Am I Selling Out For Not Dating Within My Race?

Dear Evan,

I just read your post on the difficulties that Asian men have in dating interracially. You don’t address racial dynamics much on your blog, but I have a question for you: I’m a very attractive, westernized Asian female in my early 30’s. Fun-loving, outgoing and attract all kinds of men easily. According to a number of studies and also, based on my own observations, most Asian women have a preference for white men over their own and aren’t likely to consider blacks or Hispanics.

To be blunt, I’m convinced most Asian women seek out white men because a) they are generally seen as more desirable catches by society b) they want their children to have as many advantages as possible in life – infusing some “European” blood in the mix will increase the odds that they will have more physiological advantages. However, I’m a little different: though I have dated white guys, I deliberately don’t gravitate towards them because I can’t let go of that Utopian ideal in which one day people truly will be “color blind.” As much as possible, I try to give the “other race” category more of a chance. I suppose it’s my own twisted way of trying to contribute to a more just world.

But, it’s a bit more complicated. I kinda feel guilty about the fact that I’m not attracted to Asian men. Dating white men makes me feel like a sell out! And so, I opt for “other.” Thus, in the end, I still haven’t escaped being prejudiced in some way. A truly open minded person wouldn’t discriminate the way I would. Anyways, here’s my problem: As I reflect on my dating history, I’m keenly aware of the fact that in my past I twice rejected white guys who were perfect complements for me (and handsome, to boot). The “other race” categories of guys that I had the hots for, all in some way had the same psychological issues that I had, and so what drew us together also pulled us apart.

I’m now in my 30’s and still single. White men love me. Just accept one and – ta-da- this grueling thing called dating will be over. They won’t understand me the way that a minority, “other race” person would, but they will probably be more devoted. But why do I feel so defeated in accepting this idea? It’s as if the gravitation pull of the natural dynamics of interracial dating is just too strong for my feeble attempts to want the world to be different than what it actually is. I am simplifying things here, but this is the gist of my issues. I’m sure there is a non white guy out there who could also be devoted to me, but, hey, the clock is ticking and I don’t have forever to wait for the perfect guy. Please Evan, give me the blunt truth on where my blind spots are.

Lily

Dear Lily,

A few years ago, I got a call from a journalist from an Israeli newspaper called Ha’aretz.

It wasn’t so much of an interview as an assault. It kind of went like this:

“What’s wrong with Jewish men?!”

“What’s wrong with Jewish men?! They’re screwing up an entire generation of our religion. They’re mamas boys with God complexes. And they refuse to settle down with nice Jewish girls. As a Jewish man, what do you think is wrong with Jewish men?”

To this highly biased and subjective question, I tried to give the most objective answer I could:

“I don’t entirely disagree with your assessment of Jewish men. But I think that the larger issue is that Jewish women are largely the same way. Highly intelligent, highly accomplished, highly demanding, highly unrealistic in their expectations. This creates friction when both the man and the woman have the same strengths and weaknesses. The only difference is that Jewish men are willing to sacrifice a Jewish wife in return for happiness. Jewish women are more likely to try to insist upon Jewish husbands.”

(For analysis of a different, but similar interview, please click here)

And it’s true. My six best friends from college are Jewish. My four male cousins are, too. NONE of us married Jewish women.

Not because we didn’t want to, per se. Hell, I was on JDate for nearly 10 years!

The reason I didn’t marry Jewish was simply this:

a) We make up 1.8% of the population.

b) We’re kind of difficult. And for a 40-year marriage, I wanted easy. Lots of others come to similar conclusions. In Judaism, the intermarriage rate is over 50%.

I’m not endorsing this necessarily. I’m just pointing out that the phenomenon is real and trying to draw logical conclusions from the statistics.

To parallel this to your situation, Lily: you want to stay within your race. I get that. I had a Chinese client in Los Angeles last year and an Indian woman in New Jersey who felt the same way. But they didn’t just want an “Asian” or “Indian” husband; they wanted a first generation-American whose parents were from the same exact caste/region as her parents. That narrows their opportunities considerably as you can imagine.

Life is about tradeoffs.

For some people, staying within the tribe is more important than anything.

They will marry one of the ten men in their city who qualify demographically and make the best of the situation. They may have to compromise on wit, kindness, looks, money, compatibility and 50 other things, but at least they’ll have little Jewish/Asian/Indian babies with 100% pure ethnic blood. That is their prerogative.

It’s the content of the character that matters most, not the color of the skin.

Folks like me, who have dated people of every race and religion, have come to the conclusion that it’s the content of the character that matters most, not the color of the skin. And while I may have been looking for a Jewish woman because it would be easier for her to understand me, I wasn’t willing to give up my Catholic girlfriend who turned out to be the greatest person I’ve ever known of any religion.

Many Jews would have given her up.

And a disproportionate number of them are still single.

As a dating coach, my loyalty is to YOUR happiness, Lily. I have no vested interest in keeping races pure for ideological reasons; only an interest in helping people find compatible partners.

If dating a man just like you NEVER seems to work and feels like putting a square peg in a round hole, I’d highly consider a relationship with someone slightly different, where the pieces might not look the same, but they fit together perfectly.

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Comments:

  1. 2
    Steve

    Lily;
    I did read in your email that you realize your desires are a bit inconsistent.  They don’t have to be.   A color blind woman would date the man whose company she enjoys the most, whatever the color of his skin is.   It is a good recipe for your personal happiness too.

  2. 3
    Kaitlyn

    Wow Evan…I’m a new reader of your blog and the more I read, the more I want to keep reading!
    For Lily…I was raised an Irish Catholic (not so much a practicing Catholic anymore…but I digress).  When I was in my early 20′s, I dated, got into a long term relationship with and then engaged to another Irish Catholic.  Match made in heaven, right?  We both understood what it was like to have dozens of cousins, crazy family holidays and we both had semi-overbearing Irish Catholic mothers.
    Guess what?  I called off the wedding literally a few months before (and if you can appreciate calling off an Irish Catholic wedding with 2 huge Irish families…this was like stopping an avalanche)
    Turns out…he and I…once we moved AWAY from our huge Irish Catholic families to another city?  WE weren’t really that compatible.  Our families, our upbringing…the entire ‘package’ fit…but WE didn’t.
    Find someone that makes you complete and happy and let the rest of the ‘pieces’ fall into place.  Religion, race, etc…that’s all icing on the cake.  When you are at home alone in your house with your ‘partner’ what matters is if the two of you are content and happy with each other.  At least that’s my opinion and what I’m looking for.

  3. 4
    Steve

    Okay, so from this thread we have that Jewish mothers are overbearing, Indian mothers are overbearing and Irish mothers are overbearing.    It seems like ever ethnicity believes they have the corner on eccentric parents.

  4. 5
    SouthrnPhoenix

    @ Steve: Ha!  Maybe the generalization should be that lots of mothers are overbearing, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion.  :-)

    Lily, all I can really say is go with what works for you.  I don’t think you are racist or disloyal by not being attracted to Asian men.  Keep an open mind about it, as you never can tell when that one Asian man will come along and sweep you off your feet.  But, honestly, there is no rule in any book that says you have to date and/or marry someone you don’t find attractive on some level.  You’ve kept an open mind about the “others”.  If you find that fails over and over, there is nothing wrong, and everything right, about changing your tactics and trying a different method.  Go ahead and date the white guy.  If he’s right for you, you’ll find out, and if you are anything like me, you would hate to miss out on it because of a misguided idea that you have to date the boy next door instead even when that boy just doesn’t do it for you.  I wish you luck!

  5. 6
    Steve

    I’ve seen a lot of verbiage how many African American men date outside of their race.   I’ve known a number of Indian women who do not want to hook up with Indian men.   Then there is the thing with Jewish men hooking up with women who are not Jewish.    I think that along with post #4 is grist for an interesting book on dating and ethnicity.   I’m not a writer so anyone who is you are welcome to the idea :)

  6. 7
    Denise

    Humans are discriminating and have preferences–there is nothing wrong with that, it’s natural.  There is a concerted effort to make others feel bad (and make themselves feel better!) because we’re human and are discriminating and have preferences.

    It is ALL about the content of character and NOT about the color of one’s skin in regard to judging and accepting people into your life–friends or boyfriends or husbands/wives.  In regard to dating and potentially marrying…those stakes are very high and the ultimate goal is to be with someone who is of high character, mature, there’s a strong sexual chemistry, a strong friendship and a desire to commit–someone you have a PREFERENCE for. 

    What I would say is to really try to keep open about who might be right for you as opposed to being analytical about love, which is anything but analytical.

    Good luck!

  7. 8
    Denise

    haha, I have to laugh at the Jewish women comments. Over the past year, I have new women friends that are Jewish, and they are all ‘difficult’ in some or multiple ways.  The level of difficulty determines how much time I spend with them :)

  8. 9
    Karl R

    Lily said: (original post)
    “I’m convinced most Asian women seek out white men because a) they are generally seen as more desirable catches by society”

    And a lot of white men have a fetish for Asian women. I don’t recommend getting into a relationship where the other person is more interested in what you are than who you are.

    Lily said: (original post)
    “though I have dated white guys, I deliberately don’t gravitate towards them because I can’t let go of that Utopian ideal in which one day people truly will be ‘color blind.’”

    I also think interracial (and intercultural) marriages are a wonderful thing. However, most of the women who share my views on family are white women from North America or Western Europe. Family tends to be a dealbreaker issue in relationships. Obviously, the lack of dealbreakers is more important to the health of a long-term relationship than a utopian ideal.

    Lily said: (original post)
    “White men [...] won’t understand me the way that a minority, “other race” person would,”

    Is it that important that you and your boyfriend have shared the same experiences? Many people have significant life experiences that weren’t shared by their spouses. The vast majority of combat veterans are male. The vast majority of rape victims are women. If they try to date people who have walked in their shoes, they’re almost guaranteed to be single for life.

    Millions of men and women have married spouses who will never fully understand them. (To a certain extent, that applies to everyone.) It’s possible for your partner to be understanding even when they don’t fully understand.

    I’m not sure that dating a devoted white man is the correct solution. But it doesn’t hurt to look at the whole situation differently.

  9. 10
    Eathan

    As you know Evan, I date outside my face.  I’ve never considered myself as a sell out.  I’ve always put my own happiness ahead of any other social issues.  I know there are people who would like to maintain family genes and their culture.  Some time you have to step outside the box to find happiness.  I say Evan’s advice is correct and keep searching for love, where ever that is.
     

  10. 11
    Stacy

    I think we need to distinguish between religion (Jewish/Catholic) and race (White/Asian). May be its just me, but being brought up completely non-religious and having never attended any service, I really could care less about religion. After all, you could be any religion you want, this is something that you can CHOSE.

    But race is the whole different story. First, we can’t change our race and decide to be white or asian or black. There’s gonna be no conversions here. Second, you kids WILL look different and will struggle with their indentity, not being fully accepted as a member of either race.

    So I think it is actually better for everybody to stay within their races for those reasons..

    Also, I have to say that the way some Asian women pursue white men is very annoying, but what is more annoying is how some white men aggressively go for exclusively asian women. To me it is a major red flag and it means that a guy is looking for someone who’s submissive and possibly vulnerable (like an immigrant with no support network) so that he can exert control.. signs of abusive personality. Just saying.

  11. 12
    moonsical

    Hmmm… I hear a lot of internal conflict. Personally I am more comfortable dating within my race. I am well aware I don’t understand the culture, customs, issues, position within society, etc.  For me it seems like I have enough trouble bonding with someone in the first place.  I would date someone of another race if it just, “clicked,” but so far it’s presented more barriers than bonding.
    What is odd is when people only want to date outside their race.  I even dated someone who didn’t want to date anyone with his same eye color!  That speaks to self-hatred to me, which in this case was kinda true.  Hmmm…
    Anyway, I agree if this gal wants to date and have a family, date who pleases you most!
     
    ~moon

  12. 13
    JerseyGirl

    This post I totally agree with Evan on.

    I’m a small blond girl from NJ. That doesn’t mean I have to date small blond men from NJ.

    I think sometime’s it’s the opposites that attract us anyway.

  13. 14
    carolyn

    I’m also an American raised Single Asian Female.  There are many reasons why I prefer American white men and American Jewish men.  Not only am I attracted to them, I also find them to be very caring, respectful, supportive and loving.

    In traditional asian cultures, women are treated very differently.  That is a fact.  It would never work for me and that is why I prefer American men.

    Some of these traditions and attitudes can be seen in American Asian men in various degrees.  I rarely find an American Asian man that truly do not exhibit some of the traditional attitudes towards women.   But when I do, I am open to dating them. 

    Bottom line, happiness and compatibility with my partner comes first.

  14. 15
    Luxe

    Stacy:
    “Also, I have to say that the way some Asian women pursue white men is very annoying, but what is more annoying is how some white men aggressively go for exclusively asian women. To me it is a major red flag and it means that a guy is looking for someone who’s submissive and possibly vulnerable (like an immigrant with no support network) so that he can exert control.. signs of abusive personality. Just saying.”

    Why do you think Asian women pursuing white men annoying? And why do you see white men pursuing Asian women as annoying? Asian women being submissive is a misconception. Seriously, Chinese moms have a reputation for a reason. Lot of them are no way submissive! Just check out my mom! ;)

    I am much like the OP. I am an Asian female in my late 20′s. I don’t share her viewpoints though. I will admit, I like white guys. I have no shame in it. I don’t like them because of social status or desireablity. It came more out of environmental changes. I was born and raised in California. Most of my friends were Asian and I always thought I would date Asian and end up with an Asian guy. I ended up moving from California to smack dab in the middle of the midwest. The city I was in, I probably saw a handful of Asians. I changed, I now like white guys more. I live in the southwest now, where there are more Asians. But not in abundance or anything. That’s just what happened. I don’t feel guilty about it. I’ve dated men of different races and each one of those relationships had different problems.

    Everyone has things that they are attracted to. That includes race. Sure, going out with other minorities is easier in the sense that your cultures will be similar in some aspects. But why shut out a good guy who could be highly compatible with you just because of his race? You have to ask yourself how important race is to you. It’s not that big of an issue with me. My number #1 trait that a guy has to have is open-mindedness. That helps with any cultural differences I may have with people. That trait is something I look for in friends too.

  15. 16
    Steve

    Stacy 11
    I think we need to distinguish between religion (Jewish/Catholic) and race
    Good luck.
    Jews consider anyone who has a Jewish mother to be Jewish, regardless of their beliefs.   A large number of western Jews do not believe what is written in the Old Testatment, or follow it, the way that even moderate Christians do.   So, Judiasm is not 100% a religion.
     
    You can’t say Judiasm is a race either, even though many European descended Jews share some physical characteristics.   Contemporary biologists have been debating about doing away with the concept of “race” altogether.
     
    You can’t even say that Judiasm is community, as many Jews belong to a number of different distinct cultures.

    1. 16.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You’ve got it backwards, Steve. Judaism isn’t “none of the above”. It’s ALL of the above.

      It’s a religion – the oldest one around with only 13.2 million of us left after years of persecution and genocide.
      It’s a race – there’s certainly Jewish blood and genetic characteristics.
      For most of us, it’s really a culture – a heritage, a pride, a sensibility, a worldview.

      As such, being Jewish in America is far closer to being black than it is to being Protestant.

      It’s not wrong for Jews (or Asians or Indians) to want to marry within their own culture, especially if they feel their culture is being diluted.

      The difference with Jews is that it IS being diluted and destroyed. Not so with 1 billion Indians and Chinese out there.

  16. 17
    Stacy

    For all its worth, i think if the OP switches to dating Asian men instead she will find a better husband at the end of the day. Why? Beacause there’s plenty of educated, well-to-do Asian guys out there and nobody wants to date them for the reason they’re… well, Asian. I went on dates with such guys – Stanford/Harvard/Goldman/Classical Music – every girl’s dream, right? Except when I pictured my kids looking like those guys – i knew there wouldn’t be a second date. So I would encourage the OP to go for it :)

  17. 18
    Helen

    Evan, why do you allow people to post blatantly racist and offensive comments such as #17 above?

    So she thinks Asians are ugly, so she won’t go for them herself, but encourages Asian women to?

    And says everyone should stick to their own race?

    I have to wonder if this person is simply a troll.

  18. 19
    Helen

    Evan, apologies… I didn’t mean that as a demand to YOU. I meant it more rhetorically.

  19. 20
    Stacy

    Luxe #15:

    well, honestly, i think it’s annoying when asian girls pursue white men because of how they through themselves at those guys, it’s a hunt for them with the prize being a White Guy. There’s a lot of it in NYC. May be not so much on midwest or Cali, i don’t know. In business terms it would be called dumping :) Yes, it is a competitive dating market out there.

    As for guys – I explained, there’s predators out there. Being a (white)immigrant I have some experience with this type of guys. They go for foreign girls (regardless of origin really) because they think those girls would tolerate abuse and have lower standards than American girls, and no family nearby to set them straight or help them out. When I see a guy going for foreign/exotic girls exclusively, I run for my life.

  20. 21
    Imperfect Love

    From my experience, I found that it was is easier to connect to the same race, culture, and religion.  I have however dated outside of my race many times in the past year!  Doesn’t mean that someone of difference is not out there.  If dating is a numbers game, it would be highly probable to find connection within the same race.  But we all know that chemistry and compatibility and character is also very important. It is definitely a quandry we are all in.  At the end of the day, it’s your own preference and your happiness that matters.   I liked Evan’s comment, yes there are a billion Chinese out there so why worry about the dilution as an Asian or many other race for that matter. 

    Traveling, I found that most country is very homogeneous, so I don’t think we really have to worry about losing our culture/race.

  21. 23
    Steve

    @Luxe #15
    I had to laugh at part of your post, having several Asian women as friends who nobody would ever mistake for being submissive.
     
     
    @Stacy
    A lot of people have issues with mixing Caucasian and Asian blood,  including Asians.  I think that prejudice is a shame.  I think as a group, Amerasians are some of the most attractive people on the planet.   I know bigotry blinding people to something that is good, welcome to planet Earth
     

  22. 24
    Zann

    I know this is a dating blog, and I’m certainly not an expert on the racial,  ethnic or religious heritage other than to know that it’s a loaded and complex subject.  But when all is said and done, maybe we should start viewing the intermingling of the races and ethnicity as a healthy idea.  In my opinion, the very concept of ethnic blood and terms like “deluding” are dangerous and encourage arrogance and divisiveness.  Blood is blood, and it flows in all of us.  If I mate with a person outside of my ethnic heritage, it doesn’t mean my children’s blood will be a “weaker” strain. The insistence on maintaining race/ethnicity purity as a defining trait has caused eons of racial tension, war and — most hideous — ethnic cleansing.  At an earlier stage in human evolution, there was probably a very good reason for racial, tribal, ethnic, territorial, even spiritual loyalty, maintaining what was viewed as a “pure breed.”  But we’re not race horses — can’t we just move beyond that?  The more our societies mix, bleed into one another, the better our chances of surviving as a human race. Here I agree with Evan: make your choices for partners based on integrity, compatibility, communication, commitment and chemistry, regardless ethnic, racial, or religious heritage.  

  23. 25
    Zann

    Sorry, I meant to say “diluting”….not “deluding,” although that might also be applicable. 

  24. 26
    Denise

    I don’t believe Stacy is being bigoted or racist (as I’m sure that will come up too).  These words are over used and not used in the right context–they have been watered down.  Look up each of the words.  I don’t read Stacy’s posts as being intolerant of other people’s opinions or viewpoints, she didn’t say her race is superior.   She’s saying her PREFERENCE is not to have children with mixed race and/or with an Asian man.  There is nothing wrong with having preferences, it’s human and we are not to feel badly about that–like the OP was strugging with.

  25. 27
    Lily

    Hi This is the OP.
    Thanks Evan for your response. It was well thought out and the parallel you draw to being Jewish/marrying Catholic is great.  Stacey at #17 basically voiced what my main issue was: That the white men who are interested in me are not of the same “quality” ie: advance degrees, etc as the non white men whom I am drawn to, but wont’ commit to me. Of course, devotion and loyalty are worth more than any advance degree, and I understand that character is the most important thing in choosing a life partner, but this issue just feels a bit more complicated than that.
    Also, for clarification, I did state that I didn’t have a preference for both Asian and White males, but for men of other ethnicities-Hispanic, Black,Indian,Iranian,etc.. So I am still wanting to choose to date outside of my own race.
    A lot of westernized non white males who have a LOT going for them generally prefer white women. Now you can argue that perhaps these women are more accommodating, easier, gentler than than the women of their own race, but I don’t think that is necessarily true. A very successful Asian guy who scores the hot blonde is going to feel more like he is moving up in the world.  People are free to have their preferences, but these preferences are often shaped by society’s values. If most people were honest, I think they would share sentiments felt by Stacey @17, though it does come across as being racist.
    Within my own racial group, I am probably close to a 10 in looks. Outside my group, evaluated by western standards, I’m closer to an 8.  I spent some time in Hong Kong, where I always had my pick of the best guys: accomplished, rich, very well educated, etc… etc… These guys were non westernized Asians. Now back in the US, the story is a little different.  The white guys who are interested in me are not the most accomplished/richest/etc… but they are certainly decent guys.  The non white westernized men who are 10′s within their racial group generally go after white women- however these white women are not 10′s- close to 8′s.
    Anyways, my point, and perhaps I am looking for validation of my observations, is that in the dating market today, being white gives you more points than being non white.

  26. 28
    Helen

    Lily #28 – wow. I can’t say I’ve had the same experience as you at all.  To clarify, there is apparently another Helen posting; I’m an older married one who is Asian and has posted several feisty comments on this blog before.

    My experience is not at all what you describe: of disadvantage as an Asian when it comes to men in the US and around the world.  I was thinking about it this morning, and guessing (without gloating) that being Asian has actually unfairly given me an advantage. I’m slightly above average-looking, strong, aggressive, successful.  I get constant attention from men: not just strangers on the street or in restaurants, but at work, scientific meetings, etc.  Before you posted again, I was considering writing a post asking other Asian women on this blog whether they had the same experience.

    I probably wouldn’t have this same level of attention if I were Caucasian with all other traits the same. There is something about being Asian that sets one apart, for reasons I can’t understand. And it isn’t an expectation of a meek woman; men know without even exchanging a word with me that I’m ballsy.  But I do it with a smile, with an enjoyment of their company, with pride in (or complete indifference to) my race.  Maybe that’s the secret.  Being so comfortable in looking “different”, in being just who you are, that you have time to enjoy the other person and focus attention on them.

    To Stacy: Asian women have never needed to throw ourselves at men. They come to us. It’s just a fact: not a brag, and not even necessarily a desirable thing.  I sense that you are nonetheless bitter or envious about it, so it would do to work past it and learn to be comfortable in your own skin.

    Steve #24: Thank you for your thoughtful words. I completely agree.

  27. 29
    Karl R

    Lily said: (#28)
    “Anyways, my point, and perhaps I am looking for validation of my observations, is that in the dating market today, being white gives you more points than being non white.”

    That depends on whether you’re a white man or a white woman.

    OkCupid has done extensive data-mining on response rates to emails based on race:
    http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/your-race-affects-whether-people-write-you-back/

    If you look at their graphs, white men (overall) get better response rates than men of any other race. Compared to women of other races, white women come in second-to-last.

    Regardless, women of any race get better response rates than men of any race.

  28. 30
    Steve

    @Zann #25
     
    If I remember my highschool biology correctly mutts are better than purebreads.  Traits can be dominant or recessive.   Bad traits tend to be recessive ( like for a genetically based disease ) and recessive traits are bred out the more people  mix genetically.

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