Friday for Clutch Magazine I recount the time my friend -- who sometimes struggles to relate to white people -- announced she was going to start dating white guys as if it was a "Coke versus Pepsi" kind of thing. We got a good laugh out of that one, but it touched on a deeper issue. Are you dating someone because they share your values and interests or are you just dating via stereotypes?
Here's a snippet:
There’s this thing that people do when they exoticize the “other;” they lose the human element. White men stop being men and turn into mythical unicorns, devoid of psychological burden. Asian women stop being women, and turn into submissive sex kittens. White women stop being women and become happy-go-lucky, trophy doormats. Black women stop being women and are suddenly sex-crazed, unmarriageable, rage monsters. Black men stop being men and become walking penises. Basically, we’re all prone to be turned into someone’s fetish, reduced to the sum of our stereotypes.
How can someone date white men, but not like white women? They come from the same place, essentially. They share various cultural signifiers and nationalities. For someone to be cool with one gendered half of a race but despise the other leads me to think that even the half they “like” is still based on seeing someone as a “type” and not an individual. White Man is not a brand of Instant Boyfriend you can pick up down at Target. You might happen upon a man who you can share your interests, talents, and life with, who just so happens to be a white guy, but just Perfect White Man? They don’t make that.
Plus, the ability to make meaningful, long-term friendships across the racial divide will serve you well if you do get serious with a white guy. After all, I’m sure that guy will have family and friends who will possibly look a lot like him. How are you going to get along with all of them if you can’t relate to them (and if they can’t relate to you) as a human being? You’re not dating people in a vacuum. You’ll have to deal with the reality of interpersonal relationships called “your people’s people” at some point.