Why "Preference" is the Racist Mot du Jour
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.
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".