Am I Selling Out For Not Dating Within My Race?

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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. 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.

  2. 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
      

    1. 23.1
      Sean

      I once heard this Taiwanese girl tell me that the most handsome models in Taiwan, were the half mixed American ones. It’s kind of upsetting.

  3. 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.   

  4. 25
    Zann

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 28
    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:

    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.

    1. 28.1
      BS

      That’s not true and it’s not what the graphs say.

      black women do not get more responses than white men. It says in plain English that black women send the most but get the least responses.

      i guess black women don’t fit into your definition of “women” huh

      1. 28.1.1
        Karl R

        BS,

        You may be misreading the graphs.   Black women get a 34.3% response rate.   All other women have a better response rate.   White males get a 29.2% response rate.   All other men have a worse response rate.

        34.3% > 29.2% … Therefore, black women (collectively) have a better response rate than men.   Even white men.

         

        BS said:

        “It says in plain English that black women send the most but get the least responses.”

        That’s compared to other women, not men.

  8. 29
    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 31
    Helen

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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 ).

  14. 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 🙂

  15. 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.

  16. 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. 🙂

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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