Love/Fetish: Common Pitfalls of Interracial Dating, Part II
NOTE: This post has been edited from its original published form. I’ve recently opted to limit my use of anecdotes in otherwise analytical posts, as they are often read as less-than-objective when too much of my own personal experience is interjected.
The following is a short list of some of the more common mistakes otherwise well-intentioned people make when attempting to date/love interracially:
- Black/White couples are NOT the interracial paradigm. Race doesn’t exist in any biological sense. It is entirely a social construct, kind of a big stupid game of Pretend that everyone agrees to play. That said…there are other races. I have never seriously dated a White person – for reasons I would rather not go into too much here – but I have (and am currently) dated interracially. Further, it has been my experience that people of color who think of interracial dating in terms of White/non-White have severe internalized racism. Why? Because the idea, however unconscious, is that what is prized, and what is at stake within the tense space of an interracial relationship or interracial dating, is Whiteness and its accompanying privilege. In other words, POC who chose to date each other aren’t “losing” anything…so it doesn’t “count.” Nice, right?
- Even ”positive” stereotypes are harmful. There is ALWAYS a flip side. Asians good at math, Blacks good at sports/dancing, Latinos skilled and passionate lovers…disgusting. Even non-malicious racism is ultimately harmful, because it reduces a person’s humanity.
- Dating/sleeping with someone from another race doesn’t make you not racist. If it did, this country wouldn’t HAVE a race problem. Let’s give up the ghost on this one: people from different ethnic, cultural and racial backgrounds have been interacting, engaging and fucking since the dawn of bloody time. Racism persists. Next topic, please.
- Exoticizing/fetishizing is NOT flattering OR healthy. Going on about what “beautiful creatures” Black women are is demeaning. No one who objectifies you respects you or views you as an equal. This is true for White people as well, but it’s DOUBLY true for people of color. If someone is attracted to and aroused by your “otherness” – your difference – rest assured they are getting off on your oppression.
- It’s not the racism outside that destroys interracial love. It’s the racism inside. Rather, not properly addressing it, or choosing not to see it, or letting it go unchecked for fear of causing tension. There is no such thing as “colorblindness” – i.e., not seeing race. Anyone who says that they don’t “see” race is a liar. Sorry, they just are. We ALL see race. (And we should since this is the first step to removing the shame and stigma that come with being “raced”.) It just shouldn’t be all that we see.