Sometimes, when the world seems crazy out there, we all get that inside voice going. You know what I mean; it's like the talk bubble in a cartoon.
Let's say you're out alone one summer night and you pop into a sushi bar. You're single and hot with your creamy, caramel-colored skin, and the white guy at the end of the sushi bar eyes you.
So you cozy up your multiracial, muttilicious, Taiwanese-Latina self to the sushi bar, two seats away from him. As Rae Dawn Chong (actress and true mutt*: her father is Eurasian comedian Tommy Chong, and her mother is Black and Cherokee), says, "You can seduce a man without taking anything off, without even touching him."
Huh? How does that work? Not even touching? I gotta learn that. Anyway, we all have those inner voices, and back at the sushi bar, your inner voice goes, "But would he take me home to his mama?"
Then another talk bubble lights up, that inner voice that's even deeper in your gut. That voice says, "He'll never guess I'm adopted and grew up in a Jewish family, either," -- yet by the time you finish that thought, you've lost interest because just the look in his eyes suggests that he's not up to your standards. So you leave him in the dust at the sushi bar.
The crossover between races has been trendy for some years now, specifically white men desiring and being attracted to non-white women. Not that this can't be downright pure human connection. Be aware, though, of what's trend and what's true attraction. Unfortunately, many Westerners can't tell the difference between Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, or Vietnamese.
While there's no proof or evidence for the Jewish-Asian affinity, and no one seems to know the why and what about Jewish men and Asian women, many acknowledge that it exists. On the dating side, some men may fetishize women of Asian heritage, and this may fit into a standard patriarchal presumption that women in general are subservient.
On a more serious approach, Jews and East Asians share a similar sense of wit and humor, along with other common cultural ground and history. Both Jews and Chinese have been referred to as "people of the book," when, especially in the United States, the intellectual appears to be fading from the American culture. The Jewish Buddhist dialogue is interesting, too. "JewBu" is a sprouting and strong practice, and the spiritual ties are deep.
One other overlap of experience involves similarities in family values and upbringing. Friends I know who have either Asian-born or Asian-American mothers tell me about the emotional manipulation within their families. Clearly, Jews don't corner the market on this neurosis.
I'd rather take the connection past the romantic links, since it is what it is -- it just exists, and who knows why? I'd rather elevate the union to something we all know about. Food!
The Asian/Jewish food fusion earns some interesting culinary attention -- specifically, Chinese food and Jews, or Chinese and Jewish foods. Now we're talking mutty hybrid action! One could say the Chinese have gone Kosher in that China is now the world's fastest-growing producer of kosher-certified food. More than 500 Chinese factories produce the approved products. (Just to clarify, keeping kosher is following the Jewish dietary laws of kashrut, a way to elevate the act of eating from mundane to holy.)
If food is really the way to a man's (and a woman's) heart, then does that offer an answer to my original curiosity about the Jewish-men-Asian-women connection?
I think it's much more complex. But for now, I'll add one other explanation: the food connection. I'm not the only one thinking this. Genghis Cohen restaurant in New York and Los Angeles is proof that I'm not making this up. The name says it all. Think vegetable-fried knish (skip pork-fried), sweet and sour matzo ball soup, chopped liver with bean sprouts, teriyaki gefilte fish, and pan-fried luxion kugel (with cherry sauce). Not that these necessarily list on their menu, but they're in my imagination.
The Jewish-Asian fusion is not in the imagination, however. Look around. You'll see it.
In closing, I'll leave you with two suggestions.
In the Buddhist tradition, a no-thought for the day: I am not what others think I am, nor am I what I think I am, for thoughts cannot define the indefinable.
In the Jewish tradition, a thought for the day: Live your truth, even if it feels like just when you've learned all the answers, someone changed all the questions. The axiom "the more we know, the more we know we don't know" is true, so live true to what your heart says.
All in all, I choose to live in the question. It helps in life to not get too stubborn about our answers. Sometimes questions are the answers. For example, What's with the Jewish-man-Asian-woman connection, anyway?
What are your thoughts?
*About Mutts: Although I use this as a positive descriptive and reference to my multi-racial status, in truth, everyone is multi-ingrediented. In my view, we're all mutts, meaning a fusion of contrasts and contradictions. If you don't think you are, then dig deeper.
Speaking of mutts, I'm one of the first order: Greek, Asian, Latina, and there's more. DNA testing will reveal the rest. Yes, and I'm Jewish, first by adoption and now by practice. My Asian strain is, I'm told, Filipina; however DNA testing finds Taiwanese. Ah, the mysteries of being adopted. I can live with it, though, since I feel lucky to be alive after my roots in prison and heroin addiction.
This is another post for Mutts Like Me. It is also an excerpt from my essay that will be published in an anthology called "Voices of the Asian American Experience."
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