Insecure creator Issa Rae is receiving backlash for comments she made three years ago explaining why educated Black women should date and procreate with Asian men. The Grapevine reports that Rae became a trending topic on Twitter on Monday (April 30) because of the statement.
An excerpt from Rae’s 2015 best-selling memoir The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl began circulating because of its perceived racial bias. The now 33-year-old expressed in the quote that Black women and Asian men are at the bottom of the dating totem pole and because of this should date one another.
“This is why I propose that black women and Asian men join forces in love, marriage and procreation,” Rae wrote. “Educated black women, what better intellectual match for you than an Asian man? And I’m not talking about Filipinos; they’re like the Blacks of Asians. I’m talking Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, et cetera.”
What stands out to me is (1) how much more straight forward Issa Rae can be about Asian women (saying they are “ditching” Asian men for white) than Asian women themselves, and (2) how there is a similar, unspoken diss of black men here as less intellectual than Asian men. pic.twitter.com/9MBSGw9mhg
— Five Alive (@Mont_Jiang) April 29, 2018
The excerpt has many people calling for a boycott of the actress. Some have asserted that if a Black man told other Black men to date a different race, there would be outrage from the community. The quote created a debate on Twitter.
I say if a black man said what Issa Rae said y’all would flip. Coming in my mentions telling me that black men do it too is showing how y’all would rather deflect Instead of admitting she was wrong
— Domonique👩🏽🍳 (@ChefDomonique) April 30, 2018
If you think people are about to cancel Issa Rae cause of what she said, don’t wait on it.
It’s black men she’s speaking about; I wouldn’t even be surprised if people start endorsing what she said but revise it to mean “straight black men”.
Watch what I tell you.
— 📚👨🏾💻Michael Reny Taylor🗣 (@RenyTay) April 30, 2018
What Issa Rae said was also elitist AF. She only said that “educated” black women should seek Asian men, not all. But I’m sleep doe lol
— Cis lord problematic™ (@InTheDarkIShine) April 30, 2018
Other individuals are giving context to the quote and clarifying that Rae is a comedian.
Issa Rae is a comedian. She’s not a sociologist, anthropologist, or public intellectual. Her book isn’t hard science. It’s humorous observations about growing up Non-American Black with a weird name.
— Fierce & Feminine (@DrRondreaMathis) April 30, 2018
Ya’ll are tryna “cancel” Issa Rae over a joke in a humorous memoir published three years ago. It has to be painful to reach that far to be upset. Honestly, truly.
— Meekah Proctor (@meeksz_) April 30, 2018
When her memoir was published three years ago, Rae was asked about the specific excerpt by The Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore. She told him, “I say that black women and Asian men are at the bottom of the dating totem pole. It’s true—ask around. Go to Match.com, go to anywhere, and you’ll see the ‘least chosen’ is Raquonda and Lee.” Rae was touching upon the discrimination that is believed to take place on dating apps, an issue that is still current according to a report by NPR.
Rae has yet to comment on the uproar surrounding her past remarks. She is set to host the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards in June.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.