Interview with Sam Cacas - an Excerpt
Moi: I’m astounded by the Blasian Movement... I’m starting to see it everywhere. Why do you think the movement is expanding so quickly? What do you think is drawing people to it?
Sam: First, I believe the movement is expanding because the new internet media (i.e., YouTube, Facebook, Wordpress, Yahoo!, Twitter) are encouraging more BlAsian interested persons, particularly Black women, to push the interracial relationships discussions beyond Black female and white male genre which is where the gatekeepers of the traditional media (news and silver screen) have wanted to keep IR over the years. Many of the proponents of our movement have created their own videos on YouTube which have drawn hundreds to thousands of hits and many more have participated in the discussions of social network sites such as Facebook and Yahoo! And they have also – like myself – created blogs on sites like Wordpress or microblogs on sites like Twitter. The resulting traffic of all these sites has created a buzz that the media and corporate America have recognized enough to create commercials featuring Black women/Asian men couples such as the Ikea commercial a few years back, a Bloomingdale’s vid on the ‘net last year, and parts of t.v. shows like FlashForward last year. We have yet, though, to see a blockbuster type of movie with an Asian man/Black female character cast on the same level that we have seen the same cast for white male/Black female character castings. It would also be nice if the BlAsian movie I keep wishing for had an Asian American guy who spoke English like a native-born American and actually fell in love with a Black women in the many ways that white and Black male actors are allowed to do so. The Asian male portrayals with Black women have too often fit into the asexual, no-emotion, unromantic stereotypes that Americans harbor about Asian men. “Romeo Must Die” was the most recent example of this; while the Asian guy wound up getting the girl in the end – and a Black girl at that – there was a stark lack of kissing, romantic dialogue, lovemaking, and other indications of a hot romance that audiences have seen in interracial movies involving white guys and Black women. ... the new media (i.e., blogs, micro-blogs, discussion boards, and video sites) are pushing the envelope and starting to burst the bubble of the traditional white male/Black female view of interracial relationships. To put it in the words of one Black woman I talked to at one of my author events, ‘We BlAsians have always been kept out of the IR discussions and media until recently when we started throwing our own party and they started listening.’
A second factor is the increased globalization due to the internet and trade between U.S. and Asian countries has brought the exchanges between Blacks and Asians to a higher level than it was previously. The result is that BWAM have come together socially on the internet or have come together because of business-related travel. The effect on Black women and Asian men who have done neither but who have seen their peers interact transracially in social, sexual and romantic ways that neither race has seen before is making toast out of that tired line that ‘East is East and West is West and never shall the ‘twain meet.’ A Black woman wanting to meet an Asian man for romance is as easy as easy a clicking to a social networking site like MeetUp or Facebook, making e-mail exchanges with a BlAsian-interested person of interest, then sooner (or later) meeting up with them face-to-face.
A third factor is the increase in the multiracial community which reportedly increased by 25% in the last decade. I don’t know what part of that are children born from Black-Asian marriages, but I have seen many of those children showing up in the sites I’ve mentioned above. Many of them have been the most understanding and avid readers of my book, “BlAsian Exchanges, a novel.” And many of these BlAsian folks want to know more. I don’t think that society knows how to deal with a Black woman who has some Filipino blood in her who could never see herself dating a white guy, hasn’t found what she wanted in Black guys but is anxious about the prospect of finding an Asian guy – the type of guy that mirrors her father phenotypically and at the same time the type of guy her mother has shared good vibes about.
...The cast of [Audrey & Dre] are optimistic about its reception in Asia. What are your thoughts on this?
I share the same optimism. Folks in Asian countries are curious about the newest trends happening in American culture including those in interracial relationships; remember, unlike many people in the United States, Asians are not as hesitant on interracial kind of matters and my feeling from talking to many foreign-based, foreign-born Asians is that they are sitting on the fence when it comes to IR, want to know more about Black people especially Black women and are not totally sold on the racist stuff they’ve heard about Black women [remember, Asian countries lack a lot of the sort of racial history that the U.S. has had] from American media. And business wise, since rates for video cellphones are more affordable in Asian countries (they don’t require two or three-year contracts like American companies do) and thus more common usage of cell phones to view videos, there is a more readily accessible market for shows like Audrey & Dre in Asian countries than here in the U.S.
This increased Asian interest in black women...is it something you've observed personally?
Yes. I do discern personally an increased interest for BW in Asia. I have no figures to back that up but I have continued to receive e-mails from Asian men after my wife and I had our picture in a Chinese Language daily newspaper February of '09 in an article about BlAsian couples in which I was quoted in many lines. They are curious in many ways, such as how to approach BW and questions about how to bridge cultural gaps and personal preferences and where to meet BW and why I had recurrently been attracted to BW and they wanted to know more about the common history of Blacks and Asians that I had touched on in the article and in my novel (to see a copy of the article go to my blog at http://blackwomanasianman.wordpress.com and scroll down to the entries for Feb. 09 and March 09).
With Sino-African relations basically picking up where they left off centuries ago, do you think they too will influence the movement?
I do believe that Sino-African relations are part of the interest as well as China's continuing influence in the globalization of trade and the economy (e.g., China took $1.25 billion of U.S. consumer debt nearly two years ago). There are also a growing number of BW who have ventured to China on their own, e.g., Jo Bai, a Florida resident who is married to an AM, has relocated to China with her husband and also there is an African journalist who after her education here in the U.S. took a job as anchor of a Chinese TV station and thus is a daily presence.
Overall, I don't discern a sea change level of interest but I do see an increased interest in BW by Asian men in Asian countries especially China.
Do you think it has something to do with male-female disparity as well? I remember from grad school that by 2006, there were 110 million more men in China than there were women. That was equivalent to the entire population of Mexico.
That could be a factor. Other factors could include: (1) China doing business with African countries and some Chinese men (and conversely some African women) desiring to position themselves to cash in on that business as marital partners); (2) more positive images of Black women in Chinese media; (3) the Obama factor which is changing how mixed-race children are being viewed in Asian countries since Obama spent his formative years in Indonesia which is a factor that is repeated in many Asian language newspapers; (4) the growing number of African Americans who are migrating (permanently or temporary) to China for career-related and sometimes reasons related to marrying a Chinese partner; (4) the high, burgeoning number of Chinese men and other Asian men migrating to the U.S. for business and/or educational reasons who see more positive images of Black women in this country than in Asian countries they are from [consequently they spread these broader positive images of Black women in their countries of origin to other Asian men who wind up getting their curiosity fulfilled by internet surfing about Black women].
Read full interview here.