Race and Dating

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“They were staring at us,” Kenneth would say, smirking. This always amused him.

“No they aren’t,” I would insist.

“Yeah they were. The white males want to kill me.”

They were staring because I’m white and Kenneth was Japanese. Our three children are a genetic cocktail of the two of us, the epitome of hybrid vigor. When he was out with our children, people looked at him suspiciously, as if he had the wrong ones. When I have them, people often ask if they are adopted, or if I’m the babysitter.

According to Pew Research, interracial marriages are on the rise since the 1960s, but still only account for 17% of marriages.

This is absurd to me. I feel like I have this best-kept secret about humanity. I envision a world that is truly a melting pot. I love having children who are half Japanese. I think they are cute and so lucky to be able to have a rich cultural background. I grew up with a Palestinian mother and a “boring white guy” dad. Just for food alone, I will always be a fan of diversity.

I’ve had people make comments to me about me liking Asians. Or Asians being my type. Or something along the lines of “I’m just not attracted to them” while acknowledging that I obviously must be since I married one.

Look, people. I never kissed an Asian man before Kenneth. I didn’t ever think I would marry an Asian man. But that was back when my brain was in the larval stage.

When I hear people say Asians or other races aren’t their type, to me that is code for “I only want to stick to my race.”

Which, I don’t know, sounds pretty darn…racist? I don’t think people consciously want to be racist in their dating preferences. I just think in the back of their minds they don’t want to bring home a man of color to their dad. Or to be a part of that 17% minority in society and have people stare at them. Or maybe they just haven’t tried it.

I’ve heard people say they could never bring a black man home. Or a Mexican man. It’s 2017 and I can say that I’ve heard this many, many times throughout my life.

I’m fortunate enough to have never cared if my parents had a preference in race for me, and if they did, they certainly never told me. My super white 93 year old grandmother was always welcoming to my husband too. I know not all families are as open-minded. I feel lucky.

The media doesn’t help with stereotypes by portraying one-dimensional minority characters. Asian males are often depicted as weak, non-sexual, and wimpy nerds. Black men are shown as violent and criminal. Minorities in general tend to play the sidekicks and have marginal roles. You sometimes have your Will Smiths, but it’s not the norm.

Now that I’m back in the single way, you won’t ever hear me say I will or will not date someone based on race. The reason is because I’m attracted to a person’s brain, just like Kenneth attracted me with his.

Let’s go back to people claiming that they aren’t “attracted” to certain races. What does that mean? I know tall Asians. Short Asians. Fat, thin, muscular, everything in between. Dark skinned, light skinned.

Do you not like their eyes?

What about black men? What is it you don’t find attractive about them, other than the color of their skin?

I’m just trying to figure this out.

If you like big butts, say that’s what you are attracted to. If it’s the height, then say you like tall men or women.

But if you say you like white men or women because that’s what you are “attracted to,” I call bullshit. You might want to look into where that stems from.

And let’s get something else out of the way. Clearly physical appearance isn’t the only thing we are attracted to, because most people I know are in relationships with people whose bodies are not the same ones that attracted them to begin with.

I think there is something to Kenneth’s comments about white males wanting to kill him for being with a white woman. Even though he was prone to exaggerate, he experienced women telling him they couldn’t date him because he was a “Jap.” Notice white males can date and marry Asian women without social stigma. In fact, Asian women are the most sought-after “type” of woman on the internet. (As a side note: I’m locking up my daughter!) But it’s weird for a white woman to be with an Asian man or a Black man. Don’t you ever wonder why? I think it’s a power thing. White males want dominance and power with women–whatever color woman. Putting men down because of the color of their skin is a cheap way of trying to get that dominance over other males.

When Kenneth was alive, I never saw “Asian.” I just saw “Kenneth.” You don’t see color with the people you love. I wish we could start loving our fellow human beings in the same way.

1 comment

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  1. Karl

    You bring up a good point Teresa. When I was in my 20s, for some reason I was only interested in white girls, but in my late 30s (now I’m 40), somehow my mind has opened and I find Indian women (Asian), attractive. Unfortunately we are very visual creatures and judge straight away on looks. You mentioned racial stereotypes above – how would I feel if my daughter (when she’s older) brought home a black or Asian boy? At first I would not be able to help but stereotype him, it’s automatic, but I would take the time to find out who he really is. I also think there is a biological side to it. We naturally want to be around people who look like we do; in this country we have birds called magpies and crows. I watched 2 groups of them once fight for 1 hour over a few trees, who would win that territory (the crows seem to win, more of them), but ultimately they are all birds! They just look different to each other. Possibly on some deep level people want to only make offspring with those who are genetically similar. Actually I think the future of the human race depends on different cultures inter-breeding more, to create more genetic variation.

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