I didn’t think much about yellow fever at the time, though, because my 12-year-old brain was a veritable encyclopedia of crude lingo.
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Without hesitation, I categorized past partners along racial lines, and referenced a time when I’d also dated within my own race. My frustrations with casual charges of yellow fever aren’t unique—I’m sure many of the points I’ve raised, here, also apply to other kinds of relationship-shaming.
But I wrote this essay because the term is becoming more popular.
Such men believe all Asian women are docile and hypersexual, and happily project these qualities onto potential romantic partners.
In other words, they prey on Asian women simply because they’re Asian.
The more tricky situation concerns something called “Yellow Fever.” No, not the actual disease. Carriers of Yellow Fever are obsessed with Asian women to the point where they rarely, if ever, date or enter into a sexual relationship with any other women.
They actively seek out Asian women to satisfy their romantic and sexual desires.
But this essay isn’t about that type of yellow fever. While I’m sympathetic to the plight of Asian women who are exotified by awful white men, this new, zeitgeisty application of the term “yellow fever” hasn’t replaced the way it was used in my schoolyard all those years ago: as a catchall term for Asian person.
This is the same way my friends use it while teasing me now—they’re not accusing me of fetishizing my current or past girlfriends.
But it’s the equivalent of standing on a mountaintop, and shouting: Isn’t the reverse true, though?
By accusing me of objectifying women based on their race, I felt compelled to do just that.
They’re not saying I irrationally, compulsively, and obsessively fetishize my Asian partners; instead, they’re implying that I consider a woman’s race when dating.