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How to answer: where are you from?

Hello guys,

on Tinder, I put under my profile the flag of my country. I also wrote that I'm not religious. Because most people think I'm muslim and that I'm a foreigner. And in their value system it's low-value. That's why I put the flag and the sentence.

Sometimes a woman will ask me where does my name come from? Or where do I come from?

And it's one of 2 things:

  1. She's really curious because it's high-value to her (exotic, interesting)
  2. She's curious because she thinks I'm hiding that I'm a muslim foreigner (deception): I'm not sure, that's what I've been led to understand

I underestimated the narrow-mindedness and racism for a long time. That's why I counter-act the prejudices now. I do not justify myself to them. But I find it annoying when it feels like she wants to know just to prove I'm a liar, which I'm not. But most people don't understand you can be born and raised in a culture while having a name from a different culture (narrow-mindedness).

So now I'm starting to ask: "why is it important to you?"

Because as you noted, Lucio, in the "Italy vs Germany", German people can use negative stereotypes against you instead of the positives. I acknowledge I still have some insecurities about my origins: most people are not interested in understanding the complexities of my identity (which comes from being from 2 cultures, not boasting here, it's a fact). So sometimes I don't feel understood nor accepted. So it does play a role in my reaction. It does have an effect on your mind when people make you understand they think you're inferior because you're not from their culture. Basically a shame-attack. But I am from their culture, they just don't know it or don't understand it.

So how would you answer while maintaining rapport? And how to uncover the intentions of the person asking (racism, one-up)?

I'll do my homework: "It's funny because people ask me often this question. I'm curious: why are you asking me?" And they answer: "by curiosity" (which is the code for: "I don't want to reveal my reasons").

I understand that dating is a value assessment and that origins are part of it. However, how to be honest without justifying oneself and maintain dignity?

Thanks!

selffriend has reacted to this post.
selffriend

Hey John,

A few notes:

John: "why is it important to you?"

I wouldn't go with that question, unless it's already working well, of course.

The reason is that the "why" is a big request for investment, to justify herself, and puts women on the spot.
That can be great in person, on a date, or when you already have more leverage. But early, since women in the West have often so much power in online dating, that could be enough to stop the communication, or to break rapport.

If you want to keep the same format, then I'd change to: "Bit of a long story, is that important to you?", which is softer.

Also:

John: I also wrote that I'm not religious.

Personally, I'd be careful with this.

Since religion often prop-ups and encourages pro-social values and values that support long-term relationships, "not religious" can send the message of "low virtues".

One might say that it can boost short-term prospects, but I don't think it does.
Plus, most men on Tinder are already pre-judged as being more than happy and OK with short-term liaisons, so "non-religious" can come at a long-term dating value cost, while doing little for short-term.

TURNING "EXOTIC" INTO AN OPPORTUNITY

I'd personally seek to turn the situation into an advantage.

Instead of putting a flag, put 3 flags: your original culture, where you're staying right now, where you want to go, plus, then put the world emoji.

Only the flag of where you're staying when you don't look like you're from there says "I want to fit in" (power to others, and her).
Three flags and the world say "I'm bigger than your little Swiss horizons" (power to you).

Whenever they ask, turn it into a power proposition. The general attitude is: bit of a mix, traveled around, maybe move again, we'll see. The attitude is "you can't put me on a box, I'm a world citizen".

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John FreemanStefselffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks a lot!

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

That can be great in person, on a date, or when you already have more leverage. But early, since women in the West have often so much power in online dating, that could be enough to stop the communication, or to break rapport.

I agree and it happened to me.

Since religion often prop-ups and encourages pro-social values and values that support long-term relationships, "not religious" can send the message of "low virtues".

I did not have this viewpoint. Thanks!

Instead of putting a flag, put 3 flags: your original culture, where you're staying right now, where you want to go, plus, then put the world emoji.

Only the flag of where you're staying when you don't look like you're from there says "I want to fit in" (power to others, and her).
Three flags and the world say "I'm bigger than your little Swiss horizons" (power to you).

Whenever they ask, turn it into a power proposition. The general attitude is: bit of a mix, traveled around, maybe move again, we'll see. The attitude is "you can't put me on a box, I'm a world citizen".

That is interesting. My original culture is where I live right now. I have parents from 2 different cultures, that's all. And one of them comes from Switzerland. I don't identify with either flags. However, you helped me point out why I was not feeling at ease. There was some deception from my part. I was not aware of it. I do identify as a World citizen. That's what I resonate the most with. People are people. So I'll find a way to portray how I feel based on your great idea, thanks!

Instead of putting a flag, put 3 flags: your original culture, where you're staying right now, where you want to go, plus, then put the world emoji.

Only the flag of where you're staying when you don't look like you're from there says "I want to fit in" (power to others, and her).
Three flags and the world say "I'm bigger than your little Swiss horizons" (power to you).

Whenever they ask, turn it into a power proposition. The general attitude is: bit of a mix, traveled around, maybe move again, we'll see. The attitude is "you can't put me on a box, I'm a world citizen".

That is interesting. My original culture is where I live right now. I have parents from 2 different cultures, that's all. And one of them comes from Switzerland. I don't identify with either flags. However, you helped me point out why I was not feeling at ease. There was some deception from my part. I was not aware of it. I do identify as a World citizen. That's what I resonate the most with. People are people. So I'll find a way to portray how I feel based on your great idea, thanks

When I'm not careful, I will deceive myself about aspects of my race as well.
Usually, these aspects have some elements of truth, and I feel uncomfortable & unfairly treated due to this stereotype.
Sometimes, this has tangible effects, especially when I meet people for the first time.
So, in a way, I cannot ignore the appearance of my race.
But I can do my best to transcend the superficial elements of my race.

So how should I view my race as part of my self-image, my ego?
In a way that is anti-fragile.

This is what I tell myself on race at the moment:

I do not based my identity on my race.
I identify myself with the human race as a global citizen.
And I do not consider a person's race when evaluating that person's character.

At the same time, people will form a snap judgement about me based on my race.
Sometimes, this judgement comes with less-than-ideal impressions.
Yes, it can be unfair.

I will do my best to transcend this surface-level impression by showcasing my deeper qualities.
Sometimes, I may fail, and this has tangible effects on others' perception of me.
But this absolutely does not say anything about me as a person.
I still identify myself to be a global citizen even though some may not consider me to be.

I recently found out that I have greater implicit biases on race than I would like to be as well.
More on this thread,
Online Test on Human Associations to Measure Biases

It made me realise that often it is through no direct fault of our own.
But we do have a responsibility of mitigating these biases.
Because of nature and nurture, we can develop random biases if we are not intentional and aware of mitigating these biases.

That being said, most people are not actively mitigating their biases and using objective, critical methods of thinking.

All these factors have made me more comfortable

  1. on the general topic of race, and
  2. the tangible effects of my appearance due to my race on people's impression of me

It is easier to pass off remarks that are general attacks on the race that you belong to.
It is more annoying when someone attributes negative things about you due to your race.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Update: I did the two flag thing for a couple of months. I don't think it changed a lot. Yesterday, a girl talked to me because she wanted to hook me up with her friend who's not on Tinder. This friend is looking for a practicing muslim man. I am not religious at all. So I told her using a couple of framing me as the prize (practicing power dynamics).

I also changed my profile: removed the two flags, left the "World citizen" with a globe as World. And I wrote: "Based on your questions, I am NOT muslim." and I received many more matches since.  I took this opportunity to frame me as in demand: "based on your questions". That being said I have many matches. So it's not even a trick. Just a frame.

So my hypothesis was right: I was victim of the prejudices and stereotypes. So the external layer is important.

Conclusion

Actively fight the stereotypes against your ethnic group is a smart strategy. Especially if you don't fit it. If you do, then the choice is yours. Otherwise you will be filtered by people who would like the "inner you" but are cautious about the "outer you". This is another debate, though.

Awesome update, John!

Nice way of phrasing it, turning the tables and indirectly showing value and attractive qualities.

Well done, and also super interesting from a social/dating dynamics perspective.

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John Freemanselffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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