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Friday, March 13, 2009

Immigrants' Children Look Closer for Love More Young Adults Are Seeking Partners of Same Ethnicity

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 8, 2009; Page A01

Katie Xiao emigrated from China when she was 4 and always thought of herself as Americanized -- until she started dating.

Subtle cultural clashes with Caucasian or Latino boyfriends led to unhappy breakups. It made her realize she's more Chinese than she thought. Now she wants to meet a man of Asian descent.

She has recently gone to a chocolate tasting in the District and a cocktail mixer at Arlington County's Zen Bistro, both catering to Asian Americans and immigrants. She spent Valentine's Day weekend making contacts at a Harvard Business School conference called "Asia in a Whole New World."

Sociologists and demographers are just beginning to study how the children of immigrants who have flowed into the country in recent years will date and marry. The generation that is coming of age is the most open-minded in history and living in the Obama era -- where hues mingle in classrooms, nightclubs and the White House. Conventional wisdom has it that they will begin choosing spouses of other ethnicities as the number of interracial marriages rises.

But scholars delving into the U.S. Census have found a surprising converse trend. Although interracial marriages overall have increased, the rate of Hispanics and Asians marrying partners of other races declined in the past two decades. This suggests that the growing number of immigrants is having a profound effect on coupling, they say.

The number of native- and foreign-born people marrying outside their race fell from 27 to 20 percent for Hispanics and 42 to 33 percent for Asians from 1990 to 2000, according to Ohio State University sociologist Zhenchao Qian, who co-authored a study on the subject. The downward trend continued through last year, Qian said.

"The immigrant population fundamentally changes the pool of potential partners for Asians and Hispanics. It expands the number and reinforces the culture, which means the second generation . . . is more likely to marry people of their own ethnicity," said Daniel T. Lichter, a sociologist at Cornell University.

Increasingly, singles are turning to a growing number of niche dating sites on the Internet, such as and Locally, one of the largest social networking groups, Professionals in the City, has expanded its repertoire of lectures and wine-tastings over the past year to include "speed dating" nights for people of Asian, Latino or South Asian descent.

Michael Karlan, Professionals' president, said targeting ethnic groups makes sense in the Washington area, which has more than 1 million immigrants. He teamed with the local South Asian networking group NetSAP for a recent event at Gua-Rapo in Arlington that was a noisy sellout with more than 90 attendees.

The 20- and 30-somethings drawn to these events say they have a deep yearning to connect with someone who shares their roots, yet they are conflicted about it. As children, they felt divided loyalties, growing up with one foot in their parents' home country, the other in the United States. Now, as adults, they wonder: Would I be happy with someone as American as I am, or a recent immigrant?

"People grow up the entire time rebelling to our parents, doing everything we could to fit in and spending the majority of our time running away from the traditions and our heritage," said Bhavna Pandit, a political consultant of Indian descent who lives in the District. "Now I'm 29 years old, and I actually care about this stuff." Like many women in the Washington area, she says it's difficult to find a nice guy. And because she's looking for an Indian man, it's harder -- they are in short supply in the Capitol Hill circles she runs in.

Even minor issues can become a big deal, singles say, such as a boyfriend who was wearing a T-shirt with a risqué slogan on it when he went to meet a woman's conservative Iranian parents. One 27-year-old woman is a successful energy financier who goes to clubs in Georgetown but believes an American man wouldn't understand her Indian values. She still lives with her parents in Tysons Corner, and they follow tradition by pooling their salaries as a family.

Researchers spent a decade following 3,300 children of immigrants in the New York region as they navigated adulthood, which led to a study published last year called "Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age." They followed both the "second generation" children born in the United States and the "1.5 generation" -- children of immigrants who came as youngsters -- who were Dominican, Chinese, Russian Jews, South Americans and West Indians.

Researchers found that their subjects were constantly struggling with the desire to be open to people of all backgrounds vs. family expectations, and their own desires to sustain their culture. Most paired with others who shared similar racial or language backgrounds.

Many offspring of immigrants have tradition-minded parents who forbade them to date in high school. Now those same parents are pressuring their children to marry soon after they graduate from college. One Arlington graduate student, 25, fields telephone calls from her mother on the subject daily; she had one date recently, and her mother was already referring to the man by a pet name, which roughly translates from Chinese as "Little Cabbage."

"They make little comments, like, 'Have I found anyone?' and 'We just met our friends who have grandchildren,' " said Rich Park, 33, a Korean American from Annandale. "I want someone who understands what my life story is. I'm the oldest son, so there are some responsibilities I have to do, like be the communicator between my sibling as well as my cousins. If my parents need anything, I'll be the first to be asked."

Their forebears often met spouses through family introductions or arranged marriages. Now families are spread over the globe, and modern love seekers don't want a mate whom their parents found in a note tacked on their temple's events board. The researchers behind "Inheriting the City" found their subjects to be far more open-minded than their parents, whose views could be affected by racial or cultural bias in their home countries.

On a recent night in the back of the dimly lit Zen Bistro and Wine Bar in Arlington, Park and Xiao were among about 30 singles who gathered on bar stools and low-slung leather couches to chat. Karlan moved through the room at four-minute intervals, telling the men when to switch seats. Participants took notes on their prospective dates; they would learn later through an anonymous e-mail system whether they had a match.

One whom Xiao met in recent weeks stands out: a Korean American lawyer about her age. She has seen him a few times.

She is starting to feel "kind of nurturing" toward him. Recently, for example, they were having cocktails at the bar at Zaytinya in downtown Washington, and his jacket collar was mussed. She reached over to smooth it.

She likes his funky black glasses and sturdy physique and the self-deprecating way he writes his e-mails. ("You'll probably find this really boring but . . . " he sometimes writes, prefacing a brainy thought. )

That's very Asian, she thinks. It feels like home.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

US Slavery vs. Historical Slavery

There has always been slavery throughout history, but the significant difference between slavery within the US historical context and the world historical context is this: The US based slavery system was based purely on skin color. Prior to importing slaves from Africa, the early settlers imported indentured servants from England who signed 7 year contracts and upon the completion of the contracts were promised some land that they can raise. The working conditions were not always favorable nor were the owners always the most benevolent nor were the contracts fulfilled at term. This lead a lot of the WHITE indentured servants to run away which presented a problem to the landlords, with the runaway servants being able to blend in with the crowd, the landlords sought a new solution. AFRICANS! The Africans were already in the slave trade for commercial purposes, and with the import of the Africans to work the land, even if they chose to run away, they were quickly recaptured due to their inability to mix in with the crowd unlike their predecessors (the indentured servants). The United States was also under Commonwealth Law (aka Common Law), due to the atrocities committed by the slave owners, Common Law no longer applied to slaves such as children of a citizen of the Commonwealth were not recognized. The Natives were viewed as occupiers of the land they wished to bum rush and even the Constitution stipulated "WHITE MEN" were allowed to be citizens...After the emancipation proclamation, the former slaves were considered 6/10 of a person and the Native Americans 1/8 of a person thus making any sort of census near impossible and by not being perceived as a whole person this allowed for the continued denigration and maltreatment of these victims and why to this day in the United States the residue of this perception that they are not considered as persons still resonate today.

In historical slavery, whether it was Greece, Africa, Asia or any other parts of the world, slaves were mostly a spoil that went to the victor, and if you were a slave then your children were slaves, in Africa some slaves were held in rather high regards. A great example of this was Joseph, who was sold off by his brothers as a slave to the Egyptians, who later became one of the king's most trusted adviser. Slavery, in this sense was never based exclusively on race, creed, religion, etc. but purely commercial and a spoils of war basis.

So until the recognition that the whites of the United States still acknowledge there is still some subconscious perception of non-whites as less than a full human being, race relations in the United States will stay at the standstill it is to this day. As my theory of "Racial Categoricalism" states, every ethnicity and race is categorized and are compartmentalized and if we don't fit the picture frame we are not accepted.

2 schools of Sociologists

Sociology, I have to say is my favorite subject, so much that maybe I should have just majored in it!!! Then again, I'll be one of those liberal arts losers I always talk crap about LOL...

Anyways, based on all the podcasts I heard (lectures, speakers, etc) I noticed there seems to be two schools of thought nowadays.

Categorization (see prior blog post) and the advocacy of what is outside the question...why can't it be all of the above?

Everybody, from scientists down to the average layperson are looking for the ONE root cause for everything...

Let's look at homosexuality, they say a gay gene was discovered, because of this the "nature vs. nurture" argument has shifted to the nature side of the equation, Christians who seem to ignore all scientific evidence still say it's nurture. Hey guys how about "ALL OF THE ABOVE?" Having the so-called "GAY GENE" may give you a genetic predisposition towards those leanings and may make you a little effeminate (for men) and somewhat butchy (for women), I would say a lot of actors tend to be girly men, non-macho types (Sean Penn, Tom Cruise, the dude from the Transformers), yet they're not gay.

So the question become, how does one become gay? I believe genetic predisposition along with environmental contributions, such as early childhood molestation, automatically drawing to you the same type of persons as yourself and acceptance within the gay community where the person felt like an outcast, then due to the prevalence of metrosexuals (I believe society has, at least some parts, for girly men to be effeminate, LOL), as in mathematics you need more than one variable to find a solution, the human brain is so much more complicated than the most complicated of math formulas, you can't break it down to a handful of criterion but many scientists in their arrogance or perhaps ignorance or wanting to please research underwriters spew off a couple of contributing variables, and don't get me started on modern day research!!!

So that's the first of sociologists, the categorizers, then the second school of thought tries to advocate what's outside of the box of categorization and insist that's right...Me, I just say human beings are complex and dynamic and since we are adaptable, will get in where we fit in, nuff said...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My New Theory: Racial Categoricalism

First there was racism, then stereotyping, then what Oliver Stone coined as "Placism" (from the Movie, "Any Given Sunday" quoted by Jamie Foxx's character in the movie), where each race should know their place.

Through the racism and the stereotyping that ensued, everybody started becoming categorized, and because of those dumb ass psychiatrists and the pseudo doctor psychologists, the box that everybody is categorized into is getting smaller, and even sociologists are starting to become guilty of this micro categorization of societies, groups, religions, etc. Therefore categorism is not just limited to ethnicity/race. Just look at drug addicts, criminals, people from a disadvantaged socio-economic class, sure there are some patterns (correlations), but these idiots by saying correlation does not equal causation, by putting everything into a nice, neat category is in essence are contradicting themselves by saying correlation equals causation by their categorization.

Therefore, I now coin the term "Categorism", where everything is concerned, especially how race is placed in a box. For an example of what I mean, please click HERE I don't consider this racist, I consider it racial categoricalism where Chinese people are supposed to be this way...

Example, (from my observation of living in the US):

Asians (as far as they're concerned we're all either Chinese or Japanese), anyways, we're either model students, chaste, non-sexual beings (at least for the men), skinny, effeminate (men), kung fu fighters or weaklings, for the women, sex toys or chaste or kung fu fighters, submissive.

Black people: Criminals, rappers, athletes, can sing & dance well...

These are two examples I like to use, because I was talking to my white friend the other day and he admitted that if we (Asian & Black people) didn't fit in these categories, it would be hard for him to accept an Asian person or black person that doesn't not fit these neat categorical stereotypes...

Living in South Korea now, when you say caucasians, the first thought amongst the average Korean person (my own informal survey), the categories are for men:

1. All are handsome or good looking (I try to explain that models appear in magazines because they don't look like the ordinary person, yet they don't understand).

2. All caucasian men are tall (I'm 176 cm or 5' 9 1/2"), I'm not short OK!!!

3. They're all English teachers or US soldiers (20 years ago, just US soldiers).

4. They're all rich (think about it, if you're rich would you travel over 10,000 miles for a job? I try to explain that most English teachers are here because they can't find a job where they're from with their liberal arts, history, English Lit degrees and I always say, if you're living and eating well there's no reason to emigrate...

For the women:

1. They will all get fat or they are all fat!!! I'm confused with this one... (Then again, a hot chick in any country has no reason to emigrate, don't call me a chauvanist, guys know what I'm talking about).

Yet caucasians can be outside of these categories and be accepted, even as a Kyopo (a Korean person that lived overseas), I am categorized by Korean people.

The most common questions I heard:

1. Why did you want to come to Korea?
My reponse: Lower crime rate, a homogeneous society (over 20 years of living in a heterogeneous society you want a change!), quality of life, plus living in Asia is very addicting, don't know why?

2. When will you go back to America?
Been there, done that...I'm sick of 4 seasons, if I choose to emigrate again, why do I want to go back to where I grew up? I want to go to a warm weather country, wanna leave behind the cold!!!! This people definitely cannot understand, so my response is America is not the world, there's Europe (which I would rather live in, knowing what I know now), Africa, SE Asia, Central Asia, South America, etc etc etc why limit yourself?

The most common misconceptions of Kyopos (Koreans that lived or grew up overseas):

1. We're all super rich.
2. We all went to great colleges/universities.
3. We all study hard.
4. The world is our oyster.

So, being a Kyopo, if you're not rich and did not go to a great college, people disperse away from you like ( fill in analogy here)...

Just my new theory, perhaps one day it may be published, LOL upon further research.