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Why black women and asian men are at a disadvantage when it comes to online dating

“I’m open to dating women of all backgrounds,” he tells me. “Except for black women.”

“I’ve just never been attracted to Asian men,” she says.

Uncomfortable yet? Unfortunately, the vast majority of singles I’ve worked with have clear racial preferences and biases when it comes to dating. Now that I’m four years into professional matchmaking, I’ve seen clear patterns emerge when it comes to race and attraction.

White men: congratulations! Women of every racial background seem to strongly prefer dating you. Asian and Latin women are most popular with the gents. Black women and Asian men are the two groups most notably at a dating disadvantage. They are the hardest singles for me to match, because they tend to be excluded from the match searches of the majority of clients. Men seemingly open to dating “anyone and everyone” eventually include a “no black women” addendum. Women who state they only want to find a nice, kind, man say that they have no real physical preferences … as long as the man in question isn’t Asian. Non-starter, that.

The online dating world is also stacked against black women and Asian men. According to Christian Rudder’sOKCupid blog, stats from 2014 show that 82 per cent of non-black men on OKCupid show some bias against black women. Similarly, Asian men’s dating profiles are consistently rated the lowest by single women using online dating sites. But why?

“Attractiveness is a very haphazard dish that can’t be boiled down to height or skin colour, but Asian men are told that regardless of what the idyllic mirepoix is or isn’t, we just don’t have the ingredients,” television host Eddie Huang recently wrote in the New York Times.

“The structural emasculation of Asian men in all forms of media became a self-fulfilling prophecy that produced an actual abhorrence to Asian men in the real world.”

Pop culture is a window into desire. Consider the male Asian characters in movies you’ve seen in the last several years. What were their roles? When was the last time you saw a North American film where a desirable Asian man played the romantic lead and didn’t know martial arts?

A similar story presents itself when we deconstruct black women in popular culture. In film and television, black women are often portrayed as two-dimensional “strong and sassy” stereotypes (see: Leslie Jones’ character in “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call” or Jennifer Hudson as Carrie Bradshaw’s personal assistant in “Sex and the City: The Movie.”) When cast as a romantic interest, they’re usually played by biracial or multiracial women with lighter skin tones, such as Halle Berry or Zendaya.

“Society tells us that black women are hypersexual but also more masculine than other women, while it suggests that Asian men are less masculine — to the point of being effeminate — and that they are physically less attractive,” says Shantel Buggs, a PhD Candidate in sociology at the University of Texas. “All of this centres on Eurocentric beauty standards, which privilege those who are white or are white adjacent in appearance — things like lighter skin, light coloured eyes, thinner noses, certain jawline shapes. So, when we see Asian men and black women having a harder time, part of it has to do with beauty standards and part of it has to do with the ways people are socialized to imagine how Asian men or black women behave inside and outside of relationships.”

This exclusion of Asian men is a particularly visible problem in the gay community. “No rice, no spice” is social networking apps Scruff and Grindr parlance for “no East Asian men, no South Asian men.” Straight people aren’t nearly as upfront about their prejudices on Tinder, but having spoken to several women of colour about their time dating online, they seem to get fewer messages and matches than other women and are frequently racially fetishized when they do connect.

“I’ve personally experienced plenty of this,” Buggs tells me. “While pretty much all women of colour are considered more sexual and exotic than white women, the ways in which this plays out varies. Asian women have historically been deemed more sexual but also are viewed as being more demure and feminine. Sexual narratives about Asian women suggest that they will not challenge a man’s masculinity the way that other women of colour might. So, they become idealized due to being considered very sexual but also very feminine. Alternatively, black women are viewed as hypersexual because of things like the legacy of chattel slavery, which also suggested that black women are more masculine and animalistic than other women. We’ve seen this over and over in the U.S. with how certain people talk about former First Lady Michelle Obama.”

In a recent feature article in the Walrus, lawyer Hadiya Roderique detailed her challenges dating as a woman of colour. When Hadiya photoshopped her dating profile photos so that she appeared to be a white woman, her profile’s popularity skyrocketed.

“When you combine demographics, the fact that users disproportionately message others of the same race, fetishism, sexualization of blackness, racism and anti-blackness, it adds up to — to put it mildly — a ‘harder time’ in those spaces,” Roderique tells me. “The experience on other sites, especially those that cater to people of colour, may be different, but even people of colour and black people are not immune from anti-blackness.

“I’ve gotten quite a few comments from other black women noting similar experiences to me and the other women I mention in the article on the large sites. This wasn’t really news to black women. As for others, it’s easy to keep yourself in the dark about racism and bias when you are part of the majority, and I seem to have shone a bit of light about this in those spaces.”

As Roderique alluded, there are incredibly complex social reasons behind racial preferences and stereotyping in dating. Systemic racism continues to oppress and “other” people of colour and interracial romantic relationships were taboo — even illegal — until shamefully recently in our history.

So are you racist if you aren’t open to dating everyone? I don’t know. Are you the product of a racist society? Undoubtedly, yes. We all are. And we’re going to have to work hard at being inclusive and open-minded in dating and in every other aspect of life if we’re set on making any progress at all.

Sofi Papamarko is the founder of Friend of a Friend Matchmaking. Reach her at bear-magazine.com

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Social sharing

Formed in 1980, Gay Asians of Toronto (GAT) would be the first organization in Canada to advocate for LGBT people of colour. One of the organizations founding members, writer and filmmaker Richard Fung, would go on to give voice to gay Asian people in his 1984 documentary Orientations.

Here are five things we learned about Gay Asians of Toronto and Richard Fung.

1) gat was inspired by a massive rally in washington

When an artist by the name of Richard Fung went to the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979, he was inspired by the community of LGBT people that had gathered there. 

Many Asian protesters found themselves in a large group for the first time and ended up forming their own delegation at the march. Some of those activists were pictured on the cover of a 1980 issue of the Gay Insurgent journal. 

They held a large banner that proclaimed: „We’re Asian, Gay & Proud.“ 

2) the group was a safe space for layered identity

Fung, who once wrote that he felt like „a fortune cookie in a tray of cheese Danishes,“ noted that non-white members of the LGBT community face a double-edged sword: „the racism of the general society as filtered into the gay community and the sometimes-vicious sexism and homophobia of our own ‚ethnic‘ communities.“ GAT was a response to these isolating factors. The group provided support services, community and advocacy all with the goal of giving LGBT Asian people a place to fully participate in community.

This social and support service organization became a lifeline for many who had previously struggled to make secure connections.

 3) they once led the toronto pride parade

Toronto Pride formed as a protest response to the 1981 Toronto Bathhouse Raids. In what they called Operation Soap, the police raided gay bathhouses and arrested over three hundred people. Mass protest arose in the Queer community as a result. 

Although seldom the focus, the Asian community was present in those early years. In 1982, Gay Asians of Toronto were chosen to lead the fledgling parade.

It wasn’t easy, as at that time the parade was close to Chinatown and they were looked down upon by many in the larger Asian community, but they persevered so they could represent and give voice to their experience. 

4) they had their own publication

A year later they launched their own magazine entitled Celebrasian, which included articles, interviews, dating ads and local news for its community members. The group would continue their advocacy into the 90s and would create an organization to focus on the needs of LGBT Asians with AIDS.

Eventually they would merge with two other organizations to form the Asian Community AIDS Services.

5) richard fung documented the early lgbt asian community

In 1984, Richard Fung shot a groundbreaking documentary called Orientations: Lesbian and Gay Asians.

The film featured interviews with 14 queer Asian people and looked at their experiences with coming out and rascism they experienced in the wider queer community. „As the predominant images of homosexuals were white, my agenda was to speak back to homophobia as well as to the orientalism that exoticized and excluded us within gay and lesbian communities. I wanted to encourage Lesbian and Gay Asians to feel less alone and to become involved with community,“ he said. 

Years later, Richard would make Re:Orientations, where he found the same group and interviewed them in 2016 to see how much had changed.

Stay static in the cycle

On line online dating sites and apps in Toronto give those of us in search of love the opportunity to see just what’s on the market beyond one other places you meet individuals when you look at the town. These sites are not constantly Toronto-specific, however they’re popular amongst neighborhood singles.

Listed here are my picks for the top internet dating sites and apps in Toronto.

Shaadi

Shaadi is an Indian dating site or service provider that is matrimonial. In case there was clearly any doubt that is further to its intention, your research is comprised of in search of a wife, not merely an on-line match, and there is wedding information directly on the website.

Grindr

Yup, this is actually the earth’s biggest homosexual network app that is social. Let’s not pretend, more hookups than lasting relationships spawn from Grindr, however it features its own emoji that is XXX-rated and its own celebration calendar causes it to be quite simple to get LGBTQ+ occasions occurring in Toronto.

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The perfect opportunity to find a virtual companion! All the fun and efficiency of in-person speed dating events brought to your doorstep. Why wait to hear back from potential matches on traditional apps and websites when you can meet a group of single same sex singles just like yourself, all from the comfort of your living room. A lovely host to guide you through your virtual event, there to assist you with anything or anyone. As simple as selecting the virtual event you wish to attend from our event schedule, looking your flirty best on the date and time indicated and being ready to explore a whole new way of connecting in Toronto.

Ready to get your virtual speed dating on? How fun! Purchase online and await your email confirmation from us with additional details. You will not be asked to register further on any website, app or the like. Keeping a simple and easy approach to attending.

Just as with in-person events, you’ll have a Host to assist you with anything or anyone, be able to privately chat with a new dater every 7-8 minutes and select those whom you would fancy meeting again and your Date-Mate matches emailed to you, later the same evening.

The moment you enter your virtual speed dating event, our host will be there to welcome you and assist you with any questions, concerns or thoughts. You can reach your event host at any time during the event.

Throughout the evening, simply jot down those whom you would like to exchange emails with. Once the event is complete, you’ll have the opportunity to pass along your choices to the event host.

Yes. Upon entering the event you will be in our virtual lobby where our event host will welcome you. Once daters have arrived in the room, the host will begin placing daters into their own private rooms, two at a time. From there you’ll rotate in and out of a private room, meeting a new dater every 7-8 minutes.

By being as delightful and lovely as you can. We don’t judge by looks or your match results; Instead, we look at your interactions with our staff, hosts and fellow attendees. When daters stand out for being the best version of themselves and found to be just what others fancy in a mate – the world of cheeky is theirs! They can expect complimentary events and matchmaking opportunities at no additional cost to them. It is where lovely meets value – SpeedToronto GayDate style.

For those that prefer a more intimate one on one experience – learn more about our Blind-Date Matchmaking with Complimentary Events here.

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