Is it Preference or Prejudice?

Stop trying to disguise your racism as preference, cause its not working.

Kiara Jackson

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So next time you find yourself continuously swiping left on that BIPOC girl on tinder or only viewing the Black guy as hook-up material, make sure you check your racism.

Since interracial marriage became legal across the U.S., the country has seen a steady increase in interracial dating and interracial marriage. With that came this idea of “dating preference.” 

In a society that aims to be “antiracist,” it’s important that we understand the difference between preference and flat-out racism. 

Things I’ve heard a lot of lately are “I only date white women, black women are gross.” or “Sorry, I only go for Black guys.” 

Racial preference has become a common discussion in today’s society, so, let’s talk about it. 

Racial preference is the idea that someone has a penchant for dating one race over another, or the idea that a person has a stronger physical liking for one race over another. 

As a whole, preferences are not a bad thing. For example, I prefer to date someone who I have shared experiences with, I prefer guys with facial hair, people with tattoos and women who aren’t afraid to step outside of gender norms.  

These are harmless preferences, just like preferring grapes over apples. Just because you prefer grapes doesn’t mean you don’t like apples, and it definitely doesn’t mean you are going to rule out apples altogether.

This idea of a preference becomes harmful when you use it as a way to discuss your own implicit racial biases

Racial preference is the result of your own racial biases being presented in ways that uphold racial stereotypes and prejudices

We live in a society that has upheld white supremacy for as long as can be remembered, and throughout our whole life, we are taught to look at certain people in a certain way. 

Oftentimes when people say they don’t want to date a certain race it’s due to stereotypes they have attached to people of that race. 

An example of this is subconsciously stereotyping Black women as masculine, aggressive and unfeminine and as a result people refuse to date them or just say they prefer to date other races, and don’t even consider black women as a dating option.

Another example of this can be stereotyping Asian men as unmasculine, soft and having a small “sexual anatomy.”

These are all clearly harmful and untrue stereotypes, but because so many people believe them and apply them to their dating preferences, Black women and Asian men are often looked down upon in a dating capacity, and seen as inferior. Are you starting to see the problem?

Your racial preferences aren’t just preferences, but underlying racism. Black women are just as feminine as white women, we can be just as soft and shy. We are each our own individuals. 

Saying you are going to completely rule out Black women altogether based on the racial biases you have towards us, isn’t a preference, it’s racist. 

And saying that you only date white women, and completely ruling out other races just to be with a white woman isn’t a preference either. Ask yourself why you’re only willing to date white women. Any possible answer to that question will be stereotyping, racial discrimination or prejudice. 

This same thing applies to the stereotypes about Asian men. Asian men are just like any other men. They are individual people, but you are seeing them as representations of the negative stereotypes you have subconsciously learned growing up in this society. 

But preferences where you are saying that certain races are bad, aren’t the only harmful racial preferences. 

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the white woman that “only dates Black guys.” But have you ever asked her why? Nine times out of ten they are going to say something about how masculine they see Black men as, how good they are at sports or how big their “unit” is. 

Just because these all sound like they could be good stereotypes, doesn’t mean they are. This is actually called overfetishization. This is a common thing in racial preferences. 

When you are fetishizing a person or a race, you are dehumanizing the person and/or race. You are seeing the person as nothing more than their body, or the bodies that members of their race have been stereotyped to have.

Examples of this are people saying they only date Black men because they have a larger you-know-what, or only dating Black women because you see them as having bigger butts or saying they only date Asian women because they see them as more submissive.

Now, I want you to ask yourself, would you date another race? Is there a race you prefer to date? Is there a race you wouldn’t date? Chances are you probably answered yes to at least one of these questions.

Now ask yourself why. Why wouldn’t you date a certain race? Why do you have a “preference” for one race over another? Whether you realize it or not, your answer is going to be racially motivated in some way, shape or form. 

So next time you find yourself continuously swiping left on that BIPOC girl on tinder or only viewing the Black guy as hook-up material, make sure you check your racism. And at the very least, ask yourself why you’re dismissing them as being date-worthy. 

Jackson can be reached at [email protected]