Cultural Differences With Blasian Couples

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A quick update before discussing our next topic. First, thank you to all of the new subscribers and readers of this blog. The response has been really great and it is very much appreciated. Secondly, the pace of articles may slow down a bit here in the short term due a big upgrade of my tech environment. My old computer decided to go on the fritz recently which is causing me to upgrade my computer equipment. The transition to the new computer and moving all the files over will probably take one or two weeks, so new articles may slow down during the transition time. The good news is that once my new tech environment is back at 100%, I have some really exciting things planned for the blog, such as an exclusive interview of one of the leading Blasian internet media personalities, and some insights from recent census data on Blasian couple households that has never been published before. I am also considering some collaborations with some of the leading Asian internet media stars, and once we grow the membership base a little more, I will likely add some innovative social and dating features aimed at connecting high quality Asian and Black singles. So stay tuned for some really great stuff.

Cultural Differences with Blasian Couples

Redd Foxx and his 3rd wife, Yun Chi Chung, Korean, were married from 1976 to 1981.
Redd Foxx and his 3rd wife, Yun Chi Chung, Korean, were married from 1976 to 1981.

Blasian couples who have been together for any length of time can typically tell you about the many cultural differences they have experienced, however I often run into Asian and Black singles who really tend to underestimate the magnitude of cultural differences they will likely encounter in a Blasian couple relationship. I have heard some Black men who were looking to find Asian girlfriends say that they wanted to find a nice Asian lady, but that they did not want to change one bit in order to make the relationship work – the lady would just have to accept them the way they are. Likewise, I have met some Asian women who expect that American men will just totally adopt their Asian way of life and that they will not have to adopt any American ways. Both Asians and Blacks with these kinds of viewpoints are frankly just better off dating people in their own culture where they will not likely experience cultural differences, rather than trying to date someone of a different culture and expecting that they will not have to make any adjustments. Redd Foxx, the legendary African American comedian, divorced his first Korean wife, Yun Chi Chung, in part due to cultural differences around food. Redd’s Korean wife did not know how to cook much of the American food that Redd liked and Redd did not like to eat much of the Korean food that his wife knew how to make and made often. Redd commented publicly that he had to give up his favorite foods while his Korean wife did not give up any of the foods that she liked and that this was one of the contributing factors in their divorce.

Cultural differences are very real and have to be dealt with one way or another if you expect the relationship to thrive. It’s also difficult to understand just how important these cultural differences are until you experience them. This post will try to give you a glimpse of the type of cultural differences you may encounter in a Blasian couple relationship. This post will discuss cultural differences in general, but obviously these generalities will not apply to all Asians or all Blacks. For instance, Filipinos and Blacks tend to have fewer cultural differences than Chinese and Blacks, and 3rd and 4th generation Asian Americans tend to have fewer cultural differences with Blacks than 1st or 2nd generation Asian Americans, so adjust the comments below for your specific situation. The way Blasian couples deal with cultural differences can either set them up for great success or lead them straight to a break-up.

A Few Key Differences Between Asians and African Americans

Yayoi Lena Winfrey, born to an African American father and Japanese mother has several movie and blog projects related to Watermelon Sushi.
Yayoi Lena Winfrey, born to an African American father and Japanese mother has several movie and blog projects related to Watermelon Sushi, as a metaphor for blending her two cultures.

In all cases, these comments will apply more to traditional Asians and traditional African Americans, so adjust the comments as necessary if you are dealing with someone who is not as traditional.

Group oriented vs. Individual oriented

Asians tend to put higher value on group cooperation and individual modesty, particularly when it comes to family and extended family, while Blacks (and Americans in general) tend to put higher value on individual reliance, individual promotion, and freedom from potential constraints. Asians are often more accustomed to making decisions that are best for the group, even if it is not the best decision for them individually, while African Americans are more accustomed to making decisions that are best for them as an individual. This difference will lead to Blasian couples having to decide how much weight they put on group and family considerations versus individual considerations in their decision making and can be very stressful over time if these differences are not resolved in a way that is acceptable to both people. If an Asian lady feels like decisions always ignore her family or group orientation, she will become very frustrated over time and likewise if an African American man always feels like he is compromising his individual situation in favor of helping the group or the family, he will also become frustrated over time.

Harmony and Saving Face

Harmony and saving face are typically very important with Asians, particularly in public settings, while African Americans are typically fine confronting, criticizing, and discussing controversial topics, even in public settings. For most African Americans, saving face for themselves or someone else typically is not a big factor in decision making, in fact in some cases, exposing a conflict or a falsehood is the purpose of the conversation. Typically in private or one on one situations, Asians can also be very vocal and criticizing of others, but not so much in public, although you do see it on occasion. In China for instance, public blowups are not so uncommon. Many times, Asians will suppress their opinions, at least temporarily, in order to keep the peace and save face either for themselves or for someone else. Asians will often expect the same harmonious and saving face behavior from their partner which can run directly counter to how African Americans would typically deal with the same situation. Sometimes you see African Americans who are seeking relationships with Asians either online or in public situations get into huge, loud, debates or verbal beat downs with other people in the discussion group without realizing that typically Asians who see this kind of public display in a potential mate will simply run the other way and avoid them after witnessing this type of public scene. Approach to confrontations and potential face saving incidents can be another big area that Blasian couples have to work out in their relationship.

Risk avoidance versus risk taking

Asians and African Americans often approach risk very differently as well with Asians tending to avoid risk and go with the tried and true safe bets they learned from the experiences of others in their group or family, and African Americans tending to be more comfortable taking bigger risks and many times avoiding the safer bets in order to chase a potentially bigger payday. Asians tend to take a longer term view of life often taking much guidance from the very long accumulated history of Asian societies (thousands of years) whereas African Americans tend to take a nearer term view of life with perhaps more realization that tomorrow is not promised to any of us. In Blasian relationships, it is not uncommon to hear the Asian partner constantly talk about the “Chinese” way of doing things or the “Japanese” way of doing things – substitute the nationality in your situation. These “Asian” ways of doing things basically prescribe how all of your Asian ancestors did things and hence how you should also approach life in a safe, tried and tested way. Some Asians just believe in always following this “safe” way of life and when the African American partner suggests a different route that varies from the “Asian” way, it can lead to a lot of friction in many cases. Getting on the same page in terms of how the couple will handle risk  and conflict with the “Asian” way of doing things is another big cultural difference for Blasian couples to resolve.

Family Expectations and Obligations

Families are very important in the Asian community and there are often very strict expectations and roles for every person in the family. Disobeying your family wishes is often just never a thought for many Asians, so when a Asian lady goes against her family to be with an African American man, realize that this is one of the hardest things she will ever do in her life – going against her parents. African American families typically have expectations as well, but the difference is that individuals are also raised to be very independent and to be able to make decisions on their own, so it’s not the end of the world when young adult African Americans make decisions that their parents may not necessarily support. This is not the case in Asian families typically where making decisions that your parents do not agree with can result in parents completely disowning you and severing all family ties – for real, not just as a threat. This difference in family expectations is also shown by the fact that many Asian singles will live with their parents until they marry, whereas many African Americans are expected to live on their own when they become adults. Some of this is due to the frugality of Asian families, but much of it is also due to family expectations for Asian young adults. When family expectations create difficulty in the Blasian couple relationship as can often happen, every couple deals with it differently, but here is my personal way of handling these situations. First, realize how difficult a disagreement with her family can be and do not go out of your way to make it worse for her – be supportive of her. Secondly, take the long term view and realize that most times, over the long run – which can sometimes take years – Asian families finally come around and accept the Black person as long as you make her life better and you make her happy. I personally will never argue with her family and will never rush them in their process of getting to know me. Just be supportive, stay positive, treat her well at all times, and let things work themselves out over the long run, which sometimes can take a long while, but don’t get frustrated and lose your cool. It will all work out in the long run.

Misunderstandings Due To Language

Unless both people in the relationship are native speakers of the same language, misunderstandings due to language are very likely to happen. Even with Asians who are fluent English speakers, there are so many English slang phrases and idioms that just roll off the tongue for a native English speaker that can be very confusing to non-native English speakers and can lead to misunderstandings. When one or both people are learning a new language, lots of patience is required by both people, and when that patience is not there, it can make for a difficult relationship. In Blasian couple relationships, you sometimes have to think first about whether there was a misunderstanding due to language before you start to jump to conclusions.

A Few Areas of Cultural Similarity With Asians and African Americans

finding samuel lowe

While there are some big differences to work through for Blasian couples, there are also some areas of cultural similarity for Blasian couples as well.

Raised in Frugal Ways

Both Asians and African Americans, no matter how successful they might be today, were both likely raised in very frugal ways by families who stretched their money and resources to the max. Asian parents are notorious for forcing their kids to live in very frugal ways – reuse everything, eat everything on your plate, don’t turn the heat on, don’t waste money, get the best bargain possible, buy in bulk, etc. and African Americans typically were raised in these same frugal ways. While both successful Blacks and Asians may not be as frugal today after having much career success, they often still can very much appreciate the frugal roots of their partner.

Shared Minority Experiences in America

Asians and Blacks are both minorities in the US and as such, they typically have many shared minority experiences in the US – not being fully accepted by whites, being expected to conform to white standards that may not make sense for their racial group, having negative stereotypes about their racial group, being overlooked and under served because of their race, suffering through cultural ignorance and apathy from whites, and many other similarities of being a minority in the US. It is not uncommon for many younger, more Americanized Asians to gravitate to some elements of African American culture when they feel alienated from white America. Many Asians find that Blacks are far more sensitive to being respectful of Asian culture than whites often because Blacks also know what it’s like to have their culture disrespected by others.

Generosity of the Family, Once You are Considered Family

It may take the African American longer to be accepted as family in an Asian family, but once you are considered family, Asian families really will go overboard to make sure that you are well taken care of as a family member. There is nothing like the constant attention and generosity (even though they may not have much) that you will receive from an Asian mother once she warms up to you. African American families typically exhibit this same kind of overboard generosity with their new Asian family members, it just happens much sooner with far less resistance typically. With both Asian and African American families, once you are part of the family, they will go out of their way to include you and make you as comfortable as possible in all family outings and events.

The good news for Blasian couples is that despite having to deal with the cultural differences inherent in Blasian couple relationships, divorce and break up rates for both Black men, Asian women (BMAW) and Asian men, Black women (AMBW) relationships are among the lowest of any type of interracial relationship. In fact BMAW and AMBW divorce / breakup rates are often better than Black man, Black woman and Asian man, Asian woman relationships as well as illustrated in this earlier blog post.

Day to Day Lifestyle Changes with Blasian Couples

lifestyle-changes

As Blasian couples work through their cultural differences in their own way, every couple will land in a different place in terms of their day to day lifestyle changes. Having spoken to many Blasian couples all over the world, here are some day to day lifestyle changes that I hear often with Blasian couples and Blasian households. These will not necessarily apply to all Blasian couples, but the key is to reach a place that is acceptable for both people. Also let’s face it, in many BMAW relationships in particular, the Asian woman will likely set the tone for how the house runs and the Black man will likely accommodate her to make her happy – happy wife, happy life.

– Never wear your outside shoes inside the house

Don’t track dirt and filth accumulated on the bottom of your shoes from outside the house into your home. This actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it, but it is a foreign concept to most Americans. Invest in a good shoe rack and comfortable house shoes that can be worn as inside shoes.

– Buy a rice cooker and figure out how to use it

You will likely eat a lot of rice and rice cookers are excellent at cooking rice. Also a good rice cooker will cook a lot more than just rice. With rice cookers, this is actually one area where you really should avoid low quality products and stick to only high quality rice cookers, which are often Japanese or Korean made.

– Figure out how to eat with chopsticks

Not every meal, but many meals will be eaten with chopsticks. Maybe consider buying some nice quality personalized chopsticks for every member of the family since you will use them so often.

– Get used to shopping in Asian markets

To me, Asian markets are actually quite interesting and these days, I shop in Asian markets often by myself with no issue. Before being in Blasian couple relationships, I barely knew that Asian markets existed or where they were located and now I actually look forward to my Asian market visits.

– Be ready to attend lots of family and friends events

Seems that both Asians and Blacks have many family and friends events. Expect these kind of events to make up a big part of your social calendar.

– Language exchange and learning a new language are common

One or both people will often be learning the other person’s language or helping the other person become proficient in their native language. Electronic translators can be a useful tool at times. When it comes to learning your partner’s language, by far the best way to learn their language is immersing yourself in their country for about 3 months. However, if you don’t have the time and money to do that, a foreign language learning system which allows you to hear and speak the new language can work well.

– Get ready to experience new smells

Some favorite Asian foods like stinky tofu, kimchi, or durian can have powerful odors despite tasting just fine. Also just real talk here, some (not all) Asian people think that Black people smell like pepper and some (not all) Black people think that Asian people smell like fish. Before some Black people get overly sensitive to this, think about all the times that Black people say that White people smell like wet dogs. None of these statements are universally true, but there can be a little bit of truth in all of these statements, so don’t be surprised if this topic comes up.

– Expect any kids to be pushed to excel every day

The Asian Tiger mom reputation is very real in many cases. Some kids will take better or worse to this kind of daily oversight, but it is often for their good in the long run.

– Your diet will likely change

Expect your diet will likely include more veggies, more rice, more seafood, less red meat, and less junk food. Also your hot tea beverage intake will likely increase. All of these are generally good things. When you are at family gatherings and the Asian family is trying to have you try one of their dishes, never refuse the dish – at least try it. After you try it, if you did not care for it, you can politely say that you would rather try a different dish. Expand your food horizons.

– Experience new beverages

For African Americans, expect to be introduced to new drinks – alcohol drinks such as sake, soju, baijiu, feni, shochu, lambanog, and ruou, and non-alcohol drinks such as boba tea, hawthorne tea, chrysanthemum tea, barley tea, lassi, and chanh muoi – some of which have various health properties. For hot teas, many Asians use an electric kettle which is much faster at heating water and makes it easy to have hot tea any time you want in 3 minutes or less. For Asians, particularly Asian women, it is not uncommon to see them go from never drinking alcohol to drinking wine socially after being in a Blasian couple relationship. In some Asian cultures, women drinking alcohol has a very negative stigma, so they avoid it until they are in a long term relationship.

– Change your bathroom habits

No need to go into details here, but two things both African American men and women really should experience for themselves which are already popular with many Asians are a bidet with a heated seat and dryer, and the Japanese beauty skin wash cloth. Once you try one or both of these products, you will likely never go back to the American ways of using just a standard toilet or using just standard wash clothes. In the case of the Japanese beauty skin wash cloth, it’s a nylon wash cloth that gives you a more thorough cleaning, exfoliates dead skin, and invigorates your circulation to help produce younger looking skin and a very refreshing feeling every time you use it. All of the Asian women I know use it or a variation of it as cloth wash clothes just do not compare in any way. Guys, don’t sleep on these products.

– Learn to use the free international communication apps

Asians were way ahead of Americans in using free international communication apps like QQ (QQ International for English speakers), WeChat, Kakao Talk, and LINE. With these tools, Asians have been communicating by text, voice, and video internationally for free for quite some time now. WeChat is probably the most popular of these tools now with many QQ users switching over to WeChat, but many Koreans prefer Kakao Talk, and many Japanese prefer the LINE app. Some guys even use these apps to meet Asian women since they often have a “find people near me” function which allows you to communicate with other users of the app who may be nearby you, but I’ve never used the apps that way and it strikes me as a little odd frankly.

– Get used to your significant other being protective of you in public

More real talk here, but especially for Asian women and Black men, it is not uncommon for your significant other to be jealous and protective of you in public. As a Black man, it is not uncommon at all for you to receive all kinds of attention from other Asian women when you are out with your Asian girlfriend. Asian women who wouldn’t pay you any attention if they saw you out by yourself will suddenly perk up and be very interested in you when they see you out with your Asian girlfriend. I have heard Asian women say it’s because they know you are essentially “Asian approved” or “Asian trained” and hence used to dealing with Asian women. They know they would likely have a much easier time getting along with you since you have already become accustomed to some Asian ways. Your Asian girlfriend is right to be protective of you when the two of you are around other women, Asian women in particular, so get used to it. The same is true for Black men being protective of their Asian women in public as they know that many guys, both Black and White, will hit on their Asian women in public. Both people in the couple have to learn how to not encourage the attention and how to shut it down when it happens.

Summary

Retired NBA Star, Karl Malone, and his Filipana wife, Kay Kinsey Malone. They have 4 children and have been married for 25 years as of 2015.
Retired NBA Star, Karl Malone, and his Filipina wife, Kay Kinsey Malone. They have 4 children and have been married for 25 years as of 2015.

Due to being raised in different cultures, almost all Blasian couples will experience cultural differences. Both Asians and Blacks who enter Blasian couple relationships are naive to think that they will not face or have to deal with cultural differences. Resolving these cultural differences can actually be a fun way of expanding the relationship bringing new experiences and lifestyle changes to both people. However for couples who refuse to deal with the cultural differences, the differences will likely lead to a breakup. Let’s face it, some Asians and some Blacks, are really much better off dating people in their own culture rather than dealing with the cultural differences involved in a Blasian couple relationship. This post gives a glimpse of some of the cultural differences and potential lifestyle changes that Blasian couples often have to work through, but sometimes people have to experience these things for themselves in order to really understand how real cultural differences can be. Good luck in your relationships! As always, I am happy to hear your experiences or thoughts in the comments.

ABC1

7 COMMENTS

  1. I am a little disappointed with this article(I know the article is old and I just found your site) but it seems like you are saying the only people who need to make any type of adjustments are Black. I think any relationship, especially interracial, both parties need to make adjustments and compromise.

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree with you that both parties in an interracial relationship need to make adjustments and compromise at times, so it was not my intent to imply that only the Black partner needs to make adjustments. You might be picking up a little bit of my male perspective where guys often believe, happy wife, happy life, and thus will often make adjustments to keep the woman happy, but there was no intent to imply that Blacks should make all the adjustments in a Blasian couple relationship. Appreciate the comment and thanks for visiting Asian Black Couples.

  2. Interesting article as usual even if It’s hard to describe cultural differencies whereas every Asian people and countries are different, but I think it’s a good and interesting summary.
    I date a Chinese girl for almost 2 years and I can’t be more agree with you when you say family value is very important, about food also (less red meat and junk food) or even for viewed over the long-term etc..
    In the article you talk about African American population also ! In 2016 African Americans are more “American” than “African”! And there are much less cultural differencies between Africans and Asian (family value, group importance, respect to older people, food etc…) than between African American and Asians people so I guess we should say American African instead of African American!

    • Thanks for the feedback! We agree that Africans and Asians have many cultural similarities. We have featured many African and Asian couples and culturally, it’s a very natural match for many of these couples. We also agree that African Americans generally have American cultural values. Many African Americans have 5 or 6 or more generations in the US, so it’s not surprising that African American culture tends to be more American than African. Thank you for visiting ABC!

  3. Disappointing and slightly racist article. This article is totally coming from the viewpoint of someone who has mainly or only dated Asians who were born and raised in Asia. What about the many Asians who were born and raised in the US? We tend to be really American culturally. We tend to be more vocal, less about pleasing the family, less about Confucianism, and without the stereotypical habits of Asians who grew up in Asia. Please realize that many Asians who were born in the US are very American and Western culturally. Do not stereotype, even if it’s unintentional. Do not lump all Asians into a box! See us an individuals. This article also seems to be partial to Filipinos, while looking down on East Asians. I can read the bias throughout the article.

    • Rainbow,

      Thanks for your comment. We agree that there are typically big differences from Asian Americans and Asians who grew up in Asia. As you state, Asian Americans tend to be much more westernized and indeed in many cases, African Americans and Asian Americans will have many similarities culturally since both groups are part of the American culture. We would be the last people to lump all Asians together, so as we always say, treat our comments as general directions adjust the comments as needed to fit your particular situation. Also certainly there is no intent to be partial to Filipinos vs. East Asians in this article. We appreciate your comments and thank you for visiting ABC!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing some tips on dating with Asian and black iam a African American girl looking to date a Asian boy this was helpful and next time can you show it in a way as what to expect when a African American girl date a Asian boy thanks

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