So I’m addicted to the new TV show Flash Forward, about something that causes the entire world to black out for 2 minutes while seeing a vision of their lives 6 months in the future. It’s a really, really good show so far – if you haven’t seen it yet, I’d highly recommend it. Just remember that it’s like lays potato chips – you can’t have just one. You’ve been warned.
One of the things in particular that struck me about the show was the really progressive interracial and gay relationships between various characters. There’s both a blasian (Black + Asian) and lesbian+interracial relationship, both of which are pretty rare, especially in Hollywood. Some are even saying that it’s the first-ever on-screen romance between an Asian man and Black woman. Kudos to ABC for having the balls to break stereotypes like that.
More specifically, Korean-American actor John Cho (of Harold and Kumar fame) plays an FBI agent who is engaged to hottie Gabrielle Union (Bad Boys II). The whole black-girl-with-asian-guy thing has become WAY more common over the last few years (I have my theories on that), although it’s still a pretty rare thing to see overall. I’ve dated several black girls (okay, mostly half black), and you do see a lot of double takes when you’re out in public.
This brings me to an important point – Asian (including Indian) men generally have a harder time dating (especially interracially) than any other ethnic group. That’s why the ‘blasian’ relationship from the show was such a big deal. Hell, it’s getting to the point where Asian guys are even having trouble dating Asian women [PDF].
But why? Asian women certainly don’t seem to have a problem with dating, interracially or otherwise. What’s causing this discrepancy and how do we fix it?
Let me start off by saying I don’t normally focus much on interracial dating and the whole ‘Asian’ thing because I don’t see it as being that big of a deal. It’s no different than any other disqualifier.
Yeah, I said it. It’s a disqualifier. All you militant-asian-pride-malcolm-x-types, that’s your cue to start flaming and ranting.
Being Asian in America (and much of western society) is a disqualifier. Same with being short. Or having a round face. Or being introverted. Come to think of it, if I really wanted to feel sorry for myself, it’d certainly be understandable… considering that I am all of these things.
Yup, Asian, short, round-faced, and introverted. What a combination, huh?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with being asian. I’m very proud of my ethnic and cultural background. But I also don’t bury my head in the sand and delude myself when there are dozens of studies done that show that in the western dating scene (and much of the non-asian world in general), being Asian is not an advantage. Blame it on the media, or on cultural programming, or evolutionary psychology, or any number of factors, but the facts are the facts. Don’t believe me? Let’s do a quick google search to see what we can find…
“Caucasian females are least likely to date Asian men…”
–blackstate.com, 2008 U.S. Census Results
“…in 75 percent of Asian-white marriages, the husband is white.”
“Asian American men are the least preferred mate for Caucasian women.”
–University of California, Irvine Case Study
“But statistically the one man in America no one wants a triple X throwdown with is sideshow William Hung, actor John Cho and a multitude of their Asian American male counterparts.”
“The researchers, after controlling for all other attributes (height, weight, attractiveness, etc.), calculated how much extra income (relative to the income of the average online male dater, $62,500) a man would need to overcome the racial barrier. …For equal success with a white woman, an African-American needs to earn an additional $154,000; a Hispanic man needs $77,000; an Asian needs $247,000.”
“…our main ﬁnding is that Asians generally receive lower ratings than men of other races. In fact, when we run the regressions separately for each race, we ﬁnd that even Asian women ﬁnd white, black, and Hispanic men to be more attractive than Asian men. Given that Asian men were the group that other races expressed strongest preference against, and that Asian women expressed the least preference against other races, the results in Table 6 suggest that attractiveness may play an important role in the determination of racial preferences, especially those against Asian men.”
(Fisman, R., Iyengar, S., et al., Columbia University, “Racial Preferences in Dating”, 2007)
If you’re an asian guy reading this, you probably didn’t need those studies to confirm what we’ve all thought pretty much our entire lives:
Dating is f*cking hard for Asian guys.
It’s true. But here’s the thing– crying about it helps NO ONE. That’s why I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking or talking about this issue. Do I have to approach things differently being Asian? Sure, but it’s really minor. 95% of “game” is the same no matter how old, tall, or what color you are.
Dating is really no different than any other skill. And it’s simply that. A skill.
Look at it this way: Many of us either came to America or had parents or grandparents that did. That means a whole lot of Asians are bilingual or don’t speak English as their mother tongue. Now go to any high school in America and look at the racial demographics of the Advanced Placement/Honors English course. Notice anything? Perhaps the disproportionately high percentage of Asian kids in that class, many of whom learned English as a second or third language?
Now imagine if those kids would be sitting in that class if their parents had let them give up on ever getting A’s in English because they didn’t grow up speaking it. Unlikely.
What I’m getting at is that the hardships you were born with or had growing up mean relatively little in terms of achieving success. Otherwise Asians wouldn’t be good at academics in a foreign country where they didn’t grow up speaking the language. That’s a BIG barrier to success but it’s hardly even noticeable among academic success with Asians and Asian Americans. Our culture hasn’t let that hold us back. If anything, the culture has stressed that you should do whatever it takes to overcome those obstacles. Now take this same attitude and apply it to dating (or any other skill), and what you’ll find is that a simple shift in emphasis and mindset makes a world of difference.
If you want to be successful at this or anything else in life, the key is to acknowledge your situation, then to systematically enhance and highlight your strengths while minimizing your weaknesses.
For most Asian guys who are interested in bettering their dating lives (whether interracially or not), you’ll likely have some similar sticking points due to cultural upbringing. Here are the common ones:
- Dominance. Going after what you want in life and expecting to get it. Asking for what you want.
- Leading & Taking Risks. Directly related to dominance.
- Playful. Teasing, fun, and having a good sense of humor.
- Kinesthetic: Being comfortable with physical contact and touching
- Emotionally Expressive. Being expressive facially and with body language and tonality
- Sexuality. Being comfortable expressing your sexuality
If there’s enough interest, I’ll address each of these points in-depth in a future article. Leave me a comment if you’re interested.
So let’s talk action. Take out a sheet of paper right now. Make two vertical columns, and label the left side “strengths” and the right side “weaknesses.” Now write down 10 of each.
Now turn the sheet over and for each strength, write 3 ways you can enhance or take advantage of them. For weaknesses, write 3 ACTIONABLE TASKS you can do to correct the weakness or minimize its effect.
When you’re done, you’ll have a list of 30 actionable things to do. This is your action to-do list. Every week, work on one or two of these items. Stay consistent with it. Hold yourself accountable.
At the end of every month, write down your progress with your task list.
12 months from now, look back on your original list and do the entire drill all over again. I’d be willing to bet that if you stayed with it, looking back on those 12 months will be an eye-opener. Without even realizing it, you’ll have achieved a lot more success than you ever thought possible..Posted on November 9, 2009