Racism or personal preference in dating?

Ok, so I’ve had this debate with many of my friends, and I was wondering what the people here at SD would think about it.

I know many people who have the attitude of “I won’t date black men, or Asian men, or Hispanic women, etc, etc.” To me, that seems like pretty blatant racism, but they all deny it! When I point out the racist aspect to them, they counter with the argument that when it comes to dating, it is “personal preference,” and not racism at all. Some argue that they just don’t find a particular race “attractive” as a whole, but that they are not discriminating based on race, just their preference for a certain “look.” Others argue that their reason for not dating such and such a race is not because of their race, but because of some other reason, like “Asian men are too controlling, this other race is too cheap,” or whatever. Which to me seems like racial stereotyping if not outright racism itself.

Many of the people I have talked to are of the same race as the people they refuse to date, and thus they claim that racism is not possible as they are of that race, and that it is just “preference.”

I’m not sure what to think of that, but to me, racism is defined as a discrimation against a particular person solely on the basis of their race, which seems to be exactly what these people are doing. Am I being overly critical, or are these people really racist?

Some of them probably are racists who are trying to rationalize it, some may just be particular about who they’re attracted to, and some are afraid of what their parents [or society, or their church, or their friends] will think. Maybe there are other possibilities too.

Some people won’t date people of a certain race because of racist reasons, and some just have a preference that happens to be race. Everyone has preferences of some kind, so why should race be the one that isn’t okay? I don’t date women because I’m not attracted to them; is that sexist?

Do they only apply this to generic people of these races, or would this attitude also extend to people they know to some extent?

For example, “Asian men are too controlling, but Al doesn’t seem that way. I might date him.”

Maybe I’m weird in that I don’t really have a single type of woman that I’m attracted to. I’ve found attractive women who were tall, short, thick, thin, light or dark coming from a variety of groups. I have a real hard time anyone doesn’t want to date someone from a particular group because of their physical appearance. Then again I don’t understand people who exclusively date outside their own race either.

Well, I’m sure they know people from each race, but usually what I hear is a blanket statement like “I just won’t date (insert race and gender here).”

I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older and my personal acquaintances have become a more diverse group (and probably greater diversity in representations of sex appeal in the media has played a part as well) my personal racial preferences have diminished a lot.

I suspect though that a lot of what people find appealing is set really early in life, which means that my current attitudes may have a lot less of a role in what I find attractive than what was presented to me as sexually appealing during my formative years. So it may not be entirely the case that people’s racial preferences in dating reflect their individual attitudes. But that doesn’t mean that these attitudes occur in a vacuum – they still involve, at very least, having inadvertently internalized the attitudes of a racist society. Especially when you consider which racial groups tend to be least “attractive” statistically. (I think the idea that influence from prevailing social attitudes affects people’s individual preferences is a lot more plausible than, say, the idea that black women are just inherently less attractive than other women.)

Not weird, but it’s not weird to have more specific taste either. Neither one is more rational than the other, because for the most part attraction isn’t rational in the first place (and the rational parts seem to be more universal, like the ones associated with fertility).

I don’t mind being weird but I do have some specific taste. I prefer clear skin, symmetrical features and a nice feminine figure. As I said I’ve been attracted to both thick and thin women but they don’t typically have a body shape similar to a potato or a pole.

Part of it depends on what you consider the purpose of dating. If it’s just for fun, I entertain a broader perspective. However, for me dating was a step towards marriage and children. I wanted my children to “look like me,” I didn’t want to deal with all the issues of an inter-racial family and inter-racial children. So I limited my dating pool to my own race. In addition, I didn’t want to deal with religious conflict in the family, so I sought out potential partners who shared my faith.

I never considered this “racist”–simply practical and wise back in the 1970s when I was pairing up. I still don’t consider it “racist,” to consider these factors in life partner preference–whether it is an Indian Hindu, a Japanese Buddhist, an Arab Muslim, a white Mennonite, or a black Southern Baptist. What do the rest of you think? (And as a side note, are we allowed to consider our partner’s sexual preference, or is that sexist?)

I don’t think this is racist.

I’m with you in that I don’t really have a “type”. It’s more that I get attracted to a certain woman and she ends up being my type (physically). I don’t really find other races attractive, but maybe that’s because I haven’t been attracted to a woman of a different race (if that makes sense).

I think it’s over the top to call it racism to not be attracted to other races - a product of a society that tries way too hard to not-be-racist*.

I think it depends on the severity of the statement. For instance: I personally am not particularly attracted to black men. Now that’s not to say that I find ALL black men unattractive and would not date one. I have my preferences, obviously, but it’s far from off the table. I don’t think that’s being racist at all. I just generally find that I’m more attracted to men with a middle or far eastern flair.

However, if a person were to take the same stance to extremes and say that black men ARE unattractive, and I WON"T date them, the it could be considered racist.

. . . are you serious?

I really wouldn’t consider myself a “racist” person (though I’m sure that like everyone, I probably am, at least a little bit) but back when I was in the dating pool, of the guys I dated, at least 80-90% of them were white like me. And of the ones (let me think, maybe 3 black guys, 2 hispanic guys, 1 biracial guy and 1 asian guy) that I did date, it was frequently just one or two dates, none of them developed into lengthy relationships that necessitated introducing them to my family.

One thing that certainly entered my line of reasoning was that my parents would not have approved, my grandmother would have probably disowned me, so strident a racist was she, and for the long-term prospects… I think mixed-race couples get the short end of the stick, more often than not. It’s an uphill battle.

So I tended to ask myself after a couple of dates, would this guy really be WORTH all that mess? Can I really see myself causing a family shitstorm and maybe ending up estranged from some of them because of something as meaningless as skin color?

None of the guys were spectacular enough that I said, “oh hell yea, bring on the family hate! This guy is totally worth it!” so I ended up with someone white.

Racist? Yea, probably. But I would never give my own kids any trouble if they want to cross the color lines someday. I kind of hope that they do. It’ll be some evidence that I haven’t screwed up too badly as a parent.

Of course they’re racist. We’ve “learned” that practically everything everyone does it racist, in fact.

Well if you’re white that is. :rolleyes:




It depends.

Is there disgust when they talk about a certain group of people? Like, “Ew! Why would I want to date a white guy?!” Or is it a more muted response: “I haven’t met a white guy that really knocks me off my feet, but I’m not writing them off yet.”

Is it all they can talk about? “See, this is why I don’t like X people!” “That’s why I like Y people !”

Is it apparent that they don’t have any experiences to draw from, just stereotypes? “All black guys are thugs.” “All Asian guys are short and nerdy.” “White men don’t have real dicks.”

Do they have a fetish or self-hating going on? “Asian women are pure sexiness.” “I want to have babies with a white person so my kids will be pretty.”

I think it is preference.

However, I DO view it as racism if they sense they are falling for someone of another race, but choose not to act on their feelings solely because of the persons’ race.

I never thought I’d be interested in anyone of another race, since I had naturally always been attracted to white guys the most . But now? I am interested in a wonderful guy who happens to be African American. I certainly am not going to hold back my feelings, because I judge people for their character, not their race.

Since you asked, I’ll tell you my reaction. Maybe I’m biased because I have mixed race children, but I don’t understand why you would want your children to “look like you.” Or what exactly you mean by that. My children, despite being half something other than me, look like me. One more than the other, but that’s the nature of children in general. And what “issues” are you seeing with an “inter-racial family?”

I don’t think your attitude make you a racist, but i don’t understand it.

Somewhat different situation, but when my aunt and uncle were adopting they wanted a white baby because they’re white and my aunt was really, really sensitive about the situation (infertility has been a very difficult thing for her to cope with) and didn’t want it to be obvious that their child wasn’t biologically theirs, because, you know, strangers are nosy bastards. Was that racist? I’m not sure. I don’t really think it was right, but it’s kind of understandable.

My kid is biracial too and looks a lot like me. But strangers, in addition to being nosy bastards are also idiots, and a lot of times don’t see the resemblance because they get stuck on obvious things like skin color. I don’t care though. My mom always insisted that I would, but I never have. I wouldn’t have cared if she really hadn’t looked like me (and she didn’t at first).