According to a recent news story by Claudine Zap of Yahoo’s “The Lookout,” (link) an African-American family named (-ahem-) the Blacks went to Disney Land (or some Disney theme park) and were rebuffed by whomever wore the White Rabbit costume from “Alice in Wonderland.”
The White Rabbit (Photo credit: Wikipedia). Oh, nooo! Please don’t make me touch the Black family children!
Talk about extremes! So the Black family were refused positive attention by The White Rabbit. Although I may seem to be making light of the situation, I sincerely believe that if this is factual and occurred as the family presents (and they have photos to back up their claims that the rabbit costumed character was eagerly embracing white people while ignoring them) , it’s one thumb in the eye to African-Americans (and minorities in general) who don’t need the disrespect or deserve it. And if this has occured as the Black family says, I’m sure the loser in the White Rabbit costume will soon be checking his watch to make sure he’s not late for his next job interview.
white rabbit (Photo credit: Wikipedia). Hey, I’m just an innocent bi-racial bunny here!
So for those newbies to the term “AMBW,” it’s the acronym that stands for Asian Men and Black Women. I myself am an African-American woman (though my family does have some mixed race ancestry, as is common in the United States), and I have dated men of various ethnic backgrounds and have recently taken an interest in AMBW happenings. So a few months ago (back in October), I was pleasantly surprised to come across several groups promoting and supporting AMBW couples on FaceBook, including http://www.facebook.com/ambwl, http://www.facebook.com/ambwpersuasion, http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/124324620997188/304501132979535/?notif_t=group_activity, and http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/120565204691002/335280723219448/?notif_t=group_activity.
Yet at the same time, I was little surprised too. I’m definitely a healthy relationships’ advocate, so I’m of the firm mindset that there are no boundaries when it comes to love. We should all love, date, marry and/or procreate with whomever we choose, regardless of color, race, nationality, etc. etc. We’re all human, after all. Sadly, even in the twenty-first century, there are still a myriad of people who are having a difficult time accepting the notions of interracial relationships and biracial/multiracial children. Everyone seems to have different opinions on the topic of AMBW specifically, so we’ll cover a few of those points of view in just a few seconds.
First, I should point out a bit about my own worldview and a couple of quick things about my life experiences that have shaped my opinions too. I live in Southern California, so the diversity here makes it difficult to remember that not everyone is surrounded by such a metropolitan environment, or such differing perspectives. I see couples where each partner is of differing races frequently in my native LA. Yet as I recently began to delve more and more into the Happa (people mixed with Asian ancestry), Blasian (Black and Asian), and AMBW community topics online, I had mixed feelings about what I found.
On the one hand, there were the people who want to create a united front between Black women and Asian men. The most often sited reason was because if the media and our current social climate is constantly pushing Asian women and Black men as idealized sex objects, while portraying Asian men as brainy nerds and stereotyping Black women as angry and otherwise attitude having, we should connect. That way, each of the outlier groups could support each other through romantic involvements, friendships and neutral common ground shared both in cyber space as well as in real life.
On the other hand, there were people who negated the possibility that we all needed to come together as a sort of coalition. In fact, as often pointed out in Ranier’s blog (ranierm.wordpress.com), AMBW is not, or shouldn’t be some sort of movement. We should all just date who we want to. Color just happens to be part of the physical characteristics a person is born with. It doesn’t necessarily define who he or she is. So Black women shouldn’t really consider dating a man just because he is Asian (as some of the anime fan girls online seem to have an affinity for doing), or vice versa. Since after all, as TK the Korean likes to point out (http://askakorean.blogspot.com/) we’re all men and women first and foremost, so find someone you like and go from there.
It’s interesting to me too that there are so many Asian men and Black women that are attracted to each other and yet, don’t seem to be able to find each other so they can connect socially. This is poignantly and sometimes comically discussed by Jenna Rose and icysparks2007 is often chiming in and pointing out on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/user/JennaCLuv/videos and http://www.youtube.com/my_subscriptions?feature=mhee&s=PMFThPOtobws4XmwBnhOgTm9IUKCmiIdlzjox0Mtrm4 respectively).
Though, as TK also points out, there can be family acceptance issues with AMBW couples too. I can attest that I have at times seen parents giving the disapproving “look” or glare, making rude comments or flat out disowning their children for dating or marrying outside of their own race. Which is ironic to me, because really, what difference does it make? Being a parent now myself, I can honestly say that at the end of the day, as long as my son chooses someone who he is well matched with (equally yoked, as the Bible would say), where there is mutual respect, love, and they treat one another well, who cares if his future significant other is purple?
I think people sometimes get so caught up in archaic ideologies and not really understanding who they, or other people are as individuals because of what they have been taught. It’s easy to forget the basic fundamentals and what’s really important about human connections. No, the world is not colorblind and yes, different cultures in the same relationship can impact it, at times negatively, because upbringing affects people’s worldviews. However, if two people can come together to work things out, between the two of them, and have a successful relationship, at the end of the day, it only matters what the two of them think about seeing each other.
So after checking out so many varying opinions on AMBW, and even having dated several Asian men myself along the way, I’ve stuck with my original thoughts on the matter. Date whoever you want! Focus on being happy and in a healthy relationship. Don’t let other people’s prejudice determine the path you choose for your life, because the decision is ultimately yours. So own it proudly.
If you want to check out more of my random musings, check me out at http://cecemonet.com/ or e-mail me at email@example.com. Feel free to drop me a line and let me know your thoughts on AMBW, or any other interracial relationship topics.
About the Author: CeCe Monét is a California native, residing in her hometown in the South Bay Los Angeles metro area. She loves the synergy between men and women which she captures in her contemporary romantic stories as well as poetry. She also has an affinity for the unusual including the paranormal and urban fantasy genres. Much of her writing focuses on the true essence of human nature via the choices people make when faced with unexpected circumstances as well as mixed cultures, biracial, interracial/multiracial and race relations matters.
“My family has some mixed race ancestry, so I think my background has influenced me to always look at race-related identity issues and how these factors can impact romantic involvements. Besides, I’m a sociologist, so I’m always trying to better understand people and culture and how society relates to human interactions and individual worldviews.”
How To Gain Monopoly-Like Profits Through Ethnic Marketing
By: Michael Bolden
In today’s U.S. marketplace, marketing to various ethnic audiences is vital to consumer-oriented product and service companies. Latinos and African Americans already have a critical mass of buying power of over $1 trillion combined and this total is increasing rapidly. The growth of the Hispanic and African American affluent and middle class is occurring faster than the majority of Caucasian Americans. These ethnic audiences are becoming so large and lucrative that even sub-groups of them command substantial buying power. Becoming the dominate player within a sub-group such as affluent and middle class 2nd generation Latinos would allow a company to make substantial revenue and develop a strong loyal customer base. To “own” an ethnic market space would enable a company to obtain monopoly-like profits!
English: African American History (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The 4 Benefits of Owning Ethnic Spaces
Tapping into and creating ethnic space monopolies is at the heart of this article and should be the goal of every ethnic marketing plan. Owning an ethnic market space yields the following 4 critical benefits:
1. High Monopoly-Like Profits2. Loyal Customer Base
3. High Lifetime Value of Customers
4. Low Competitive Dynamics (Competition Blind Spots)
It is for this reason that ethnic marketing and owning market space in the Hispanic and African American audiences is not a “side” item, but a vital strategy which affects the whole enterprise and will only increase in importance as this century progresses. This kind of marketing can turn a marginally profitable company into a revenue generating “powerhouse” and an unprofitable company into a firm that operates solidly in the “black” – no pun intended.
Importance of Perceived Needs
The first step to finding “ownable” ethnic market spaces is to discover which groups of ethnic consumers are underserved or are not actively targeted by an industry’s product or service offerings. An executive, manager, or business owner must find an ethnic market space with a differing set of values, and different perceived needs than mainstream consumers. For example, Hispanics believe that family life and the home are very important, so products and services by a company geared toward key aspects of domestic home life have a chance to dominate niches within that space.
The most powerful driver of finding an untapped market space of ethnic customers is perceived need – whether that is for basic functionality or additional comfort or luxury. One may say that this is also true for the general market but a good marketer will understand that this perception of need differs from mainstream consumers. Latinos and African Americans view the world and products & services from a completely different paradigm than Caucasian Americans. Their values, lifestyle, cultural and taste are all different from the mainstream and this phenomenon translates into unique selection, buying, and usage habits for a given set of goods and services. For example, the urban African American ‘middle class’ higher desire for stylish and designer brand items and the raised threshold for luxury should be a driving factor in developing products and services for this market space.
Capitalize on Heterogeneous View by Competitors
An additional key factor for locating potential monopoly spaces is to examine ethnic spaces overlooked by the competition. In the multicultural marketing of even the most progressive companies, often whole ethnic groups are viewed heterogeneously. Especially for Latinos, this could not be a bigger mistake. Latinos have a multitude of sub-groups that are the result of the following major factors:
1. Country of Origin2. Acculturation
4. Spanish Language Usage
5. Level of Affluence
A company cannot expect to use mainstream marketing to effectively reach Latinos and African Americans. For Blacks, the “they speak English too” syndrome pervades throughout industry and is used as an excuse for not trying to understand the various segments within the African American consumer audience. For astute executives and marketers, “broad brush” marketing by the competition to ethnic audiences represents huge opportunities to own a substantial set of key niche spaces within the Latino and African American audiences. To many marketers, these ethnic niches are invisible. This creates the perfect opportunity in many industries for companies to choose and capture valuable niche spaces within Hispanic and African American consumer audiences.
Important Relationship Strategy
Strategically, it is important for an executive or marketer to develop deep relationships with a particular ethnic audience. This relationship is particularly important for companies offering a service or providing a product that differentiates itself in the marketplace. This means not just having marketing featuring Latinos and African American characters and themes but targeting specific groups within this audience. This type of marketing will really speak to the target group and develop deep ties with them that will be hard to break by competitors. It is important to concentrate on a key set of sub-groups to maximize penetration and effectiveness, and to create a strong base. A company’s product or service should not try to be all things to all members of the larger general ethnic group – this is a recipe for a weak market.
Owning ethnic market space is very profitable and in the near future for the U.S. market, it will become essential to ensure business growth. Companies are now looking to ethnic minority groups as a source to fuel their growth as the mainstream market continues to be over-saturated. To own a space, it is vital to let the perceived need of a targeted group drive the product or service offering, and to understand the nuances in reaching sub-groups within the greater minority audience. This creates markets within the U.S. which are equally or more attractive than China or India, due to their easier accessibility and huge buying power. In most consumer industries, these ethnic sub-space pockets are huge gold ores just waiting to be mined!
Author Michael Bolden is a Managing Partner of the Chatham Consulting Group. To learn more about ethnic marketing visit Chatham Consulting’s website at www.chathamchicago.comand also obtain a full report based on this article in the “Free Stuff” section. Readers of this article and visitors to our website are eligible for a free 20 minute consultation on your company’s multicultural marketing.
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