Friday, November 16, 2007

Asians In Need of Extreme Makeovers?

(yes, I was being sarcastic).

This is actually in reply to Larry's earlier post about the story on speed-dating preferences and what they say about both gendered and racialized dimensions to dating practices.

First of all, even though the Slate story is written by the same researcher who also conducted the story, it's well worth reading the original study even if you have no idea wtf a "regression analysis" means.

I already posted elements of this on my other blog but they bear repeating, esp. for readers of Rice Daddies.

1) The argument that the "Asian fetish" is false is itself, built on a false premise. Dr. Fisman presumes that the stereotype is "white men, in general, have a racial preference for East Asian women." Personally, I don't think this is what the stereotype has ever been about. Instead, it's about *certain white men* having a racial preference for East Asian women rather than white men, writ large. The study wasn't designed to test the latter hypothesis and thus, it really has no bearing, at all, on the question of whether there is an Asian fetish or not amongst certain men (white or otherwise).

2) Furthermore, what the study suggests about White/Asian pairings (of the WM/AF variety) is something that is largely reflected in other social research on interracial marriage - East Asians and Whites, especially American born and middle class, have greater social contact with one another compared to other ethnic groups. Spatial integration patterns and high college enrollment by East Asians helps explain this, especially in contrast with Blacks and Latinos.

Add in a non-bias against Whites by Asian women (a confusing way to state it but I follow the meaning) and what it suggests is that, if Asian women are equally open to pairing with White and Asian men, then simply having contact with Whites means that there's a greater chance they'd end up dating/marrying them. It doesn't require that they have a bias against Asians or a preference for Whites and this study, at least, suggests that there is no built-in bias against Asians.

Well, not exactly. Keep reading:

3) The far, far, far, far more interesting finding, according to the original study (and not discussed in the Slate piece) is that for ALL races, both men and women...East Asian men and women ranked the LEAST attractive. Yes, even Asians think other Asians (East Asians at least) are less attractive then Whites, Blacks and Latinos.

The study, when adjusting for attractiveness as a control group (i.e. if they remove this as a factor), find that all men (regardless of race) do not display a preference for the race of their female partner. In contrast, all women (regardless of race) display a higher preference for SAME RACE pairings, Asian women included.

But again - that's only if you take out attractiveness as a factor (which seems like an odd thing to do since, presumably, this matters in how people choose who they want to date).

Ok - chew on that and discuss!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm confused.

How can an Asian woman have a preference for Asian men but not discriminate against white men?

Doesn't preference automatically discriminate?

At any rate, I think that Asian women do not, in fact, have a preference for Asian men. It seems that Asian/white men are equal in the eyes of Asian women which is somewhat sad.

Oh well, Asian guys just have to roll with what life has dealt them.