BY MARIEM QAMRUZZAMAN
Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 16, 2006
LSA junior Pooja Varma, an Indian, has been with her boyfriend, who is white, since high school.
She said soon after hearing the news, her parents encouraged her to date Indian men instead.
"At the beginning, my parents never came out and told me 'We don't like you dating a white guy,' " Varma said.
She said her parents often ask if she knows any "nice Indian guys" who attend the University.
Varma said she and her boyfriend also encountered some cultural tension.
"I think what affected us the most was the (Indian) community," Varma said. "It was a huge problem."
She explained that her parents were worried about what other members of their community would say about their daughter's relationship.
Although interracial dating in the Asian community is slowly increasing, different Asian groups have varying rates, statistics show.
Only about 10 percent of Indian Americans marry outside of their ethnicity, according to asian-nation.org, a website about Asian culture.
Japanese Americans are more likely to date interracially than any other Asian group, statistics show.
About 17.5 percent of Japanese American men are married to white spouses and 37.1 percent of Japanese females have a white husband.
Japanese interracial dating is common compared with other Asian American groups, especially South Asians, Chinese and Vietnamese, which all had interracial marriage rates below 20 percent.
American culture Prof. Phillip Akutsu said Japanese Americans are often more assimilated in the United States than other Asian groups because they tended to immigrate earlier.
"If you live three, four generations in the U.S., you're much more acculturated," Akutsu said. "(The Japanese) have come to see themselves as being American."
Music school senior Luci Kagaya, who is half Japanese and half white, said Japanese immigrants she knows engage in interracial dating because they think it's "cool" to date someone who is white, black or from another cultural group.
Chinese Americans and Indian Americans have relatively low rates of interracial dating.
Akutsu said both groups recently immigrated, and that this may contribute to low rates of interracial dating because they are more likely to have stronger ties to their heritage.
Statistics also show that Asian women are more likely to marry outside of their race than Asian men.
For example, 83.1 percent of Filipino men marry Filipino American women, while only 62.7 percent of Filipino American women marry within their ethnicity.
LSA junior Stephen Lin, who is a Chinese American, said he believes one reason is that negative stereotypes of Asian males are prevalent in the media.
"You definitely see more Asian women with a non-Asian guy and not the other way around," Lin said. "(In the media), white guys are more confident, more aggressive than Asian guys."
Asian men are often portrayed as nerds who are asexual, quiet, socially awkward and good at martial arts, Akutsu said. He said stars Jet Li and Jackie Chan have never acted in movies where they had serious romantic relationships with non-Asian women.
He said these stereotypes persist because white Americans usually don't have much interaction with Asian Americans, especially since they only make up 4 percent of the U.S. population.
Kagaya said Asian females are also often stereotyped in the media.
"Some white guys think Asian girls are more exotic and subservient," she said.
Akutsu also said Asian women are portrayed as hypersexual in the media. He used actress Lucy Liu as an example.
"A lot of non-Asians ask (Asian) women out hoping that they will fulfill these stereotypes," Akutsu said.