Priscilla Chan is Mark Zuckerberg’s College Sweetheart, Not Asian Fetish

5 years ago

Usually, when a couple gets married, they are showered with gifts and well-wishes. Not that Mark Zuckerberg is known to do anything the conventional way. One day after Facebook went public, yesterday Zuckerberg switched his relationship status in a hush-hush wedding to his long-time girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, in their Palo Alto backyard. Zuckerberg posted his wedding photo on his Facebook timeline, earning over 300,000 "Likes" in hours. But mixed in with the congratulations are also some pretty racist comments about Zuckerberg’s wife, who is Chinese American.

Photo released by Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook/Allyson Magda photography/Handout via AP

News of the ceremony on the NBC Bay Area Facebook page, drew a lot of mean comments calling Chan an “illegal immigrant," a “gold digger” and questioning whether she “speaks English, or currency," Other commenters snarked about Zuck and Cilla’s placid facial expressions and body language, with some saying the bride must be unhappy with the pre-nup.

Over on Twitter, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg were both trending. Again, mixed in with the general excitement and congratulations were tweets analyzing the Facebook founder’s supposed Asian fetish.

As well as this gem, featuring broken English:

Brenda Song, the star of the Disney show Wendy Wu Homecoming Warrior also played the crazed girlfriend of Facebook co-founder Eduardo Savarin in The Social Network.

While Zuckerberg’s kept his love life on the down-low for the most part, it’s not the first time people have tried to pigeon hole his relationship into the seedy stereotypes that plague dating between white men and Asian women. Jen Wang wrote about it on Racialicious wrote about it when news of Zuckberg and Chan’s engagement leaked last summer.

The irony is that Chan is a doctor, not a gold-digger! The wedding was timed to be right after her graduation from UC San Francisco Medical School, and Chan was the woman behind Facebook’s new organ donation feature.

She’s also not a foreigner. Chan grew up in the suburbs of Boston and went to college at Harvard University. She speaks English just fine. And in fact, in 2010, Zuckerberg undertook a quest to learn Mandarin Chinese. The two met at a party during their sophomore year and have been a couple for the past nine years.

So the Zuckerberg-Chan wedding is really just a story of couple of college sweethearts, who waited until after they graduated from school and had saved up a bit of money before they got hitched. What could be more All American?

News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs at HapaMama and A Year (Almost) Without Shopping.

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