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Sex, Race, Dating: Ramblings and Thoughts

Posted Sep 14 2009 9:00pm
As Asian Americans and Asians in America, as Eurasians and Blasians and Hapas, as Pacific Islanders and indigenous peoples, who we date is always political, usually socially constructed and often stems from self-hate or a desire to achieve a certain level of comfort with a romantic partner. Dating and marrying in or out is extremely interesting to me. As a racially mixed, Asian American woman who has stronger ties to her Asian American side, I am often asked (quite openly and even inappropriately) about my dating preferences. Most people (unless they know me very well) are surprised to find out that I am not searching for another halfie to make super mixed up babies with, I don't want to lighten and whiten my kids, basically if the last 15 years or so are indicative of my preferences, I just want a Chinese American boy. Yet, he should be 1.5 or second generation so we have a better understanding of each other. (For instance, how often have you heard of a 4th generation Asian Am and a recent immigrant working out...their differences and experiences are so extreme that the fact that they are both of Asian descent will likely make little difference...unless they are the only two Asians in a place like Mississippi.

So, Chinese American, 2nd gen, hopefully he's got some racial and cultural pride and hopefully he is open-minded enough to realize that Chinese American is an umbrella term that allows for a range of people from immigrants, mixed race Chinese Americans, mixed ethnicities, 5th generations, Taiwanese, Chinese from South America, etc.

But, how does a girl who was raised without any parental expectations when it comes to dating (well, he or she should have a job, some motivation, should not be old enough to be my parent...but that is it, race, ethnicity, culture, nationality, religion, etc are up to what I can handle), choose the one group of men who are the most unpopular dating choices (according to multiple statistics, articles, sociological reports, ask if you want formal citations)?

And, as a friend just recently said to me, "you are the only person of Asian descent that I know who speaks positively about your parents." Well, here goes:

My mother married a Chinese American man. He's actually on the cusp of immigrant and 1.5 as he was born in Hong Kong to parents from Mainland China. Not gonna go too deep into my parents and my personal histories but I'll say this, they married less than a decade after the Loving decision, and their parents were not pleased (to say the least).

My dad and his younger brother were the men I was closest to growing up. I had few white male role models and my dad and my uncle were around a lot. I did not grow up with a negative view of Asian or Chinese American men. After attending a Catholic school in Daly City, CA (little Manila) I was very used to being around Asian American and Pacific Islanders and thought little of the fact that I was half white.

Talking to friends, students, acquaintances, classmates, family members, it is quite easy to see that racial politics and sexual desire as well as one's feelings towards his or her own ethnic background shapes who we seek out in a romantic partner. Yet, for most people I have spoken with their desire for a partner of a different race does not necessarily mean that they want other close ties outside their race. The most common example are Asian American men and women who seek white dating partners but whose closest friends are Asian American and while they don't date Asian, they don't seem to have a problem with their friends and family doing so.

I have so much more to say but the energy to write is leaving me. I want to talk about these things, write about them, research them. For the first time in a long time there is something I really want to dive into.
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