Book Writing Adventures

Sample Chapter: Swirling, Culture & Family; Is it Just Easier to Be with a White Dude?

This is a touchy subject, so I’ve got to make sure this is right. I know a lot of you BB&W readers are swirling with Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, African, or whatever’s NOT a white guy, so I spend quite a bit of time trying to explain the good, bad, and downright disturbing about dating inter-ethnically and interracially. Bottom line: You think it was hard to date a white guy? Puhleeze.

Here’s what’s missing, though. Got oodles of stuff about Asians, some about Middle Easterners, and not-so-much on Hispanic culture. And before you even ask, not to worry–I’m coving the colorism issue later, so I just need some salsa. (disclaimer: I want to be fair, so as always, I’m open to critique)


Christelyn Karazin, copyright 2011

Swirling, Culture & Family

Western culture is individualistic. We revel in the idea that we can go our own way, forge our own paths, make our own fortunes. We romanticize this notion in movies, books, folklore and music. Beware, a Western philosophy can easily clash with an Eastern, African or Hispanic one, because on average, the people of these countries–Japan, China, Korea, all Arab countries, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Kenya, Chile and many others–thrive on family, group and/or tribal cohesiveness. The sons of these families have an incredible responsibility (and burden) to follow the wishes of their families or face not only rejection, but outright ostracizing and risk completely being disinherited. It is a HUGE deal to date and marry someone outside of your race, tribe, or religion.

In the book, Dating the Ethnic Man, by intercultural psychologist, Faizal Sahukhan, PhD, traits of a rainbeau from collective culture

  • thinks in terms of collective gratification–”we” versus “I”
  • values the well-being of his family, his culture and his society over his own personal well-being
  • conforms to a ‘group-thinking’ mentality, sacrificing his individual thoughts, feelings, and action in order to be part of the the group
  • cooperates with others in the group for group unity and cohesion, believes in maintaining a close relationship with his family of origin, even after marriage

and here’s the biggie:

  • he considers it shameful to deviate from family and cultural expectations, and
  • considers individualistic tendencies to be inappropriate and unhealthy.

It’s those last two reasons that American women need to exercise a little more caution with dating ethnic men.

I once briefly dated a Persian man whose family was from Iran. We were in the same college literary class, and he and I were jockeying to be the smartest and most enlightened in the class. I outdid him over several debates on the interpretations of Edgar Allan Poe and Flannery O’Connor, and he was smitten. He began to sit right next to me in class and would follow behind me after it was over until he finally asked me out. I thought he was good potential–he was cute (but I could tell he’d be bald one day) and was on his way to medical school. What attracted him was my smarts, but when we were alone, it wasn’t my brain he was after. In between pleas for me to sleep with him, I asked, “What would your parents do if they knew you were on a date with a black girl?” And then I pestered, “Would you ever marry a black girl?” He hemmed and hawed, but I never got a straight answer, and that guy never got into my pants. I wasn’t going to catch feelings for that guy only to have them crushed when mommy and daddy threatened to disown him if he brought me home. No doubt the good doctor has a pretty Persian wife and two or three little Farsi-speaking kidlets by now.

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