Interracial dating and marriage are more popular today than they have ever been. According to various studies, millennials certainly see race much differently than every previous generation in the US. Nine out of 10 of them would be fine with people in their circles dating someone outside their race or ethnicity. And although a Black woman was at the center of the Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage between Blacks and Whites in America, Black women seem to be not only less likely to marry non-Black men, but less likely to marry at all. It’s real out here.
Most of the conversations I have with Black women about dating and relationships include a deeper conversation about how, maybe, Black women need to engage in more interracial dating.
Years ago, I read that Asian men are also less likely to marry non-Asian women, and are also less likely to be married overall. In an article titled The Unmarriables: Why Black Women and Asian Men Should Date, Lauretta Charlton explores why Black women and Asian men, who seem to be less chosen, should get to choosing each other. In her exposé, Charlton interviews casting director and star of the web series Model Files Preston Chaunsumlit (whose mother is Filipino and whose father is Chinese Thai) on the subject.
When asked why Black women and Asian men find themselves in the predicament of being considered undesirable in the fashion industry (and overall), Chaunsumlit answers,
In terms of casting, it’s harder for Black women to get those jobs and it’s hard for Asian men to get those jobs because it’s a question of, “Are they considered attractive? Are they approachable?” A lot of the time,s they’re only presented in ways in which they’re “otherized.”
Chaunsumlit also believes these trends in the fashion industry (and possibly in overall media) affects society as a whole. He contends, “Yeah, and I think [ideas about desirability and otherness are] influenced by our culture and media, and our history.”
As a Black woman, these kinds of conversations on desirability and otherness are a bit taxing and a quite hurtful. But they are real. What’s also very real is new trends in Black women dating Asian men—not because each feels undesirable to the world, but because each are desirable to one another. “Blasian” romances can be found everywhere these days, whether perusing Facebook groups, or meeting with Black female and Asian male couples face to face, or liking photos of Blasian couples on Tumblr.
At Vice, writer Zach Schwartz speaks about discovering this unique dating culture when he joined the Asian Men Black Women Persuasion Facebook group. He writes, “I joined and saw thousands of Asian men and Black women engaging in a rich cultural exchange. They were posting photos of themselves, discussing social justice, sharing viral videos. Some of them advertised real life meet-ups and dating events.”
Schwaartz also writes about growing up half Taiwanese in middle America, and how he felt his Asian features made him less attractive. He continues, “Recent statistics have shown that East Asian men are viewed as the least desirable male partners in American society.” (In this article, I’ll use “Asian” as shorthand for East Asian men, who are Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and so on.) The writer also adds, “The unattractiveness of Asian-American men can be linked to their perceived lack of masculinity. Masculinity in American culture is an idea often predicated on aggressiveness and promiscuity.”
Replace Asian men with Black women, and exchange perceptions of masculinity with perceptions of femininity, and Blasian couples may have more in common than anyone would have ever guessed. “In the way that Asian men have been distorted to reflect femininity, so too have Black women become masculinized,” argues Schwartz.
It’s all good though. As Zora Neale Hurston once wrote, Black women and Asian men are not “tragically colored.” I especially feel that the world is over-fascinated with who messages Black women on Tindr and why Black women aren’t marrying. While presenting authentic commentary on Black women’s experiences with love, I have to make sure that my words work to uplift Black women as opposed to further “othering” them.
Shasha Laperf, who runs the My Husband Is Asian blog, is also sick of Black women being blamed for being single and called less attractive. In speaking of an article discussing Black women and interracial (IR) dating, Laperf offers the following analysis:
[T]here have been plenty of Black women that have been open to IR dating all along. What’s really missing from these kinds articles are the voices of non-Black men… We’re never even given real reasons as to why some men aren’t responding to Black women. Black women are being told we need to be open to IR dating, and at the same time we’re being told no matter what we do, we’re not going to get noticed anyway.
Laperf also has advice for Black women looking to enter the Blasian dating scene on her blog.
Is Blasian romance the answer to Black women’s dating woes? Absolutely not. But it is, at least, a fresh perspective to add to those conversations.
Josie Pickens is an educator, cultural critic and soldier of love. Follow her musings on Twitter at @jonubian.