Interracial dating may sound like old news now. America, after all, has gone a few steps from where it was in the 1960s when interracial marriage was finally legalized.
An overwhelming 87 percent of Americans approve of interracial marriage, according to a Gallup Poll.
That does not mean racism is gone, witness the 13 percent that does not approve.
Racism is still alive and well in the dating scene. It just comes in less visible, bite-sized pieces.
On the dating scene men and women are both guilty of fetishizing race.
Terms like “yellow fever” or “jungle fever” are terms commonly thrown around to describe dating or sexual preferences. These terms are problematic, because they essentially say race is a prerequisite rather than the individual.
Yellow fever, for instance, is when someone is strictly or mainly attracted to someone of Asian decent. People who claim to have yellow fever are often attracted to the stereotype Asians shown in Hollywood and pornography, such as the role of the submissive woman, sexual geisha or sweet schoolgirl. These racial stereotypes often lead to racial micro aggressions within potential dating pairs.
Columbia professor Derald Sue defined micro aggressions as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.”
In short, micro aggressions are passive-aggressive statements that are prejudiced or racist, whether intended or not.
Micro aggressions toward people who are Asian include speaking to them in an Asian dialect, regardless of if they actually speak the language, or if it is of their actual decent.
As a mixed individual, I have experienced many micro aggressions focused on my Asian ethnicity. I have had boyfriends ask if I could read Chinese or Japanese lettering or speak Chinese or Japanese. I have had boyfriends ask if I knew how to do Chinese acrobatics.
I am Filipino.
No. I don’t know how to do any of those things.
Asian men also face dating prejudice. They are seen as weak and are often emasculated. Discrimination exists in the heterosexual world and the LGBTQ communities.
Grinder profiles often read, “No fats, no femmes, and no Asians.”
Drag superstar Kim Chi of RuPaul’s DragRace shone a light on the dating bias in the gay dating scene.
“Shady gays believe in no fats, no femmes and no Asians,” she said. “As someone who is all of the above, I understand your pain.”
The plus-size Korean drag star used her platform during the season finale when she debuted her song “Fat, Femme and Asian.” She took back the slurs which she embodies and used them to empower herself, and others.
This racism is not exclusive to Asians. All types of ethnicities face dating micro aggression from those who are supposed to love them most.
It is okay to have a type, but we must think hard about where your preferences bubble up from. Sometimes it is not a good place.