Tag Archives: dating

Is it racist to only date people of your own race?

Me being all contemplative...

Is it racist to only date people of your own race?

Last weekend I ran into one of my ‘aunties’, a friend of the family from way back in the 80s when my family lived in Hong Kong. We were both surprised to be meeting the other over 20 years later in Bangkok.

She is Malaysian and was amused when I introduced her to my wife, Jammie who is Filipina American. “You know, a lot of you Western kids that grew up in Asia married Asians and my daughter married a white guy!”

The chance meeting and our conversation got me thinking about how common interracial dating and marriage is nowadays.  Whether it is as a result of online dating sites or in person meetings, interracial couples have never been more common.

In some circles it is so common to date across ethnic lines that those who refuse to do so are regarded suspiciously.

The question in the title of this post gets asked in different ways: “What’s up with that girl? Is she racist or something? How come she’ll only date her own kind?”

To automatically jump to this conclusion is obviously stupid. This is fundamentally flawed thinking and people that think this way are revealing their own stunted growth when it comes to race relations.  You would be foolish to take their dating advice.

Everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Those that push back on such “easy” conclusions argue that, “Sure, there are prejudiced reasons to only date people on your race, just as there are prejudiced reasons to not date those of your own race or to date exclusively white girls, say. But the mere fact that you prefer your own race shouldn’t mean something is wrong.”

Where prejudice creeps in…

So far, I agree. Fair enough. But here’s where it gets dicey:

Dating only your own race is often explained as a matter of taste: “I’m just not attracted to any other race.”  But often this betrays deeper prejudice.

Like a distrust of those of another race that doesn’t allow for the attraction in the first place. This is prejudiced. Don’t blame taste when the underlying problem is your own narrow-mindedness.

Prejudiced parents

Similarly, often racism in your family’s cultural tradition leads to racist dating decisions in your own. “My parents would flip if I brought home someone of another race.”

I’ve heard it so many times. And yes, that is a legit concern. You generally want your parents blessing, right?  Sure, it is generally a good thing to listen to dating advice from your parents. But are you going to allow their prejudice to decide your future?

Are you going to let the outdated dictates of former generations decide how you impact the world? Don’t just opt for convenience. I’m not advocating a casual disregard for sincere parental dating advice. But somewhere the line will need to be drawn. Somewhere you must become your own person.

Love isn’t a political statement

On the flip side, dating and marriage is not about making social or political statements. Don’t just date cross culturally because it is trendy.  Love is unpredictable and irrational.  Be brave enough to accept this and not fret too much about racial close-mindedness.

I will say this from personal experience (and I’ve heard very similar things from other mixed couples): Taking a careful look at why we date like we do and being open to some adventure is something we all owe to ourselves.

Interracial dating and marriage can be one of the most fulfilling, meaningful life decisions we make.

So go forth and mix it up!

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Bjorn Karlman Bangkok, Thailand

8 Things About Hot Thai Girls that Get With Ugly White Men

Soi Cowboy - one of Bangkok's main red light districts....

I grew up seeing it all the times in the Philippines. I even wrote a CultureMutt post about it a while ago: ugly old white guys with hot Filipina girls. Although it was surprising at first, you got used to seeing it. As soon as Jammie and I landed in Thailand we started to see the same thing here. Only it was even more prevalent. AND it felt like there was an even seedier undertone.

Everywhere you look in the touristy corners of Bangkok, white, middle-aged travelers have a hot Thai girl in tow. Jammie and I have asked our local friends about this and here are a few explanations we’ve been given for why Thai girls go for these men:

Worst Case Scenario – As depressing as it is, it needs to be said: prostitution is alive and well in Bangkok. Areas like Patpong, Nana and Soi Cowboy are teeming with sexpats and Asian prostitutes. For many, prostitution has become a form of modern-day slavery.

Jammie and I will be collaborating with a group that is working to prevent child prostitution later during our stay in Thailand. Key to solving the problem is presenting viable economic alternatives to families. Prostitution has often been seen as the most lucrative profession for young women with little education and other earning options. One of the best ways to fight prostitution is to present better ways to earn a living.

White Men are Seen As Affluent – A lot of older white men in Thailand are traveling on little more than their Social Security checks. Although this is not much to live on back home, this income puts them in a higher income category than most Thais. So the stereotype of the wealthy white foreigner is understandable. Just as rich guys in the West attract hot women, white men here are seen as wealthy and therefore attract hot Thai girls.

Better Living in Thailand – The dollar or euro stretches far in Thailand and the average old white guy looking for a hot Thai girl is going to live at a relatively high standard of living while they are in Thailand. Even if there is nothing else in the cards, this alone will motivate some Thai women to want to be with tourists.

A Way Out of Thailand – Here’s the bigger goal for many Thai women: go home with the tourist. As in all the way home and out of Thailand. And that’s how you get old white guys hobbling around with hot Thai girls back home. It looks crazy but when you understand why it happens, it starts to explain things.

They Actually Prefer White Guys – This part came as a bit of a surprise to me. And it’s good news for white dudes wanting to snag a hot Thai girl: she may actually prefer white guys. For reasons other than just finances. What are these reasons? Keep reading.

They Think White Men Will Be Better Husbands – It is a sad nonsecret in Thailand. Married Thai men often have mistresses. Now obviously marital unfaithfulness is not exactly rare in the US or Europe either. The difference comes in the degree of social acceptance of mistresses. It happens a lot in Thailand. Much more than it does in Western countries.

And Better Boyfriends Single Thai guys often have lots of different girls going at the same time. Again, I’m not saying that you don’t get a lot of players stateside but the idea of only having one girlfriend at a time is more of a cultural norm in the West.

Thai women know all this and therefore many of them prefer the farang (foreigner) because he is more likely to be faithful.

They Find White Guys Exotic – Here’s a crowd pleaser to end with. Whenever you are up against a numbers game and a certain kind of man is a rarity, the laws of supply and demand come into play. One trend that I have seen more and more of over the years in Asia is hot local girls with equally attractive foreigners. At least part of the reason for this is a much more “normal” one: opposites attract and because there aren’t a lot of foreigners around they are a bit of a catch.

Over to you: Are you in an interracial relationship in Thailand or Asia? Or do you know someone that is? How would you add to the above list? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

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Bjorn Karlman

Bangkok, Thailand