Why "Preference" is the Racist Mot du Jour

*shakes head*

People crack me up, and yes, I am talking about all people in this post.  Humans can truly be a two-faced breed.

I am deeply amused by the "Preference Defense" people employ when trying to defend what they want in a long-term mate of a specific color and why.  This is one of those instances where everyone - at some point in the conversation - drops the "I am not a shallow racist, but..." line, or its slightly less conspicuous twin.  This is one of those instances where I actually have to respect people who flat out state, "I'm a shallow racist, that's why I prefer [insert race here]".  Not-so-oddly enough, I've yet to actually hear that one in mixed company.

So why aren't people just being honest?  I have a thought or two on that.

Reason #1 - Denial of the Natural

We are all attracted to and sexually curious about each other, whether we care to admit it or not, or understand it or not.  It has to do with this pesky little thing called "being human".  We're designed that way to improve upon our species' design and overall chance of survival.

Humans are not the special animals we like to think we are.  Geneticists not only debunked the whole myth about "different human races" decades ago, but they also established that when choosing mates, "outbreeding" is actually the wisest course.  So when you hear about mixed kids having superior immune systems, that's nature doing what it does best.

When you hear about genetic disorders plaguing racially segregrated societies, that's human arrogance doing what it does best.

So if outbreeding is wise, why do humans work so hard to avoid it?  Humans are vain.  Traditionally, wisdom and vanity do not go hand in hand.  And since wisdom isn't shiny, vanity often trumps it, especially in a narcissistic, instant gratification-obsessed, sociopath-infested society like ours.

Reason #2 - Crowd Psychology

Speaking of, humans often want what's in demand; they want it on their arm, and they want everyone else to be jealous of it.  America's obsession with image is unparalleled; anyone who denies it hasn't been watching MTV or VH1 lately.  Tiger and Elin, for example, married each other because of image: he's the tall, dark, filthy-rich athlete, and she's the coveted Aryan aesthetic ideal.  Their marriage came to a predictable, disastrously cliched end, and I for one am unapologetically amused by it.

By the way, I feel I should point out that when the citizens of a society are pushed towards impossible standards of perfection and regularly see romance treated like a product, the corporations of that society flourish.  If you frighten people and teach them to hate themselves, then rest assured they will make you rich.
If you are an average person, you're at war with Hollywood whether you know it or not.

The folks who run Hollywood don't believe in "average."  Average, though technically meaning "the norm", translates to "boring, mediocre, unexciting, unattractive, and something you simply 'settle' for" in Hollywood.  In case you're wondering why so many sickly-looking celebrities (yes, they're sick; no, they're not "healthy") are such attention whores, it's because their job tells them they have to be anything but ordinary.

"Ordinary", of course, refers to peeps like us.  Every day, Hollywood reminds us we're "ordinary" and how God should have mercy on our miserable souls.

Ahhhh...but here's the rub.  If you, an average, normal, innocent person, have ever found yourself rejecting someone else on sight or social perception...it's because you're Hollywood's greatest ally.
~ Ankhesen Mié, "When Hollywood Declares War"
Reason #3 Consequential Denial

While beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and fashion tastes do change over time, the human inability to learn as a society pretty much stays the same.  In days of yore, the mot du jour was "desirable."  People didn't question it so much then, and so everyone did whatever they could to be "desirable."

People have gotten more critical in the modern world because so many different cultures with such different tastes have finally clashed.  The rise in literacy, understanding of biology, and the availability of information have further contributed to people being critical on why one skintone is marketed is as more "preferable" to another, as is one height, one build, one vision of sexuality, one definition of love, one version of marriage, and so on and so forth.

But despite the slow rise of this much needed criticism, most people (particularly the weak and stupid) stubbornly ignore reality, and yet are shocked when they experience shit like this:
50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce (Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri).

Among women that described themselves as happy, 49% said they were unhappy with their sex lives (Self magazine survey, 2010).

About one out of 10 married adults — or 12 percent — say that they typically sleep alone (National Sleep Foundation).

Unmarried women that have been cohabitating with men for 5 years or less have a 63% increased risk of obesity (University of North Carolina study).

Most cheaters – a whopping 60% -- have been in a relationship for at least five years. But 18% of newlywed women and 12% of newlywed men admitted to committing infidelity within the first year of marriage (British survey, 2005).

Only 29 percent of women report that they’re able to achieve orgasm during sex (National Health and Social Life Survey).

Just a month of cohabitation decreases the quality of a couple’s relationship (Penn State study).

15-20% of married couples report being in a sexless marriage (Newsweek).

Nearly 50% of men admit to being unfaithful at some time in their lives (MSNBC survey).

~ Courtney Bee, Sexual Health Examiner
Reason #4 - Denial of Social Reality

We are attracted to people whom we get to know - physical "preference" doesn't have a damn thing to do with it.  If humans are special animals, it's because psychological compatibility turns us on more than anything else, and people of the same "group" aren't automatically compatible in that way (for all you folks scratching your heads as to why orgasms often elude sooooo many women...).

Reason #1 & #4 are precisely why people segregate themselves.  It's precisely why one group tends to dominate media, while diligently avoiding portraying others....at least, not in a consistent, healthy, well-rounded manner.  The hope is that if you don't see it, don't speak to it, you won't know it, and thus won't want it.  But if you see it all the time, want it, and can't have it, then you'll be effectively neutered in your hopeless obsession.

Either way, somebody somewhere's making a profit off you.

Final Thought

Moral of the story, people?  Just be honest with one another, in person and online.  Stop employing the "Preference Defense" when physical traits become involved, especially skin color.  It's bullshit, and not-so-deep down, we all know it.

'Cause I'll admit I used to have a "type".  I had a "type" for years.  But then...after working at a domestic violence shelter while still in grad school, and mopping up the bloodied saliva of women who also had "types", it didn't take me too long to stop caring about what men look like.

Working with dysfunctional families for the past three years, quite naturally, has only added to that.  So now, when I actually go out with a guy, I don't focus on what he looks like, wears, drives, or how much he spends - fuck that...I need to hear him talk.

I need to know his unpretentious, brutally honest thoughts about the all messy, unpleasant, distinctively un-shiny things in life.  I need to know up-front how his mind works and how he sees the world.  If he's not black, I need to hear him talk extensively about race.  I need to know if he's some delusional POC or a cluelessly racist white guy.  I am not interested in an expensive dinner or a perfect smile or toned abs.

If I want eye candy I can go watch movies with men whose looks have been airbrushed, CGI'd and permanently captured for posterity.  Fuck, I'll even look over the pix in my Underappreciated series.  But if I'm actually going to sign my life over to the Wife-n-Motherhood...I need to hear the man talk.

Notice my key phrases here, by the way, are "need to know" & "hear him talk".

Comments

  1. Until I can gather my thoughts and write something more intelligent, I must say...
    Wow. Thank you. As a newly divorced (from a white guy) woman of color who has always dated white guys and is re-entering the dating world in my late 30s, simply meeting people is...different. Things - no - people - have changed since I was in my 20s. Aside from people "my age" being in families, with children, it's a bit dismaying to feel generally rejected where I used to feel acceptance. I'm checking out some online sites, but I don't feel too optimistic about them. Because of snap judgments based on appearances and inaccurate, short personality assessments, I think there's a tendency toward outright rejection and strange fetishisism, to name a few roadblocks. I'm hoping to organically meet someone, much as things used to happen.
    Overall, you've opened my eyes and given me some things to think about and look for.

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  2. You are most definitely welcome! I didn't expect anyone to comment so fast!

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  3. This is one of those instances where everyone--at some point in the conversation--drops the "I am not a shallow racist, but..


    Which "everyone" are you referring to? I know black women who have zero interest in dating white men,though they do have white male friends. Does that make them racist?

    There are women whose personalities I love, but I have absolutely no physical attraction to them. Nor is it society or Hollywood telling me to feel that way. It simply isn't there. I do agree that we are attracted to people we get know, but there has to be some physical connection as well-at least for me.

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  4. When I say everyone, I mean everyone. Humans are a predictable breed, and there's always one lining up to--quite predictably--declare themselves and the people they know as the exception to everything.

    These black women you Anonymous types always conveniently know who have white males friends but have zero interest in dating white men--have you ever stopped to ask them why that is? Have you told them to be brutally honest with you? Have you dissected the conversations/overall interactions they have with white men?

    1) Because if they're rejecting white men on sight, then that is racist. You can't assume things about a person you haven't met and personally had an in-depth conversation with (see Final Thought above).

    2) If they are accepting dates with white men, conversing with and then rejecting white men, then your questions should be more on what the men did or said wrong to put off the women.

    As a woman who's spent the last 10 years in a state that's well over 90% white dating (and almost marrying) white guys, I can honestly tell you white guys often say/do the wrong things to black women (and I mean, horribly wrong things). The tendency to nitpick at black women for dumping/rejecting white guys is along the lines of blaming the victim. I'm not seeing/hearing a whole lot of white men trying to properly educate and constructively criticize other white men about interacting with women of color in a healthy and respectful manner. None of them are even willing to admit the possibility of fault. They simply deflect accountability and soothe their egos by indulging ridiculous paradoxes (e.g., "a black woman who refuses to sleep with me is a 'whore'" or "an educated, black female professional who found me uninteresting is 'ghetto'").

    As for your comments about you, you're not fooling me. I've counseled your types and you all say the same thing--almost verbatim. There are always these "perfectly wonderful" women you know, but just aren't physically attracted to--"it's just not there"--bullshit.

    You are affected by your environment. You are not immune and you are not the exception--welcome to Being Human 101. Humans simply tell themselves this to feel more assured when defending their "preference". It's a commom delusional human tendency called denial and the dating world is rife with it on all sides.

    "Preference" has less to do with physical attraction, and more to do with psychological association--humans want what's "en vogue", and have for literally thousands of years. This obsession with image has helped create/preserve institutionalized misogyny, racism, and masochism (e.g., foot-binding, neck-lengthening, skin-bleaching, force-feeding/starvation, and surgical augumentation).

    Social psychologists have noticed that people today often get married because of this "preferential" thinking, and the results of this thinking are displayed above. I have actually counseled such people and they always say the same thing, "I never thought it would be me"--a classic mistake.

    (By the way, social psychologists have also noticed that people who wait until their mid-30s to marry, and who base their choices on intelligence and emotional compatibility, don't get divorced.)

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  5. You're just killin' it Ankh. You really are. I believe in conversations before we even have a "conversation", if you dig where I'm coming from.

    It is important to me that I know where your head and heart are in any matter. If I am not connecting with what you have to say, then it's time to move on, looks be damned.

    I actually believe in courtship as in we need to hang together whether formally or informally. We need to have some SERIOUS discussions.

    I am not interested in wasting precious time w/clowns and knuckleheads.

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  6. Americans like to think of themselves as individuals so it is impossible to admit how much group think is involved in our dating "preferences". The majority of preference comes from:
    A. the media
    B. peer pressure
    C. our family

    I'm guilty of the same thing. I have a "preference" for Black men but Black is such a broad category in this country that it includes everything from Wentworth Miller to Idris Elba.

    It never even occurred to me that Asian guys could be fine until I was watching Heroes and noticed Ando and Mohinder being their sexy selves. Why? Because Asian men are never shown as describable in the American media.

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  7. The line between preference and racist prejudice involves two elements:

    1. Whether the preference is irrational and
    2. Whether the preference is pervasive and systemic

    Keeping in mind that people of certain races are not confined to certain physical characteristics or personalities (i.e. not all Asian men are short math geeks), it is 100% irrational to have a preference based on race. Of course, even if people of certain races were confined to certain physical traits, it would still be irrational to have a preference based on race because it is irrational to have preferences based on superficial physical traits.

    As for element number 2, it's quite obvious that the "preferences" are not random. If they were, there would be an equal number of men who prefer black women compared to the number of men who prefer white, latino or asian women. Also, there would be an equal number of women who prefer asian men compared to the number of women who prefer white, latino or black men. Obviously, that is not occurring. The pervasive and systemic nature of these "preferences" come from America's racist, white supremacist culture and media. People who hold "preferences" that are aligned with America's racist cultural norms and values are racists themselves.

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  8. Yep, you pretty much said it all!! I have said that preferences are bullshit and heavily influenced by what is en vogue. I mean, its too obvious in so many different ways. Being a huge fan of science/biology I love your first point. There are many people who believe certain facial features, skin-tones, hair types, body types ect are inherently more attractive than others. Except for extreme and rare outliers every human combo is fair game when it comes to mating and reproduction. It goes AGAINST the trend of increasing biodiversity to find only one type of human to be the most evolutionary sound.

    Like "hunter" said if all of these preferences were totally innocent and random the proportion of men that like White, Asian, Latina and Black females would be uniform. Psychological associations bleed into so-called preferences. Its no coincident that the groups with the worst gender based stereotypes(AM and BW) are the least preferred in this society.

    Also, I love the way you handled anon/"?". These guys always use the behavior of their phantom black female friends to flip the script and project their own racial biases. They need to come clean and just say they reject people based on race, quit with the deflections, and call it a day.

    All of what you said is truth, unfortunately the majority of people(especially narcissistic Americans) hold their 'preferences' and racial biases so near and dear that any challenge of their thinking rocks them to the core. They will fight, deflect blame, and shame anyone that dares to call them out. I have always said that any person can accept and reject whomever they want for whatever reason they see fit. However, people need to be honest with themselves and stop pretending they eluded the conditioning everyone else has been exposed to.

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  9. (By the way, social psychologists have also noticed that people who wait until their mid-30s to marry, and who base their choices on intelligence and emotional compatibility, don't get divorced.)

    That really helps my chances, then! :D

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  10. And hunter knocks it out of the park!!! *claps* Brava!!!

    I have always said that any person can accept and reject whomever they want for whatever reason they see fit. However, people need to be honest with themselves and stop pretending they eluded the conditioning everyone else has been exposed to.

    *nods* 'Tis all I'm asking.

    That really helps my chances, then! :D

    When people under the age of 30 tell me they're getting married or are about to have a child, I always shake my head. They don't like it, but tough shit.

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  11. The "Final Thought" section is gritty and pulls no punches in it's tone, but this has to be one of the best pieces I have read on the cyrstalized wisdom of what's important, and also tellingly, what ain't, in the search for one's lifelong mate. I'll have to read this to my son's and daughter's when they come of age.....Well stated.

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  12. It cracks me up whenever a non-Black man say that I'm not racist, (fill in the race/ethncity) women are "unattractive" as if his preference is god and that he's above it all. I notice most white men do that both online and offline. Why is that so? Why do they feel that they above humanity. That's all I have to say for now.

    SB

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    Replies
    1. Prime example is the guy at Girls ask Guys website where a white guy declare that white women are the most beautiful while putting down women of Color and harrass anyone who said otherwise because he thinks that his opinion is valid and everyone else are wrong. He had made several accounts and went on various opinion websites spewing his racist bs while declaring himself, "I'm not racist".

      Pumpkin has several blog posts addressing that form of racism at Black, Not White Dipped In Chocolate:

      https://blacknotwhitedippedinchocolate.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/are-some-white-men-myopic-delusional-when-it-comes-to-beauty-standards/

      https://blacknotwhitedippedinchocolate.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/am-i-racist-if-im-not-attracted-to-black-women/

      https://blacknotwhitedippedinchocolate.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/racist-beauty-ideals-
      inequality-double-standards-beget-jealousy-ignorance/

      The racist, entitled wm's question at guys ask girls:

      http://www.girlsaskguys.com/sexual-behavior/q371306-who-disagrees-that-white-females-are-the-most-attractive-of-all-the

      SB

      Delete
    2. For such a superior specimen, his inflated self worth seems dependent on beating others down to nothing. How curious. You'd think a true superior person wouldn't care what 'lessers' think, yet he's proselyting like he's trying to win souls.

      I wouldn't even waste time trying to argue with the likes of him. He digs in deeper and you end up frustrated.

      Delete

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