I hear it all too often: “I’m not racist, but I just wouldn’t date [insert race/ethnicity].”
If you have to start a sentence with a clarification that you’re not racist, that’s a pretty good indicator that you need to reevaluate whatever you’re about to say aand your probably wrong.
By stating that you wouldn’t date a certain group, you are essentially claiming that their superficial qualities would make it impossible for you to form an emotional connection – which is, let’s face it, racist.
Take a fairly basic – brunettes:
You’re into brunettes. A few of your past partners have been brunettes. But if a blondie starts flirting with you, are you really going to shut them down immediately? Probably you will.
You have NO bearing on their personality yet and you likely recognize that hair color has little-to-no effect on potential romantic compatibility.
So why is the logic of superficial judgment validated when it comes to race?
Not dating someone on the basis of hair color sounds stupid.
Yet time and time again, racial preferences are shrugged off as a legitimate and immutable aspect of sexual individuality, to the point where questioning them is demonized as threatening someone’s personal expression with uptight, irrational political correctness.
You’re probably noticing that this train of thought has a lot in common with the “born this way” argument for queerness…
Saying that you only want to date a specific race is equally problematic because it defines someone by their ethnicity.
Assuming that someone’s racial background gives them more desirable qualities reflects harmful histories of colonialism and the exotification and fetishization that went along with it.
Basically, if someone’s skin color alone is enough to make you attracted or not attracted to them, take a step back and think about your life choices.
The Effects of Perceived Racial Difference
Race and ethnicity have also been mistakenly correlated to supposedly irreconcilable cultural and socioeconomical differences.
People associate certain races with certain cultures and come to the foregone conclusion that they couldn’t possibly understand someone from an unfamiliar culture enough to build a relationship.
At best, this ideology is simple ignorance. At worst, it borders on a racial superiority complex since the assumption is that your way of life is better and shouldn’t be tainted or complicated by taking on the onus of navigating cross-cultural differences.
This has a ripple effect on other preconceived notions as well, such as associating ethnic backgrounds with a certain career trajectory and earning potential. Such a train of thought arbitrarily privileges some groups over others based on the positive or negative stereotypes that underpin their race.
The argument that you can know whether or not someone is a good person with a strong work ethic just by looking at them is beyond ridiculous. You can’t guess how ambitious someone is any more than you can guess their hobbies.
Racial preferences reduce people to their ethnicity and reinforce racial hierarchies by insinuating that race alone is a powerful enough factor to negate everything else that someone has to offer.
Claiming that someone is unworthy of associating with you because of race and hiding behind the flimsy excuse of sexual tastes or lack of hypothetical romantic chemistry is racist.
Blanket assumptions based on race, ethnicity, and culture, particularly when these qualities are perceived as inherent deal breakers in forming a potential relationship, are not okay.
You can’t know whether or not you have chemistry with someone unless you get to know them.
Your biases could be cutting you off from an incredibly fulfilling relationship.
Dating is hard enough without allowing stereotypes to bottleneck your dating pool.
Be open-minded, get laid.