“He Said, ‘Sorry, Buddy, But I’m Not Into Asians.’”

by jc brown

I’m J. C. I’m from Manila. That’s the capital of the Philippines. I grew up there. I moved to the U. S., specifically New York, in 2005 at the tender age of 21.

Moving to New York was an adventure. You know, I mean I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship to go to grad school here. And I took that opportunity and it opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities including exploring myself.

Earlier on when I just moved to the US I was so happy because you can be gay, you can be yourself, and can do whatever you want. It was like the advent of, of the emergence of social media and social connection – social networks. And people talk primarily through chat rooms.

I was talking to this guy and we were talking probably like a good hour. We traded pictures but usually we trade not face-first, you trade your body pictures. And then, I mean I looked light-skinned in that picture for some reason and so he just assumed I was kind of white. And then I said I was Asian. He said, “Oh. Sorry buddy. You know, you seem to be a cool guy, but I’m not into Asians.”

You know, of course, it affected my self confidence. I didn’t know how to respond initially because I am new. I grew up in a different culture. And I thought America’s more welcoming to people from other places.

Three years after that, still with a defeated, you know, self-ego, I was on my way to Fire Island waiting for a friend of mine. We agreed that we’re gonna meet up at the train station – Jamaica. I was waiting for my train and then I saw him coming through the aisle. And there were these two white guys in front of us. Again, at first, they were chuckling and I didn’t know what the reason was. I just ignored it. And then they kind of like started pointing at my friend who was having difficulty walking through the aisle.

And then they started laughing because they said, “Look at that Asian guy going to Fire Island.”

And they chuckled. So I tried to ignore it because you know, I mean, you can interpret that in many ways. And then one of them said that, “Who would fuck him?” So I kind of like you know, tried to tap one of them and I said, “Hey guys, another Asian guy behind you. Not that I’m eavesdropping but I think that was not funny.”

But they were nice enough that they apologized and they said, you know, “We were just joking, that was very insensitive of us.”

And you know I took their apology and it gave me kind of like a – you know, that was the first time I actually thought that, you know, if you stand up and then if you call out people, you actually stop the behavior or at least you feel that you did something for yourself.

I’ve met a lot of friends who I consider are all like brothers and or sisters. And they’re like amazing friends. And even them, I have, like, multiple experiences where they would make the same exact kind of, like, statements.

One good example is while we were in Uber going to a party after pregame, they’re looking through their Grindr and then they’re like you know browsing through the boys. And then they saw this one picture of a guy and then they’re like, “He’s cute… hot” you know. And then one of them said “He looks Asian. Move.”

And I said, “Guys, I’m right next to you. There’s only three of us here on the backseat. Now I mean, what do you mean by that? You know, I thought we were friends.”

And they apologized, which is good because they’re my friends.

But deep inside it does affect me. And it does affect how I see myself and how to communicate with other people. It is important for me to speak up for myself and for others because if I don’t and they don’t, nobody will. We live in a very diverse society and we have, each of us has, a role to play and has something to give.

JC Brown


  1. I am ceaselessly amazed at how white privilege asserts itself, over and over and always at the expense of someone of color!

    • So I’m going to engage in a conversation about white privilege… What is white privilege?

  2. Thank you for this timely post. I am a gay monk on the path of Spirit especially teachings of gay spirituality. The great paradox to me is our own internal discrimination which you have just pointed out. The irony is our unique perspective on life is a gift. We should celebrate our joy in living with each other. It’s infectious. I mean look. How many times have we encountered situations where gay men are having fun and others want to join in? It’s our shared energy. Let’s be kind to each other and in turn help others.

  3. Sadly, there is racists everywhere. I date nice guys they have come in all races.

  4. This is very common. I lived in China for 6 years– one year in Guangzhou and 5 years in Shanghai. I have also visited 10 countries in East Asia. When you look at guys’ profiles online, the white guys who are expats in Asian countries, often you see it written in their profiles, “Sorry, not into Asians.” I have lots of female straight friends who are not into Asian men. I don’t think it’s racism, I think it’s just personal taste. One of my female friends who is not into Asian men said, “I don’t want a guy who has less has on his body than me!” She went on to say though that Asian women are beautiful and that if she ever had a lesbian affair, she’d be into an Asian women. How can that be racism? Asian men and women are of the same race.

    Also, one thing I learned living in Asia is that Asian gay guys are generally not into black men. My first year in China, a Chinese friend told me, “I could never even kiss a black man, nor could any Chinese gay.” I thought he was over exaggerating, so I often asked the gay Chinese that I met if they’d do it with a black men. The answer was always, no, and a no tinged with disgust. So this goes both ways. MORE than both ways, actually.

    • In reply to Larry Nodarse: actually, that’s not both ways at all. You are describing a case in which a non-white culture – which Western society has told us is lesser than white – is acting in accordance with the exact same systemic racism that empowers white people. If it was both ways, white people wouldn’t always end up on the top.

      We are inundated with stories, movies, TV shows of white leading males and females (and Asian women who are subservient fantasies, not that your one anecdote around this was even a valid talking point). Do you think it’s a coincidence we go through our formative years consuming that and come out the other end with the same hierarchy ingrained in us?

      Do you really think people of color themselves would have a skewed preference toward white people (look at OK Cupid’s Race and Dating data for reference on this) if we were living in a time media didn’t exist? Where in middle school you had the luxury to choose between a #1 crush of either Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling? If you do, then look inward for that racism you’re struggling to find. I wouldn’t expect any less from someone who watched this video of a man bearing his soul to share his personal experiences and struggles, only to take the time out of their day to shit on them.

    • Hi Larry, I’m thinking like you: I don’t think it’s racism, I think it’s just personal taste.

    • Thanks for your comment Larry, you are right it does go both ways but people seem to want to only be upset by white guys aren’t into. Personally I am into Asians, Black guys and many many more. I understand what the guy in the video was talking about and have heard some of my own friends say the same thing and I think it is their loss, but there are many Asians ‘not’ into whites either. I am sure I have many likes and dislikes when it come to men but I will not let society who dictate to me what rings my bell.

  5. In the fact that many white people seem sexually unattractive to Asians, blacks, mulattoes or any other, this is not racism.

  6. Hi Friend I find this interesting as I also say at times oh yes he is Asian but I mean it as that is my preference over white or other races so not meant in a bad way, it can be very easy to overhear and take things the wrong way so I just say listen carefully and think about your reply as you may have taken it the wrong way as well.
    I am an Australian born and bred here

  7. Congratulations you are a great guy!! Thanks for shared us

  8. Well, I am of German/Irish decent so I guess that makes me white. I like Asians! I like other ethnicity. It is not what you are, but who you are that counts. I would venture that the majority of Americans feel the same way, and if they don’t, the aren’t worth knowing anyway.

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