It’s the subject people hardly like discussing because… well because we’d all like to think that in 2013 this is not an issue or a factor in our decisions/thoughts, but in reality, whether consciously or subconsciously, race does have an influence in our mind.
I’d like to start out with mentioning that I love discussing race/ethnicity often, especially as a person of color. I love hearing various perspectives, asking questions, and navigating the thoughts of others, specifically those of the caucasian persuasion. I wish more people could discuss this important topic in a scholarly and non-threatening manner, but as I said earlier, it’s a sensitive topic.
I will start by building a platform of myself. If I am walking down the street, 100% of passing strangers will classify me as African American. That is a correct observation. I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. I went to elementary school, Jr High School, and High School in an environment that was quite diverse. In fact, the diversity that I grew up around seemed to be an anomaly of sorts as I grew older and talked to more people about their childhood. Even with all this diversity, my childhood/current friends are still predominantly white. This is most likely due to the classes I was enrolled in during school. I’ve taken advanced classes since I was in 5th grade and it just so happens that ~96% of my classmates for seven years were white. I received my bachelors degree in 2012 at one of thee whitest Universities in America. We’re known as the “Public Ivy League” and the average student seemingly is wealthy, preppy, stuck up, attractive, and well… white. If you only spend a short amount of time on that campus you will certainly come to those conclusions. However, I spent four years there and I truly couldn’t imagine going to a different University. Granted, I probably would’ve fit in much better at numerous other institutions but I like a challenge when it comes to people. In 2013 my friend group, which feels large, is still predominantly white. One thing I hear often from them as well as strangers is “you’re not really black…” and a variation of this statement.
Personally I think my perspective of race, behavior, and relations is far more mature than most people. I feel like could write a dissertation on the matter. But I digress. There’s a reason we as humans stereotypes and compartmentalize different groups into categories. It helps us quickly make judgements about people in order to protect ourselves. It’s an unconscious evolution thing (I think). How does this innate human behavior affect us when it comes to dating?
We can’t help who we’re attracted to. My history of attraction with real life people just happens to be 100% white women. Now if you put celebrities in that percentage then we’d need a pie chart to illustrate. Nonetheless, I think who I’m currently attracted to comes from the environments I’ve spent the majority of my lifetime in. I’m not saying that I could never be attracted to a woman who is not white. Actually, every time I’ve gone to visit friends in cities that are breathtakingly diverse, my attraction shifts to just about every woman who is not white, or at least my interests greatly diversify. I love that I’m able to do that. My worry is that the majority of others aren’t able to do that. For me, dating outside of my race has never even been a concern. Not once have I ever been fearful of being attracted to someone who is not African American. My siblings display the same philosophy as well. They too have never dated anyone who was African American (not to my knowledge). I think my concern lies in the fact that I know it’s hard enough to come out as LGBTQ, but then to lay on your friends and family that your partner is of a different race adds another complex dimension. No one wants to make things harder than it already is, so why would they take that risk? Maybe I’m just lacking confidence in the human race as a whole. My faith in people and their willingness to explore things and people different from them is pretty nonexistent. I often hope I’m wrong. But then I remember that not everyone is the same and those people who live with tunnelvision eyes are not for me. There are people out there who are attracted to the person and not what they look like. But what happens if you fall for someone with tunnelvision eyes? I live my life carrying a grandiose personality and I try to throw it on every one who comes near me. However, I walk through life subconsciously thinking someone will miss out on me because they’re not attracted to someone of my color. Again I know that’s their loss, but what a terrible occurrence. People immediately dimiss others because they’re not attracted to them, because their race isn’t in their history of attraction. I do that too…
So how do we deal with this? Just keep being yourself. Be the best you and the right people will hopefully gravitate towards your presence. If you ever fall for someone and they don’t like you back because of your skin color, well most likely you’ll never know. How often will someone tell you they’re not attracted to you because you’re not white, black, latina, etc? Rarely, because most people are respectful enough to not be explicitly assholish. My last advice:
BE OPEN TO WHO YOU LOVE. YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOU COULD BE MISSING.
(I’ll try to follow my own advice)
(P.S. yay for television/media trying to become more diverse with programming. Opening minds. You still have a ways to go)
(P.P.S. Sorry if this was so scatter-brained. I have so many thoughts about this)