One day, a little while ago, while I was browsing around the internet minding my own business, a headline caught my eye about actress Issa Rae catching the ire and wrath of Black Twitter. Apparently, she made a statement about her fellow black sistas not being appealing to people of different races. Honestly, I had thought the same or similar before, but now someone of some mainstream influence was publicly addressing this?! I was intrigued and energised.
Just in case you missed it, she was basically pointing out that the same interracial dating disparities hurting black women also impact Asian men and made the conclusion – whether jokingly or not – that strategically it would make sense for them to be together as a result. Because of this, she was getting trashed for her seemingly tactless, less than diplomatic delivery and two years after the release of the book, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl in 2016, people were being triggered by a small section of a chapter being shared in isolation across social media.
But was she right? No, attraction shouldn’t be based on race, but why do the other races not find us appealing or attractive? Rejection still hurts even if we weren’t asking for their acceptance. Even if she was joking, there tends to be some truth in every joke. So while this article gave some useful and important context to the social climate and timing of the explosion of anger and a unique Asian male perspective, I wanted statistics too.
This was provided by a blog post from the co-founder of OKCupud, Christian Rudder , in 2014. It is important to note that since then the dating app has made major changes to the product to improve the experience for ALL users. Here is what they found about heterosexual black female users and Asian male users.
Rudder wrote that user data showed that most men on the site rated black women as less attractive than women of other races and ethnicities. Similarly, Asian men fell at the bottom of the preference list for most women.Source: ‘Least Desirable’? How Racial Discrimination Plays Out In Online Dating
But just because everyone else thinks little of us in terms of attractiveness, does that mean we should suck it up and settle for each other? Nope! Issa Rae is saying we should forget about all the noise, the stereotypes, and the media portrayal. Focus on what you see right in front of you. Open your mind enough to ignore race altogether and consider the unconventional. It’s turning a victim-centric position into an empowering opportunity to think higher than what you just see and hear repeated from others. I think this is happening, even if slowly or gradually.
I have personally gotten flack for vocally acknowledging that my dating preferences included Asian men. But I don’t consider that a racist reaction. I think so many people are ignorant and find comfort in repeating and living within the status quo of how it always has been and should be. Knowing that this was an unpopular opinion in my circles, I used to keep this a secret because I didn’t want to stand out. When I considered joining a dating app, this whole situation came back to mind and I asked myself if I’ll only be matched with black guys or if any other races will like me genuinely and not with some weird fetish. But I can put that aside and expect that there will be people from different races just like me.
Because all races are made up of all kinds. This is a commonality anyone can guarantee.