Duke: Interracial duos find themselves in the minority

DukeA anonymous 8Asians.com reader forwarded a link to The [Duke] Chronicle about this article, “Interracial duos find themselves in the minority:

“In the giant melting pot that is America, racial lines are becoming blurred and even erased in some cases. Especially in college, students interact with people of different races and backgrounds on a daily basis. However, the idea of interracial dating is still foreign territory to many, and it has direct bearings on how mixed-race couples are viewed on campus … Sophomore M.R. wouldn’t necessarily agree. His initial attraction to ex-girlfriend, sophomore R.K., was because of her different ethnicity. Coming from Australia, M.R. had never dated an Asian before. “I’ve been accused of having yellow fever from my friends,” M.R. said. “It’s pretty degrading to say… I think I was a little drawn to her exoticness.”…Yet, Duke’s environment creates unspoken barriers that are hard to defy. From the overshadowing hook-up scene to the presence of self-segregation, the established campus culture does not help interracial dating.

Having gone to Duke for graduate school, I thought I’d comment on this particular article. If you read the full article, it goes on to interview those in interracial relationships and what initially attracted them to their partner. M.R., whom I quote, did find his ex-Asian girlfriend “exotic,” [which I found odd, since there are plenty of Asians in Australia] yet others commented that race didn’t play a factor in their initial attraction. However, what I thought most interesting was the the article focused that the Duke campus culture did not foster interracial dating.

From past 8Asians postings, obviously, there have been some blog postings and plenty of reader comments on the topic of interracial dating, especially regarding Asian female-Caucasian male relations vs. Asian male-Caucasian female imbalance. Given a random sample of a multi-ethnic population, statistically – if love is racially blind – there will be interracial couples based solely on mutual attraction rather than any other sociological factors.

For those who may not know much about Duke – Duke is based in Durham, North Carolina – i.e. the South. Duke has about 12,000 students – approximately 6,000 undergraduates and 6,000 graduate students. The Duke undergraduate population (Fall 2006) consisted of 10% African-American, 17% Asian-American, 7% Hispanic/Latino and 54% Caucasian. I can’t say how integrated or segregated the Duke undergraduate population was with much authority since I was a graduate student there, but I can definitely sense from my time there, as well as from the article, that racial boundaries do exist.

Also, there have also been traditional ethnic and social-economic tensions also between Duke University and the city of Durham, which especially exploded in the infamous 2006 Duke lacrosse team rape case – Duke being a traditionally rich, white run institution and Durham’s residents poor & black.

In a very multi-ethnic and fairly integrated Californian society, I am sure interracial dating is far more common and accepted on Californian college campuses than at Duke. Whether you believe this is a good or bad thing is your own individual opinion. Again, with the premise of love being racially blind, it appears that there should be more interracial dating at Duke than what exists currently due to the current campus culture, and the South in general. Any of you readers of 8Asians go to Duke, are alums or currently live in the South and have any thoughts of the climate for interracial dating in the region?

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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