In the age of tinder, bumble and countless other apps, snap decisions based on someone’s picture are required. We learn a lot about our selves based on who we swipe right on. There are those who claim to be an equal opportunity swiper, and I do not doubt there are those people out there. But for most of us there’s some commonality in the pool of matches.

Preferences based on race have been a thing since race existed. Yet not all of these preferences should be treated equally. To understand my reasoning, we first need a basic understanding of racism. Racism is defined in the dictionary incorrectly. I know, weird right? Well I will let you in on a little secret, most things are written from non objective viewpoint and stand to benefit someone, including the dictionary definition of racism. Racism is about a system of oppression. People of color can not be racist towards white people because they hold not institutional or systemic power in which to oppress white people. The dictionary definition allows room for white people to call marginalized groups racist (or reverse-racist) even though they do not hold systemic power.

Okay back to our main point. Whenever white people have a racial preference, it is racist. Whether for or against a certain ethnic group. White people, no matter how much they insist otherwise, have been conditioned by white supremacy. Their dating preferences reflect just that, valuing whiteness and white features over anything deemed “other” by white society. They will tell you that “I just have never seen an attractive black guy” (which is an outright lie. um Idris Elba?) or that “Asian men are too nerdy for me” but what they really mean is that people who cannot fit into my brainwashed view of Eurocentric beauty and behavior, are not attractive.

Same goes for the other way. White people claiming that they only like a certain racial group. This treats people of a certain group as a monolith, defined by stereotypes and society’s portrayal of them. When a white guy says “I only like Asian women because they’re so submissive” or when white women say they “love black guys because they have huge co**s,” they are saying that those features make those groups attractive. That an Asian woman’s identity as Asian hinges on her being submissive for man. That a black man’s blackness is contingent on the size of his anatomy. This is not love. This is fetishization. Treating someone like a sexual object because of one aspect of their identity stereotypically tied to race is not love.

Except there’s one big caveat in this situation. People of color can have racial preferences against white peoples and not being considered racist. People of color can never be racist due to the aforementioned definition of racism that includes structural power. In this specific case though, this is a mode of survival for some people of color. White people are all conditioned to have a white supremacist view of the world around them. That is just how our society was made. It actively takes effort and time to undo the creation of white supremacy. And people of color do not have to be all “stand by your man” while their white partner goes through this. It is emotionally taxing having to explain things about race constantly with your partner. It is up to the individual whether they can shoulder the emotional labor. Despite how “woke” a white person is, people of color often have to deal with racist friends and family. This is a lot to ask. So while black girls turning you down might hurt your feelings, it is not racist, it is often self preservation.

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