These depictions run counter to what society tells us women want: Given the constant stereotyping Asian-American men face in the media, Asian-American men approaching non-Asian women often either feel an unnecessary burden to prove themselves against Asian stereotypes or keep to themselves in fear of rejection. The agonizing paralysis of self-doubt is well captured by John Shim, who wrote a telling piece for The Daily Bruin in , lamenting "I feel cheated out of a myriad of romantic experiences that could have been brought to fruition were I not an Asian male.
Growing up, I felt the same way.
Part of me believed that I had no chance with non-Asian women because our cultural differences were too apparent. The other part was simply a lack of self-confidence. I rarely had the courage to express my feelings because I was too worried about the what-ifs.
By Jeremy Jong
What if non-Asian women simply had no interest in Asian men? What if they thought I was a nerd with poor social skills? What if they rejected me? Over time, I forced myself to look past the stigmas that defined Asian males and worked to counter them.
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Would I rather be alone, or should I, like, face racism? Jason, a year-old Los Angeles resident, says he received racist messages on different dating apps and websites in his search for love. Jason says he faced it and thought about it quite a bit. So he wasn't surprised when he read a blog post from OkCupid co-founder Christian Rudder in about race and attraction.
Dear Asian Men: Stop Perpetuating Dating Racism
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. While the data focused on straight users, Jason says he could relate.
The OkCupid data resonated so much with year-old Ari Curtis that she used it as the basis of her blog, Least Desirable, about dating as a black woman. Curtis works in marketing in New York City and says that although she loves how open-minded most people in the city are, she didn't always find that quality in dates she started meeting online. After drinks at a Brooklyn bar, one of her more recent OkCupid matches, a white Jewish man, offered this: Curtis describes meeting another white man on Tinder, who brought the weight of damaging racial stereotypes to their date.
Other dating experts have pointed to such stereotypes and lack of multiracial representation in the media as part of the likely reason that plenty of online daters have had discouraging experiences based on their race. Melissa Hobley, OkCupid's chief marketing officer, says the site has learned from social scientists about other reasons that people's dating preferences come off as racist, including the fact that they often reflect IRL — in real life — norms.
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