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Racing Romance

Love, Power, and Desire among Asian American/ White Couples

Kumiko Nemoto

Publication Year: 2009

Racing Romance sheds light on the bonds between whites and Asian Americans, an important topic that has not garnered well-deserved attention until now. Using primary source narratives and interviews, Kumiko Nemoto addresses the contradictions and tensions-a result of race, class, and gender-that Asian Americans and whites experience. Racing Romance reveals how "progressive" interracial relationships remain shaped by the logic of patriarchy and gender inherent to the ideal of marriage, family, and nation in America, even as this ideal is juxtaposed with discourses of multiculturalism and color blindness.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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pp. vii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. 1-17

Why do we fall in love? What are the components that constitute love and desire? How do we develop and sustain feelings of love for another person?
Having an intimate relationship with another person is seen as a decidedly private activity in our culture. ...

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Chapter 1: Interracial Relationships: Discourses and Images

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pp. 19-36

Relationships between Asian American women and white men have historically been shaped and organized around three ideological constructs, which have also played a critical role in America’s maintenance of its national identity: (1) colonial/postcolonial U.S. imperialism; (2) discourse about model ...

Part I: Asian American Women with White Men

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Chapter 2: The Good Wife

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pp. 39-72

From the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day, the image of the Asian woman as subservient, loyal, and family oriented has been popular. During the period of U.S. political and economic dominance over Asia after World War II, overfeminized images of Asian women became a catalyst for the rising visibility of intermarriage between Asian American women and white...

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Chapter 3: A Woman Ascending

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pp. 73-104

If the interracial relationships of foreign-born Asian American women reflect postcolonial/neocolonial gender dynamics, and if these relationships have somewhat reinforced the dominant images of Asian American–white marriage, nevertheless second-generation Asian American women flout such stereotypes of subservient femininity. ...

Part II: Asian American Men with White Women

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Chapter 4: A Man’s Place

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pp. 107-124

To date, no study has empirically examined Asian American manhood with a particular focus on heterosexual relationships, much less in an interracial context. Perhaps because of “the larger society’s taboos against Asian male–white female sexual union[s],”1 the social environment surrounding Asian American men’s relationships with white women, through which some Asian American...

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Chapter 5: Playing the Man

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pp. 125-141

Like the professional Asian American men already discussed, who symbolically viewed intermarriage as a validation of their middle-class manhood and as a critical component of assimilation, young unmarried and nonprofessional Asian American men in my study viewed white women’s approval and recognition in interracial intimacy as critical to consolidating...

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Chapter 6: Men Alone

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pp. 142-154

This chapter discusses why some Asian American men, regardless of their past histories of dating white women, ultimately prefer dating a woman of their own ethnicity. In the previous two chapters, I discussed Asian American men’s competition with ideologies of normalized white masculinity; in this chapter, however, I discuss two Asian American men who expressed a...

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Conclusion: Matters of Race and Gender

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pp. 155-163

This book has illustrated details of various Asian American–white relationships. Asian American–white intimacy shares more commonalities than differences with same-race relationships. It is similar to same-race intimacy in that is shaped by ideologies of gender, marriage, and family more than by race. ...


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pp. 165-167


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pp. 169-182


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pp. 183-190


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pp. 191-196

E-ISBN-13: 9780813548524
E-ISBN-10: 0813548527
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813545325
Print-ISBN-10: 0813545323

Page Count: 208
Illustrations: 2 tables
Publication Year: 2009