Despite their pronounced preference for secularism and socio-cultural diversity, most Parisians say they would not enter an interracial relationship.
Rabat – A survey of sexual preferences revealed that culture, socio-economic status, and religion still carry heavy weight when it comes to dating in Paris.
The study, conducted by Cam 4, a dating website, and Ifop, a polling institute, revealed that a majority of Parisians are still reluctant to enter into interracial marriages, despite their overwhelming perception of themselves as open to cultural diversity.
The majority of Parisians prefer to only get sexually involved with people of the same perceived cultural and social background. And while neighborhoods and socio-economic reasons factor in Parisians’ reluctance to go out of their comfort zones in terms of sexual preference, race and religion are the essential markers of Paris’s “sexual ostracism,” according to the study.
Interviewing a sample of 2,000 participants aged 18 and above about their preference in terms of both short- and long-term romantic relationships, the study “shed light on the forms of geographic endogamy that affect the formation of couples in Paris.” The study found “that ethnocentrism in Paris’ romantic life gets more poignant when victims are foreigners or of foreign descent.”
Women are more sensitive to the social and cultural baggage of their prospective partner, the study found. Among white Parisian women, 57 percent of those surveyed were reluctant to form a relationship with a person from the Maghreb or the broader Orient.
The figure is 44 percent for men. Comparing across genders, the study still found that racial differences carry weight. On average, 51 percent of Parisians are not open to the idea of an “eastern” partner, with differences in religion and culture being the principal obstacles.
Of foreigners, people from Southeast Asia gained the most nods from Parisians. But even then, there is still a significant level of reluctance: Only 44 percent said they were okay with having a Southeast Asian partner.
People of sub-Saharan African descent are the least welcome of “foreigners,” the study found. Overall, 57 percent of Parisians said they would not welcome the prospect of a romantic partner from sub-Saharan Africa. The figure again gets higher when gender factors in. Sixty-two percent of female Parisians said they would not go out with a sub-Saharan man.
Other significant factors in “the desirability deficit” of minorities included places of residence (chic neighborhoods vs. banlieues), education level, perceived monthly income, and political affiliations. Right-leaning participants were much more reluctant to enter into interracial relationships.
But still, said François Kraus, an Ifop analyst who led the study, race, religion, and culture get the upper hand when it comes to deciding on long-term relationships. There is a “socio-cultural consensus” component to the reticence that minorities face in terms of sexual preferences, he argued.
People may perceive themselves as open to diversity, but when it comes to choosing their children’s school or getting into a relationship, they begin to think in terms of “a shared vision of life and society.” As minorities are thought to be from supposedly “inferior cultures,” they bear the brunt of the “social endogamy” that pervades Paris’s dating life.
“We identified a number of reasons. First, there is the stark cultural difference between French culture and Maghrebi and sub-Saharan ones…. This shows that religion and culture still play a determining role when it comes to choosing a spouse,” Kraus said.