Walking through the streets of Munich on a trip to Germany this past winter, I witnessed a new phenomenon: everywhere I went, I saw interracial couples holding hands, especially Asians with non-Asians. Considering Germany’s relative homogeneity and xenophobia, this brought me to think that Europeans were possibly beginning to emulate Americans in their dating habits—in my opinion, a refreshing change for the better. It turns out, however, that the U.S. and Europe may be headed in two different directions in terms of interracial dating.
According to a March 30th article in the New York Times, the number of Asian Americans intermarrying with other races is actually decreasing. Through a series of quotes from newly-wed Asian Americans, the article suggests that common “cultural sensibilities” are a possible reason for the change in preference. And due to the large recent influx of Asian immigrants over the past three decades, it’s become easier for Asian Americans to find mates of the same race.
While I understand this logic, the article’s emphasis on cultural similarities is troublesome. I won’t deny that having an Asian American background and identity—be that Chinese American, Vietnamese American, Filipino American—must bring with it some inherent experiences and values, but I do feel that these common “cultural sensibilities” that the article suggests are not quite as pronounced as one might think.