Biracial Asians Break From Family Tradition
by Carmen Van Kerckhove
Their parents may have crossed color lines for love, but many biracial Asians would rather date their own kind. Those are the findings of EurasianNation.com’s first annual dating survey.
“I went clubbing on Saturday and the first guy that caught my eye looked like he was [a] Chinese/Caucasian mix…I left early, and as I left, I saw him looking straight at me. Pity, I was leaving. Damn…”
“I completely understand your ‘hapa barren’ problem! There is NO ONE of any form of mixed raced descent where I live! No wonder why I am [the] bloody freak-show! Hawaii is a good place to move to for some hapa hotties isn’t it?”
Anyone who follows the lively online discussions among Eurasians (those of mixed Caucasian and Asian descent) will get the distinct impression that many of them are singularly attracted to their own kind. Messages proclaiming the latest local “hapa sighting” and exalting the newest Eurasian starlet can be found in abundance. The two excerpts above, for example, were taken from real postings in the Relationships Forum at EurasianNation.com, an online magazine and community for Eurasians.
As it turns out, these are more than perceptions. EurasianNation’s informal online survey of 166 Eurasian singles shows that although Eurasians are admirably open-minded about interracial dating, a surprisingly large number wish they could meet and date more Eurasians.
Of those surveyed, 45% said that given the choice, they would rather date a Eurasian than an individual of any other ethnic background. Furthermore, 68% said they wished they could meet more Eurasians for romantic purposes. That number soared to 81% among respondents not in a committed relationship at the time of the survey.
“If I see a Eurasian…9 times out of 10 just by looking at them I’m attracted,” wrote one young Eurasian woman. “And you just really wish that some how…in some circumstance you could get to know this guy…maybe it’s just natural…but you can’t beat that feeling.”
But many Eurasians are not just engaging in wishful thinking. Almost half (48%) of those surveyed have at one time or another dated a Eurasian. Even among the respondents who live in North America, a whopping 45% answered in the affirmative to the question “In the past, have you ever dated a Eurasian?” This is a remarkably high percentage, considering that there is no natural social community among Eurasian-Americans, that they make up only 0.3% of the United States’ population, and that—as one Eurasian male so eloquently put it—“they are as rare as rocking horse manure!”
It would appear, then, that Eurasians are actively seeking each other out. Physical appearance is certainly a motivator (“I tend to be more attracted to hapas than to others,” wrote one Eurasian woman), but most respondents also talked about an “unspoken shared understanding” that they would not be able to find with any other ethnicity.
“Generally the women I end up dating for more than one date…do not ask me what I am on the first date [or] patronize my half Asian ethnicity,” explained one Eurasian man. “Therefore I wish I could meet more Eurasian women. The two girls I dated in the past at least understood.”
Even some of our youngest respondents felt this innate connection. “The majority of people I’ve been with have been Eurasian,” wrote one teenage girl. “My longest relationships have been with Eurasians. I have no reasons for this but I have noticed that Eurasians seem to ‘get’ each other. And I base who I go for on who I connect with well. People of other races I’ve been with never understood what I was talking about when it came to things about identity frustrations.”
Since identity issues are so crucial to Eurasians, it is not surprising that many look for partners who are open-minded and culturally aware. “I’m turned off by guys that are clueless about issues surrounding race and ethnicity and I don’t even consider them as romantic possibilities,” wrote one young gay man.
Many of the survey respondents agree that cultural awareness is far more important than race and ethnicity. “It’s very important to me that a possible boyfriend knows both my backgrounds so he can understand my behavior, feelings and reactions better,” explained one Eurasian woman. “So actually it isn’t that important where this guy comes from as long if he’s open-minded and preferably knows/experienced both of my cultures.”
But while cultural awareness is important to Eurasians, many of those surveyed expressed concern that identity issues would overshadow other aspects of themselves. “I find that being racially mixed seems to provide a good base for long conversations while on dates,” wrote one young man. “As interesting it is as a topic, I sometimes worry that it becomes such a big deal that the person I’m with will start to think too much about my ethnicity rather than focus on my personality and the whole of me.”
This woman put it even more bluntly: “I feel as though guys here [in Japan] are looking at me and want to date me BECAUSE I am mixed rather than that being one of the factors. I then try to make sure that my partner is someone that isn’t just in it for the exotic quality or what-not of me being half-Japanese.”
If there was one single concern that the survey respondents shared, it was the dread of being exoticized. Some wrote about being the object of an Asian fetish: “Even though most people think I look more white than Chinese, some guys I have dated have had the ever-dreaded Asian fetish…although they were in denial.” Others found that fetish existed even beyond the realm of white men: “A lot of fetishists from both sides try to kick it to me…so I think I’m extremely careful with whom I choose to date.”
Being exoticized has led to heartbreak among some. “It has ended many relationships because on the surface I look exotic and approachable but beyond that guys often don’t care about who I really am,” wrote one young woman. Another woman wrote about “being fetishized by white men because I am half Japanese and me not realizing it and falling for it and dating duds. And because I am not a typical Asian girl, Asian guys won’t look twice at me.”
But many respondents revel in the dating versatility that being Eurasian has given them: “It has allowed me to date a nice variety of girls that I may not have been able to otherwise,” wrote one man. A young woman felt that “[being Eurasian] has opened up doors into both Asian and Caucasian social situations for me which allows me to meet people to enter into a relationship with.”
Interestingly enough, Eurasians are more likely to have dated a Caucasian person than an individual of any other race. Almost 80% of those surveyed said they had dated a Caucasian in the past. This holds true even among Eurasians who live in Asia.
In spite of this, many Eurasians feel more of a natural affinity with Asians than with Caucasians. “I have found the connection with Asian American women has been the strongest because they also have lived life bridging two cultures,” wrote one Eurasian man. Another said, “Even though I may look out of place hanging out with Asians, I feel comfortable with them around me. This pretty much dictates the type of partner I’d be interested in.”
One young man seemed to sum up the general sentiment among Eurasians: “I think in the end, the character, compassion and heart of a person transcends all barriers. Race may be important but you are indifferent to it if you find true love.”
Carmen Van Kerckhove is Co-Founder of EurasianNation.
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