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Pet Sins March 2004

Asian women face pressure to date whites

Asian/Asian American women sometimes encounter subtle or not so subtle disapproval from fellow Asians when they express attraction to non-whites (even fellow Asians). The occurence of incidents in which Asian women are being pressured, directly or indirectly, to date whites, may appear surprisingly frequent to some of us who are previously unexposed to this aspect of Asian American mentality.

The following stories from Asian women give us a glimpse into the way some elements of Asian society encourage, or simply expect, Asian women to find a white partner and/or reject non-white partners.

Woman 1:

I was telling my Filipina friend I had just seen a very handsome Asian boy at the mall. She immediately exclaimed, "What???!! You like Asians?", as if there was something wrong with the fact I found an individual, who happened to be Asian, attractive. She then launched into a series of narratives about all the Asians she had dated (2 or 3), and how they were materialistic, overly-dependent, or used her, etc, and why she prefers to date whites.

I'm not discounting her experience with those particular Asians. But the thing is, she also had numerous failed relationships with white individuals who happened to be mentally unstable, immature, insecure, chronically rude and disrespectful, jealous of her achievements etc. But she didn't attribute their individual failings to their "race" as she did for Asians.

Another noteworthy thing is that she sees dating whites as the only alternative to dating Asians. As if non-Asian non-whites have never crossed her mind. I never thought of her as a racist - she seemed to be equally nice to people of all races, but I guess when it comes to dating, things are different.

Woman 2:

I was interested in a very beautiful and athletic young black man. One of my high school friends, a Chinese woman, immediately disapproved. She never said anything about his race. Nor did she come up with anything concrete to say about why I shouldn't date him. She didn't even know him. All she could come up with was a series of "what if"s. "What if he is a person of shallow character?", "What if he is a womanizer?" etc, none of which had any basis.

In the following weeks, she repeatedly tried to get me interested in a number of random white men who just happened to walk by, of whom she knew as little about as she did about the man I admired. Again, her arguments in their favor was based on imagination: "[That white man] is probably more stable than [the black man]", "That white man is a more contributing member of society than [the black man], based on his job." [It was not as if the man I like was uneducated or unemployed]

She knew nothing about the white men she promoted or the black man she put down. She was just making things up on the fly. I couldn't understand why she was making such ridiculous arguments. She was a friend I kept in touch with through college, and whom I regarded as a close friend for many years, and I had never seen that side of her before. I was shocked, and have since terminated the friendship.

Woman 3:

I ran into a Taiwanese co-worker I haven't seen in a while. She asked me if I was seeing anyone. I said, "No". She then said, "Why don't you date a European American man. Many Chinese women are dating European American men."

Woman 4:

Sometime ago, I divorced my husband (also Southeast Asian). After a few months, one of my co-workers from China noticed that my husband no longer picked me up from work. She asked me if I was still with him. I did not like to talk about my personal life at work, but I told her I was divorced. She then asked me if I was looking to meet someone else. I said I wasn't, but she continued speaking. She said she had a white male friend who "likes Southeast Asian women", and asked if I wanted to meet him. I said "No."

I think it is weird if someone wants to be with me because of my race, even if race is only part of the reason for their choice in a partner. The fact that race is even a determining factor in their choice is not something I like.

Woman 5:

I heard about a Chinese immigrant in America who was having a hard time choosing between 2 suitors - a white American and a Chinese man. Her father from China told her, "You are in America. To succeed, you should be with an American man."

2002