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Compatibility 101: Ethnic Differences in Dating


Gabriella Aspuru, Gareth Pon, and Abigail Eernisse

Headshot of Gabriella, Gareth, and Abigail

Today on the Heart of Dating Podcast, we are so excited to continue our compatibility series where we are choosing to challenge mindsets, preferences, and "types" and truly go into dating with the heart posture of letting God do the unexpected!

Today, we have decided to do something we haven’t done in quite a long time... and that's a roundtable! On this episode, we wanted to dive deep into a topic so many of you have suggested... and that's the topic of ethnic differences and racial stereotypes. To properly discuss this topic, we brought on 3 very good friends of ours who are of varying ethnic backgrounds and genders: Gareth Pon, a South African Asian man who is the creative director at Rosewood Creative, Abigail Ernisse, a Kenyan American woman and the founder of the Abolitionist Collective, and our very own Gabriella Aspuru, a hispanic woman with Colombian and Cuban roots who is the community and creative manager here at Heart of Dating!

What are some stereotypes in dating experiences that you have come across?

  • Abigail addresses some common stereotypes she faces as a black woman.
  • A common stereotype amongst black women is that many judge assertive personalities as anger when in reality they just may be passionate about a topic.
  • Gareth Emphasizes how the media and pop culture have feminized Asian males. Oftentimes, Asian males are not  the ones playing lead roles in movies and they haven't been percieved as masculine.
  • A common stereotype amongst asian men is that they might be boring or uninteresting and typically see them only as accountants or lawyers. 
  • Gabriella shares common stereotypes amongst latinas. 
  • The media portrays hispanic women as hot-headed, curvaceous, sensual and a little bit promiscuous.
  • Overall, hispanic women are oversexualized in the media and pop culture.

Is there hypersexualization you’ve experienced within your ethnicity that has affected dating for you?

  • Abigail shares how oftentimes in talking, flirting and dating stages make comments that feel very reminiscent of trying to fit black woman into 1 of 3 boxes.
  • People tend to expect that black women to either be sassy, submissive or sexy. When they don't fit into one of those categories they would find them disappointing and not being the one who they thought you would be as a whole being.
  • Gabriella shares that the history of Latin America is extremely complex, so its population is diverse. Not all Latinas look the same, so it can cause damaging body image goals to women. She also shares how she's been through experiences where people choose to only see a small part of her ethnic background versus seeing her a whole.
  • Gabriella shares that the history of Latin America is extremely complex, so its population is diverse. Not all Latinas look the same, so it can cause damaging body image goals to women. She also shares how she's been through experiences where people choose to only see a small part of her ethnic background versus seeing her a whole.

Do you ever feel the need to adhere to the stereotypes that people put on you because of what is being assumed about you?

  • Gareth talks about his experiences and how he would sometimes unconsciously adhere to certain ways of talking or mentioning things because of certain stereotypes
  • As an asian, Gareth says that sometimes he would feel self-hate being asian because of the perceptions and stereotypes that he encountered in the past.  He shares that dating has felt a lot more like educating when he's met people.

Asian men are twice as likely as asian women to be unpartnered at 35% vs.18% for asian women.This gender gap in romantic involvement among asian is impart because asian man are much less likely than asian women to be in a romantic or marital relationship with a different race partner, even though asian man and women appear to express a similar desire to marry outside of their race.
--online article by “The Conversation”

Have you experienced hypersexualization?

  • Gabriella talks about how when you’re looking into the stereotypes and having a preference it becomes a fetish.
  • It’s important to appreciate and learn about the background and/or the culture of the person you are dating. 
  • If you are just sexualizing the person and not seeing them as who they really are as a whole. You are seeing them as what your assumptions are.
  • Abigail talks about how when you fetish a part of a person's ethnicity or culture, you're objectifying a small part of that person for your own sexual desire.
  • Gareth and Kait discuss how Asian males almost experience the opposite and they are “de-sexualized” as seen as undesirable.

Research shows that Black women and Asian males have fared "the worst" on dating apps while Hispanic women have fared "the best". What has your personal experience on dating apps been?

  • Abigail shares about how her experiences on dating apps have been difficult and she’s noticed the difference with her success rate vs her friends’ success rates. 
  • Gareth talks about his struggles with dating since coming to the United States and how he’s struggled to get any hits on dating apps.
  • Gabriella shares how she does get a large amount of likes on dating apps, but with people who are quick to make her uncomfortable and how since then she’s removed her ethnic background on them in hopes of having better experiences. 
Don't fit me into the stereotypes that you have to satisfy your fetishes. See me for me and get to know and appreciate my culture instead of just making assumptions about it” -Gabriella Aspuru

What are your final nuggets of dating advice?

  • Abigail: Look for God in the other person and look for what Jesus can teach you about Him and the other person. This will help reveal if you have a bias or a barrier you put up because of a person’s ethnic background. 
  • Gareth: Allow God to write your narrative. Have an open mind and take time to learn more about yourself. Get excited to learn about a person and aim to destroy perceptions. 
  • Gabriella: Date someone for who they are fully and not just for who you think they are or who you want them to be. Learn to appreciate every part of a person.

Gabriella Aspuru, Gareth Pon, Abigail Eernisse

Gabriella Aspuru, Gareth Pon, and Abigail Eernisse

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Gabriella Aspuru is the community and creative manager of the Heart of Dating. She’s a Connecticut-raised “Gilmore Girl” who currently calls South Florida home. She’s passionate about helping others find community, steward healthy relationships, and encouraging them to find their identities in Christ first. She loves going on Jeep adventures with her fur-baby, Naomi, and making others laugh through the Heart of Dating TikTok.

Gareth Pon is a South African born, Los Angeles Dwelling, Creative Director, Effulgent Daydreamer, Multifaceted Maker, Photographer, Storyteller and at some stage Africa’s Top Instagrammer. Gareth is a big dreamer and believes everyone should have at least one ridiculous dream they believe can come true. Since he can remember, his dream has been to go to space.

Abigail is an emerging leader in the anti-human trafficking field; she believes that shifting culture starts with telling stories. As the Brand Manager, Abigail assists in shaping content that changes the culture's view of exploitation. Preceding her time at Elevate Academy, she equipped anti-trafficking organizations in the developing world with innovative marketing strategies.

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