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Black Women, Chinese men: Where’s the love?|
Living in China as a black woman comes with its own set of hurdles and oddities, but one of the biggest oddities I have found since I have lived here for the past three years is the lack of black female/Chinese male couples. I, being the female half of a Blasian couple, tend to find my eyes constantly searching the crowds for couples that have relationships similar to my own, only to find people staring back at me strangely. In China, these kinds of couples a rare find, even in the largest cities.
Many black women from all over the world contact me, often asking me if they will also have the chance to marry a Chinese man like I did if they move to China. However, more often than not I have to caution them that it’s not quite that easy here. Although China is filled with the mixed couplings of white men/Chinese women, Chinese men/white women and black men/Chinese women; when it come to black women/Chinese men (BW/CM), the sightings are sadly few and far between.
Why so rare?
Although in the States, BW/CM are becoming the new trend in relationships – thanks in part to movies like Romeo Must Die, TV shows like Flash Forwardand celebrity couples like Sandra “Pepa” Denton and Tom Lo – China is still far behind the times when it comes to these specific relationships.
There are many reasons for this rarity in China. One comes from media stereotypes that portray black women as difficult to control, oversexed, much larger in size and not attractive due to skin colour and body shape. In return, Chinese men are portrayed as weak, shy men that would not be able satisfy a black woman sexually. In addition to the media stereotypes, there is the traditional thinking and underlying prejudices that still exist in China regarding race mixing and the notion that a Chinese man’s reputation and family must look good and be protected. Dating or marrying a black woman would not look good in front of others and cause negative attention towards his family. However, marrying or dating a white woman seems to raise their status among their peers and is even celebrated by many.
There is also the fact that there are not many black women in China. Historically, there have been very few black expats around the world and even fewer in China. However out of those few that have become expats abroad, less than half are women. This makes successful matchmaking between these two races nearly impossible.
When I asked several young men in my area what they thought about black women, many smiled widely and stated that they thought the singer Beyonce was sexy and that they would not mind a black woman if she was not too dark, but that overall they prefer white women. Others replied saying they would not marry a black woman but that they would want to try one for fun. The majority however, would not even consider the idea.
Chinese history does show that there were black female/Chinese male couples in the past. One example would be Eugene Chen, a lawyer who was once China's Foreign Minister. He married Agatha Ganteaume, who was a black French woman. They had four children from their marriage and were presumably very happy.
How do black women find love in China?
So what is a single black woman to do in China to find love? The best suggestions I can give is to be you. Prove the stereotypes wrong and get out there and talk to Chinese men and show them that black women can be intelligent, beautiful and respectful. Show them that black women are not only supportive but motivating, family-oriented and loving.
With so many single men in China searching for wives and a huge population of single black women around the globe, it would make so much sense for these two people to get together and become a powerful couple. Black females all over the world are realizing this and are waiting for their Chinese male counterparts to hop on the bandwagon.
Will we see more BW/CM couples in the future? I think it is fair to say that we will see more mixed race couples, but that this increase is linked to education and greater exposure of black women in Chinese culture. With the increased popularity of hip hop, break dancing and rap music, Chinese people are beginning to get greater exposure to black women. Young men who travel abroad to other countries will come back with a whole new view on interracial relationships and more and more black women will travel to China.
However, black women will need to understand what Chinese men require in a companion and Chinese men will need to open up to the idea that black women can be a viable option as wife. Both sides need to be educated on the qualities that they offer and be open to experience what can be an amazing and powerful relationship. Trust me, I am living proof…
Jo Gan, an African-American female expat living in China. Working as the director of foreign teachers and writer, she is married to a local Chinese man. Her hobbies are reading, writing, singing and enjoying life.