Racial Stereotypes Hurting Black Women When Dating
While attitudes have softened toward interracial dating and most people don’t view them as abhorrent any longer, there are still plenty of racial stereotypes in place when it comes to the mixing of the races – black and white in particular:
By analyzing Yahoo personals, researchers found that white men prefer Asian and Latino women to African American women as dating partners, and white women favor African American and Latino men over Asian men.
Asians, African Americans and Latinos were more likely to include white people as possible dates than white people were to include them – suggesting that white people, as the dominant racial group in the U.S., hold the power when it comes to interracial dating.
“Stereotypical images of masculinity and femininity shape dating choices and continue to be perpetuated in the mass media,” said Feliciano, UCI assistant professor of sociology and Chicano/Latino studies. “The hyper-feminine image of Asian American women contrasts greatly with the image of Asian men, who are often portrayed as asexual.”
In comparison, the image of the strong African American woman is at odds with idealized notions of submissive and frail women. This may explain why African American women faced high levels of rejection among men, researchers said.
“Cultural portrayals of African American women in the media continue to stress traits seen as negative, such as bossiness,” Feliciano said.
I’m not surprised by any of the findings of the study. In my online dating experience I’ve found that when I don’t place my race on an ad (say Craigslist) I get a lot of hits, but the moment they find out I’m black they don’t e-mail me back. Even on eHarmony the only serious inquiry I received from a white guy was one who lived in Atlanta and dated more black women than white.
Other experiences of black women I’ve known who’ve done the online dating thing have had the same issues. While attitudes overall may have changed, it is something of a “that’s good for other folks, but not for me,” type of attitude. And with a lot of younger men their families tend to be vehemently opposed to such a union that they succumb to familial pressure regardless of how they may feel for the woman.
Now with that said, I still strongly believe black women have to date the men that are available to them and for many sisters that will mean non-black men of color and white men. BUT…I think the women who will be most successful in interracial/cultural pairings will be those who are culturally aware, are probably more mainstream in their appearance and yes…in shape.
It’s not hopeless by any means, but black women need to be aware and ready for all the issues that come with dating interracially so we can find the love, happiness, and relationships that we all deserve.