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Auntie SparkNotes: Am I a Racist Dater?

Auntie SparkNotes: Am I a Racist Dater?

Dear Auntie,

I am a young, black female, who has never ever, ever in her life been attracted to a black guy.

GASP! I know, odd, right?

All my life, I have been attracted to every other race except black. White boys, Mexican boys, even Indian boys, but never, ever a black guy. My first boyfriend was white, and the one after was black and Mexican (a "blaxican", I guess?) and that is the closest I have ever gotten to dating a black guy. I have black friends, even black guy friends, and I love them to death, but when it comes to black guys and dating, I just can't do it.

I'm not sure what it is about them, but I just feel awkward and uncomfortable with any black guy that has ever tried to get with me, and I'm not even sure what it is. My parents tell me I am limiting myself and that I could miss out on a great relationship if I refuse to date black guys, but I don't do it intentionally. I literally just CAN'T be with a black guy. Whatever is in me just wont allow me to be attracted to them. I have tried to date one, and it just didn't work. I feel awkward, and I never feel any connection at all.

Anyway, am I racist, or is it normal?

Um... yes!

Which is to say: this isn't really an "or" question. Because declaring all the people of one race to be a monolith of non-attractiveness is, unfortunately, a totally normal thing to do—a totally normal thing to do which also happens to be totally straight-up racist.

Consider: people of a given race don't all look the same, think the same, or act the same. They don't have the same jobs or interests of level of education. They don't all read the same books, hang out at the same places, or live their lives in the same manner. The people of a given race have literally no unifying characteristic, except that one or more of their ancestors originally hailed from a particular part of the world.

So, basically, you just can't claim to be objectively uninterested in a vast, diverse group of people—a group that includes everyone from Colin Powell and Barack Obama to Anthony Mackie and Idris Elba to Frank Ocean and Jesse Williams—without setting off a whole bunch of Bigot Alarms. (And also because Idris Elba is, factually speaking, hot as balls. *Pant pant pant drooooool*.)

Meanwhile, here's a fun experiment I'd like you to try. Think back to the awkwardness and lack of attraction you felt with the one black dude you've dated, and ask yourself: how much of that actually stemmed from his blackness—as opposed to his individual behavior, or his unique personality, or his particular physical features? How much stemmed from assumptions you may have made about him, based on cultural stereotypes? How much stemmed from our society's incredibly narrow, incredibly arbitrary standard for who's considered desirable?

And then, ask yourself: do you really feel comfortable dismissing a group made up of millions of people as impossibly unattractive, based on your having not been interested in, like, ten of them?

Maybe this exercise in critical thinking will help crack open your biases a bit... or whatever, maybe it won't. It's not as though the world will stop turning just because you've decided you OMG LITERALLY CAN'T be with a black guy, ever. Nobody can force you to change your mind about your dating discriminations—just as other people are entitled to deem you icky and undateable yourself.

But in the interest of making the world a better place, where people are judged on nothing more or less than their own individual merits, the decent thing to do when you uncover a prejudice inside yourself is to examine it, consider it, and ask yourself if it really serves you.

Especially when your prejudice would have you deny the scientifically-proven status of Idris Elba as a bona fide actual dreamboat of beefcake deliciousness. I mean, really. REALLY. FOR REAL.

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Topics: Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, dating, advice, racism

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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