SHARE Stories about black women, marriage and interracial relationships have always generated controversy, strong opinions and stereotyped assumptions. Just this week Dr Laura took a call from a black female caller married to a white man who wanted to know how to handle ignorant and racist remarks from his family and neighbors.
Not Choosing Or Not Chosen? Black women and Asian men have some things in common in this arena so today I want to dig deeper into interracial relationships and the interesting ground that black women and Asian men share. Interracial Marriage The Pew Research organization recently published a report on interracial marriages Marrying Out using data from the U.
Census Current Population Survey and one striking statistic jumped out at me. Interracial marriages in general have been rising exponentially since state bans on them were lifted in - but they haven't been rising at all evenly. A breakdown by race self-identified and gender turns up one glaring difference. Black women and Asian men are far less likely to marry interracially or inter-ethnically than Black men or Asian women. The opposite gender difference was true for Asians.
Twice as many Asian female newlyweds out-married as Asian men. And it's not just newlyweds - the same mirror-opposite gender gaps appeared in the full census in among blacks and Asians. Steve Sailor found that the interracial gender gap was even sharper for cohabiting black couples. Five times as many black men were living with white women as white men living with black women, and a little over twice as many white men cohabited with Asian women as Asian men cohabited with white women.
The same study found after statistically controlling other factors that in metropolitan areas in which larger percentages of black men were married to non-black women, black women were less likely to be married than in other cities. So the complaints we hear from black women about their "most eligible" men being "taken" by non-black women are grounded in some real disparities.
No Level Playing Field in Online Dating and Mating Whether online or face-to-face, mate selection has certainly never been a level playing field. Those in high demand can afford to be pickiest and those in low demand may feel pressured to relax their standards or risk not being chosen and sometimes staying single is a sweeter option. How does this play out by race? Since online dating sites have become so widely used we can see how people really choose potential partners versus how they say they do.
The good news is, heterosexual daters' profiles reveal that members of all races and ethnicities have essentially equal "match percentages", or degree to which other users have desired responses to their questions.
So if race is not a factor in decision-making users should send evenly distributed responses to interested parties of all races. If a same-race partner is preferred, there are equal opportunities for desirable matches.
The bad news is, only responses to black women turned out to be significantly skewed. Yes, even black men sent fewer responses to black women than all other women. At least the Asian guys weren't being given short shrift on this site. On OK Cupid, black women and white men seemed to be adjusting their standards according to their popularity.
Black women received the fewest emails and responded to the most, while White men received the most emails and responded to the fewest.
Black, Asian and gay people are disproportionately more likely to use online dating services in general, which could also be in reaction to perceived scarcity of desirable partners using more traditional ways of meeting. Even though the OK Cupid results reflect the behavior of over a million online daters, each dating site draws somewhat different demographics.
OK Cupid has a reputation for attracting a young, nerdy-cool, highly educated crowd. How about more broadly used dating sites? Yup, not a level playing field. In a speed dating study using Columbia University grad students, white, black and Hispanic women were all far more likely to say no to Asian men than all other men. While various surveys have shown that women in general have a stronger preference than men do for same-race partners, the Asian women in the Columbia sample didn't show a greater preference for Asian men.
Black women strongly preferred black men but the black men didn't reciprocate their level of interest to nearly the same degree2. The same gender difference show up in interracial sex. In a major sex survey of over people called Sex in America that was done twenty years ago, ten times more single white women than single white men reported that their most recent sex partner was black.
And then there's porn. Asian males are notoriously absent, which could be due to their general lack of interest in participating in these films, but Asian Studies Professor Darrell Hamamoto sees it differently. He was so peeved about what he called the de-sexualization of Asian men in films in Hollywood as well as porn industry that he produced his own porn film called Skin on Skin, using an entirely Asian cast.
I'm just starting to see a change on the small screen thank goodness - and we need more! Tom and Pepa Given all that Asian men and black women have in common on the interracial love and marriage front one might think that they would pair up in love more frequently - but they are the least likely interracial match of all. It's obvious that we're not living in a post-racial society when it comes to love and marriage. Here are the main theories I've heard to explain the gender differences in Asian and black interracial relationships.
Legacy of slavery contributed to African-American male idealization of white women as forbidden fruit and status symbols. As slaves, black women were raped as the property of white men and have ongoing aversions of white men as a result. Because black men have been oppressed by white men, black women are taught to have "stand by your man at all costs" loyalty to them. Evolutionary mate selection theorists say height, hairiness, and larger penises are associated with greater masculinity.
Petiteness and long hair are associated with femininity. Asian men are shorter and less hairy on average than black or white men. Black women have shorter natural hair and have slightly greater muscle and bone density on average than other women. So Asian men are viewed as less masculine than others and black women are viewed as less feminine than others.
Black and Asian penis size myths are perpetuated even though they have been debunked in various scientific studies.
Stereotypes about Asian submissiveness and black aggressiveness fuel assumptions about what partners will be most "masculine" and "feminine", and who will be the bad boy and good girl. White standards of beauty devalue black women and Asian men and our media embrace these standards.
What do you think? What has been your experience? Racial Preferences in Dating Young, All rights reserved.