots, losers, and attention-seekers who survive on the oxygen the media gives them. They’re a miniscule fraction of the population — numbering in the thousands in a nation of 323 million — and deserve to be snubbed out of public life.

Sadly, articles like “white supremacists have an Asian fetish” are counterproductive, bringing them even greater attention and trivializing the real legacy of white supremacy, the original sin of American history. The New York Times has a responsibility to exercise greater editorial discretion, rather than publish racially charged clickbait. In the past year, the Times has published articles about a white supremacist’s wedding registry, whether black and white preschoolers can really be friends, and how “nachos” and “Nazi” share the same etymological origin. The coverage has been so over-the-top, you might even say The New York Times has a “white supremacy fetish.”

Luckily, America is moving forward, with or without the Times. Interracial marriage is a fast-rising trend and leading to broader social tolerance. The percentage of multiracial children born in the United States has increased from 1 percent in 1970 to 10 percent in 2013. The social taboos against racial mixing have begun to fade and a majority of multiracial Americans are proud of their blended heritage and more open to other cultures.

On a final note of optimism: mixed-race people are actually seen as the most attractive of all racial types. Thus, if this trend continues, we may soon be able to say objectively that America has the most beautiful people in the world. That’s something worth fighting for.

Christopher Rufo is executive director of the Documentary Foundation and finishing a film for PBS about three forgotten American cities.

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