If you’re single on a dating site, do your preferences in a potential mate include or exclude ethnicity? “We’re the product of a racist society,” Toronto-based matchmaker, Sofi Papamarko wrote in the Toronto Star this week, “and we’re going to have to work hard at being inclusive and open-minded in dating and in every other aspect of life if we’re set on making any progress at all.”
Papamarko is talking about bare-faced racism she’s noticed in the dating industry since launching her matchmaking business four years ago. “White men: congratulations!” she said, “Women of every racial background seems to strongly prefer dating you.” Papamarko later noted that Asian and Latin women are most preferential races among men.
One the opposite end of the attraction spectrum were black women and Asian men. “They are the hardest singles for me to match, because they tend to be excluded from the match searches of the majority of clients,” she said. TV host Eddie Huange wrote in The New York Times that this discrimination could be largely attributed to the structural emasculation of Asian men in media. Huange insists that this quickly became a self-fulfilling prophecy that produced an actual abhorrence to Asian men in the real world. And he’s right. I mean, think about it: in film and on TV, roles for Asian men are more so reserved as either the comic relief or the martial arts expert.
“Society tells us that black women are hypersexual but also more masculine than other women, while it suggests that Asian men are less masculine and that they are physically less attractive,” Shantel Buggs, a PhD Candidate in sociology at the University of Texas, told the Toronto Star. “All of this centres on Eurocentric beauty standards, which privilege those who are white or are white adjacent in appearance—things like lighter skin, light colored eyes, thinner noses, certain jawline shapes.” She continued, “When we see Asian men and black women having a harder time, part of it has to do with beauty standards and part of it has to do with the ways people are socialized to imagine how Asian men or black women behave inside and outside of relationships.”
This same prejudice against Asian men is prevalent in the gay community as well, with “no rice, no spice” being popular vernacular on dating apps like Scruff and Grindr to ignorantly convey their non-interest in East or South Asian men. A small survey of 350 Asian American men from 2015 pretty much echoes these results. Nearly half of Asian men have heard someone say “I don’t date Asian men” in their presence and many reported this dating preference within their own sub-ethnicity (East, Southeast, South). They also cite “being good at math” and “having small penises” as common discriminatory remarks thrown their way without empathy.
Broken down, the big problem here is that Asian men are regarded as too feminine and black women are seen as too masculine. This, when applied to dating, appears to be the ultimate deal-breaker, despite traditional gender roles in relationships blurring in recent years.
These clearly defined preferences beg a question: Are you racist if you aren’t open to cross-racial dating, or is it merely a preference? Nobody knows for sure (trust me, I looked), but there’s no doubt that these ethnicities are denied equal dating opportunities when seeking a partner, and that’s profusely disappointing; something that those fitting the ideal with never relate to or show compassion for.