The Surprising Connection Between Mixed Race Dating And Racism

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Most people enter mixed race relationships because they're in love. But there's also a part of our population that has a fetishized racial preference in dating.

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Is Fetishism Racism

Fetishism is generally lightly thought of as a preference, something that people really, really like. But when that liking upscales to obsessive preference and translates to a human being, the meaning changes. On VProud, a group of women of color discuss their experiences of people wanting to date them because of their race. The conversation of how these experiences shaped their dating lives and perceptions of the people who wanted to date them is fascinating and revealing. Millennial and VProud intern Claire HarnEnz reflects on this conversation and in doing so reveals a layer beneath fetishized mixed race dating and its connection to racism. Take a look at her astute and fascinating analysis and see what it reveals for you about the meaning behind racial preferences in dating.

—The VProud Team

mixed race dating

Modern Day Racism

In all honestly, I've never had to give much thought to mixed race dating before writing this blog. My aunts and sister have much more experience with this, with two of them marrying men of African American descent. However, it's not talked about much in our family. There were no hushed whispers about their race or comments about their hair at weddings. Instead, they are just my uncles, not my “black uncles” or anything like that. Their kids are just my adorable cousins but not necessarily because they are mixed race, more because they are just cute.

I'm tremendously lucky to have had an experience like this as thousands, if not millions, of people in the world are suffering violence and discrimination when entering a relationship that doesn't fall into what is expected. This includes gay, transgender, lesbian, and mixed race couples.

In some southern states, people still somehow have legally segregated proms. Towns are setting the social rules for kids at a young age, forcing mixed race couples into secrecy. Even if the town doesn't create the segregated prom, couples face harassment or violence if they break from the binary. Young same-sex couples face the same challenges when trying to attend school dances with their chosen companion.

In South Africa, breaking the norm has proven to be deadly. In horrifying acts, black men perform “corrective rape” on lesbian women in order to punish them for being gay. If the women continue to interact with other women, they often resort to murder. While gay marriage is legal in South Africa and white lesbians do not face this type of violence, it's extremely dangerous to be a black lesbian there. These actions are horrific and are mirrored across the world in acts of violence against gay couples.

In Nigeria, Christian and Islamic couples wishing to marry risk disownment and violence. The country has began to disapprove of interfaith marriages. This is a tragic sentiment that can be seen across the world. In Israel, interfaith marriages are not permitted inside its borders and the non Jewish spouse suffers second class treatment. These are couples who suffer serious backlash for loving each other.

Objectifying Translates To Racism

My final takeaways are this: It's beyond me why anyone would be in a mixed race relationship just because they want someone “exotic” or to fulfill a fetish. Rather than loving someone and wanting to commit yourself to them, the words "exotic" and "fetish" lower the other person to nothing more than an object of your obsession. Which, in my opinion, is its own type of racism.

About the author: Claire HarnEnz is a VProud intern.

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