Talking Shop: ‘BlAsian Exchanges’

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BlAsian Exchanges is first-time author Sam Cacas’ recently released novel, which explores interracial relationships between black women and Asian men (termed by the portmanteau “BlAsian”). Cacas, 52, a former AsianWeek writer who moderates a discussion group focusing on black women and Asian men, tells the story of Earvin Ilokano, a Filipino American who deals with his frustrations as a journalist by penning a novel that recollects his attraction for black women and culture.

Why did you decide to write about the BlAsian relationship?
Sam Cacas: I wanted to write about interracial attraction/dating/marriage for about 10 years, because I felt that the Asian man’s perspective on attraction to black women has not been covered by either the mainstream media or the black media. Given my intimate involvement with black women for the last 33 years of my life (I have been married to a black woman for seven years and previously to another black woman for nine years). I felt I had a perspective that the public needed to hear, and I had to just write my own story.

What makes BlAsian relationships different than other interracial relationships?
BlAsian relationships involve two people of color together, which is significant to me because being intimate and social with my partner means a lot of not having to explain what it means to be discriminated against regularly because of the color of my skin and standing up to it when I want to.

Why do you think the issue of BlAsian relationships is so important to get out there?
Society is still ambivalent about accepting the Asian guy who is politically conscious, affectionate, and polyculturally bold enough to pursue their attraction for black women like I have — not the stereotypical Asian male nerd who is not masculine enough to even have sexual or romantic feelings for women. BlAsian relationships only started happening in the late ’90s and are regularly verified on the Internet in Yahoo discussion groups like PowerCouples_AMBW with 300-plus members — mostly black women—which I co-moderate, and YouTube videos like the one showing the BlAsian couple in an IKEA commercial. The image of black women and Asian men needs to be broadened beyond their archetypal racial uniforms of accepting notions of white beauty.

What sort of myths are associated with BlAsian relationships?
That they won’t last a long time, that Asians and blacks are not compatible, that such relationships are merely political statements.

Why did you choose Greek mythology to complement your interest in black women?
Greek mythology taught me a lot about developing the so-called “third eye” — the sense of intuition based on the wisdom that others have imparted, such as wise sayings, mythological stories such as those from ancient Greek literature, etc. For me, it has also included proverbs and family stories from my parents’ Ilokano background.

Are there any links that you recommend for people who want to know more about this subject matter?

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