Beyond Borders is a new group of four AsianWeek columnists who will each week explore a different issue that is not traditionally associated with or written about in relation to the Asian Pacific American community: black-Asian relationships, the Asian Pacific American lesbian/bisexual/gay/ transgender community and their families, religion and youth.
Web sites focusing on relationships between blacks and Asians (relationships between black women/Asian men or black men/ Asian women, and same-sex black- Asian couples) have proliferated of late. Is it social network technology coming to fruition or just plain old love?
This BlAsian presence is well-represented in Web sites such as Yahoo, Facebook, YouTube, BlackPlanet, AsianAve and MySpace. Here is a short list:
• “You and Me … We Could Make BlAsians!” is a Facebook group with sizable threads within its 114 discussion topics (facebook.com/group.php?gid=2208196674).
• AMBW: Friends, Couples ‘n’ Fam on YouTube is a photo album of black woman-Asian man couples and, sometimes, their children (youtube.com/watch?v=NIbxx H3ZcCg&feature=related).
• The Yahoo discussion group PowerCouples_AMBW is notable for its quality of discussion of black women-Asian men relationships, as well as its longevity and 16,000-plus members since its inception in June 2003 (groups.yahoo.com/groups_ PowerCouples_ AMBW).
• Asian women who love black men is a board on BlackPlanet with a sizeable 3,000+ membership — mostly black men interested in Asian women — despite having launched only three months ago (http://groups.blackplanet.com/asianf4blackm).
• At the table of black and Asian relations is curryfriedchicken.blogspot.com by New Yorker Malena Amusa, who spins her polemics on BlAsian romance — she thinks Indian men are hot and one post says she has had five Indian boyfriends in seven years — interspersed with her humorous-to-serious takes on cultural and racial issues underpinning BlAsian relationships.
• Asian Men for Black Women has 654 members and is the top “Relationships” group on Asian Avenue.com (asianave.com/ groups/ group.html?group_id=22001).
• Gay Black + Gay Asian Guys on MySpace is a 457-member site with a lengthy, lively thread about why black men like Asian men, and vice versa (groups.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=groups.groupProfile&groupID=100830026&categoryID=0&Mytoken=48F8E98A-7CE2-433A-A07693D1339 BF51412012922).
These and other BlAsian sites reinforce the notion that Asians and blacks want to come together. Melissa Matupa, brand manager of AsianAve.com, doesn’t see the proliferation of BlAsian love on the Web as a passing fad. “The phenomena of black women and Asian men, as well as black men and Asian women, meeting and building relationships through AsianAvenue and BlackPlanet sites is not necessarily a trend,” she emphasized, “but a reflection of how social network technology can easily bring seemingly different people into the same space and time virtually, and provide a forum for existing couples to interact and build a support network.”
Tammy Luke, a black woman from Athens, Ga., recently became engaged to an Asian man she met on MySpace last year: “I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have met him if it weren’t for the MySpace group.”
Sam Cacas is the author of BlAsian Exchanges (blasian