'Fresh Off the Boat' Author Eddie Huang Responds to Steve Harvey's "Upsetting" Jokes About Asian Men
"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," he writes in an essay for The New York Times.
Fresh Off the Boat author Eddie Huang is calling Steve Harvey's recent jokes about Asian men dating women of another race "upsetting."
In an essay published by The New York Times, the author, chef and host of Viceland's Huang's World responded to Harvey's recent segment on his talk show that found the host cracking jokes about obscure, absurdly specific advice books that included Dating for Under a Dollar: 301 Ideas and How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men.
The audience laughed at the latter as Harvey gathered himself, finally saying: “That’s one page. ’Excuse me, do you like Asian men?’ ‘No.’ ‘Thank you.’”
He then offered up a sequel, How to Date a Black Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men: “Same thing. ‘You like Asian men?’ ‘I don’t even like Chinese food. It don’t stay with you no time. I don’t eat what I can’t pronounce.’”
In his New York Times essay, Huang expounds upon "the expectations the dominant culture" places on Asian Americans, which he became aware of at a young age.
"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," Huang writes. "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."
He added that no matter how successful he became, "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."
Calling Harvey's comments "upsetting," Huang added that 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."