On Interracial Dating – The Asian Panel (1 of 3)

Cashmere Mafia
Welcome to the Asian panel on Interracial Dating. We actually did end up doing a South Asian panelist breakout, which will go next Thursday. Our panelists are:

N’Jaila Rhee, the mastermind behind BlaysianBytch.com (link NSFW); Elton, long time commenter and friend of the blog; refresh_daemon, blogger and occasional contributor; Christina Xu, friend of the blog and occasional contributor; Eric Zhang, occasional contributor; and Holly, contributor at Feministe.

What types of messages did you receive about interracial relationships growing up?
N’jaila: It was very odd for me because while my father was Asian, I never felt like I or he was “mixed”. Growing up mixed was Black and White. Black and Asian just made Black and what was more important was my parents were West Indians. I don’t believe I even felt “mixed” or “Asian” until much later in life when I began dating myself. My parents did not see themselves as a mixed race couple so I did not see them that way. On television you never see Asian people with anyone other than whites so to me I always felt like dating inter-racially was code for dating white.

Elton: My mom doesn’t care who my sister or I marry as long as they are good, hardworking, honest people who live what she calls a “quality life.”

My family is part of a wave of Cantonese immigrants to the Southern United States that goes back to the 1930s or earlier. One of our forefathers is turning 100 this year. Another from that generation married a white waitress who worked at the first Chinese restaurant in the area. Their marriage lasted until death. Their mixed-race children are retirement age and a few served in the Army in the Vietnam War.

Despite the predominant media message, neither interracial relationships nor Chinese immigrants to America are anything new.

refresh_daemon: My first generation Korean immigrant parents view of interracial dating has evolved a little since I was young. When I was younger, it was unfathomable to them that I would date someone who wasn’t ethnically Korean and so the particular message that I received growing up was a big “NO.” My father, having since moved back to Korea still holds to this view strongly, although only for me as being the first son has implications that do not extend to my younger siblings; for my younger siblings, I think his line of thinking is similar to my mother’s (although Korean beats all for him). My mother would prefer that I marry, in order: 1) A Korean American woman, 2) an Asian American woman, 3) a Korean woman, 4) a white woman. She’s become much more open since my youth, but she still has clear racial biases. Obviously, marriage preferences determine who it’s acceptable to be in a relationship with. As my father says, “Friends fine, but you can’t marry them.”

Christina: Growing up, my parents certainly hoped that I would date Chinese-Americans but I think they knew it was going to be tough since we moved from China (lots of Chinese people) to Ohio (not quite so many) when I was 7. By the time I hit college, they had all but given up on the idea. For them, it was primarily an issue of linguistic and cultural compatibility; they wanted a son-in-law that they could converse with easily and, eventually, grandkids that spoke Chinese. As a result, other East Asians weren’t necessarily favored over whites. Blacks, Arabs, and–surprisingly–South Asians were strongly frowned upon, in that order. Refresh_daemon’s father’s “friends fine, but you can’t marry them” was very much the philosophy in our house as well.

At some point, I was surprised to hear my mom tell me that she’d actually come to dislike the idea of me dating Asian-American men, citing the probable incompatibility of their more tradition gender views with my loud tomboy nature, progressive politics, and other strange ideas. I think for her, it was part reluctant acceptance and part mercy for any good Chinese boy that might have the misfortune of stumbling upon me.

Eric: If my parents mentioned dating at all when I was growing up, it was to say I wasn’t allowed to date until college (ha!). As is the case with many other aspects of discussions about race, I was taught about interracial relationships on a particularly black-white axis, and rarely considered interracial relationships between Asians and non-Asians. I think I did grow up with an unspoken understanding that I was expected to marry another Chinese, and my parents would pair me and my brother with other Chinese girls – you know, the cute thing where parents decide their children are boyfriend and girlfriend when they’re six years old. When I moved to a new neighborhood that was 96% white, my mother paired us with white girls instead. Then I moved to a neighborhood with a larger Asian concentration and my “girlfriend” was Taiwanese. Of course this was all before I became old enough to understand dating, and this was, again, our parents deciding it would be cute for us to be “boyfriend/girlfriend.” I think, though, that because we spent a lot of time living in neighborhoods with relatively low Asian populations, my mother was more open to the idea of an interracial relationship. After my parents got divorced, for example, my mother dated a half-Colombian, half-Egyptian man, who is still a major part of our lives.

Holly: I’m the product of an interracial relationship between my mother (1st generation Japanese immigrant) and my dad (white guy) so THAT kind of interracial relationship was held up as a good, “diverse” thing in my family, and something which my parents had struggled with oppression and misunderstanding around, including from their families. It wasn’t seen as strange at all when I was growing up that I’d date white people or asian people — and in high school I dated someone who was quarter-indigenous, and that was totally thumbs-up as well. The liberal-multi-culti facade of all interracial relationships being cool was torn up a little bit when my sister started dating black guys, however. There was a lot more disapproval and “what does he want to do with his life,” which I’m sure could be attributed to class differences as well. Come to think of it, they did raise similar objections to a white guy she dated who was a slacker musician without much of a “future.” When I put it all together in my memory, the message we received was holistically about fitting people into a nice, harmonious middle-class liberal picture of diversity where everyone basically ought to want the same thing: college, a career, a nice home, stability, marriage, kids, family closeness, etc. As far as my parents’ relationship went, it was pretty clear to me that my father’s relatives found my mother off-putting and cold in ways that had everything to do with cultural differences, and which she in turn found very alienating. In a lot of ways, that and other differences felt kind of like a classic “here’s why cross-cultural relationships often don’t work” example, playing out into a divorce right in front of me.

How does culture factor into conversations about interracial dating? Essentially, are all Asians seen as equal and fair game for dating, or do most people have a specific nationality based preference?
N’jaila: Well , as I said before the culture of being Caribbean came before race for my family in particular. I think that might have much more to do with my father’s rejection of his Asianess in favor of adapting a more Trinidadian form of Blackness. My father actually showed a lot of disfavor for me dating Asian men. My mother was quite indifferent. My parents try hard to put aside their personal prejudices when it comes to who my brother and I date. They might make an off color joke, but I’ve never been told that one Asian ethnicity was superior or inferior to any others. I think many people do have a preference ethnicity-wise, mostly based on what they feel is more acceptable and who would be the most likely to accept them.

Right now I’m in a place where I feel truly open to dating anyone. I want someone that will be loving and a suitable partner for starting a family before I think of their race, but I’m always mindful that one of the requirements to being a good partner is the ability to raise my Blasian kids without them having to take to many trips to the shrink.

In all truthfulness I highly doubt that person is going to be Asian American.

Elton: Despite their ostensible acceptance of anyone I might choose to marry, my parents do prefer that I marry a Chinese American. I believe that your mate choice reflects upon your values. If being Chinese is important to you, then your partner should probably be Chinese. If something else is more important to you, then choose a partner based on that.

refresh_daemon: I do think that there is some arguable reason to choosing to “date in”. In particular, it’s one of the many ways that you can date someone who shares similarities with you. And culture is one of those factors. When you share a culture with someone, then the opportunity for friction and misunderstanding to occur because of cultural differences is reduced. That said, for many second generation Asian Americans, their ties to their parents culture are often much softer than first generation or 1.5 generation Asian Americans and consequently, I find that many second generation AA’s are much more open to pan-Asian cross cultural dating.

Of course, I do think that this is dependent on each individuals own personal ties to their specific ancestral culture and how much of that culture is practiced. I feel that those who are least tied to it are most suited to pan-Asian or interracial relationships, and obviously, those that are more tied to their ancestral culture will find greater challenges in cross-cultural relationships. Of course, cultural understanding won’t necessarily be the largest challenge in any given relationship, but it can be one.

Eric: I think the perception persists that “we’re all the same,” and that to non-Asians the differences between Asian ethnicities are miniscule at best. This is changing of course – I have more and more white people telling me that they can “tell us apart,” which to me is problematic in a different way (to quote Margaret Cho: “I can’t even tell us apart!”). In general, it seems like the Japanese are more in vogue, especially because of the geisha image and the proliferation of Japanese media in the Western world (anime, video games, etc.), and Koreans seem to be rising as well with the hallyu or “Korean Wave.” Of course I also have many white friends who are particularly invested in Chinese culture, Vietnamese, Filipino, etc. I can’t say that there is a general preference, though, but rather that it differs on a largely individual level. However, racial characteristics that supposedly make Asians more or less attractive always seem to be applied on a generalized level, so that the idea that “Asian culture” makes us act one way or another supercedes the idea that “Japanese culture” or “Chinese culture” makes us desirable or undesirable. Both ideas are ridiculous of course, but my point is that these stereotypes are often exaggerated to apply to diverse groups of people in a way that makes nationality or ethnicity less visible.

Holly: Where my parents are concerned, my mother’s the only one that cares. She’s already crossed (and burned) the bridge of “marrying and having kids with a white person” so she doesn’t care about her kids doing that. But she is pretty clear that she considers herself above any ethnic group she considers “dirty,” which basically just corresponds to an immigrant community’s relative position on the economic totem pole. In 2011, is your community mostly run service businesses or restaurants with low margins, in lower-rent neighborhoods? My mother has probably said something uppity and racist about them, and wouldn’t want her kids dating you! In society in general, yeah, I’ve encountered a lot of people who are intrigued or excited by the fact that I’m Japanese, in particular. It’s hard for me to say relative to other groups of Asians, but throughout my life people have honed in on a lot of particular elements of Japanese culture — from sushi and “stiff bowing” in the 80s to “you guys are all hentai tentacle-rape perverts” in the 90s and so forth.

If you have dated interracially, did you have any fears or misgivings going into the situation? Did you peers react to you differently?
N’jaila: Well, I do date interracially, and then I don’t. Most of my serious long term relationships have been with Asian or Asian American men. I am Asian American but a mixed Asian that most would not identify as Asian. I think the majority of the men that I’ve been with did not see me as a fellow Asian. If asked I’m sure they would call me their “Black girlfriend”.

I’ve had so many strong negative reactions to dating Asian men that when I was a freshman in college I actually thought there was something wrong with me. I went to the counseling center to ask about it. I was very embarrassed to find out that the counselor who I thought was white was actually Chinese American. She couldn’t’t help but laugh but she at least made me realize that the problem lied with the people judging my relationships not me for having it. I had never thought anything of my choice of partners until college. My co-workers mocked who I dated, other Asian girls mocked who I dated, even one of my professors had a comment for me.

The odd thing was , I felt that people weren’t so put off that I was dating Asian men, but that I wasn’t dating White men. It was like there was a proper flow of interracial dating and it started and ended with a White man.

I think the biggest misgiving that I had was that I could approach dating someone that looked very much not like me the same way my parents did. Just ignore the elephant in the room, that was relationship poison. The biggest fear , is always not being Asian enough. Actually, I think the fear is being Asian enough for sex, but not for a serious relationship.

Eric: Interracial couples with Asian men are interesting. Popular media has told us for so long that Asian men aren’t sexy, they’re nerdy or weird or criminal. As a queer Asian American man, I become more feminized, and I feel as though stereotypes about Asian women are more relevant to my lived experiences than stereotypes about Asian men. I’ve been asked straight up if I crossdress, with no prior hint that I would engage in drag (for the record, I do occasionally, but a note to all the gays out there: you shouldn’t be asking me this unless you know about my stilettos and makeup collection!). I’ve been called geisha or bishonen, which is Japanese for a beautiful boy, and is a popular trope in girls’ anime series in which a boy is attractive in a very androgynous, feminine way (e.g. he is slender and has long hair). If you look at me, I am not feminine in appearance at all! But because these types of tropes exist about Asian women, I think they are often applied to me by my non-Asian partners.

To that end, I think when I am going into interracial relationships, I am always wary of those who seem to fetishize me as exotic and feminine. I have sometimes had to reconcile my attraction to another man with his tendencies to speak about me in racialized ways that make me uncomfortable. I am often hyperaware of “what my friends would think,” not in the sense that I fear that they would disapprove of my relationship because I know they wouldn’t, but that they would judge me for compromising my anti-racist beliefs by dating a man who calls me geisha, even if there is a conscious irony when he does so.

Holly: Nothing sets off my “gross, get me out of here” alarm more quickly in a dating situation than attitudes about race that I find unsavory. I guess I’d extend that to race politics in general; I simply won’t go on any more dates with someone who believes that racism is a thing of the past, or that white people suffer equally from racism, or tells me that they’re “color blind” and therefore can’t be racist. This definitely affects my prospects in terms of dating; there are certainly plenty of white people out there who are blind to their own privilege. I definitely didn’t even consider dating the guys who told me they were “so into Japanese culture” upon meeting me or who pointedly asked me “hey are you half-Japanese? I knew it, you have that half-Japanese look.” I once had a one-night stand with a girl who texted me later and told me that I was “an anime wet dream.” I nearly barfed up my breakfast, then deleted all her contact information. So yeah, that’s misgivings, and I have more and more of them as I perceive my potential dating partner to be more and more privileged, entitled and/or clueless.

refresh_daemon: Along the lines of Eric’s and Holly’s comments, a (perhaps not so) surprising trend I’ve seen developing alongside the increasing popularity of anime/manga as well as Jpop/Kpop and Asian drama is an increasing degree of fetish-ization of Asian men as well (as Asian women were long subject to fetishization). I’ve personally been messaged that “Korean men are so hot. You look like X.” And you can fill in X with whatever Korean actor or pop star that I in no way resemble. Perhaps there are Asian men out there that would appreciate this objectifying attention from non-Asian (or Asian from another culture) women, but I find it rather disturbing that instead of fostering greater understanding, this increase in popularity of Asian entertainment media is just applying a new set of stereotypes and objectification to Asian men and women. As a result, I’ve become wary of non-Asian women who express an enthusiastic interest in Asian entertainment and even non-Korean Asian women who express an enthusiastic interest specifically in Korean pop music or dramas.

Christina: I’ve had two different white partners tell me that they hesitated (not enough, apparently!) to start dating me because they were afraid that others would accuse of them of having Asian fetish. This seems silly, but the white boy/Asian girl actually is an awful trope in the geek world that the many healthy, sane couples that match the description are overshadowed by the ones who have, shall we say, problematic relationships. It’s an awkward thing to go out in public with your partner and feel the burden of that stereotype–my partner is worried that others will accuse him of having yellow fever (or even worse, someone who does have racist, sexist views towards Asian women will believe that he has similar opinions to them), and I’m worried that people view me as the token uninteresting, submissive Asian girlfriend. It really couldn’t be further from the truth, but it’s something to constantly combat!

N’jaila: Christina, I am Asian and I was afraid I had an Asian fetish because I dated Asian men. I think I just have daddy issues.

  • bonrog289

    i wouldn’t date an asian person, not because i dont want to but i dont want to be seen as completely inferior by them and their family which happens often beacuse of my dark skin. i would be considered the very bottom rung as some of these panel stated instead of just second best(like a white person), and personally i’m not strong enough to take that. 

  • Anonymous

    I’m liking the panels so far, this one in particular. I don’t know what the other questions will be about but I look forward to more. And hopefully we can draw out more of people’s own experiences. What I would want to know is if people have any opinions regarding interracial trends over time because it has changed in my opinion regarding reasons, political and social climate, ethnic groups and generations more likely to date out and so on.

    And I’m also curious about the non-dater identity.

  • Anonymous

    I hope none of your other boyfriends treated you so poorly. That’s just shitty ego rub for that dude.

    Also, I don’t know how you racially identify yourself. You kind of just identify your paternity more than anything. I’m assuming you don’t really identify with Latinidad or really associate with Latinos, so these people should back off.

    It’s up to you whether your dating with Asian men is interracial. But you have a legitimate claim to Asian heritage, and there are different takes on the various cultures even among Asian peoples, so outsiders need not look at you like you’re a fetishist.

    I think it’s been mentioned in the panel that even Asian people are capable of accepting stereotypical views whether it be something like being a model minority or that all Asian guys look like celebrities or something.

    So by virtue of heritage you aren’t a fetishist. Your justifications could get you labeled a fetishist.

    I think there are situations where people would date just one group of people without a lot of misinformation clouding their judgement. It’s most common for intraracial and intraethnic pairings but I feel the same is possible for inter as well. I don’t think most people are immune from all stereotypes, but if confronted with something we know isn’t true or is hyperbolic or slanderous in nature we can change our perception. We just have to challenge ourselves.

    I can’t really relate to your experience of not resembling what it is typically associated with either of your racial backgrounds, but I know that out and womb and growing up I’m not what either my parents or other people expected. So I can kind of relate. To questions of racial ambiguity and sometimes being misidentified racially and ethnically.

    But certainly your looks are no mistake. I don’t really understand how genetics works but people don’t mix like paint.

    Because humans are so visually focused they can’t see who you really are just by looking at you. They can’t just see your culture and heritage, it’s something that comes with experience. Unfortunately many of us are trained to view people through stereotypical cookie cutter images. We can’t imagine people looking different from outside of those stereotypes. It shouldn’t have to be your burden to tell others differently when they question your race and dating choice, but I would just encourage you to be strong in your identity. If you view nothing inherently wrong with dating Asian men then keep on keeping on. 

    Just stay clear of guys who are like that Chinese-Vietnamese guy. Guys like that are icky.

    Hopefully some more will respond if their experience resonates with yours. Sorry I can’t help in that regard.

  • Anonymous

    Well I would be careful. Not ALL Asian women have white male fetishes. Nonetheless I am surprised no one brought up the fact so many Far east Asian women have a preference for white men and how this affects their choices and relationships. 

  • Anonymous

    If, in fact, you are assuming all relationships in that vein are basically about fetishes, instead of the much more complicated reality…

  • refresh daemon

    It is unfair how people will judge the motivations of others, but nonetheless it is what happens in this world. I don’t really have a problem of women of any race deciding to date Asian men, although if any woman chose to specifically date *only* Asian men, particularly if she does not share some element of cultural background with them, I’m sure you could understand why I might be suspicious of their attraction. But I won’t say one way or the other that any given woman is objectifying or Orientalizing an Asian man without knowing the situation specifically.

    I don’t give a free pass to Asian people either, who are perfectly capable, given certain circumstances, of sexually or romantically objectifying other Asian people to whom they might have an attraction to, whether it’s interethnic objectification, for example: stereotypes abound about henpecking Chinese women and demure/submissive Japanese women, or cross-cultural objectification wherein a person of Asian descent will see another Asian person who is more closely tied with their ancestral culture as representative of that culture and could conceivably date the person due to that representation of that tie and inherent desire to be closer to that culture, rather than for the person themselves (first).

    This is all, of course, further made complex because even if a relationship begins or even is dominantly of an objectifying nature, that doesn’t mean that genuine affection and attraction can’t also be mixed in with that, leading to a confusing mix of reasons for which we are drawn to the people that we are drawn.As for your situation, I can empathize with the identity dissonance that it causes for people to assume you are of an identity that you are not. While I do have the analogous situation of being somewhat ethnically ambiguous and frequently assumed to not be the ethnicity of whomever I’m speaking to, including my fellow Koreans disbelieving me to be Korean until I speak it fluently, I am clearly Asian looking and never have people treating me as though I weren’t. However, I certainly wouldn’t hold in high esteem any man who would consider you a token girlfriend and get a kick out of you “looking not-Asian”.

  • Anonymous

    It’s discussed in Part 2.

  • Msavignon

    My parents never expressed any preferences nor did they have any expectations which was very liberating. And my parents are good Leftist baby-boomers who came of age in the 1960s so they’ve always been pretty laid-back and progressive. That being said, I went to a mostly-white school in a mostly white region, so my choices were somewhat limited. 

    I wonder if a transnational/racial adoptee panel would be helpful or yield anything [much] different than what the other panels are saying, or what the interest would be in it. There still isn’t much information regarding the dynamics of TRN/R adoption and a lot of the main narratives about race in the U.S. are about family, feeling alienated between ethnic communities (which inevitably goes back to family) and immigration.  Adoptees don’t neatly fit into those categories so they aren’t often discussed.

  • Anonymous

    This always happens. I ran six simultaneous roundtables, balanced them for race, gender, and sexuality, and included other convos around the nature of love – and we get shit on not screening who shows up. To be honest, it’s why we don’t do these kinds of things more often.

    This happened in our blog carnival from last year. That one was an open call for submissions, and we got 10 or so – but still, same shit:

    http://www.racialicious.com/2010/12/09/some-notes-on-love-anonymously-and-writing-about-love-and-sex-online/

    • Tiffany

      I apologize if this is an ignorant question, but what ethnicities are included in the South Asian panel?

      • Anonymous

        Participants are still forming. So far, folks that have confirmed identified as Indian, Filipino.

  • http://twitter.com/DBChen BryAnn Chen

    Loving this series.  The messages I got were very simlar to what the panelists got. I ust sent a massive e-mail about this to my sibs, to see if the messages they got/are getting are different from what I got. In my family, there are 2 older daughters (now both married to white guys) and 2 younger sons, both single. One brother is in Taiwan with our parents; the other is in NYC. How is age, gender, and geography affecting the messages about interracial dating that our parents are giving? This topic is so up my alley.  Looking forward to the rest.

    Question: why are South Asians broken out into a separate panel?

    • Anonymous

      One part logistics, one part cultural differences.

      Initially, all folks who self-identified in anyway would be in the Asian panel. (All panels were selected this way – all the initial participants were shown all of the panel descriptions, and asked to choose which ones they wanted to participate in. So you will see the same people across a couple different panels.)

      However, one SA panelist asked if there could be a sep breakout. No reason why not, so I asked all the panelists (who were then included on the same doc) to vote. Most panelists voted to keep all Asians together, but Wed. night, only one South Asian had even attempted to participate, but deleted their answers because they felt like their concerns didn’t fit the narrative flow.

      And by Wed, the roundtable was already pretty full of answers, so the Asian roundtable would have probably stretched into six parts.

      So from both a length standpoint and a cultural standpoint, it made sense to break out the SA roundtable, and give the panelists more time to construct their answers.

  • http://izumibayanippp.blogspot.com/ BayanIzumi

    I can’t wait for parts 2 and 3.

    I always thought the date-ability of others is a complex milieu based on an infinite plus/minus system. Certain racial/gender stereotypes added or subtracted to someone’s date-ability score. But it has always been cross-cut with physical attraction. For example (and this is arbitrary since personal preference is impossible to generalize), Asian male gets minus 1 (or more) because of the feminizing and shrinking-of-certain-assets stereotypes.

    I think the notions of relationships is especially trying for mixed race/multiracial individuals because every relationship is interracial. The spectrum of mixed race experience is so diverse that I think it’s easy to argue that even if I date someone with the same racial background, we will have 2 very different racial experiences.

    And to ride in @3968b7f4a8a4bcf9410f4a61ae0cb3f3:disqus ‘s wake, I think the whole point of this discussion is to get to the root of what interracial dating is like for “Asians” (whatever that means…). So like most of the folks in the panel touched on, there are many complex forces to unpack to get to their thoughts on interracial dating. Some even explicitly state that their parents said “NO” to dating “outsiders”. Although I’m sure the white american standard is a factor, it would be a narrow reading of what the panelists are trying to say.

    • Mickey

      As a Multiracial individual, I somewhat agree/disagree with your statement that every relationship is interracial. If a person is mixed Black/White, they may or may not consider their relationships with either Blacks or White interracial since, technically, they are members of both races themselves. However, when you throw other factors into the mix (i.e., experience, class, education, etc.) that is where things become tricky.

    • Sanoe

      “I think the notions of relationships is especially trying for mixed
      race/multiracial individuals because every relationship is interracial.”

      I’m mixed and have never thought this.

      • anon

        yeah, dang I just had a revelation about my entire history of relationships…

  • Glassb25

    Wow none of these people have ever dated people of a darker complexion at all. Im wondering is it personal preference, culture, or is it the effect of the good old american subliminal perception of blacks and darker hispanics. I guess to these participants I am to assume interracial dating is limited to the white american standard? I am dissapointed.. I feel like everyone thinks the worst of my race. Including members of my race and minorities who can relate on topics like intolerance and prejudice

    • kim

      I am a bit disappointed with this as well. I am an Asian American woman and the majority of men I have been romantically involved with are black men, and there was no mention of it. No mention of Asians and Latin@s? I see that pairing regularly in LA. Personally, you could put me in a Doesn’t Date White category but seems to the panel that Interracial = White.

      A good read regardless though.

      • yoli

        I would love it if you were on this panel. I came into this expecting the perspective to be interracial = asian/white, but because it’s Racialicious I thought maybe I’d read something new. There are many commenters with diverse viewpoints and opinions here, why did this panel end up with people whose family all hate people who aren’t white, and where the participants themselves have only dated out with white people? 

        • Anonymous

          I love how y’all think putting these things together is like ordering a pizza.

          I asked around 25 different Asian Americans who were friends of the blog/contributors to weigh in – these are the folks who were able to do it before the deadline. Beyond that, we didn’t pre-screen. I was shocked as hell to find out two of the panelists categorized themselves as non daters. But it isn’t as if everyone who contributes to us sends in a sheet checking off their dating/sexual history. For this one, what you see is what you get.

        • refresh daemon

          I think there’s a little misperception as to the different viewpoints of the panelists. Just looking through the responses, we have:

          Two people whose parents don’t find any dating out acceptable and four whose parents find interracial relationships more or less acceptable; of those six, two sets of parents seem to have anti-darker skin tone bias.

          Of the six panelists, two women have stated that they have dated white men, one has stated that she has dated Asian men. None of the male panelists have stated the race of who they have dated and two of those male panelists do not date at all, meaning that we’re left with a very small sample of four respondents who could actually attest to having dated interracially (if at all).  As no one has mentioned that they have not dated other races, I think it’s presumptive to assume that no one has, noting N’jaila’s response below. 

          I do wish we had a larger group of respondents and a broader range of experiences. I personally have several friends who are of Black/Asian parentage and there are cultural issues in those interracial relationships that could be unpacked, although I’ve noticed the women who have responded to the Black IR roundtable do discuss it to some degree. Later in the series we do specifically discuss Black/Asian IR, too.

          Another angle that our respondents weren’t able to address are issues of inter-ethnic relationships as well, as dating across the different Asian ethnicities has its own notable baggage, conflicts and issues, as hinted by Christina, and these matters can sometimes overshadow interracial relationships due to historical and cultural issues.

          Still, I’m very grateful for the discussion that we were able to generate regarding our experiences with interracial relationships and hope that we can, as we’ve seen already, expand the discussion in the comments sections of these roundtable entries. I really see them as a starting point for dialog anyway, rather than being a representative conversation.

    • http://profiles.google.com/aiyana.knauer Aiyana Knauer

      While I agree that this panel doesn’t seem to reflect a huge variety of interracial dating experiences, it should be noted that statistically speaking, interracial couples with one Asian partner usually mean that the other partner is White. Obviously, there are exceptions – for example, I am mixed Asian/White, and have dated white people, Black people, Latino people, and other mixed Asians. But I think that, ultimately, the limited range of relationships presented here mirrors the limited range that actually exists. And to use myself as an example again, my father is an American-Born-Chinese, as are all of his siblings. He himself, and 5 of his 6 siblings, married white people. Most of my friends who are mixed Asian also happen to be Asian/White, with a few exceptions.

      I would imagine that to some Asian families, dating a white person is “ok” because it may be perceived as “moving up” economically. I know that that’s the case in some Asian families I know. Dating someone who is Latino or Black may often be a different story. Many Asian families have their own racial prejudices against other minorities, and definitely against white people as well. (My Chinese grandmother was quite upset when her kids started partnering off with white people, and wouldn’t attend several of her children’s weddings, but she had to get over it eventually – or at least start being semi-cordial – by the sixth time it happened.)

      That said, I’m really glad that you pointed that out. The apparently lack of Asian-Other Minority relationships is something to be questioned. That in and of itself warrants a lengthy discussion, that has a lot to do with Asian self-representation/perception and perception of oneself/one’s culture in relation to other non-white cultures, as well as, I think, racialized notions of class. (ahem, Racialicious editorial board – would you be interested in talking about this? Or will it come up in the following roundtable discussions in this series?)

      • kim

        “But I think that, ultimately, the limited range of relationships presented here mirrors the limited range that actually exists.”

        I’m sorry but no. In YOUR experience most Asians automatically pair off with whites. That is not my experience. My parents we’re American born and raised and my grandparents died before I was 5 so no I do not share the immigrant experience and that doesn’t make my life experiences any less Asian American than yours.

        The first biracial friend I met was Black/Korean. I have numerous friends in both AM/BF and BM/AF relationships. I have married friends with Blasian children. I grew up believing Black men are a good fit for Asian Am women and whites just don’t like our slanty ass eyes. There is no limited range that actually exists other than the ones that are self imposed. I am tired of interracial being equated with white and whiteness being equated with normal. Especially when so many white men interested in Asians have a fetish and/or are racist against Asian men.

        But you do bring a good point. And I’d also like to question why so many Asian/AsianAm people chose white over other Asians. Sounds like internalizing which is a whole nother discussion.

        • kim

          I apologize when I said “I do not share the immigrant experience and that doesn’t make my life experiences any less Asian American than yours.” I didn’t mean Aiyana specifically – she stated her family is American born as well. I meant like a broader generic “yours”

        • refresh daemon

          Having participated in the panel, I can assure you that when we speak of interracial relationships, we did not speak only of relationships between Asian Americans and white Americans.

        • Grace

          Kim, while I understand your sentiments, the person to whom you are replying is correct: *statistically*, WM/AF & AM/WF relatioonships are MUCH more common that interracial relationships between Asians and non-white folks, regardless of one’s personal experiences.

          • Anonymous

            Thank you! Just what I was about to respond with.

        • nicthommi

          I find it odd that you would single white men out as having Asian fetishes when in fact men of any race can have them, and use stereotypes as a reason to only date women of a race that is not their own.  
          And it’s also not so much the “other races” who are refusing Asians, but as I think others have said, the idea that Asians and Asian Americans buy into the hierarchy that marrying a white person is marrying up or marrying an equal, yet marrying a Black or Latino person is marrying down.What I’d love to know is whether or not people become aware of the fetishizing or just “enjoy” it when they are the ones on top of the dating pyramid.  Because I live in Northern California and hear non-Asian men talk about the reasons why Asian women are “superior” to white or black women, or meet black or white men who NEVER date women of their own race and will openly give the reasons why, and I’d have to think that some of the rather gross reasons they give for it have to spill out to their partners at some point.  It’s funny that there are sexual stereotypes attached to both Asian and Black women, but in the case of the Asian women, it makes them worthy of open dating and marriage, and in the case of black women, it results in people attempting to have secret magic black girl sex.  Not all people who date across racial lines do so because of stereotypes and fetishes, but it’s unfair to paint one group as the only ones guilty of ever doing so.  

          • Anonymous

            I agree with your post. However the reason white men are called out specifically for an asian fetish is the level of east Asian female -white male relationships. Not many black men are married to Asian men(statistically speaking). So black men with asian fetishes don’t garner much attention. 
            As far as Asian women enjoying the fetishization I am not sure if that is true. Asian women do “benefit” from the stereotype, however many don’t like it, and find it demeaning. I wish the next panel talks about the strange hierarchy of desirability and race. 

          • nicthommi

            I didn’t make the assertion that Asian women enjoy the attention that they get from white men.  I posed the QUESTION.  Please don’t mistate my words.
            And I was asking the question of someone who was Asian and who actually had an opinion/answer for it.  
            My point is that I’ve heard men who date and marry Asian women say some very bad things about why they do it.  They don’t seem to recognize those things as being offensive so I don’t see them hiding the ideas so that’s why I wanted to hear whether or not some Asian women find them offensive or for a myriad of reasons, believe that they are immune to white racism. It’s an assertion I have heard from East Asian people when attempting to discuss race or racism.  There is this idea that as the model minority they aren’t affected by racism.  Not saying that they all believe that, but I’ve had friends who clearly do. 
            So my spider sense would be triggered by a non-black man who wanted to tell me all of the reasons why he only dated black women and why they were ALL one way or the other, but I just wonder how many Asian women would question that off-handed compliment.  

          • aranea

            I’m an Asian woman and I don’t enjoy the “attention.” Its very creepy in some cases, and in others just very annoying and objectifying. I must also add, unfortunately, that I became aware of, and disturbed by, racist fetishization at a very young age because middle aged white man made the assumption that a “meek little Asian girl” would put up with their creepy behavior…
            I don’t think we’re “immune to white racism” at all. I can visibly see that I have to work harder to have my voice and opinions heard and respected, especially by white males–who for some reason (read: gendered racism) assume that I “don’t talk much.”

        • Anonymous

          Kim, thank you for writing such an engaged response to my comment, but I said “statistically” – which is not to the exclusion of other people’s experiences. I have read multiple studies that all say the same thing: the MAJORITY of interracial Asian-Other relationships are Asian-White. That does not mean they all are.

    • http://www.blasianbytch.com BlasianBytch

      That is not true. I’ve dated Black, Latin and Asian men much darker than I.  

      • Eric Zhang

        Thanks N’Jaila!! Rereading my responses to this part and the other parts I realized that I tried not to specifically mark my partners as white or non-white and tried to speak more about how I am treated as an Asian American in general, and so to me it’s more than disconcerting that readers are assuming that we’re only talking about white-Asian relationships! I especially think that you bring a really unique perspective and am thankful for that.

      • Eric Zhang

        Thanks N’Jaila!! Rereading my responses to this part and the other parts I realized that I tried not to specifically mark my partners as white or non-white and tried to speak more about how I am treated as an Asian American in general, and so to me it’s more than disconcerting that readers are assuming that we’re only talking about white-Asian relationships! I especially think that you bring a really unique perspective and am thankful for that.

    • Eric Zhang

      This is only the first part! We do discuss relationships with non-whites in later installments.

  • j.

    I can relate to Christina’s last comment. I’m Asian and I’ve been hesitant before about dating non-Asian guys because of the “me love you long time” stereotype. Sigh.

  • http://nemogbr.livejournal.com/ nemogbr

    Great write up, had some different experiences as a British-Filipino in London. I have not dated any Oriental Asians, I suppose the population was not big enough.

    My dating experience were mainland Europeans and black women. My parents did want me to marry a nice Filipina, but that changed to just marry someone, so they get grandchildren.

    Not even sure what ethnicity I will end up marrying…lol

    • Anonymous

      I’m a little confused. Is that to say the black women you dated were not European? You yourself are British-Filipino, so . . .

      Did you mean white and black Europeans?