As a professional Internetz navigator, I have learned to develop a thick skin for stupid comments. Youtube comments, Facebook comments, and yes, WorldStarHipHop comments. I avoid responding to idiotic comments since I have zero patience to debate the logistics of blackface with a 34-year old manlet from Kentucky. In rare instances, a comment or two will jolt through my system and I’ll feel a sudden urge to speak up.
This was one of those instances.
I get it, she had a blast with Mr. Italy – that’s cool! Heck, that guy could have treated her out to Sizzler on an early bird special and finished the night eating a cannoli out of her cornhole – WHO KNOWS?! But why the comparison? Why do Asian men need to learn a lesson from Italian Men? And why am I so upset about this minor, no-need-to-worry comment that could have been flicked like the booger it was? Simple: a lot of people who date interracially fail to understand the qualities of an ethnic group because they’re constantly comparing it to others.
This is a driving force as to why people think Asians are shy, Blacks are aggressive, and Latinas are sex-crazy. Instead of appreciating the aspects of one culture as a unique and individual category, they constantly weigh it against a particular standard (which is generally White, Western culture.) They may see a cute Asian guy who failed to maintain eye contact and they’ll propagate, “ugh! He’s so shy! Why can’t he be like White guys and just look at me?!” Instead, she could have asked, “Does he come from a place where eye contact is disrespectful? Is eye contact only reserved for close friends and lovers? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!”
Too often I see this comparison made. It’s almost as if people wanna date Asians but are secretly looking for all the characteristics of a Southern White guy or a New York Black guy (whatever the hell that means.) This makes just as much sense as visiting the local Sushi bar, ordering a spicy tuna roll only to complain, “ugh! this tastes nothing like a bacon double cheeseburger!”
Furthermore, I think there’s another discreet yet equally damaging effect that develops when you’re always measuring the quality of cultures in reference to another: language. Asians guys are timid compared to Blacks. Black women are ratchet compared to Asians. Asian women are docile compared to Whites. White men are more stable than Latinos. These note cards organized in our compendium of language, though tiny and modest in appearance, begin to construct a dictionary used to define that ethnic group.
It starts to turn into: Asian guys aren’t just more timid compared to blacks, they ARE timid by definition. But are they? As easy as it is to view Asian men as too shy or too weak and that they need to “learn from Italian men,” couldn’t that same Asian man say, “that Black girl was too aggressive and too violent for my taste”? While she’s swooning over Mr. Italy’s generosity and canoli-eating skills, what if he’s looking back at her as easy and gullible compared to Italian girls?
Why It Matters
In your quest to find love outside the colored box you were drawn into, you will meet someone. You’ll meet a great man or woman and they’ll be the opposite of you with hair that feels lighter, eyes that look darker, or skin that tastes sweeter. They may may be concerned about different political issues or social issues, have contrasting expectations for who does the dishes or an assorted opinion on how loud is loud when talking on the phone.
These are some of the moments you might expect from an interracial relationship.
Moments when your expectations collide with theirs. If you’ve listened to what I was trying to say, if you know how to accept the beauty and the individuality and the specificity of each culture as they are, without lamenting over how right or wrong it is compared to your own culture or another, if you can do that you’ll not only be equipped with the knowledge of interracial dating 101, but you won’t fret over a collision of cultures because you managed to find harmony between them.