Why excluding races when choosing who to date is racist

Image via Thinkstock
Image via Thinkstock

Don’t limit your dating pool based on stereotypes

By Carlos Bilan, Staff Writer

To start, I would like to point out that it is okay to have preferences. You have a type—that’s cool! You know which personality you feel is compatible for you. You are attracted to specific traits that you find to be a turn-on. Not all preferences are oppressive or intrinsically biased. However, when you say that you are not attracted to a certain type of race because of perceived negative traits, then that is racist.

One would argue that racial preferences are the same as sexuality. Some gay people refuse to date people of the opposite sex, so misinformed people might use that as an example to justify that it is okay to have racial preferences. Well, the argument is invalid, as no one decides to refuse to date a person of a certain race at birth. Sexuality is a valid biological concept, whereas racial exclusion is socially constructed and acquired either consciously or subconsciously, whether from your one bad experience with a person of that race, or the racist representations perpetuated in media.

It is usually the case that a person refuses to date a certain race because they think that all people of that race have certain negative traits, which could be related to appearance, attitude, etc. It is prejudiced because you are making absurd claims that every person belonging to that group possesses those negative attributes, which are in fact not racially exclusive. Most of these attributes can be found in different races, including the race of a person qualified to date you. In other words, you are saying that it will be impossible to form a romantic, emotional, or sexual connection with such a person due to superficial qualities.

The racism behind having racial preferences can be illustrated through this parallel scenario. You have been given a stack of folders, and each folder contains a potential soulmate and their personality. Of course, attached in each file is a photo of the person. Every single person in the files have positive attributes that you find attractive, and they have a personality that is a perfect match to yours. However, lets say you refuse to date Asians because of some bigoted generalization. Now, when you see an Asian person, you throw the file away and refuse to read it. That Asian person could have been a perfect match for you, but you did not even take the time to learn more about them when they could have been the best person you’ll ever meet.

“But that example is flawed. If life were like that, I’d actually read every file and date every race,” you might say. Actually, you can indeed read all the files by getting to know a person and not immediately dismissing them due to biased and oppressive racial stereotypes. One could argue that you would not date someone who you are not attracted to physically. That may be true, but to say that someone’s race or skin colour is not attractive to you does sound prejudiced. Every person has a personality too, and the fact you do not consider getting to know the person more and immediately exclude them instead is plain discrimination. You are using race as a strong negating factor against all the other good things that a person has to offer.

I am not saying that you have to feel obligated to date every person from different races for the sake of inclusivity. I just want to put the point across that racial preferences are rooted in bigotries that oppress people of colour. Moreover, if you feel that you are not attracted to a certain race, then it will take time to change that, and it is not easy. However, if you now realize that your actions may be racist, and you want to unlearn it, then you can start by recognizing that someone’s skin colour has no effect on the potential romantic compatibility between you and that person. Be open-minded and acknowledge that racial biases and prejudiced thinking could be preventing you from having a wonderful relationship. Let’s face it; it’s already difficult to find the perfect person, so why allow stereotypes to make it even harder for you by limiting your dating pool?