We all have preferences when it comes to dating, whether it’s a preference for a more athletic partner than someone more academically oriented, or preferring someone with facial hair over someone. one who has none. But there are some who have incredibly specific racial preferences for a partner, explicitly stating what races they would and wouldn’t date, based on little or no personal reasoning. This begs the question of whether you can actually have racial preferences for dating, or whether “preferences” simply mask our racial biases.
Not all racial preferences are inherently biased. For example, many of my first-generation immigrant friends tell me that they would prefer to date someone within their own culture and religion because they are such an integral part of their lives. Additionally, some groups would prefer to date someone of their own race to avoid the fetishization that often occurs in interracial relationships. However, preference quickly turns into prejudice when people make sweeping statements, such as “I would never see myself dating an Asian man” or “I’m just not attracted to black women; I prefer white women. These general statements are usually based on subconscious racial stereotypes, such as the association of South Asian men with a more nerdy past or black women with higher levels of aggression and hypersexuality.
When you say you just won’t date someone of a certain race, you’re assuming that there’s something that unites everyone of that race that makes them inherently unattractive. Saying you won’t date a black man, for example, assumes that all other things aside, you refuse to date someone with that skin color, or assume that all black men have some sort of trait common that you find inherently unattractive.
Also, saying you would only date black men or Asian women, for example, is not necessarily a compliment to “desired” racial groups. Historically, marginalized groups were notoriously undesirable, due to common beliefs of their ethnic inferiority. Therefore, wanting to exclusively date someone in these historically unpleasant groups could be considered a successful social step. However, it is usually a symptom of the overfetishization of a certain group.
Those who “prefer” black men tend to associate them with overly masculine characteristics, such as a large, muscular body and the stereotype of larger genitals. A preference for Asian women is usually the result of the stereotype that Asian women are smaller, exotic, and submissive. With these specific “preferences”, people of certain races are often seen as nothing more than a body, which perpetuates harmful stereotypes and violent relationships. Black women’s bodies were historically oversexualized by European colonizers, which in their minds justified their prolonged abuse and enslavement.
Stereotyping and fetishization also extend beyond basic racial categories. Skin color, hair types, and other individual characteristics can also be tools to justify harmful stereotypes and unfair biases in dating, including the masculinization of darker skin or the objectification of blondes. Distinguishing between darker-skinned Southeast Asians and lighter-skinned East Asians shows how these subcategories can play a role in dating stereotypes. Southeast Asian men – hailing from areas such as Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines – tend to be viewed as more delinquent and toxic compared to the model minority myth projected onto Asian men. East Asia. When we label these groups as toxic or inherently evil partners, it essentially becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where groups might internalize stereotypes and justify and glorify toxic behaviors.
Stereotypes commonly associated with different races stem largely from media portrayal, including comments and characterizations on TV shows and movies, news sources, advertisements, the porn industry, and others. major media forms.
Hollywood has a long history of problematic portrayals of minority groups in movies and television. For example, we often see portrayals of black people as overly sexual and animalistic, which can have an incredible impact on how they are ultimately seen as a group in real life, leading to the objectification they can feel in relationships.
The porn industry, however, is one of the main contributors to these stereotypes. With categories based on racial qualities, the idea that certain groups of people are meant to be objectified in different “sexual fantasies” prevails, no matter how many people try to justify the idea that its unrealism and fantasy is a reality. well known among those who engage in pornographic depictions of minorities.
We need to begin to examine our own attraction biases to better recognize how our preferences can be shaped by harmful stereotypes and the categorization of minorities into monolithic groups and to reduce the barriers to dating that these stereotypes maintain. Having preferences is part of being human, but having those preferences over others is not.