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. 151
    Henriette

    Well, there is a lot to consider in the post.  I’m delighted that it’s become such a lively discussion and that we have such a wide variety of viewpoints represented, here.  I have lots of rambling but inter-connected thoughts to share on this subject.
     
    I believe Rose’s experience is her experience.  However, Rose’s experience of white men with Asian wives/girlfriends is almost diametrically opposed to mine.   Here in Canada, there is a huge Asian population (in Toronto & Vancouver, especially: mostly of Hong Kong & mainland Chinese background).   25 years ago, the “trophy wife” in this part of the world was tall; blonde; lithe; tanned and athletic.   Today, without a doubt, the “trophy wife” for successful white guys is smart; sexually assertive; Asian; below 5’3″ with long, glossy hair.  These women are the opposite of submissive – they tend to be fun, spunky, educated and hard-working. 
     
    3 of my close friends are Asian women who’ve married white guys.  What they’ve told me (and yes, I realise this is not at all a statistically significant sample size but I find it interesting, anecdotally) is that they really didn’t want Asian mother-in-laws (whom, they claim, tend to insert themselves in their sons’ marriages more than white mother-in-laws); that many Asian guys ~  even if raised entirely in North America ~ can be sexist and traditional in ways that fewer white guys are; that they knew their families would begrudgingly accept a white husband as long as he were educated and successful but that a non-white, non-Asian husband would always be made to feel unwelcome. 
     
    I was at university in the southern US in the 80s.  I remember at that time, black women were taking a strong stand against the trend for black men to pick white girlfriends.  They pushed back against the stereotype that black women are somehow more demanding and difficult than other women and challenged black men to look harder within their race for romantic partners.   Heck, even Barack always dated white girls until he was told, in no uncertain terms, that he’d receive more support from the black community if he had a black wife. 
     
    Asian men do themselves no favours when they act like Asian women “owe them” to date within the race and use terms like “self-hating women” (#131) or “your ignorant white cock-sucking” !!!!!(#120)  However, as more Asian men grow up with modern values and truly do not reflect the more traditional stereotypes often associated with their community, they might encourage Asian women to give them more of a chance in the dating realm.  I find it terribly sad when people of any race/ ethnic group/ culture have biases against dating “their own.”
     
    @Nicole 133 – Thank you; you’re right!  Those of us who are not Asian are often told ~ either by inference or explicitly ~ that we (as a group) are somehow unfeminine, ugly, fat, poorly dressed, butch and graceless when contrasted with Asian women.  Um, how charming!  One non-Asian friend says, “Why would we want to date men who thought such ugly things?  Let other women have them; guys who believe this are no prize!”  But still, it stings to be looked at as inferior by so many men of my own race and I do wonder what we’ve come to when we narrowly define “femininity” along the lines of tight p*ssies & smooth skin & being astute in managing the way men can feel powerful around us (#83); what does that say about modern “masculinity?”?!?!

    1. 151.1
      Ranzou

      We would be screwed either way if we played along and accepted their reasons, whatever makes them loss in their own world.

  2. 152
    liam

    I’ve heard every excuse in the book (as we all have) as to why so many asian women are with non asian men:
    it’s just a preference…i prefer non asian men
    i grew up in a non-asian neighborhood so feel more comfortable with non-asians/whites
    asian men are sexist/too shy/i just don’t find them attractive
    if i dated an asian man it would feel like i was dating my own cousin (this one always stumps me!!!)
    non-asian men are very interested in dating me
    and so on
    of course, it takes two to tango, and if so many men are ‘chasing’ asian women as they say, is it because the men truly have a thing for women who look asian (which surely some of them DO) or is some of it because the men know many asian women have a thing for THEM?  Let’s face it…everybody loves to be desired, and many non-asian men know that asian women like them..simply BECAUSE these men are non-asian.  And esp when it comes to white men…they are seen as trophies.  And for those asian women who are a bit more rebellious or ‘freaky’ (esp Japanese women), more and more of them are going for ‘exotic’ and ‘dangerous’ big black men (oooohhhh….so forbidden and exciting!).  yawn
    i’v also noticed that there is a certain type of pseudo intellectual pseudo feminist asian woman who is very vocal about ‘yellow fever’ going on and on about how much they find it insulting.  But 9 times out of 10, guess who these women date?  NON asian men!  I firmly believe that in fact these women have WHITE fever, but subconsciously they know that the best way to deflect atention from THEMSELVES and any potential questions as to why THEY seem to only date non-asian men…these women plant the idea in other peoples’ minds that the men are always chasing THEM…you know…since so many guys have ‘yellow fever’.  Then no one will consider that maybe it was her who chased him.  Asian women (like all women) have their own ways of letting guys know if they are interested in them or will be ‘receptive’ to their advances.  And women (including asian women) are also very good at letting guys know when they would NOT be receptive.  Many asian women won’t even give asian men the time of day. 
     
    I too find it a huge red flag when a non-asian man says he only dates asian women.  And in fact, when ANY significant number of people from any group will not date their own kind (i.e., misogynistic white american men who will only date asian, self-hating trophy seeking black ball players who will only date light-skinned, and self-hating trophy seeking asian women who will only date white and who want ‘pretty hapa babies’, in all these instances it is THEY who have the serious issues….and NOT the opposite gender of their own race, who they tend to lambaste.  It’s funny how no matter what the race/gender, it’s always the same talk…white american men blaming white american women for this and that….black men blaming black women for this and that….and asian women blaming asian men for this and that….  Believe me…I (white american female) have encountered my share of asshole white american men, but i’ve also encountered some great ones.  Yet even with my BAD experiences, I would never ever discount ‘all white american men’ and refuse to date them again.  But yet this is exactly what you find with a certain type of white american male, black male, and asian woman…who will categorically refuse to date their own kind.    If all you encounter in your own group are ‘the bad ones’, you need to look at yourself. 

  3. 153
    josavant

    liam, you don’t sound like a white American female based on your comments. You sound like an Asian guy. A resentful one at that. No white woman writes about Asian women making “excuses” for who they date – because we don’t think Asian women owe us any explanation for their dating preferences. You wouldn’t use the word “excuse” if you didn’t think Asian women owed you something – and that points pretty clearly to you being an Asian guy who thinks you have some right to Asian women.
     
    If you were an Asian woman encountering that type of attitude repeatedly from Asian guys, need you ask why they avoid you? That attitude is really creepy.
     
    The other reason I can tell you’re not a white female is because if you were, you’d realize we have almost every option in the world open from a racial standpoint. Some men may prefer Asians, but that doesn’t mean they won’t date us. Asian men and black men and Hispanic men will date us. Sometimes, let’s be honest, we are viewed as the trophies, not Asians.

  4. 154
    marymary

    Liam
    Oi, I’m dating a black man and he is about as exotic as a loaf of bread.
     

  5. 155
    Raj

    AS: Not every Indian speaks Hindi and the difference between moslem Indians and Hindu Indians is wider than between Indians and people from many other parts of the world…and the cultural difference between a Mizo and a Keralite is larger than between a Keralite and a white person…that is a fact.

  6. 156
    ricky carver

    a sellout??? that’s absurd.I date only within my own race and that’s no more of a sellout any moreso than dating only outside one’s race..neither one is a sellout..it’s called preference!!only a moron would call it elsewise.(like racism,discrimination,etc)

  7. 157
    Kiwi

    @ josavant

    I agree that liam sounds like an Asian male (Liam is a male name). But he still raised valid points and I think you should not dismiss him so cavalierly.

    In America:

    1. Asian men are stereotyped as either ugly, nerdy, weak, and feminine or sexist, patriarchal, and dominating. (Note how the two stereotypes are contrasted and contradictory: Charlie Chan vs. Fu Manchu)

    2. Asian women are stereotyped as sweet, submissive, and exotic. (They are also seen as tough, violent, temptresses: another contradiction in stereotypes, China Doll vs. Dragon Lady)

    3. White men are presented as the ideal of masculinity by the media. They are seen as better mates than all races of men.

    4. Many white men fetishize Asian women. (due to stereotypes)

    5. Many Asian women (like all people of color) have to deal with internalized racism and will have a very positive view of white men and a very negative one of Asian men due to media stereotypes.

    6. Most white women (like all women) are racist and refuse to date Asian men (They do not fetishize Asian men like white men fetishize Asian women. Why? Stereotypes.)

    The result is that we have a vast gender imbalance when it comes to Asians dating. Asian men face greater stigma and rejection by all races of women, including Asian women. Most Asian males learn that the world of dating is slanted against them and may unfairly take it out on Asian women when in fact, most other races of women are even worse.

    Also, because of the stereotypes, Asian men are seen as born misogynists, whereas white men just happen to be “better”. If some Asian men are sexist, that is blamed on the whole race. Asian women cite their experiences with a few individuals to exclude all Asian men. If some white men are sexist, they are given the benefit of the doubt. No matter how many sexist white men an Asian woman runs into, she will never exclude white men from her dating pool. This is not true for ALL people but it is common enough that it is a legitimate point of pain for Asian-American men to bring up. I believe only 30% of Asian women are like this (online dating studies of Asian women found a third explicitly exclude Asian men from their dating pool). I hope people can be more open minded in the future.

  8. 158
    In the same boat

    I found this thread very interesting. I’m in the same boat as the OP. I’m a non-white female born and raised in North America who mainly attracts white guys,  but unlike her, I AM attracted to most of the white guys who approach me. However, like the OP, I struggle with feelings of being a sell-out if I date a white guy, and I also fear that I may be seen as a fetish, novelty, exotized, otherized, and dealing with someone who may be actually be a racist, in spite of their attraction to me. I am light skinned, and I’ve often been mistaken for Greek, Italian, Jewish, Ukrainian, so the other side of the coin is when some of the white guys who I meet find out I’m not-white, they seem to be put off, like I’m some kind of a leper, and the dynamic between us almost immediately changes. It’s like I go from being an object of their attraction to one of revulsion. My heart just sinks when this happens. I feel dirty, denigrated, and dehumanized. Yeah I know, strong words, but I guess you’d have to have experienced this to comprehend just how it really feels.Then there’s the guys who are well-intentioned, but inevitably have something ignorant to say. And when I try to talk about racism and how we may handle it as a potential interracial couple, some get dismissive, defensive and even angry. Sometimes I feel it would just be easier if they had never showed any interest in me, never looked my way, and more importantly, that I wasn’t attracted back. But I’m 30 years old, and so far, who I’m mainly drawn to hasn’t really changed. Like a moth to flame.

  9. 159
    In the same boat

    Another concern I have would be about fitting into each others social groups if a relationship were to come about. Most of my friends are not non-white and I tend to feel more comfortable around people of color. I just feel more at ease and that for the most part, they understand and accept me more. Almost all my friendships with whites have failed, and so I can’t help but wonder if a relationship would see the same fate. Having said, I worry that I may end up turning someone away who may actually love and accept me for who I am-not because of or in spite of my race, but who I may be resistant to due to some of the walls and defenses (even if they are there for understandable reasons) that I have up. Lastly, another major reason is being told that I would be disowned by my parents and community if I marry outside of it, and that my children could never be part of it unless their father is too. I don’t think I even want kids, so not sure how relevant that is, but I feel that’s it’s still something to consider and weigh. But yeah, like I said, I’m feeling torn and not entirely sure about the best way to proceed.

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