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Sexual or romantic desire for a person of another ethnic background is deeply embedded in race-obsessed American culture, said Jodie Kliman, a psychologist and family therapist at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology who focuses on the effects of class, race, and culture on family life.
It may be subconsciously related to power play, based on historical notions of an older man’s dominance or a black woman’s submissiveness.
In fact, a quick search on nearly any targeted dating site reveals poachers—people who use these sites to find a partner of a certain demographic to which they themselves do not belong.
BBPeople Meet.com, a website for plus-size people, has a sizable portion of lean lovers. Many of these websites attract people who are looking, quite literally, for their significant “other.”Take Benjamin Hagar, 23, a white man who’s interested in dating only black women—a difficult pairing, given that he lives in Saranac Lake, N.
They have been married for 13 years.“Jewish culture is very similar to Asian culture,” said Tanya, whose last name is now Zimmerman.
“We value family and education.” She has since converted to Judaism.
“I had a Jewish boyfriend before I met Paul,” she explained recently.
Paul Zimmerman, 56, a property manager from Los Angeles, joined JDate in its early days. The message was from Tanya Tran, 49, a Vietnam-born property manager.It’s frustrating, exhausting and, frankly, heartbreaking. While we may not be used to seeing African-American, Latino or Asian Jews in our midst, we must treat them as we do other Jews, and create a community that is welcoming and inclusive. The presence of African-Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities in the Orthodox community is growing rapidly, whether born Jewish or through conversion. The Jewish community is hardly alone when it comes to the problem of racism, nor are racist attitudes limited to the Orthodox.But as an African-American Orthodox Jew, I feel a special obligation to confront racist behavior in my own community.A society so focused on Jewish outreach and personal growth should be especially concerned with changing behavior that alienates Jews from Orthodox observance and community.There are many causes for the racism that exists among Orthodox Jews.
It may be driven by a yearning to have a different life than one’s childhood—to have a lively Jewish family if you grew up with emotionally aloof parents, for example.“We have to look at the extent to which the other is exoticized by the dominant group,” Kliman said.