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Beware the single white man. That is the unspoken mantra in many Asian American churches. Beware the single white man.

When a white male walks into an Asian American church on a typical Sunday morning, most of the church folk who are eying him (discreetly) are not thinking: Praise God that we are becoming more multi-ethnic! Rather, deeper feelings simmer under the thin veneer of smiles and acceptance.

What the typical Asian American male in that church feels is not gratitude that his God is making his church more multi-racial, but, rather, brimming resentment that an asiaphile has stolen into their midst. Deserved or not, the single white man who walks into an Asian American church will automatically be treated with suspicion by the Asian males, and almost inevitably be seen as a predator seeking to lure away a sellout sister. If this white guy likes to wear black turtlenecks, has long bangs, and loves to eat dim sum, it is no longer a question of if but when.

I used to have an interesting ministry in the church. My role was to sniff out those single men who come to church under the cover of seeking for God when they were really seeking for girlfriend. These men would try to romance the single ladies after service by chatting them up, etc. etc., and many women asked me to be the guy who cuts in on those conversations. I would join the conversation, start talking to the guy, and keep talking to him after the sister makes a quick (and much relieved) exit. I had a gift for that. In my seeker-sensitive church, I had the seeker-insensitive ministry.

The funny thing is that if the guy was white, it was simply naturally assumed that he was there for only one thing. As such, I found myself talking to a lot of white guys after service.

Is this assumption about single white men in the Asian church simply being street-smart in the real world? Or is it being unfair to the white brother, a prejudice which simply shouldn’t be found in God’s church? Are we Asian American Christians guilty of something that we all too often claims ourselves to be victims of?

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