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Rohit Singh
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Tue, 31 Jul 2007

Desis on Dating

Sepia Mutiny has an ongoing discussion about dating patterns--- specifically, interracial dating patterns--- among the various desi communities in the U.S. By far the most discussed post on SM ever, the discussion is a veritable trove of information for the armchair sociologist. Among other things, it has the female angst about "why do all the good desi guys prefer non-desis?" and the corresponding male angst about "why do all the good desi girls prefer non-desis?".

The funny thing is, the statistics seem to indicate otherwise: desi girls like desi guys and vice-versa. Roughly 70% of Indian men raised in the U.S. (and a similar fraction of women) are married to Indians. Indian-white couplings make up most of the rest. I'd be surprised if the within-community marriage rates for other communities (e.g., the Jewish community) were as high. For example, the 70% rate is certainly higher than that for other Asian-American communities. But then again, within another 1-2 generations, the inter-mixing will likely be quite a bit higher. A few more generations and we'll be like the Irish-Americans and Italian-Americans today, hopefully with the Indian-American equivalent of St. Patrick's Day (with its attendant revelries, of course).

As an abstract question, inter-group marriages are a fascinating, if somewhat controversial, subject. Questions about inter-group marriages involving desis are even harder to untangle, I think, because it's not clear which of the following two factors is at play: (1) desire for/against a partner from a similar cultural or religious background or (2) a physical preference for/against people of specific skin-colors. In contrast, marriages involving a white Jew and a white Christian will have little to do with skin-color, I'd imagine.

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