The Importance Of Skin Color in Choosing Who We Date
by Earnest Harris – Producer/Director/Writer with Marlo Entertainment
Posted: March 5, 2010 12:00 PM
I saw this interesting article about all these dating websites, like eHarmony and the like, and how when it comes to dating across cultural lines, very few people, percentage-wise, are electing to consider dating someone that doesn’t look like them. I was actually surprised by that to tell you the truth. It’s not that I see an overwhelming number of so called “interracial couples,” so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. But based on my own life and circle of friends, I think maybe I have a warped view of reality.
Here are some segments from the article, titled “My Race Based Valentine” from Time magazine:
This Valentine’s Day, more of us than ever will be looking for love online. And if recent studies are any guide, relatively few women on mainstream dating sites will bother to respond to overtures from men of Asian descent. Likewise, black women will be disproportionately snubbed by men of all races. Yes, even though America has been flirting intensely with a postracial label for some time, color blindness is not upheld as an ideal in the realm of online romance. On some sites, it’s not even an option.
And there was this:
After attempting to control for attractiveness (using something OkCupid calls a picture-rating utility) and compatibility (on the basis of answers to questions covering everything from spirituality to dental hygiene), the study found that black women garnered the fewest responses of any female group. White women responded at much higher rates to white men than to men of color. Asian women’s and Latinas’ response rates showed even stronger preferences for white men.
But as the piece asked, does closing the door on the possibility of anyone that doesn’t look like you, equal racism? Or is it just that old, “people are more comfortable being around other people who share their background and experiences” thing?
Frankly, I have to say it is both.
Which means it is undeniably, partially racism. And when I say it is a racist decision, in this case I am simply meaning it is a decision based in part or in whole on the color of someone’s skin. As in I will not consider dating someone outside of my “race” or within a certain “race.” It isn’t necessarily the “I hate these people” variety, but “race” based decision making it is. And it is true whether one is White, Black, Asian or any ethnic group. And by the way, I am also not saying because you date or marry someone of the same culture you have made a “race-based” or culture-based decision. Maybe you just happened to find Mr. or Mrs. Right within in your culture and because you came across each other quite naturally. Here, I am talking about a definite decision to exclude from the possibility anyone and everyone that is in a certain group.
To purposely not check a certain box signifying a certain group of people that you would consider dating, by definition means you are making assumptions about that group and everybody in it. Or you are expressing a dislike for members of that group, as least when it comes to relationships. If all that matters was finding a mate that matched your interests and backgrounds then there would be no need to de-select any ethnic group because all of your other preferences and likes and dislikes would already filter out anyone who didn’t share your values and background. Which might or might not eliminate most of certain groups anyway.
But de-selecting a certain group means even if they shared your values and interests, you wouldn’t date them anyway.
Now some will argue that this is still not necessarily racism, but rather for some, a fear of what others around them might think and therefore it is simply the avoidance of unnecessary problems. And I can actually buy that. I do think for a lot of people it is too much to have to deal with society’s judgments, which unfortunately, do still exist when it comes to certain types of relationships.
Which begs a whole different question.
Is it racist to give in to racists?
Read the full article here.
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The “importance”, eh?
If people really wanted to consider the importance of whom they date and marry, people would do well to look for someone who would offer them the best mate as opposed to what race/skin color/or ethnicity that person “belonged” to.
“But as the piece asked, does closing the door on the possibility of anyone that doesn’t look like you, equal racism?”
Yes, it does equal racism.
How would you know if that person (Black, White, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc.) is not the right person for you?
If you cut that person off, if you do not give them the benefit of a doubt, if you write them off because of preconceived stereotypical lies and myths about that person’s “group”, then you have committed a travesty against their humanity. How do you know that you are not kicking to the curb someone who would have been the best husband or wife for you? How do you know that that Black woman who works at your job would not be a good wife or mother? How do you know that that quiet Asian man would not be the best husband and father material?
When people make disparaging statements such as the following:
“I would never date/bring home a Black woman”
“I have no interest in dating an Asian man”
“Nothing but a Black man for me”
“White women are easy, and better than all other women in the world”
. . . .they write off, they stamp out, they close the door on potential relationships that could have blossomed if only they had at least opened themselves up to talking to the person of an opposite racial/ethnic group. When people would rather be lazy, trifling, and racist because they will not take the time to consider the humanity of another person, then they do themselves and the other person an injustice.
Therefore, they are racist for presuming that those of Other groups lack humanity and importance.
“Or is it just that old, “people are more comfortable being around other people who share their background and experiences” thing?”
In addition to being blatantly racist, statements such as the “I only want to be around people who share my background/experiences” is nothing but a tautology.
In uttering such statements, the racist refuses once again to acknowledge the humanity of another human being. The article, “Seeking My Race-Based Valentine” clearly paints a picture of those who let their biases (not preferences) paint them into a corner of not recognizing the humanity of humans who do not have the same racial or ethnic attributes as they.
So, morality exists only in one racial group? Thrift and frugality exists only in one racial group? The quest for joy, happiness, peace of mind (as well as peace on Earth), exists only in one racial group?
The love of a beautiful flower, a tree, the good Earth, is found only in one racial group? The love of a good book, the symphony, live plays, the intricate beauty of seeing Mare Tranquilitatis through a telescope, can only be found in only one racial group?
When people play these cop-out games of “no one can understand me but those of my group” they show the utmost stupidity and crass immorality that can occur.
To believe in such racial ignorance diminishes both the humanity of the close-minded believer and the person against whose humanity this racist doubt is cast.
All humans the world over cry, sing for joy, become wounded from the pains of life. All humans the world over fret and worry over what the future holds for their offspring. All humans the world over live, laugh, love, bleed, work, strive and die.
All humans the world over, share the same desires, needs, and wants.
All humans in the end are simply human.
But many of the sick, twisted racists out there, would rather persist in looking past, looking around, and looking over the humanity of another fellow human being.
More the pity for them, and their loss.
Then again, perhaps no loss.
Perhaps it is all for the best, for who needs someone in their lives who cares nothing about that person’s humanity, but, would instead, rather believe in hated lies and myths?
“But de-selecting a certain group means even if they shared your values and interests, you wouldn’t date them anyway.
Now some will argue that this is still not necessarily racism, but rather for some, a fear of what others around them might think and therefore it is simply the avoidance of unnecessary problems.”
But, what guarantee would a person have that those of their group would be the right person for them? Not every person of the same racial group has the best interests at heart for many members of their own group. Just because people share the same group does not mean that there are members of that group who will not do harm or wrong to someone with the same racial background. Neither is it true that people of the same racial backgrounds have it any easier than IRs.
So-called intraracial/monoracial couples do not have problems from society, only so-called interracial pairings do? A Black woman and a Black man do not face problems from society, only an interracial couple does? A Black man is always intuned to and receptive of the lives of what Black women experience in America on a day-to-day basis, and there are no other men of other races who are capable of seeing the beauty and humanity of Black women at all.
No men whatsoever at all?
Simply the avoidance of “unnecessary problems”?
Hell, we all will have problems in our lives. Problems often can and will present themselves as soon as we walk out our front doors.
It is in how we take on and confront those problems that say a lot about our integrity, our fortitude, our character.
The cop-out lie of an excuse that IRs will cause more problems only feeds into the systemic racial attitudes that proliferate the American conscious, the gutless spineless fear of what others will think of your choice of mate.
Others will not help you pay the bills, keep the groceries coming in, not take care of your health, not sleep beside you in bed when life kicks you down so hard that you feel you cannot get back up, when the shit comes down so hard you feel that you have to wear a hat.
What others think will not be there waiting for you at the end of the day.
It will be that person whom you pledged your life to who will be waiting for you on the other side of the door.
That person whom you took vows with at the altar who will be the one along with you who will have to take on life. No one else can walk that road but you, and all the naysayers and haters will scatter like so much chafe and dust when you need them the most, especially when the going gets tough.
Which begs a whole different question.
Is it racist to give in to racists?”
Yes, it is most definitely racist to give in to the racist amongst us.
But, most of all, it is the mark of a coward.
We all have one life to live in this world, and worrying, and fretting, and scurrying about on what someone else thinks is not only pathetic, it is sad.
Many people on their deathbed regret so many of the things they did in their youth (or old age), that they should have not done; such are the facts of life. The regrets of the bad things we wish, in hindsight, we should have shown more temperance for, more forbearance for, more wisdom for.
But, on the other hand, there will also be those of us who will also regret the many things we did not do.
All for fear of what co-workers and so-called friends would think.
All for fear of what mommy or daddy would do.
All for fear of recognizing and accepting the humanity of another human being.
More the pity.
More our loss.