Interracial dating in Australia
This article seems to be largely anecdotal so it is a pity that statistics are not given. If the rate of interracial marriage is low, that would in part be explained by many migrant groups marrying within their ethnicity.
There are some statistics showing a lot of intermarriage between people of different national origin but most of those would be between Australian-born people and people from Britain and other Anglospheric countries.
The most striking type of interracial relationship I see about the place is between Chinese girls and tall Caucasian men, I do see a lot of Chinese young women as a part of couples and the partners concerned are rarely all Chinese. Chinese ladies overwhelmingly favour Caucasian men --- probably because they --like most women -- like their man to be tall. Chinese are Australia's largest minority -- at about 5% of the population
And the prevalence of those relationships is clear testimony to the low level of racism in Australia.
Australia’s leaders often say it is the most multicultural society on Earth, but when it comes to mixing those cultures in marriage, it seems Aussies stay in their lanes.
Sociologist Dr Zuleyka Zevallos says it’s “still the norm that most marry within their race”, despite more than 200 years of migration since colonisation.
“When you look at the out-marriage rates, very few second-generation migrants will marry outside their race.” If they do, she adds, people are more likely to marry a person from a similar ethnic or racial group.
“It’s not about exposure or education, but because of social forces and this sense of difference,” she says.
Of course, interracial relationships in Australia are not new, dating back to colonisation when racial intermixing was a way of ensuring whiteness prevailed. Migration, too, means that Australia’s demographic make-up is becoming increasingly diverse.
So, what about those who do couple up with someone outside their race?
‘We didn’t see interracial couples like us growing up’
Sue Kang, 28, and her boyfriend Midy Tiaga, 29, met in high school and have been best friends for 10 years. They became a couple three years ago. “We were both ready to settle down,” Kang says. Kang, who is Korean-Australian, and Tiaga, a Sri Lankan-Australian, say they didn’t see interracial couples like themselves growing up.
When Kang began modelling full-time during COVID, her agent asked her to bring along her partner to be in the shoot. From there, they continued to model together and Tiaga was eventually signed to her agency. The pair have modelled together for campaigns that include Tourism Australia and Commonwealth Bank.
Kang says it’s been great to see “authentic real couples” like themselves “rather than it being left up to the casting director”.
Both being from culturally diverse backgrounds, they say they share a common understanding. “There’s a cultural shorthand in the relationship where things don’t need to be explained,” says Tiaga. “We’re able to understand each other as we share similar intersections.”
Nigerian-American Valerie Weyland moved to Australia from the United States in her 20s. She settled in Perth, where she met her now husband Robert on Tinder. The couple has been together for more than eight years, and have a nine-month-old baby. She describes their relationship as “open and loving”.
She says that her experience of dating as a black woman in California was different to her experience in Perth, where it’s rare to see couples that look like them. “When I was dating [in California], of course there were racial tensions, but it was not the same as in Australia,” she says. ”I dated whoever I connected with in conversations and through passion, there was a whole rainbow of people.“
She notes that while Perth is becoming more diverse with pockets of migrants, she doesn’t always feel accepted in the community. The couple often encounters people who stare or openly voice their disapproval. “People don’t really have a healthy filter when they see a couple like us,” she says.
“Australians love to banter and crack jokes, but they don’t always have an understanding of what is appropriate or inappropriate.”
For Robert, being with Valerie has made him more aware of the discrimination many non-white people experience. “If you’ve never gone through it, it’s hard to understand,” Valerie sympathises, who says that it’s about “being patient with people’s process of understanding things”.
And she says Robert is always the first to defend her. “When I’ve been in situations where I’m being attacked for my race, he steps up. He will be the first to say something.”