Peter Kavinsky Is White And I’m Glad || On The Portrayal of Interracial Dating (Discussion)

So this is something that’s been on my mind a LOT recently, and I really wasn’t going to talk about it because this is my book blog, my place where I review and talk about books, and I felt it really wasn’t that relevant. Especially since I’ve been sort of spamming about TATBILB and CRA lately haha. But it’s honestly just made me so damn angry that I couldn’t resist writing this post.

So in the past month, Asians have been getting a lot of love in the movie industry with Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (two of my favorite movies!). Honestly, I’m thrilled about it, and so is what seems like the rest of the internet! But there are always the trolls, the people who won’t be satisfied, and apparently for some people this truly incredible amount of representation isn’t good enough.

Here are some of the *lovely* things I’ve read around YouTube comments, Twitter posts, news stories, and even Goodreads! (Not word for word, but pretty similar).

On To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before:

  • Oh, of course Jenny Han would made Peter Kavinsky white. Lara Jean just can’t date an Asian man.
  • Lara Jean should have dated an Asian. Asian women are always portrayed as exotic and beautiful, but Asian men get no representation and are seen as not masculine.
  • Oh, To All The Boys has been done so many times before. It’s not unique. What would be unique would be to have an Asian male.
  • I’m going to boycott To All The Boys because Lara Jean isn’t dating an Asian.
  • Jenny Han is just as bad as everyone else in Hollywood, whitewashing and perpetuating the stereotype that Asian men aren’t masculine.

Image result for lara jean and peter

On Crazy Rich Asians (and the one that got me mad enough to write this):

  • They should have picked women who actually like Asian men, not just traitors who can act like it. I hope the film fails.

Image result for nick young and rachel chu

All of these comments are basically saying that Asian women who date white men are fake/traitors, and all Asian women have to date Asian men? This is SO UPSETTING to me on a personal level. My mom is Asian and my dad is white, and these comments are basically saying that they shouldn’t have been together, that they shouldn’t be in love, that my mom is a sellout/traitor to Asians. That, by extension, I shouldn’t exist. How do people think it’s okay to say this?

It’s 2018. We’re at a time where Hollywood released a popular romcom about Asians, another about a lgbtq+ teen, where diversity is celebrated, and people are still against interracial dating? I think interracial dating is AMAZING! It’s a bringing together of two cultures, something that is just amazing and beautiful to me, to someone who has grown up celebrating Christmas and the Fourth of July and Chinese New Year and the Moon Festival, and can’t imagine life without them. Interracial dating means people are seeing past their skin color, their differences, and coming together as not Asians or Whites or Blacks or Latinos or whatever, but just as PEOPLE.

 

Shouldn’t we be falling in love with people’s personality? With their reliability? Their honesty? Their sense of humor? They way they get us? The way they’ll go out of their way to drive their fancy sports car to the elementary school to make our little sisters happy? Or wake up early in the morning to get us the doughnuts they know are our favorites? Or should we ignore all that and only date people because they have the same skin color as us?

In the past, white people wouldn’t have wanted to marry people of color, because whites saw themselves as superior. And that is racist. I don’t see a single difference in saying Asians have to date *only* Asians. It’s just as racist and wrong and disgusting.

So let’s get back to Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky. First of all, let me just inform you all that Lara Jean lives in Virginia. According to the last census, 5% of Virginia is Asian. Now, let’s say that Lara Jean’s grade in her high school has 200 males. Five percent of that is 10. So in other words, by saying that Lara Jean must date an Asian, you’re limiting her dating options to TEN PEOPLE!!!

Image result for peter kavinsky

What? You’re telling me that white girls can choose from ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY PEOPLE to date, but Lara Jean has only TEN OPTIONS because she’s Asian??? Jeez! Lara Jean has to date one of these TEN GUYS even if she doesn’t like their personality, even if they’re mean or annoying or argue constantly, just because they’re the same race as her?

So now, this is what irritates me TO NO END is the fact that Lara Jean IS HALF WHITE!!! Yes, let me repeat that: SHE’S HALF WHITE!! So Lara Jean dating Peter Kavinsky, a white guy, ISN’T EVEN INTERRACIAL DATING because THEY’RE BOTH WHITE! Interracial dating would be if Lara Jean was dating an African American, which, by the way, I would be totally fine with. Not dating someone the exact same race as her biological father.

Image result for covey sisters

It’s starting to feel like people are literally CANCELING OUT HALF OF WHO LARA JEAN IS, and I’m NOT OKAY WITH IT. My whole life I’ve struggled with never fitting in to one group or another, not being Asian enough for the Asians, being too Asian for the whites, and it’s total bullshit. Lara Jean and I are BOTH ASIAN AND WHITE. Being white does not cancel out being Asian, and being Asian does not cancel out being white. Does not cancel out the half of Lara Jean who is the exact same race as Peter Kavinsky.

So, in conclusion, I’m sick and tired people complaining that Peter Kavinsky isn’t Asian. Peter Kavinsky is white, and I’m happy. Just as happy as I would have been if he was literally any other race. Because I did not swoon over him because his eyes are larger than mine. I swooned over him because he’s him.

Let’s Chat!

What do you think of Peter Kavinsky’s race? On To All The Boys and Crazy Rich Asians? I’d love to chat in the comments below 🙂

37 thoughts on “Peter Kavinsky Is White And I’m Glad || On The Portrayal of Interracial Dating (Discussion)

  1. Totally agree with you here. I myself am 100% white, but I LOVE reading about people with different racial backgrounds to me and I LOVE seeing interracial couples, both on screen and in real life. I can see why people traditionally/historically stuck to relationships with those from their own culture, but surely we’re starting to move past all that. And don’t interracial relationships represent ultimate acceptable and love for a person based on who they are rather than their race? Sadly, I think some people just love to complain 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE this post! I’m so glad you did talk about this because I think it’s just ridiculous. So many people like to disregard that people are more than one race. I am half Mexican and half white. My mom is legit from Mexico and married my dad, who is white. I love being a part of two cultures because it opens up to sooo many new things. Although, all my life, people like to only focus on the “Mexican part.” For some crazy reason, I came out looking more “white.” My one brother out of all 4 of us, came out with dark skin. He definitely had it harder than the rest of us in school. Mostly, because people didn’t SEE it on the rest of us. Now, when people find out I’m Mexican, it’s like they see me in a different light. My own in-laws really don’t like the fact that I’m mixed. Well guess what? My husband loves me and my amazing Mexican food! So 👋🏻 bye. Isn’t it more amazing that their grand children will be bilingual and have two amazing cultures? I don’t understand how people can be so close minded! I love Peter and they are both white, so they should just stop! Regardless, Interracial relationships are beautiful and should be celebrated! ❤️ okay, sorry for the rant! lol

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is a FANTASTIC post!!! I totally agree with you on this topic. Far too often, we see white girls and then a guy of color but it’s never the opposite and suddenly people have a problem with it?
    You can’t, and you shouldn’t, cancel out half of someone. It genuinely disgusts me that people can look at a person and just see their heritage or skin color. Not to mention, this mindset that these movies need to be all Asian or all black or all Latino, which not all movies are!
    I’m biracial too so this topic of interracial dating is important to me, haha!
    And its a horrible thing to show kids that hey, if you want to date you need to stick to your own culture. WHAT??? Lol I’m very passionate about this topic😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kaya! I completely agree!! It’s a ridiculous double standard. I’m so sick of the people trying to cancel out the white part of Lara Jean to fit their agenda. So cool that you’re biracial too ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing discussion, Kay! I absolutely agree that it’s awful that some people aren’t accepting of inter-racial dating, and they aren’t even clever enough to realize that it technically isn’t even inter racial dating in Lara Jean and Peter’s case! I’m half Asian and half White and can’t stand it when people choose to think of me as only one of these races. Inter racial dating should truly be represented more in books! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kelly! As much as I love Asian rep, I’m frustrated by how it seems like the whole world is purposefully ignoring Lara Jean’s white half! Love how we are both half Asian and half White, and Lara Jean too ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Preach it girl! ❤ This is such a great post and something I feel really needs to be addressed – why does the color of our skin or our heritage even matter? We fall in love with a person's soul, the little characteristics and mannerisms that make us, well us.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I can’t not comment on this. First of all, I’m pretty sure that Peter Kavinsky was white in the book too, so that’s my big issue number one. The movie adaptation kept the characters from the book. If he had been Asian, you’d have people screaming because they changed the book. Also, it drives me INSANE when you have an interracial book couple, and then they change one of the characters races for the movie so they’re no longer interracial. They did it in Love Simon, and it bugged me (which is maybe not fair since Simon and Blue themselves were interracial, but why couldn’t Nick and Abbey also be interracial?)

    But, it also hits home to me, who is white but raised by a black man and with a biracial sister.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Kay! Thank you for sharing your thoughts ❤️

    The last part of your post really struck a chord with me, when you said that you didn’t like Peter Kavinsky because of his appearance, but rather because of his character. I know I come from a bubble when I say that when I’m at home, I never think about interracial or inter-cultural couples because I see it all the time — not only my parents, but just in my neighborhood and classmates and community. There are so many people who come from families of two or more cultures and/or races. It’s when I travel outside my home that my bubble bursts and I’m more aware of my upbringing.

    I remember there was this one time in Hong Kong when my Chinese mom and Caucasian dad were out with me at a dim sum restaurant. One of the waitresses — and older lady in her sixties or seventies — started talking to my mom about how my mom met my dad and where my dad was from (basically, all the questions someone would usually ask when they see a foreigner). The conversation was light-hearted until the lady patted my mom on the shoulder and said, “Good for you! How did you do it?” — implying that for my mom to marry a white foreigner was an accomplishment.

    Of course, my family kept a lot of factors in mind — the lady was from a different generation and thus a different way of thinking, and we knew she meant no offense by saying that to my mom. We politely brushed it off because there was nothing to be mad about. Nevertheless, that memory had stayed strong in my mind as an example of how many different perspectives someone can have when they look at my family. My parents dealt with a lot of looks and words when they were first together — both positive and negative, encouraging and disapproving. I’d always thought that now, interracial or intercultural dating wouldn’t be something that people look down on… but of course, it always depends on the place, cultural backgrounds, and how accepting and open communities are. Despite all the negative comments that you might see out there for Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, I like to think that there are many more people (especially in the younger generations) that are more open and accepting of interracial dating. 😊

    This post of yours brought so many thoughts to my mind, Kay, so thank you for that! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this topic!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Zoie! Thanks so much for sharing YOUR thoughts; I really loved reading this comment 🙂 It definitely always depends, and it’s so easy to focus on the negatives, but ignoring all those internet trolls it’s so amazing to see the people who do love interracial dating ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Great post! It’s also a nice progression/companion to your post about the casting of To All the Boys and being biracial and looking for that rep in media. I haven’t read the book myself yet, but I do think it was a super cute movie and did a pretty great job! Not perfect but it’s paving the way for more adaptations and original movies/TV that will have MCs that are not just white. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    And I fell for movie!Peter (and movie!Lara Jean!) because he was just cute and sweet and a decent actor AND lol he sounds just like Mark Fluffalo. That was kinda weird actually, lol, I feel like they could play related characters in something.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. i’m only just now seeing this because of your weekly wrap up, but this is such an excellent, well-written post. honestly now i want to start doing some sort of post shoutout in my wrap ups or something just so i can tell everyone to read this. i hope you write more like this in the future! so eloquent ❤

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s