Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Interracial/Intercultural Dating – Staring? Other Issues?

Posted by chinesecanuck on May 7, 2008

Why is it that certain interracial pairings are stared more often than others? Over at Racialicious, Latoya Peterson writes about living with her then-boyfriend and his roommate a few years ago.  Often, roommate and Latoya would run errands as the former Mr. Latoya was working.  According to Latoya, people would often stare at them as ran errands, and after one incident, the roommate told Latoya that he didn’t want to go anymore.  So for those of you who’ve been in interracial relationships, have you had any issues yourself?  What do you think of such relationships?

I’ve gone out with a many non-Chinese/non-East Asian men.  Most guys I’ve dated have been white and Jewish (don’t know why…do Jewish guys have a thing for Asian women (and vice versa) or something?  I’ve dated other cultures, but none really lasted long).  People generally don’t stare at us.  Not even Asians who think of see us as the decent-looking Chinese girl dating not-so-attractive white guy (Mr. CC falls along the lines of Harry Goldenblatt from Sex and the City) couple.  I guess people don’t have as many issues if one half of the couple is not conventionally attractive, or at least aren’t open about it.  People would probably have more issues if Mr. CC looked more like Brad Pitt or George Clooney. I am sure, however, that people talk about us behind our backs.  I mean, without knowing him, people won’t realize that he’s a sweet, caring person who loves to joke around, right?

I have had some issues with my relationship with Mr. CC, but it falls more along the lines of upbringing and religion than ethnicity.  Mr. CC doesn’t feel comfortable in anything that is even remotely Christian-related, unless it’s more commercial (e.g. Santa Claus or Easter eggs).  I took him to my high school’s annual holiday concert and he looked uncomfortable, almost as if he didn’t want to be there.  At least that’s the vibe I got from him.  We generally stay away from religiously-related topics because of this.  I don’t know what’s going to happen if we decide to get married, because religion WILL come up.  While we’re both fine with a civil ceremony (as are our parents), the reception may be an issue.  He’s suggested that we have a cross-cultural reception, with foods from both Chinese and Jewish cultures.  Yet, he thinks we need a kosher caterer, because some of his family members are observant.  Sorry, but unless the catering service is focuses on the predominantly Muslim part of China, Chinese food is NOT kosher-kosher.  You can get SIMULATED kosher (i.e. not mixing dairy with meat, no shellfish, no pork, etc but foods MAY have been in contact with the above), however.  Anyway, we’ll talk about this more seriously if and when the time comes.

What I really don’t like is when people go on and on about how interracial/interfaith relationships don’t work out because of cultural differences.  As I said in an earlier post, cultural differences can often be greater in an INTRAracial relationship!  But lots of people just don’t get it and probably never will.  And kids having cultural identity issues?  Adopted kids have them, second generation kids have them and TCKs (Third Culture Kids….kids who have grown up all over the world, generally children of diplomats or military personnel) do too.  As for dating Mr. CC, I don’t think either of us has some sort of fetish.  I’m the first Asian girl he’s ever gone out with.  In fact, I’m the first non-Jewish girl he’s dated.  He didn’t even know all that much about Chinese culture when we first started to go out (he still doesn’t, but I don’t know much either, to be perfectly honest).

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8 Responses to “Interracial/Intercultural Dating – Staring? Other Issues?”

  1. Mucous said

    I think you’re right and I think you’re making an interesting point.

    I was born here, in Toronto, and raised in Mississauga in a Cantonese family. My girlfriend came here slightly before high school, is Mandarin, and from north eastern China.

    We’re both Canadian citizens now, but sometimes when talking to people that are not Chinese, they often seem to underestimate the potential cultural differences that can arise. This is despite the fact that my cultural traditions are informed from Hong Kong and her’s are from Liaoning province, which is a distance which by comparison is further away than say, much of France and Germany.

    That said, we’re pretty happy (crosses fingers) and it seems to be working out. But it is an interesting point that ‘intra-racial’ relationships can be more difficult than ‘inter-racial’ relationships’ sometimes because in the latter, at least you’re prepared for differences going in while in the former, they sort of sneak up on you.

  2. Scapegoat said

    I have been in both intra-racial and inter-racial relationships. In my personal experience, Chinese guys can be initially attracted to my looks, but once they realize how blunt I am, it scares them off. Bluntness is generally frowned upon in Asian culture, even among CBC’s. I can’t see myself with another Asian, let alone trying to get along with his mom.

    I was much happier in my inter-racial relationships, since those men were attracted to my biting sense of humour and my bluntness. I felt like I could be myself around them. For me, I would have more issues with an intra-racial rathar than an inter-racial relationship.

    My family were supportive of my previous relationship. My dad even said, “You should not be ashamed of him just because he is African.” It was my Chinese “friends” who were being rude. One even said that someone else and I would make a good couple, just because he was also Chinese.

    As for staring, I did notice one African-Canadian girl stare daggers at me as I walked into a restaurant with my previous African boyfriend.

    Worse than a stranger staring daggers, my Chinese ex-boyfriend stalked us and tried to sabotage our relationship, just because it was inter-racial. Well excuse us for living!

  3. Scapegoat, were these Chinese “friends” CBC or immigrant?

  4. Scapegoat said

    They were CBCs but they only had CBC friends and would only date CBCs.

    Whether CBC or immigrant, it’s a matter of how open-minded a person is. I’ve known one immigrant who is in an inter-racial relationship. I’m an immigrant myself (born overseas, grew up in Canada), but I’ve had friends from all walks of life and by extension, dated men from all walks of life.

    My grandma lives in Hong Kong, and she was more accepting of my African ex-boyfriend than my CBC “friends”. She only asked for his birth date so that she could consult an astrologist. My ex and I were not superstitious, but I still appreciated her thoughtfulness.

  5. Alston said

    I have been exclusively in interracial relationships. I rarely notice when people stare, but my white girlfriend always seems to notice. (Previous girlfriends have also noticed and felt uncomfortable.) The ones that seem to stare the most according to her are black women, and she thinks it’s because they feel as though she stole me from them.

  6. overseas chinese said

    I think CBCs are more sensitive to race issues than immigrant Chinese. May be that’s why some CBCs would only date CBCs. I think interracial relationships are more complicated than some people think. Some issues may not surface in the beginning. There is an additional layer of “stuff” that we have to deal with, not a good or bad thing, just different.

  7. Hi. Interracial dating is a really interesting issue. And a lot of people are really prejudiced about it. I also dealt with it in a debate on my group blog. You could check it out and give it a look. It is about the merits of interracial dating.

  8. Hi. Interracial dating is a really interesting issue. And a lot of people are really prejudiced about it. I also dealt with it in a debate on my group blog, where the issue was whether people should stay with their own kind when dating. You could check it out and give it a look. It is about the merits of interracial dating.My personal opinion is that race shouldn’t matter at all. Love is a personal issue and no one should be prejudiced about interracial dating.

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