I was at a comedy show several months ago. Two black women were on stage, dressed in heavy coats, pretending to be two old black men. Cracking jokes, having a laugh. Then they said something that caught my attention. “You know which people are most likely to marry later in life? You know which people have the hardest time finding a date? Asian men and black women. They should get together and make themselves some cute blasian babies!”
This bit came to mind because I came across an article in Vice exploring the world of “Asian Men Black Women” dating. The article considers several reasons why Asian men and black women are considered undesirable. Asian men are seen as reserved, passive, and unmasculine, while black women are seen as domineering, aggressive, and difficult. I found particularly striking the data from OK Cupid which indicated that while black women reply the most to messages that are sent to them, they get the fewest replies themselves. So small informal communities Asian men and black women are forming. Although fetishization is an issue, there is a certain beauty to these relationships.
When I read the article, I thought about the racial tensions that existed between Korean Americans and African Americans in Los Angeles, especially after the 1992 riots. I was only five years old at the time, and we were not living near where the riots occurred. But those events brought to the surface deep animosity between Korean Americans and African Americans. I hope that things are better, but I honestly don’t know.
My friend Albert Alby Wang once commented to me about the beauty of interracial relationships, because they represent the heart of racial reconciliation. These relationships naturally have more difficulties, both from suspicious voices outside and misunderstandings within. But that also presents an opportunity for love to flourish and overcome trials. Of course, I would caution against pursuing an interracial relationship purely as an object lesson in racial reconciliation. “I love you because I’m Asian and you’re black” isn’t a formula for a winning romance.
Would I date a black woman? I’m not dating anyone at the moment—the explanation for the complete absence of any sort of romantic endeavors in my life is best saved for another post. I believe that my parents would be open to it, although I do know that they would prefer a Korean woman. I think my extended family in Korea wouldn’t even know what to say. For myself, I’m open to the idea, maybe more open now than I would have been several years ago.