Yellow Fever: A Diagnosis

Figure 1: Numbers from Quartz based on   respondents who answered “yes” on “Are You Interested” Facebook app

Figure 1: Numbers from Quartz based on   respondents who answered “yes” on “Are You Interested” Facebook app

As a result, the majority of men that I have dated have been Caucasian. I don’t believe that biracial dating is any more difficult or worse from dating the same race. There are differences, but they just stem from other areas. For my parents and myself, I have noticed that cultural differences are often emphasized even more in biracial relationships. But this is by no means a negative, especially if both sides are open minded and willing to learn. There is so much that can be shared about different traditions. Though, I will say that a source of difficulty that I have experienced in biracial relationships is the stubbornness in attempting to understand or sympathize with another person’s culture. However, I believe that is more of a personality trait, than cultural consequence. As for my friends’ responses to my dating history, I have been lightly teased, but nothing has been too negative. I think it’s natural for attraction to be correlated with surroundings. For me, personally, I don’t have any judgement against any race. I could end up marrying any ethnicity! It’s just that my pool of people that I interact with has always been mainly white, so it makes sense that my dating pool is similarly patterned.

I find it saddening when I hear Asian men lamenting Asian women on dating white men and labelling us as “traitors.” I believe this critique to be quite hypocritical. Based on a study done by researchers, Facebook data from 2.4 million heterosexaul users was collected and examined to spot the impact of race on online dating (Figure 1). Interestingly enough, men in the study had higher preferences for women outside of their race. Moreover, men of all races, EXCEPT for Asian men, preferred Asian women. Why is it that the dating preferences of Asian men are not talked about more? It seems like the topic and critique of dating amongst Asians is very one-sided. Moreover, Asian women have explained that some Asian men still abide by the traditional roles that females should play in a relationship. Thus, they do not interact with those men simply because they do not want to involve themselves in a situation where freedom and independence are stripped by cultural norms. Of course, this subset of data should be viewed with light skepticism as it is only one study. But as more data is collected, more insight about race and dating is revealed. For instance, another study performed by Kevin Lewis at the University of California, San Diego, analyzed 125,000 OKCupid users over 2.5 months. He noticed that people who were contacted by someone of a different race were more likely to initiate future contact with that race later on. Thus, reaching out and taking the leap of faith actually does widen the pool of potential partners! Being willing to overcome fear may lead to more opportunities and better communication. This advice extends to many other realms of life, and is definitely something that I am working on, as well. 

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I think that in realizing my self-worth and importance as a Taiwanese-American woman, I have been able to embrace my individuality and approach dating with an open mindset. I think that having an open heart and wanting to learn another person’s culture and upbringing (even if they are the same race as you) can be so powerful! We are each a result of the growth through our personal experiences and no experience is less important than another. Being able to know another person’s race doesn’t give you any insight towards what makes them themselves, but chatting with them and hearing their stories will. I’ve learned that interracial relationships, whether intimate or not, will always have misguided notions involved.

There will be moments where the opposing party just won’t be able to understand, even if they try, and part of this is just due to society’s narrow mindset. People can be well meaning and they can still be ignorant. I still vividly recall an instance when one of my exes commented on me playing Jay Chou on the aux during a car ride. He rolled his eyes and said he would never let me have aux control again so I could play more “Asian” music. To this day, I’m still not sure if he was joking or not.

Though regardless, even if it was a joke, it wasn’t funny and the comment was unnecessary. Being referenced as the “Asian” girlfriend in a group of Cauasian family/friends is unnecessary. Sticking any racial label onto any subject is unnecessary. I’m proud of my culture and my growth in debunking these labels that dwindle me down to just my race. The process of finding someone extends to so much more than attraction. It isn’t just about spotting the things you like in another person, but it’s about loving them despite the conflicts and issues that may arise through mutual growth and understanding of differences, no matter if they are racially related or not! So, while the CDC states that yellow fever is incurable, I believe that with the proper treatment and attitude, it can be managed successfully. 

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

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