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06-06-09, 11:25 AM #1
A recent study on racial preferences of online daters provides some interesting findings
A recent study on racial preferences of online daters provides some interesting findings. Based on profile-searching criteria set by singles using Yahoo! Personals, the UCI case study reveals that gender plays an important role in interracial preferences: Asian American men are the least preferred mate for Caucasian women, and African American women bear the brunt of discrimination from Caucasian men. UCI researchers say that "the stereotypical images of masculinity and femininity shape dating choices" and are a contributing factor.The cross-cultural revolution is not going to be launched on the Internet dating scene, where people often follow racial stereotypes when looking for love, the researchers said.
In spite of these findings, there's always an exception to the norm, and I should know as an ABC (American-Born Chinese) who met and married another type of ABC (American Brazilian Caucasian -- yes, I just made that up). Like any couple we've had our ups and downs, but we've somehow managed to bond well for almost a decade.
For those of you involved with a date -- or mate -- of a different race, check out these obstacles of interracial dating and ways to overcome them.
Dating Obstacle #1. The Traditionalists
I've encountered several people who possess strong opinions about interracial dating: A South African told me that people should date within their own race; my Korean American friend found it inconceivable to betroth a white woman; some Asian guys I've met told me they loathe competing with white guys to woo Asian bachelorettes.
Yes, the resistance against interracial dating persists, even in the diverse San Francisco Bay Area where I live. You should consider that citizens in most U.S. states were legally banned from marrying outside of their race until 1967.
How do you cope?
Surround yourself with pals who tolerate diversity. As individuals, we have an innate desire to be understood; and as an interracial couple, the desire remains the same. You must learn to accept adversity and not let it influence your individual judgment. The acceptance you receive from a circle of friends strips away your sensitivity to snide comments that oppose your open dating preferences.
Dating Obstacle #2. The Stereotypes From Mass Media
Can you blame the TV producers and advertisers for playing it safe by catering to the majority? After all, they measure what appeals to a mass audience and go with what we're familiar with. It's no mystery that stereotyping the population is much easier than representing eclectic subgroups within our population. As an expected result of this, the general public absorbs oversimplified images of various ethnic groups -- and how they pair up -- in every media imaginable.
How do you cope?
Recognizing the biased reality of the media business in itself resolves much of the adverse impact of broadcasted stereotypes. Avoid "keeping up with the Joneses" and don't think you have to date like all the idealized couples the generic media fodder has fed you. Boil your beliefs down to what really matters to you, and you'll become stereotype-resistant.
Dating Obstacle #3. The Offensive Family Member
It happens: You'll attend a family gathering where your estranged uncle shows that he may not be as culturally enlightened as the rest of your family. The off-color jokes spew out of his mouth. He snickers. You're in shock. Your significant other is in shock. The tension builds while you attempt to cool the blood that boils within you.
How do you cope?
Realize that there may always be a family member, or friend, who has trouble thinking before uttering insensitive opinions or bluntly racist remarks. Prepare for these confrontations. Let that person know if you think his/her comments are offensive, and choose honest yet eloquent ways to respond. Practice what you'll say and when you'll say it -- so when the situation happens, you won't let your emotions get the best of you. If this person is worth dealing with, he/she will respect your straightforwardness.
Silence will only prolong the issue. Share your thoughts to show that you care about how you interact with everyone, and vice versa. This is not the time to be shy. Demand respect. You deserve it.
Dating Obstacle #4. The Gazers
I know. It gets old. Not everybody is used to seeing an interracial couple. People will stare at you. They may even display a frown or a furrowed brow.
How do you cope?
Ignore the natural response of attempting to read their minds. Who knows what they're thinking when they stare: Maybe they admire you two as a couple, or they like your threads, or they just haven't seen your "kind" before, or they're waiting for you two to show some affection so they can label you as a couple rather than friends. It's pointless to keep wondering.
Instead, imagine you're a celebrity. In fact, you are. You might well be the spectacle of the day for them. Thrive and celebrate your uniqueness. These public encounters add flavor to the otherwise bland experiences of their lives. You're simply desensitizing them to the notion of colorblind dating. Sooner or later, they won't look twice ... because they've seen it before.
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