Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

'Why do you only date white men?' An interracial dater explains



Photo by qthomasbower/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Please give a warm welcome to KPCC's Kim Bui, editor of the OnCentral blog and Multi-American guest blogger of the day:

As an adult, I’ve rarely had a conversation about race without it slowly turning toward relationships.

Yes, many Asian women date white guys. Indeed, I tend to be one of them.

Today I spied a post on KCET's website titled "Love Isn't Blind, It's Just Near Sighted," which began:

Last week a good friend posed a question to me, "Do you only date white men?" It took a minute for me to reply, it was a question that has floated around me since I was able to sneak out of the house in high school.

The post incorporated various people's answers to the question, "Why do Asians predominately date Caucasians?"

I mentioned it to Leslie, which led to a long-winded conversation about dating and marriage and gossiping Vietnamese mothers, which in turn led to Leslie asking me to share a little on my experiences.

But first, some caveats:

I don’t exclusively dated white men. I’ve dated several Asian men.

I grew up in the Midwest, which probably adds to my preference.

My response to the question “why do you only date white men” is usually that I’m second-generation, and I have a hard time identifying with Asian men who grew up outside of the United States. Although I love my culture and speak Vietnamese, I am mostly American in my values. And values are where it counts in relationships.

I am hard-headed, ambitious and probably a little too honest to fit the mold of a traditional Vietnamese wife. I find that Caucasian men tend to understand this a little bit better. Feminism is making headway in Asian countries, but family dynamics have not changed that much, unless you are looking at a 1.5 or second generation couple.

Though, there is something that few of the responses on KCET’s post took into account. Interracial dating brings its own challenges outside of racism and xenophobia. No matter how many generations your family has been in the United States, most minority families are very tight-knit. As Americanized as I am, I still respect my parents and discuss major life decisions with them. My siblings and I are very close, talking weekly if not more often.

That closeness has brought problems in the past. My ex would frequently ask me why it mattered what my parents thought or how my brother would approach a problem.

It would be better if we turned the conversation outside of race. Omit all references to skin color in what I just wrote, and it’s a woman talking about finding a man who values the same thing she does. Isn’t that what we’re all doing, regardless of our ethnicity?