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. 31
    Helen

    Steve #31: you’re right again.  It’s called “hybrid vigor.”

  2. 32
    Steve

    @Helen  Post #32
     
    Thanks for giving me the fancy term!  It has been a few years since my last biology class :).    I also remember that the reverse is true.    Breeding too much within the same ( smaller ) group of people/animals will keep bad/regressive traits around and make them more prominent.
     
    This is the inspiration for the term “blue blood” to refer to the many quarks seen in the royal families of old Europe who did a lot of in family marrying to preserve what they thought was “superior blood”.
     
    The fetish for “pure breeding” is a tragic mistake in both animals and people.

  3. 33
    Sayanta

    Aw man- this is SO timely! Wish I had more time to write, but Lily- I hear ya. I’m in the same position. I’m waiting for an Indian guy when men of other races are the ones that are interested in me….I’m thinking it’s time to let go.

    EMK- JDate for 10 years??? damn….I’m not gonna complain about my 6 month Match membership anymore. LOL

    1. 33.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Sayanta – Yes – on and off of JDate from 1997 to 2006. Which is why I feel qualified to talk about being single, persevering, opening up, and the the silver lining of online dating. And why it seems patently obvious that if you’ve been in love twice in your life, it seems pretty silly to expect that eHarmony should pull it off in the first two months.

  4. 34
    Steve

    I never heard of the “Asian Fetish” thing among American Caucasian guys until a few years ago when a then new Asian American friend asked me about it.  I told her that I had been attracted to Asian women, but not because they were Asian, but because they were attractive women.   She then explained to me that some guys have this fetish because of the “exotic look” or the perception of these women as submissive.  Once I find a woman attractive, the most important thing for me is if I enjoy talking to her.   I enjoy talking, a lot.   Submissive women, women who are shy about their opinion who I have to work to draw out drive me nuts( OTOH, ballbusters are no fun either ).

  5. 35
    Steve

    I know a few Indian women who will not date Indian men, citing that they are extremely chauvinistic and treat women like second class citizens.   Several East Asian women have mentioned having problems with East Asian men, as a group, with stating why.
     
    I would be curious to know.
     
    Yes, I know you will be generalizing and I will not take your opinions as being true for everyone.
     
    If you dare, thanks :)

  6. 36
    Luxe

    I certainly don’t feel disadvantaged in the dating scene at all. This is probably because I’m really comfortable in my own skin. Race is not an issue with me nor do I make it an issue with anyone else. I am who I am. My characteristics make up more of who I am then my race. When it comes down to it, all people within all races has the same characteristics. We’re all stubborn, intelligent, nice, mean, patient, funny, lazy etc. What the difference comes in is culture.
     
    In the end, you have to be comfortable with who you are. Race is only an issue if you make it one. I look at people and myself as who they are, not what race they are. It breaks down your own boundaries that you have. If you shut down a very compatible white guy because he is not of an “other” race, then you aren’t looking at people for who they really are. That is a shame. You want a type of racial “utopia,” but I think you are going in reverse with your mindset.

  7. 37
    Helen

    Luxe #37: Bingo. You’ve got it exactly right – race is only an issue if you make it one, and the most attractive trait by far is to be comfortable with yourself and to let it radiate out of you.  I bet you’ve got swarms of men around you too. :)

  8. 38
    Sayanta

    well…the thing is, it’s not so simple sometimes. I mean, I want a guy who’ll go with me to temples, to India, and generally follow Eastern religious thought and customs- so that limits me to men of my own race, BUT I don’t get along with men of my own race. LOL For the reasons other posters have stated.

  9. 39
    A-L

    RE: Lily’s #28
     
    In the Women Are Racist thread, I think most people agreed with your theory that whites have an advantage in the dating market, at least in the interracial dating market.  So now that you’ve been validated, what do you do next?  As Luxe, Helen, and others have said the key is being comfortable in your skin, and with who you are.  If someone does (or does not) want to date you because of the color of your skin, then that’s a reflection on them, not you.  Just go on enjoying your life, and hang out with those who make you happier (regardless of race).
     
    RE: Karl’s #30
    Thanks for the link.  Interesting, though a bit depressing.
     
    RE: Steven & Helen (#31-33)
    Thanks for raising the point of the mutts (aka, hybrid vigor).  Also, if you lined up everyone up by the color of skin from an albino to the blackest person, there would be no way of dividing up where one “race” starts and the next one ends.  So the whole labeling issue is rather moot anyway.
     
    RE: Steve’s #36
    I suspect that the issue that some women have with East Asian men, South Asian men, African men, Latin American men, Middle Eastern men, etc, is that men from these countries (or their American-born children who were raised with those same beliefs) tend to believe that the man is the head of the family, that what he says goes, and that the woman should follow his lead.  I’m not saying that all men from these areas are this way, but a lot of them are, which gives many women caution when thinking about dating them.
     
    RE: Sayanta’s #39
    I know non-Indian guys who are all into Eastern beliefs, would be happy to go to your temples, and would love to visit India.  So if that’s why you’re desirous of finding an Indian guy (though it’s interesting how your thoughts on this issue have changed over the last year), I think it’s possible to find those qualities with a non-Indian as well.

  10. 40
    Goldie

    Stacy #11, wow. Just freakin WOW. So, all Asian women are submissive. What else? All Blacks are violent, all Eastern European are drunks, all American men are obese couch potatoes, all American women don’t know how to boil an egg. Thanks for straightening it out. I was wondering if people around me are individuals or walking ethnic stereotypes.
     
    “Second, your kids WILL look different and will struggle with their identity, not being fully accepted as a member of either race.”
     
    Say what? Even in my backwoods Midwestern area, no one is shocked when they see an interracial kid anymore. Last I heard, we even have one in the White House ;) I would like to welcome you to the 21st century :)
     
    With that said, as an immigrant, I do encounter this attitude in some of the men I date. Every once in a while, a guy will look down on me or stereotype me because I wasn’t born here. Just another thing I try to look out for and terminate the relationship as soon as I catch this attitude in a guy, because at this point, it’s pretty much a given that things are not going to work out between us.

  11. 41
    Helen

    Sayanta #39, I completely agree with A-L #41. There are so many non-native Indian men who are interested in learning and adopting Eastern philosophies and lifestyles.  And they would be especially motivated to do so if the woman they loved (you) were Indian.  Would you consider such guys, even if they were non-native Indian?
     
    A-L #40: you are so right about the spectrum of colors.  Race is an artificial construct.  You’ve probably also heard the statistic about how Obama and Palin’s family trees are connected from a surprisingly small number of generations back in time.
     
    You made an interesting point about men of other cultures tending to believe in men being the head of the household… do you really think it is MORE that way in these groups than it is among white men, in general?

  12. 42
    Ava

    Denise #8
     
    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

    Please tell me you are kidding.

    Stacy #17
    If you couldn’t picture your kids looking part Asian, why did you bother to go out in the first place? What a waste of that person’s time.

    Oh, and Smiley faces at the end of bigoted sentences doesn’t dilute their bigotry. 

    Is it any surprise that the dominant race and gender in this culture holds the most cards in dating as well?

  13. 43
    Helen

    Goldie #42: What? You mean, I’m not a walking ethnic stereotype? I’m not submissive? I don’t hurl myself at the feet of white men? :)  (Ha ha, I agree with your sentiments exactly.)
     
    Lily, reading back over your original post: you are thinking way too much about race. As A-L and I have said before: go for the person with whom you feel compatible, which you have indicated has been true for at least 2 white guys that you let go in the past.  Don’t judge the guys based on their race.  Remember that ideally, you will spend your lifetime with this guy.  Race is not the important deciding factor, but the compatibility of personalities, kindness, consideration, and the willingness to make the two of you as a partnership work.  That could be a white guy in your case.  Don’t knock him.

  14. 44
    Denise

    Ava, I guess the ‘haha’ and the smiley face didn’t convey my lightheartedness about my female Jewish FRIENDS…doesn’t take away from the observation I’ve had, but people are who they are and I accept them for who they are.   Doesn’t mean some of my other non-Jewish friends aren’t ‘difficult’…just something myself and another friend have noticed.  Heck, some people might say I’m difficult! 

    I like to chuckle about the human experience, including myself when it’s appropriate.  Sounds like we might have different approaches to life and expressing opinions, and that’s okay. 

    I also think a review of the word Bigot (which actually does have a true meaning) might be good:

    dictionary.com:  a person who is INTOLERANT of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race

  15. 45
    Ava

    Denise #46
     
    You’re right, I should have used the term “prejudiced” instead, “unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or nationalgroup.(dictionary.com)

    And you are right, although I have a pretty good sense of humor, prejudice isn’t something I find “lighthearted” or amusing.

  16. 46
    Ava

    That should have read: “unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.”

  17. 47
    Denise

    And who defines unreasonable?  I didn’t feel or express any HOSTILITY…so prejudiced doesn’t seem to apply here either.  It was an opinion, an observation based on true life experience–those would be better descriptions I believe.  One can agree or disagree with another’s opinion or observation, or hold another opinion/observation.  Because there is is disagreement does not require name calling or, HOSTILITY.

    (BTW, the original comment was based on what I read from Evan’s comments/opinion about wanting to date a Jewish girl and the reasons he and his buddines indicated why they may not want to.)

  18. 48
    Goldie

    I have to admit, I, too, shook my head at comment #8 when I first saw it. Hate to tell you this Denise, but, unless you’re Eric Cartman, you cannot pull off this kind of joke and no amount of “haha”s and smiley faces will make it lighthearted. Also I’m confused, if in #46 you pretty much say that you and a good number of your friends are all difficult – well then you just tend to hang out with difficult girls – fine by me, but what does being Jewish have to do with it? Also, way to talk about your friends behind their back with “another friend”, then post it on a public website. Aren’t you afraid they may stumble upon your comment some day?

  19. 49
    Denise

    Hmmmm, Evan says that Jewish women are ‘…highly demanding, highly unrealistic in their expectataions’.  Evan says that  “we’re kindof difficult”, meaning men and women, and he wanted easy. 

    They are still great girls with GOOD CHARACTER, they are just a little ‘difficult’ (guess I should have said LITTLE)  It wasn’t a joke, for the third time, it was an observation of my recent experiences coupled with Evan’s assertions noted above. 

    Do you think that they don’t know they are ‘difficult’?  I didn’t say anything that I wouldn’t say to them.

    Whatever…

  20. 50
    Sayanta

    You know what’s weird- when I read that interviewer’s generalization about Jewish guys, the first thing I thought was “That’s the perfect descript of every Indian guy I know!” The funny thing is, I get along great with Jewish guys- I wonder, do people just act weird with people of their own race? LOL

  21. 51
    A-L

    RE: Helen’s #43
     
    You made an interesting point about men of other cultures tending to believe in men being the head of the household… do you really think it is MORE that way in these groups than it is among white men, in general?
     
    I can only speak to the relationships that I’ve seen at close hand.  But the marriages I’ve seen with American men have been more equitable than those with most foreign men.  Equitable meaning that the men will help with housework, the children, etc, and that the women have have a say in how the family spends money, where they go on vacations, etc.  Not to say that everything is split 50-50, but it’s not 90/10, 95/5, or 100/0.
     
    And this is not necessarily an issue of the man’s color, but his upbringing.  My sister is married to a black American and it’s a fairly equitable relationship.  My  mother was married to a black Caribbean man, and it was a very inequitable one.  So it’s really more of a culture issue, though as always there are exceptions to every generality.
     
    But when I’ve spoken to children of other immigrant families, I would say this is a definite trend that we’ve noticed, in comparison to my friends who were raised by 2 American parents.

  22. 52
    Stacy

    After reading the slew of comments here all I can say is WOW, people. There’s definitely something to be said about projecting what you deep down inside hate about yourself onto others and hating it in them.

    Helen #19: So she thinks Asians are ugly, so she won’t go for them herself, but encourages Asian women to?

    I never said they are “ugly” – you said that. I meant they were different from me. I am a tall blond with blue eyes. So is my entire family. But they are not different from the way the OP looks, not that radically at least. So this shouldn’t be an issue, right? Unless of course, you really think that that is “ugly”.

    Goldie #42:
    So, all Asian women are submissive. What else? All Blacks are violent, all Eastern European are drunks, all American men are obese couch potatoes, all American women don’t know how to boil an egg

    Again, I didn’t say that, you did. What I said is that there’s a perception about them being submissive, and as such Asian women are sought after by guys who want that. Steve in #35 said exactly the same thing. I am sure that we can’t generalize about Asian women (or any race) being submissive or assertive, it has to do with the nurture and social development, not race.

    And Goldie, I am an immigrant myself from the same part of the world as you. When it comes to inter-cultural dating, stereotypes and mixed identities I know what I am talking about.

    Ava #44
    If you couldn’t picture your kids looking part Asian, why did you bother to go out in the first place? What a waste of that person’s time.

    Because I like keeping my mind open. And when I see a great guy and I like him – why not? My college boyfriend was Asian. But once I realized it was a major deal breaker for me, I stopped.
    Oh, and Smiley faces at the end of bigoted sentences doesn’t dilute their bigotry. 

    Perhaps, you need to review the meaning of the words you are throwing around.

  23. 53
    Goldie

    Yah, I’m afraid Evan walked right into that one when he said “we’re kind of difficult”. I agree, it can be taken like an invitation to reply with: “yeah, you know what, you guys are kind of difficult indeed!” which will, of course, open a whole new can of worms.
     
    This is why I’m pretty leery of making jokes about my own ethnicity/heritage myself. Coming from me, it’s cute and self-deprecating, and, since it’s my ethnicity, I technically can make these jokes… but I really don’t feel like I should, especially in front of people who are not of the same heritage, and so cannot answer with the same without coming off as insulting.
     
    My kids went through this phase where they went around telling Jew jokes, because they felt they could. Eventually they stopped. I think there was a Seinfeld episode about this, even.
     
    This is a pretty heated subject. Wonder how long the thread will get.

  24. 54
    C.

    Stacy, the sentence “Except when I pictured my kids looking like those guys” just sounds offense. Actually any commenting using the term “those people” is automatically going to stir up some feelings. Maybe it IS projecting, but that is only because we people of minority races have heard stuff like this so much before, and it hurts.
    I myself am mixed race and I totally disagree with your assertion that we “struggle with their indentity, not being fully accepted as a member of either race”. I’ve never thought of so negatively..if anything I LOVE being a member of two very interesting and distinct cultures, and never felt vilified by either of my families. Yes it sometimes feels like a dual identity, but perhaps I never struggled so much because both my parents loved me and neither became obsessed with whether I looked like one over the other..which brings me to this:
    You want to be a mom for what seems like the most vain (and wrong) reason: for a “mini-me”. What if you do have a child that doesn’t turn out “like you”, regardless of race? What if s/he has a deformity? What if s/he is overweight? What if s/he turns out gay? What if you fall in love with a man who already has a kid and wants you to love it like your own? What about adopted children?
    I really think you need to evaluate your reasons for wanting children. Please, for the child’s sake.

  25. 55
    C.

    Regarding the “white guys who like asian girls” thing, I am friends with quite a few couples of this mix. I would not call any of my asian girl friends submissive at all, but they are definitely all beautiful. I think the attraction to them is mostly superficial at first, and then the couples become attached to personality. I have heard one of my guy friends say he liked asian girls because they tend to be (and stay) slender and their skin ages well.
    I also know tall blue-eyed white guys (like my dad) who prefer short and curvy dark girls (like my mom) so I think its just a matter of personal preference. I love that we can live in a culture that accepts the love of two people despite their cultural differences.

  26. 56
    Goldie

    Apologize in advance for double-commenting, but I just thought of something re: last comment from Stacy.
     
    “And Goldie, I am an immigrant myself from the same part of the world as you. When it comes to inter-cultural dating, stereotypes and mixed identities I know what I am talking about.”
     
    You know, this actually explains a lot. Back in the old country ;) people used to make way too big of a deal of the ethnicity/race issue. Forget race, even, everyone was white and people still managed to get hung up on the issue. Everyone knew everyone else’s ethnicity and dated/married strictly within our own. When I (Jewish/Polish mix) married my ex (Russian), both our families were freaking out, and friends and relatives were all wondering if it was possible for such a wildly international marriage to work :D And yeah, a lot of people were asking us how our children would identify. Well I’m happy to report that my children (in high school now) both identify themselves as Americans of mixed heritage. They enjoy learning about their ancestry, but on the whole their ethnicity is just an interesting fact to them – a conversation piece – not a huge, life-defining factor that they have to build their whole world around. I love this about their generation – these kids are totally color-blind :D

  27. 57
    AS

    @Sayanta 52 — As an Indian American woman, I think that the discomfort may come from expectations.  When considering Indian woman, Indian men have more defined expectations for who they *think* you are: you speak Hindi, you can cook Indian food, you want to go to the temple, you will wear a sari to a social event, etc.  Whether those things are true or not, it is always awkward to begin a relationship with someone who has preconceived notions in that way.
    As a *very* westernized Indian (I don’t speak Hindi, I don’t cook, I don’t practice any religion, and I don’t even OWN a sari), I have found that non-Indian men (be they white, Persian, Hispanic, etc.) don’t have as much of a preconceived notion of WHO I will be as Indian men.  It allows a relationship to be built without the same types of expectations.  For some, I think there is comfort in expectations – an understanding of “this is who you’re getting, this is who I am getting” … but for me, I feel as though I am disappointing by not being a “properly” Indian woman.  Even for a woman who is more “properly” Indian than myself, I would imagine that having the freedom to not have expectations of how you’ll be in a relationship from the get-go is liberating.

  28. 58
    Helen

    Stacy, of course you are welcome to your viewpoints, and welcome to share your viewpoints. No one has a problem with that. It is when you start making pronouncements about what everyone else should do – such as how we should all stick to our own races, we shouldn’t have biracial children, we should all behave a certain way around men – that these posts seem unbearably smallminded and foolish.  Frankly, you are not qualified to give this kind of “advice” to the masses.
     
    C, thanks for your intelligent viewpoints – especially about children.  As a mom, I can say that you’re spot-on.

  29. 59
    C.

    Thanks Helen! And sorry to everyone for all the typos that I’m noticing now that I re-read my post..I wrote real fast without proof-reading :p
    Goldie, your kids sound cool! I agree, so many kids are mixed now they don’t seem to be troubled by it. Its great to learn about family backgrounds and I can understand some families not wanting to lose their heritage BUT I think bringing in a spouse of a different background can ENRICH the family…and ALL children are beautiful! Dare I say the mixed ones are extra cute ;)

  30. 60
    Ava

    Stacy 
     
    <<Perhaps, you need to review the meaning of the words you are throwing around.>>

    You can split hairs with me about the meaning of words such as bigotry and prejudice, but what ever you want to call it, it may be construed as offensive. Of course, you are entitled to your opinions, but don’t be surprised if they are seen as offensive.

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