"We live in a society full of choice, why does somebody like dark chocolate instead of white chocolate? "¦ It's my preference." - Rudo
Airdate: 
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 20:30
Channel: 
SBS One

Rudo is a black woman who has never been attracted to black men. She's always dated white men and eventually married one. She says she enjoys the physical contrasts between herself and her husband.

The world around us is full of choice, but do you find yourself only dating a particular type?

This week, Jenny Brockie hears from people who have particular racial preferences on who they are attracted to and why.

We find out what science and sociology have to say about our sexual desires and look at whether racial stereotypes are at play – and whether that matters.

Presenter: Jenny Brockie 


Producer: Elise Potaka 

Associate Producer: Sarah Allely 

Associate Producer: Susan Cheong 



Join the discussion by using the #insightsbs hashtag on Twitter, posting on our Facebook page

Transcript

JENNY
BROCKIE: Welcome everyone, good to have
you with us tonight. Rudo, let me start with you, you have Southern African
heritage, what kinds of guys are you attracted to?

RUDO BANYA: I'm attracted to Caucasian men.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Why?

RUDO BANYA: I really don't have a rational explanation
as to why, I just am.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Exclusively?

RUDO BANYA: Yes, exclusively. I've certainly been on dates with people of
different races but I've just found that I had a better connection with people
of Caucasian heritage.

JENNY
BROCKIE: What appeals to you about
them?

RUDO BANYA: I think I like the contrast, the difference
in skin tone, the ebony and the ivory, I quite like contrast.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Got to a laugh, yeah.

RUDO BANYA: And yeah, I just.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So is it purely physical or is
it a mixture of a whole lot of things?

RUDO BANYA: It's a mixture of a whole lot of things,
it's not just physical and it's not just sexual. I think personality wise as
well, certain interests and things - I just tend to find that I connect better
with Caucasian men.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Now you're married to a white Australian man?

RUDO BANYA: Yes I am.

JENNY
BROCKIE: And you've never dated an
African man?

RUDO BANYA: No I haven't.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, Linda, what about you,
who do you date?

LINDA BENZ: My preference?

JENNY
BROCKIE: Yeah.

LINDA BENZ: Would be for darker men, African men predominantly
is probably where I'm sort of more drawn to.

JENNY
BROCKIE: And what are you drawn to about
African men?

LINDA BENZ: I'd have to say I like the skin tone too,
you know? But, but to be honest, most of the African men that I have met or got
to know, I found them really interesting.
There's been be intellectual stimulation from them, the cultural
differences.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So you like difference?

LINDA BENZ: Cultures, I like different cultures in
different backgrounds and it just interests me.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Mike, what about you? You have
a Croatian, Irish, Scottish background?

MIKE MIOCEVICH:
Yeah, that's right.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Who did you prefer to date?

MIKE MIOCEVICH: I prefer to date black women, so from
all around the world, you know, any kind of culture.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Would you look at other races
or just black women?

MIKE MIOCEVICH: I have dated, I have dated, you know,
white girls, mainly because in my area in Western Australia, you didn't really
have that kind of option, especially around in my area around near the coast.
But now that things are changing, demographics are changing around Australia,
it's really great to see, you know, that kind of thing happening and more.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So when did this attraction
start for you, how did it start?

MIKE MIOCEVICH: Probably when I was quite young I used
to read a lot of books about missionaries and stories of Africa and things like
that and it just kind of got me interested. Probably American movies as well,
and TV shows.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Which TV shows? There's one in
particular?

MIKE MIOCEVICH: Okay, it's the Cosby Show. Mainly, mainly for Felicia Ashard, Claire
Huxtable.

JENNY
BROCKIE: There she is?

MIKE MIOCEVICH: Yes. She just sings to, she was just
like my genuine class and like everybody else is like Bill Cosby's really
funny, but when I watched the TV show, Felicia Ashard really kind of stood out
to me and yeah, the other one is Whoopi Goldberg.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Whoopi Goldberg as well, okay, so you saw Whoopi and you thought
mmm?

MIKE MIOCEVICH: In the movie Burglar, everybody,
basically we were watching it over at a friend's place and everybody was like
man this is the funniest film, you know, we thought it was absolutely fantastic
but I thought that she was really attractive.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, I want you to explain to
me a little bit more about what it is about black women that you find so
attractive, are there qualities that you see that you find, is it physical, is
it cultural, what is it?

MIKE MIOCEVICH: It's kind of a mix of like the whole
lot. You know, there's obvious physical attraction of course. I do find, as your guest I just find that I
click a lot easier with, like Rudo that I do with other kind of women and"¦

JENNY
BROCKIE: She's married by the way?

MIKE MIOCEVICH: I know.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Just saying, just saying
that.

MIKE MIOCEVICH: I'm too late unfortunately. But yeah,
it's just a whole new, just a big mixing of the whole kind of thing.

JENNY
BROCKIE: When did it start Mike? When did this attraction start do you think,
I mean in terms of you actually dating someone?

MIKE MIOCEVICH: It was in high school at a high school
dance and basically the entire year was basically all mostly white people from
like, you know, Perth, but there was one girl from South Africa who had come
over, her family had come over so, yeah, went to the dance and, yeah, took her.
So"¦

JENNY
BROCKIE: So you went to the dance with
the one black girl in the school?

MIKE MIOCEVICH: Yes.

JENNY
BROCKIE: And that kicked it off?

MIKE MIOCEVICH: If I had any kind of reservations before
I didn't have any after, so.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay. Sophie Song, you're in
South Korea visiting your Korean in-laws at the moment.

SOPHIE SONG: Yeah.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Welcome to Insight. Your husband Han is here in the studio. What
attracted you to Han?

SOPHIE SONG: I
came to be attracted to him over time. He had quite limited English when we
first met but actually he was able to convey his personality and sense of
humour really clearly, despite his language limitation, and I came to feel that
we had quite similar, I guess, I guess complementing personalities.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Had you dated other Korean men
before Han?

SOPHIE SONG: Yes
I had.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, so had it been a
preference for a long time or did you have a preference, or didn't it
matter?

SOPHIE SONG: I
probably have always had more interest in darker haired, darker eyed people,
and what I had found, you know, my experience of the Korean people I had met
prior to meeting Han was that a lot of them, by their upbringing, are quite
family oriented and that was something that very much appealed to me.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So how did you meet?

SOPHIE SONG: We actually met at a pub, we both had gone
with our respective friends and we were watching a football final and basically
I met him briefly in the queue at the bar. He just approached me and said
hello, he introduced himself and then actually we parted ways but a little bit
later in the night there was a guy at the bar who was quite persistently
talking to me that I was trying to find a way out of the conversation and
really struggling and it happened that Han walked past and I saw him and
recognised his face and I thought well, here goes nothing and I grabbed his
hand and I said to the other guy: "Hey,
this is my boyfriend", and even
though Han had quite limited English skills, he picked up what was going on in
the moment and he, you know, he acted the part and he rescued me.

JENNY
BROCKIE: It's a great start, great
start. Han, when this happened in the bar you didn't speak English, did you,
very much?

HAN SONG: I could
speak barely, I could just say hi, how are you, I'm fine thank you and you?
Okay, bye, that was pretty much.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, so when you met Sophie
how did you feel about her? Was it an instant attraction or not?

HAN SONG: Yes,
like when I saw her and she wasn't, she was wearing like a beautiful dress, it
was like vintage dress and I thought wow, she's beautiful. Maybe I could see her in a movie or something
and, but I thought oh well, but I'm Asian, probably she's not interested in
Asian guy so I was just, okay, let's just say hi. I won't lose anything, it was
just hi and then she was, she said hi back to me, very friendly, which I didn't
expect at all. So"¦

JENNY
BROCKIE: So you didn't expect to date a white
woman?

HAN SONG: Not at
all.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Why?

HAN SONG: Because
I was, I grew up in Korea and in Korea, not many Caucasian people in Korea,
even though there are some English teachers, I can't meet them personally so I
thought they are very hard people to be with, especially as Asian. So I had a
kind of fantasy that I want to date a Caucasian woman.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, so had you gone out with
any white women before Sophie?

HAN SONG: Not at
all. I just only dated Korean woman before I met Sophie.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, but you found white women
more attractive or just attractive?

HAN SONG: More
attractive of course. It was like a
fantasy to me and I thought I can't ever date white woman, I can't ever hold
white women's hand or something like that. So it was like fantasy, so I didn't
expect at all.

JENNY
BROCKIE: I know it was, it was around
six months I think before you two could have a proper conversation?

HAN SONG:
Yes.

JENNY
BROCKIE: With one another?

HAN SONG:
Yes.

JENNY
BROCKIE: But you were going out during
this time, yes?

HAN SONG:
Yes.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So it begs the question of what
kept you going during the six months then?

HAN SONG: Okay, We
used to use electronic dictionary to tell just one word, you know. I was, I want to eat something, I couldn't
say what I want to eat in English so I just found a word what I wanted in
English, in English dictionary and I showed her, I want to eat this. Oh, okay
let's go, something like that, so"¦

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, I just wonder the extent,
Sophie, to which the physical, the sexual attraction kept you going during that
time when you didn't have any language, so I'm just interested in how big the
physical attraction was for both of you?

SOPHIE SONG: Well, the thing is basically his language
level was very limited, which obviously caused a lot of problems, but he still
could convey humour and still could convey his personality which I think is
quite unusual amongst people with quite limited English because of that warm
humour, because of the good personality, I did find Han very handsome, very
attractive person.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Yuliana, what about you? You're originally from Indonesia, who do you
prefer to date and why?

YULIANA SUNARTO: I prefer to date Caucasian men. At
first I didn't expect to date Caucasian men as well, I always think oh, I'm going
to go out with Asian men for the rest of my life.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Why, why did you think
that?

YULIANA SUNARTO: Because I thought they look so
different than me and I don't understand how their mindset works and then I
started to work at this global bank and there's a lot of people from the UK and
then at that time I just broke up with my ex-partner and then it's time for a
change and I got a lot of attention from them.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, so it shifted for you with
exposure to people from other backgrounds?

YULIANA SUNARTO: Yeah, yeah.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, Jennifer Lundquist in
Boston you've looked at racial preferences with dating. We know the majority of people find their
partners within their own racial grouping, why do some people like these people
choose to date outside their race do you think?

JENNIFER LUNDQUIST, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS: Yeah,
well it's an interesting question. Most people don't explicitly set out to date
one race or another and they end up falling into it and what demographers find
is that there are certain characteristics that interracial couples tend to have
compared to same race couples. Some of this is, for example, they tend to be
more highly educated but a lot of it has to do with exposure. So what we find with interracial couples is
they often live in urban environments, large cities where they're exposed to people
of many other backgrounds.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, Ida you've been in
Australia since you were for four, is that right?

IDA HARDING:
That's right.

JENNY
BROCKIE: And you went to an all white
school?

IDA HARDING: I
did.

JENNY
BROCKIE: And you've never dated a white man?

IDA HARDING: I never have.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, so proximity just hasn't
come into it?

IDA HARDING: I was going to say I'm going to shoot the
exposure theory out because I've been
exposed, I obviously had lived here all
my life, I lived here when, you know,
there was a minority, a real minority of Africans. There's more migration now but back in the
'80's certainly not.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So what's your preference
Ida?

IDA HARDING: I
tend to break it up into two, two things. I think finding other races
attractive, that superficial initial sexual attraction or physical attraction,
it doesn't matter to me. If I think you're handsome, you're handsome. However,
to take the next step in terms of actually dating or getting married to them, I
have to really consider a lot of other factors, cultural factors, attitudes,
how we're going to fit into our families, so I think"¦

JENNY
BROCKIE: And where does that lead
you? Does that lead you into a
particular direction?

IDA HARDING: It leads me to a preference of dating,
yeah, races that look like myself so brown skins.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, in a sense of a longer
term relationship?

IDA HARDING: Absolutely.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Yeah, okay, yes?

MARIANNA SHEK: My
preference is for Caucasian white Australian males and I'm from a migrant
background so I immigrated quite young, and you're told very quickly you've got
to, you know, you've got to work twice as hard, you've got be, you know, twice
as good. There's this "west is
best" mentality, and even just the physical value of beauty, even though
they don't - like my parents would never say, you know, being white is
beautiful. It would be things like get
out of the sun, you're getting darker and you know, that sort of mentality that
actually is more of a classist thing because for a lot of Asian people being
dark skinned is actually associated with working labour class.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So that affects who you're
attracted to?

MARIANNA SHEK: Yes,
because in my youth I would have interpreted that as get out of the sun, you're
getting darker, darker is ugly, look at all my white friends, they're not dark,
they're white.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Sen?

SENTHORUN RAJ: When
we talk about issues of dating, particularly in kind of a racialised context, it's
in the broader context of race relations.
And so for example, for myself, you know, growing up being kind of
recognised by white guys as attractive was like an ego boost because you know,
effectively you're like wow, you know, you see these kinds of white guys,
they're kind of, you know, treated as these kind of epitome of attractiveness
and we see all the, particularly in the kind of gay male community a lot of
representations are of these of kind of muscular, white male bodies and so, you
know, when a white guy kind of looks at you and recognises you as, you know, or
asks you out, it's like wow, what an ego boost and I’m talking quite
specifically in kind of a gay male context, but you know, from my experiences
it's one of the kind of challenging things to do is kind of confront that and
to recognise those kind of power relationships that go on in terms of race
relation.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Ian, you've done facial
attraction research. What are the drivers for physical attraction between
people and does race come into it at all?

DR IAN STEPHEN, MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY: Attraction is a very complex thing, but from
an evolutionary perspective, being attracted to someone is thought of
essentially as a way of identifying an appropriate mate, someone who is healthy
and someone who could potentially give you healthy children. And where kind of
the cross cultural sorts of inter-ethnic aspects of this might come in is that
by having children with someone who is less related to you, you actually reduce
the chances of your offspring having certain genetic diseases.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, Bill Von Hippel in Brisbane, you're an evolutionary
psychologist, what do you think are the drivers for sexual attraction and where
does race fit in?

PROFESSOR BILL VON HIPPEL, UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND: Well, there is no evolutionary basis for
being attracted to somebody of a different race because in the kind of
evolutionary timeframe where these preferences would have evolved, we never
actually encountered anyone of a different race. It's very much a privilege of
the modern world that I can meet somebody who their group lived thousands of
miles away from my own. In my lifetime,
10, 20, 30 thousand years ago I would only encounter people who looked quite a
bit like me. So in response to the earlier question you're asking Ian, and part
of the reason why we haven't evolved to prefer other races, even though in fact he's absolutely right, we
get a real benefit genetically out of having offspring with people of other
races, is that we don't have a history of doing so. As it stands now, we simply
are attracted to people by virtue of whether we personally find them
attractive, whether they have the features that we personally are looking for.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, is there any evidence
that race in itself is a driver for people's attraction to other people?

PROFESSOR BILL VON HIPPEL: No, in general, no, and in fact even people
who claim they prefer X or don't prefer it, often find that when life throws
them a curve ball, they meet somebody that they actually are very attracted to
who is a member of a different race and they didn't want this for themselves
but that's the way it goes.

JENNY
BROCKIE: John Carroll, you used a dating
website, Filipino Cupid, to find a wife. Why did you specifically want a
Filipino wife?

JOHN CARROLL: Pure and simply because I wanted someone
that could speak English.

JENNY
BROCKIE: There are a lot of people in the world who can speak English.

JOHN CARROLL: Yes.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So why Filipino?

JOHN CARROLL: Because from my understanding, it wasn't
going to - there wasn't too many Chinese that could speak English very well,
there wasn't too many Vietnamese people,
Thai people, but Filipino yeah.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, so you're looking for an
Asian wife in a sense?

JOHN CARROLL: Yeah.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So why that, that group, why
Asian? Why were you looking only at Asian women and not more broadly at English
speaking women?

JOHN CARROLL: Prior to meeting Edelisa I'd had like a
decade plus long relationship with a lady from Malaysia, she'd been here a
number of years, could speak English very well, and despite the fact it didn't
work out I had a lot of good positive memories of the relationship itself so
that basically set it in train for me. I said that's what I'm looking for,
that's what I want and that's why I went down this road.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Were there particular qualities
that you associated with Asian women and with Filipino women apart from the
language issue?

JOHN CARROLL: Yeah, well the stereotype, one of the
stereotypes that is bandied around, well Asian women treat western men better
than a white woman might and the belief is, is that yes, that's true, I believe
that to be true. That was just very much my own experience of"¦

JENNY
BROCKIE: In what sort of ways?

JOHN CARROLL: Very attentive, very attentive, yeah. But
really made you feel, you know, you're, yeah, it made you feel good, complete,
yeah.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, so that was based on
what, your experience of that one relationship or"¦

JOHN CARROLL: Yeah, that one relationship so I said
well, yeah, I'd like to, go down that road and that's why I constantly chose,
you know, to find someone who I could speak with in my own language, who was
attractive. Attractiveness is important to me, let who get that point clear, I
think for a lot of men that is the first thing that they look at when trying to
find somebody, is she attractive or is she not?

JENNY
BROCKIE: And you proposed to Edelisa
three months after you'd first"¦

JOHN CARROLL: Only three months.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Made contact with her via Yahoo
Messenger you proposed?

JOHN CARROLL: Yeah, that's right. And it was just a snap
decision, I just picked up the phone off the counter and just went to the site,
will you marry me, boom and that was it.


JENNY
BROCKIE: And you hadn't met her in person?

JOHN CARROLL: No, no, only on webcam, like, you
know?

JENNY
BROCKIE: And Edelisa, how did you feel when that Yahoo message came
through?

EDELISA CARROLL: I ask him, like are you serious about it?
Because it's like that fast, you know, to ask me. We've been chatting for three months only and
then he already asked me to get married.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So you were surprised?

EDELISA CARROLL: Yes I am.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Were you specifically looking
for a western husband?

EDELISA CARROLL: Yes, I'm like, I'm attracted to Caucasian
also.

JENNY
BROCKIE: And what are you attracted to
about Caucasian men?

EDELISA CARROLL: I could see it in my two brothers-in-law and
they are like responsible.

JENNY
BROCKIE: In what way?

EDELISA CARROLL: They look after my sisters, I mean they are
good husbands, better than a Filipino husband.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Wow, okay. Is there a Filipino
man in the audience here somewhere please?

EDELISA CARROLL: Sorry.

JENNY
BROCKIE: But I want to explore this a
little bit more though, what do you mean they look after you better, in what
way?

EDELISA CARROLL: I just found him like, they are responsible in
the way that they are, like that's it, they look after, like also the kids,
send them to a good school and they provide everything the kids want.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Interesting, Sophie, the idea that Edelisa has is that Caucasian men
are better at providing those things and your view is that, you know, you like
it in Asian men.

SOPHIE SONG: I
guess that I wouldn't broadly say that all Asian people are the same, it's a
big continent. What I found is quite true, is that in my opinion, in my case,
Korean, my Korean husband there, Han, he's been a very responsible father, very
responsible husband, really interested in providing for our family and very
interested in having a lifelong marriage.

JENNY
BROCKIE: I want to ask you two about the
actual physical attraction between the two of you. I mean at this point where
you were asked about getting married Edelisa, were you in love, had you fallen
in love with this person on the other end of Skype or not?

EDELISA CARROLL: Like we've been chatting three times a day on
Skype, for three months, like there's already the spark. Like, then when he
asked me to marry him, so that's why I did not say no, because I already feel
something that I like him and then I'm also like attracted to him.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So how long was it before you
actually met one another in person?

EDELISA CARROLL: Six months.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So three months after the
proposal you actually met one another person?

JOHN CARROLL: Yeah, and then we did it, we got married
just like that.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Edelisa, had you ever dated
Filipino men?

EDELISA CARROLL: Yeah, yeah, I had a child from Filipino.

JENNY
BROCKIE: And had you dated other races at all?

EDELISA CARROLL: No.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay. Jennifer, to what extent
do social reasons drive people's choices?

JENNIFER LUNDQUIST: If you look at interracial marriage rates and
coupling rates you tend to find a big difference if you look at, for example,
whites and Asian unions, you find a big gender difference. So in both cases
white women are less likely to be married to Asian men and white men are more
likely to be married to Asian women, and there are a lot of different theories
for why this. So for example, some westernised men may look for women from
other cultures that are perhaps more family traditional and want to marry a
woman who, subscribes to more conservative gender roles and that certainly
seems to be the case with your one guest there and thinking about having a
Filipino wife. Whereas many westernised women, white women, may feel that
marrying an Asian man or a Latino man, that they will have a more patriarchal
approach and be less supportive of their more feminist type of culture.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay. Anyone relate to any of
that??

YULIANA SUNARTO: I
find like there's a huge difference in how Caucasian men treat women. So just
for example, when I, my English ex cooked me dinner, he would cook me dinner
like from the start to finish and even like help cleaning the dishes and even
like pamper me and do everything for me. But my Indonesian ex would just expect
me to cook dinner and then let me do the dishes and then he'll just like play
games on the internet. That's the idea of having like a romantic dinner.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, I think we've got to be
very careful not to stereotype here. You know we're talking about people's
individual experiences. Shaun, you run a speed dating agency and you sometimes
have race specific events"¦

SHAUN COMERFORD: We do.

JENNY
BROCKIE: "¦ at that speed dating, why?
Why do you have Race specific events?

SHAUN COMERFORD: We program our events based on preference. So
popularity, if enough people suggest a certain type of event, that's an event
that we'll put on. If it's popular or
successful and when I say successful we talk about a higher match rate, then
it's an event we keep on running.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So what are the most popular events?

SHAUN COMERFORD: One of our really popular events is Asian
women speed dating. It has a very high
match rate so we ran an event last night that had 100 percent match rate,
meaning that every person who came met at least one person that they matched
with.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Let's have a look.

SPEED
DATING VIDEO:

MAN: Ladies if
you can please spread yourselves around the room at one of the tables and we'll
get going.

MAN 2: I don't
know what it is, but I do find Asian woman attractive, there’s something about
them. Nothing against the blonde haired, blue eyed girls but Asian ladies
definitely look after the partner, yeah, and very easy to get along with.

WOMAN: I'm looking for a good man. It doesn't matter
where he comes from

MAN 3: I guess
Asian women might be a little more open to try new things. Just things out of
the ordinary, I guess, like hobbies like car racing, and stuff like that.

WOMAN 2: If I
want to get married to someone, I don't want to only marry them for their good
looks only. If we have nothing in common, it's going to be like flat line.

MAN 4: Asian
girls like a guy that doesn't flirt with everybody but they just find the one
they like and settle down rather than Caucasian, which tend to be a little bit
more player-like. I guess that's - yeah, I think that's the stigma.

WOMAN 3: Do you
speak Italian?

MAN 4: Yeah.
Spaghetti, Ferrari, lasagne.

WOMAN 3: I can
speak that too, he’s full of bull shit isn’t he?

JENNY
BROCKIE: It's just great. Marianna, it
brought a big laugh here, why?

MARIANNA SHEK: It was just the car racing, he was open to try
new things like car racing. It wasn't
what I was thinking.

JENNY
BROCKIE: No, I don't think it was what
anyone here was thinking really, but what did everybody make of that? I mean of
that whole idea, I mean it's a popular event for Shaun.

IDA HARDING: It clearly perpetuates those stereotypes
that we were talking about, about Asian women being maybe sometimes a bit more
docile or that they are supposedly, you know, well I think our friend here said
more attentive to the man and will be at the man's beck and call rather than
somebody that's more assertive. I think it's a stereotype. I've got Asian
friends, I don't think that they're necessarily all like that - I think it's a
personality issue.

JENNY
BROCKIE: John, do you think it's a
stereotype?

JOHN CARROLL: To an extent it is, but as far as Asian
women being docile, I'm sorry to disappoint you, they're not docile, they're
not docile.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, I wonder, Juliana, have you met men who you feel like you just
because you're Asian in that sense, have you had that experience?

YULIANA SUNARTO: Totally, yeah, I think for like
Europeans, they're so crazy about Asian women, like they have this thing called
yellow fever, I think everyone knows that.

JENNY
BROCKIE: We heard that term a lot in
research that showed, yeah, we heard about other types of fever too I have to
say, a lot of fever going down. Shaun, I
mean when you say that an event is focused on Asian women, do you find men are
looking for predominantly a particular nationality? Is there one nationality that's more popular
than others?

SHAUN COMERFORD: No, no, I don't think there is. I think people
have an internal check list, if you like, and so race specific events such as
Asian women or such as European men, which is another event that we do, people
come into that with one thing already ticked off their list. So the eight minutes that you have with each
person then perhaps you can focus on other things which perhaps might be why
there's such a high match rate, as opposed to some broader events that we put
on.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Where isn't there a
demand?

SHAUN COMERFORD: We haven't been approached about Asian men
events, we haven't been approached about European women events.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay. Katherine, you provide a
match making service too. Who are the
majority of your clients and what they are looking for?

KATHERINE WEI, MATCHAKER: 70 percent of my clientele are
looking for cross cultural love in the relationship. And "¦

JENNY
BROCKIE: So what's the bulk of that
business, does any one particular cross cultural pairing stand out?

KATHERINE WEI: Yes.
For example Caucasian looking for Asian ladies or vice versa.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, but what do those men say
they're looking for?

KATHERINE WEI: To me, I'm professional match maker for
25 years, I have interviewed about more than 20,000 individuals, so majority of
the Caucasian men came to me, the physical attraction is coming first. Then
they develop the interest into the personality.

JENNY
BROCKIE: So what is it about the
physical attraction, do they say what it is?

KATHERINE WEI: Yes, majority, majority of Asian woman
appeal to be petite and they particularly like the petite type figure or
physical attributes, if you call, and the dark complexion and hair and the way
they present themselves. They take a pride in their looks. Apart from the physical attraction they think
Asian women are friendly, they're more approachable, they're gentle, they
attracted to their mentality, attitude, outlook on life, and they're appearing
to be more family orientate in lots of ways.

JENNY
BROCKIE: And what, so that's what the
men are looking for. What are the women looking for?

KATHERINE WEI: Women, blue eyes, blond hair, strong,
tall body so there's lots of Asian women are attracted, physically attracted to
the Caucasian men.

JENNY
BROCKIE: And your husband is sitting
right there beside you?

KATHERINE WEI: Yes.
Typical example. That's why I fall in love with him. I say you're so
lucky, you have a full set of beautiful hair, that's what I fall in love
with.

JENNY
BROCKIE: And are there any groups that
you don't deal with or won't deal with in your business?

KATHERINE WEI: Yes, lots of Caucasian men want very young age
of Asian ladies. So one guy
particularly, it's very funny, so he's 68 or something, he wants someone 30. I
said tell me why you think this lady would like to go on date with you. He says
someone else can do it. I don't know if I should mention the name, someone
famous, right? The Australian media guru
married a very, very, very, very young woman lady.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Whose initials might be RM
perhaps?

KATHERINE WEI: Yeah. Anyway, he said if he can do it,
why can't I? I says if you have what he has, I can give you what you want. So
he said well, you can't help me so I said obviously. So for the people they
don't look themselves at reality, so I don't take them on. I decline them.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, and what about if people
come to you and they say that they want something in a person that you find
distasteful, how do you deal with that?

KATHERINE WEI: I
hardly come across someone really, really bad. If I do I'll tell them that I'm
not selling young Asian women to an old Caucasian man. But I'm here to help
genuine singles, Australian and Asian singles, find their true love. So I'm
sure they get the message.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Jennifer, I know that you've
looked at preferences with on-line dating does race come into that and if it
does, what's the hierarchy?

JENNIFER LUNDQUIST: Yes, well we find that race is actually a
primary deciding factor. We find that when people send an initial message to
another dater, homophily is what social scientists call the trend and that is
people tend to contact people who look just like themselves in terms of race.
So that is the most common. White daters contact white daters, it's true across
sexual preference as well. But when people have the opportunity to respond to
groups of people who have contacted them, what we find is that there is a
racial hierarchy.

So men of all races are about equally likely to respond
to women, Asian women, Latino women, I'm talking about heterosexuals right now,
and white women. However, unfortunately,
there tends to be less of response rates to African American daters who contact
them. So African American women seem to be very marginalised on the on-line
dating market. With women it's very interesting. So women tend to respond first and foremost
only to white men and this is true regardless of race, of the woman's racial
identity. So white women respond primarily to white men and we also find that
African American women, Asian women and Latino women also respond primarily to
white men first.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, so is there any
explanation, do you have an explanation for why that hierarchy is as you
describe it in America?

JENNIFER LUNDQUIST: We can speculate that men, male daters tend
to be more racially open generally, but what I do have to say, however, there
are more men than are there women on these websites and men are much more
likely to send messages and to respond to messages than women are. So some have
argued, well it's not necessarily that men are more racially open, it's that
they have less of a market to interact with.

JENNY
BROCKIE: What about gays then in terms
of their preferences and their choices because there's a smaller pool to start
with in terms of, in terms of choice?

JENNIFER LUNDQUIST: Yeah. Yeah, that's exactly right and
because the US census just started collecting information on gay and lesbian
cohabitation, and it looks like gays and lesbians have higher rates of
interracial unions and the argument is that okay, is it that gays and lesbians
have more, are more racially open than straights? Or is it exactly as you just said, a thinner
dating market, you know, less of a choice. We find again a very gendered
effect. The effect is more about gender
than sexual identity. Lesbians look very
similar to white men in their racial preferences. That is being more open
racially, whereas gay men look much more similar to straight women, being less
open to racial groups.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Interesting. Sen, I wonder what
you think about hearing that, you've got a Tamil background.

SENTHORUN RAJ:
Yeah, that's right.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Does that sit with your
experience. Do you find you have preferences for certain specific groups?

SENTHORUN RAJ: Well certainly when I was growing up I used to
kind of dream of the prince charming, the knight in shining white armour, you
know, where effectively, you know you've got these kind of representations and
so your fantasy of, you know, the perfect guy is white in your head. And so"¦

JENNY
BROCKIE: And now?

SENTHORUN RAJ: Now it's changed, I've had a kind of a broad
dating history now which we won't get into.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Fair enough.

SENTHORUN RAJ: But certainly, but certainly, you know,
growing up I've managed to kind of confront that and kind of mix it up a little
bit.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Mike, what did you want to
say?

MIKE MIOCEVICH: I
just wanted to basically say that the reason that a lot of black women in the
US are actually dating out now is because of the demographics. Within the black
community, there's a lot of cultural enforcement for a term called
"nothing but a black man". You want to basically marry a black guy and basically within, stay
within your community. However, you've got to the point now in the United
States that if every single black man and every single black woman that were
available met up together and got partnered, there'd be 1.2 million black women
who wouldn't have a partner.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, okay, over here,
yes?

FARI CHAWORA: Hi,
I just wanted to comment on that. I think my preference is for black men and
that's simply because I don't want to be someone's fantasy or fetish and I
think for a lot of black women the main thing is when men come up to you,
they're dating you solely because you're black. But you want someone who dates
you because they like who you are. I'd prefer to date a black man because I
know it's about me more than it would be about going to Africa and being a
mission’s trip or anything like that.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, Rudo, yes?

RUDO BANYA: I
think I'll disagree with that because that's also another stereotype, because
you're saying a black man's going to date you because you're also black. My
husband had absolutely no preference for black women, he just wanted someone
that he connected with and we met and we got on and we got married.

FARI CHAWORA: My question is then are you not
stereotyping Caucasian men by saying that you only date Caucasian men because
they're less, less patriarchal than African men? Is that not a stereotype as well?

RUDO BANYA: Not my only reason for dating Caucasian
men.

FARI CHAWORA: It's just a question.

RUDO BANYA: I'm attracted to Caucasian men. You know, we live in a society full of
choice, why does somebody like dark chocolate instead of white chocolate? Why
does someone like milk chocolate instead of peppermint chocolate? It's my
preference. You know, I'm very proud to
be black because I think there is this stereotype, but if you prefer to date
outside of your race, you've got self-loathing, you've got self-hatred
issues. I don't, I'm very proud to be
black, I'm proud of my African heritage. I just like what I like and that's all
there is to it. I don't think I have to justify my choices to anyone. I just, I'm more attracted to Caucasian men.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Anyone else, yes Ida?

IDA HARDING: I was going to say you're right, you don't
have to justify your choices, but I think that's one of the things that if
you're about to go into an interracial relationship, you have to consider
because society does judge you. They judge the motives behind the two people
that happen to be in love. Why are they
together in the first place? Is it because someone's trying to get immigration
papers or is it because someone's trying to, you know, sort of move up in
society in terms of their social standings or whatever? Based on stereotypes of
course.

FARI CHAWORA: Yeah,
definitely, because you've got to look at the cultural factors when you get
married. I mean some people would say
western culture is more individualistic. Where I'm from it's not, it's very
family orientated. I'm not against
interracial dating. I am saying though
if it is based on a fantasy or an idea of okay, Asian women are more docile or
African women, you know, I read this book or whatever, then it's a no because
you're trying to fulfil your fantasy.
You're not looking for a life partner so that's a big difference.

JENNY
BROCKIE: And what's your background, where
are you from?

FARI CHAWORA: I'm from Zimbabwe.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, and if terms of your dating preferences, what do you do?

FARI CHAWORA: I
generally, I'm more inclined to date African men and that's simply because of
my experience. If I met an Australian man who approached me and had a normal
conversation that didn't involve some sort of stereotypical comment, I'm open
to that.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Have you been on the receiving end of those stereotypical
comments?

FARI CHAWORA: Yeah, definitely, quite often.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Very often?

FARI CHAWORA: Yes, very often especially on line.

JENNY
BROCKIE: And what sort of
stereotypes?

FARI CHAWORA: Comments like oh, big black booty girl. I love
that, or I finally got myself a Rhianna.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Oh, wow.

FARI CHAWORA: I
don't even look like her. So I have
received those kind of comments so that's where I'm, I guess I'm more
wary. I'm kind of like well, why are you
here?

JENNY
BROCKIE: Have you had any of those stereotypes Rudo?

RUDO BANYA: Oh, I've had lots of stereotypes. Somebody actually asked me once are you from
Sudan and you know, are you a refugee? And I was utterly gobsmacked because
even if I was, you know, what does that have to do with anything? And how did
you meet your husband? Some people think
because you're a black woman you're going to be more dominant, you're going to
be kinky or - and I encountered this when I was dating. I tried on-line dating
and there were people saying oh, my God, you're black, do you do this. Do you
do that and I'm like seriously? You
know, it was completely ridiculous.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Your aunties had some very
strong opinions about black men, didn't they, when you were growing up?

RUDO BANYA: Yes, they did.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Tell us about that?

RUDO BANYA: I used to hear things growing up like, for
example that they're going to womanise and of course Caucasian men womanise
just as much, go with other women. They don't help around the house with chores
and just, you know, just negative stereotypes.
I did grow up with a lot of those and perhaps subconsciously that did
shape my choice.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Do you think there's a point
where that tips into racism or can tip into racism?

RUDO BANYA: I
suppose yes, it can be to a certain extent. But I don't think it's racist to
have a preference. If you prefer to date someone that's your own race or
someone that's Asian, people should not condemn you for your choices.

JENNY
BROCKIE: You've been accused of being a racist, haven't you?

RUDO BANYA: Yes I
have, I've been called a Bounty, that's black on the outside and white on the
inside. I've been called a coconut, I've
got self-hatred issues, I'm not proud of being black, the list goes on and on
because of my choices. And people can think what they like, you know, I'm not
really bothered by that. I know what I like and I don't have to justify my
choices to anybody.

JENNY
BROCKIE: But can it tip into
racism? Yeah, Andy?

ANDY QUAN: I
think it does. You know, if we
stereotype ourselves into boxes where we think that we're only attracted to one
race of people or one kind of people that it's limiting, not only for ourselves
but for other people as well. It can have a really negative effect on people's
self-esteem and especially if people express themselves and say that they won't
date somebody from another race, that's quite racist.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, Mike, your response to
that, putting limits by saying only black women?

MIKE MIOCEVICH: Not really. I mean people have a personal preference for
who they date in their lives and they've got a multitude of reasons behind that. I don't see it really as
being like anything too out of the ordinary to be quite honest. I mean do we
complain that white people only date white people? You know, I mean that's the
norm, isn't it? So I don't see any problem, like we are all human beings for
goodness sake. Basically within the
small community that I'm part of we basically emphasise you date character
first.

JENNY
BROCKIE:
But you're putting race first, you're
saying you're putting it first.

MIKE MIOCEVICH: No, but I mean that's just the
preference that I start out from, but then you have to look for the character
behind, that is behind, you know, the person.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, Denton, I know that you've got a view on this, you look at race
preferences in the gay community, what do you think?

DENTON CALLANDER, UNIVERSITY OF NSW: I would actually argue this is all an
expression of racism and that comes from, you know, the social science
perspective, that we can be and frequently are racist without meaning to. And when
it comes to race in particular we need to ask, you know, am I inadvertently
reproducing a hierarchy, am I shutting people out who are already marginalised?
Of course the counter argument to that is when people do engage in interracial
relationships, that ultimately we do see these same types of power dynamics
play out. Of course everyone's experience is different, but we see really clear
and consistent trends when it comes to so-called racialised attraction and that
doesn't just happen by accident.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, and what are those
trends, just briefly?

DENTON CALLANDER:
White values, certainly in countries like the United States or
Australia, white identities are consistently valued, but we know that those
racialised as Indian, Aboriginal, and occasionally Asian tend to be consistently
devalued identities.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Jennifer, you found that being
mixed race can be a real asset in on-line dating, explain that to us?

JENNIFER LUNDQUIST: Something about white bi raciality with
another race people find compelling, very attractive and perhaps it's safer.
You can still be open minded, interested in someone different from yourself,
but still not quite as different as someone of a completely different
race. That would be my speculation
behind it.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Bill Von Hippel, what does
science say about mixed race people and attractiveness, and the notion of
attractiveness?

PROFESSOR BILL VON HIPPEL: Because when two people of different races
have an offspring together and because most of the bad genes that we carry tend
to be recessive, then those bad genes won't express them in their body and in
their mind. And so, on average, we see what we call hybrid vigour from like
agriculture, that the offspring of multi-racial, multi-racial offspring
actually are more attractive. They often are taller than their parents,
although we see that generationally quite commonly, but they often are much
more attractive as well and so it's quite possible that people are responding
to them more positively simply because they look healthier and more
attractive.

JENNY
BROCKIE: But you still say that for all
those rules there's very little we can predict when we're actually presented
with something unexpected?

PROFESSOR BILL VON HIPPEL: That's right, if we don't yet understand a
lot of the factors that predict who's going to be attracted to whom. We know that factors that we don't
necessarily think about consciously matter a lot, like scent, we know sometimes
resemblance to one's own parents, there's lots of factors that play a role
really rather unconsciously and we don't yet have a good handle on those.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Jennifer?

JENNIFER LUNDQUIST: One thing that we find that's very
interesting is if you look at people's preferences, their racial preferences
that they state in their profile, many American daters will say I don't want to
date Middle Easterners, for example, and this was particularly strong after
2001, but what we find is that their behaviours do not in any way reflect that.
When you come into contact with a real live human being they realise that these
mark or these ethnic identities are so often cut up in stereotypes due to our
isolation from one another, that contact with one another makes a huge
difference in forming our preferences. So preferences are really an interactive
process.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, we do have to wrap
up. Anyone rethinking this as a result
of this discussion? Rethinking your
preferences? What do you reckon
Linda?

LINDA BENZ: No, no, I'm not, I'm not fixated though. So
if there's anyone out there who thinks I'm amazing, you know?

JENNY
BROCKIE: Marianna, what do you think
after what you've heard tonight?

MARIANNA SHEK: Well I'm a bit on your side as in I did have a - you know, I do have a preference
for Caucasian Australian male but like you said, if someone came long that was
completely not what I expected, and because it's the personality, yeah"¦

JENNY
BROCKIE: I think we're turning into a
dating show at this point.

MARIANNA SHEK: It's not a bad thing.

JENNY
BROCKIE: Okay, we do have to leave it
there. Thank you all very much, fascinating discussion, really enjoyed it and
that is all we have time for here but there is a lot more to talk about of
course on Twitter and Facebook. Tell us who you're attracted to and why. Thanks everybody.