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Interracial relationships may occur for reasons distinct from race.
Asian fetishes have been criticized for treating the fetishized person as an object rather than an equal partner.
Writer Agness Kaku believes the mainstream white culture undermines efforts to combat sexual harassment based on Asian fetish.
Noting how frequently women of Asian descent are subjected to verbal and online harassment, Kaku argues that Asian fetish "thrives on double standards that make light of racial bias against Asians" and states this downplaying leaves women vulnerable to stalking and violence.
Racial depersonalization can be especially hurtful to Asian women in situations where being recognized as an individual is important, such as romantic relationships, because a person may feel unloved if they sense they could be replaced by someone with similar qualities.
Asian American women report being complimented in ways that imply they are attractive because they are Asian or despite being Asian.
NPR correspondent Elise Hu offers that this can be a source of insecurity in Asian women's dating lives, asking: "Am I just loved because I'm part of an ethnic group that's assumed to be subservient, or do I have actual value as an individual, or is it both? In the other direction, it has been argued that the notion of an Asian fetish creates the unnecessary and erroneous perception of multiracial relationships as being characterized by "patriarchal, racist power structures" in relationships.
An Asian fetish is an obsession with or objectification of Asian people, culture, or things of Asian origin by those of non-Asian descent, especially when it is related to stereotyping.
It applies to the enthusiasms experienced by some non-Asian people for such things as Asian cinema, An Asian fetish is distinct from an interracial partnership.
Western powers, including the United States, established a presence in the port cities of China, Japan and Korea and made substantial profits from the lucrative trade routes.
One result of this was a developing appetite amongst the Western middle class for Asian goods and art; for example, Chinese export porcelain. American men who may not have had preconceived notions about Asian women were drafted and sent to fight in Asia where they saw Asian women working in the sex industry. Butterfly, the writer David Henry Hwang, using the term "yellow fever", a pun on the disease of the same name, discusses white men with a "fetish" for (east) Asian women.