As a woman of color, I went through the whole transformation from school-dress-code feminism to big-picture-intersectional feminism in an inordinately short amount of time. If there was one lesson to be learned from my formative years as a baby feminist, it is this: be weary of the white boys.
Like typhoid Mary or your ex who gave you chlamydia, it starts with nearly undetectable symptoms. You have a dredge of celebrity crushes who are mostly white and you convince yourself it’s because Hollywood doesn’t offer you enough of a variety. You’ve spent about 2/3 of a party being chatted up by a subpar non-white dude with a bland personality. Suddenly, a similarly bland dude (who’s blonde with blue eyes!) starts talking to you. You’re not sure why, but you’re relieved that the night wasn’t a total loss.
The worst thing about this kind of cognitive dissonance is that you absolutely know you’re doing it. Sometimes you see a subpar white guy and think “yeah he’s potentially hot,” but then backtrack on how if he were [insert other race] you wouldn’t give him this potential opportunity to get into your pants. You have higher standards when it comes to your fellow men in color—those who you empathize with more than white guys.
Is it the sex? Is it akin to a status symbol? One glaringly obvious part of my condition lies in my above-the-stars requirements for non-white guys. I need to determine that they’re socially aware, not a sexist, a snob, or egotistical. On top of all that, I have to be attracted to them—which isn’t as simple as it might be without caveats. With white guys, if I determine they’re not blatantly racist, then I just green-light them. Even that’s too much to ask sometimes so I then lower the standard to “did they say some thing racist but – didn’t mean to say it?”
When I was sitting in the middle of my college campus, I could overhear this group of boys talking. Among them was a white guy, and he had said maybe 2-3 intelligent things within the conversation and each time I made a note of it. Had the other non-white guys said anything intelligent? I don’t know; I couldn’t tell you. I hadn’t even looked at them. All of these guys were in the same rage of “attractive,” and I’d only noticed one. This is when I think: God, maybe I am a racist… but instead of being accountable for myself, I’ve narrowed it down to three possibilities, ranging from most to least probability.
One, if I’m hyper-speculating about my own mindset, maybe people like me view white guys as a forbidden “want what you can’t have” scenario because media/social influences have let us to believe that they’re less likely to reciprocate this “attraction.” I might be on to something with this one because sometimes when the attention is reciprocated, suddenly I don’t really think “he” is that attractive anymore because this guy is no longer seemingly unattainable. If this is the case, then my series of unfortunate events in my dating history suddenly makes a whole lot more sense.
Two, I associate non-white guys with commitment. Bear with me, because this one is kind of a reach. I think the old-fashioned type thinking of my cultural upbringing sees me eventually ending up with someone the same ethnicity as me—or as close as possible. I’m constantly distancing myself from PoC guys because I panic at this weird feeling about things being “too real.” On the other hand, my fear of commitment associated with non-white guys acts as a repelling force. If this is the case, when (or if) I ever want to settle down, this white boy-mania will dissipate… hopefully. The alternative here is that I will never want to settle down and will be perpetually doomed to dating sub-par white men.
Three, somehow, despite my best efforts at becoming socially, racially, and politically aware, I’ve been irreparably brainwashed into preferring the white male gender—which honestly would suck because that’s literally everything I stand against (okay, not white guys themselves, but the concept of equating white males as the normal or even best standard). I don’t really intend on exploring this one—partially because I’d be in denial until the day I die.
It’s honestly a tragedy because I can only imagine the kind of fulfilling relationships I miss out on because I’m so quick to dismiss any and all men of color who don’t immediately stand out to me, and I wanted to share my condolences to those going through a similar predicament. I’m also incredibly curious as to if anyone has any other ideas as to why this occurrence happens to those of us just trying to lead wholesome, PC lives.