Is it racist to not date outside your own race? And why being biracial/biethnic sucks.
She had just broken up with her boyfriend, moved from a small town in Montana to North Dakota to live with a few friends of mine, and had small (almost baby) teeth. I don’t remember much else. She was cute, I guess, dirty blonde, blue or green-eyed, with an unremarkable personality. Though I had never shown interest in her, that didn’t stop a certain friend from trying to play Cupid.
“I only date white guys,” she said, my friend reported to me later.
I have to admit, even though I wasn’t attracted to her and had not expressed interest, that stung. We were living in the Martian landscape of the Bakken during the height of the oil boom. Women were few and far between, and usually taken. My friend had moved in with his girlfriend, an attractive and ambitious Philippina who worked at the local paper. I was 30, broke, in debt, having just started a new job. Not exactly in the market or mindset for a partner at the time, but it’s not like I would have turned the right one down had she come along.
Like any typical guy or girl, I’d been rejected for all kinds of reasons in the past. And most times, it never bothered me. Except this time it really did. It’s particularly rough to be rejected solely on race/ethnicity. I’d rather be called ugly, or told I have a boring personality. Those are things you can at least control. You can dress better, get fitter, even get plastic surgery if you think it’ll help. You can pick up a hobby, join an improv group, join Toastmasters, take dancing lessons, etc. There are all sorts of ways you can upgrade yourself in the dating marketplace. In fact, most criteria that determines your value to potential partners are things which you can improve.
But race/ethnicity? No changing that.
It’s such a superficial thing to be the sole reason for someone to dismiss you, romantic or otherwise. It’s like you could have a great personality, make high income, have all the features of a “good partner,” maybe even be attractive, and it’s all meaningless because you’re the wrong shade. Talk about demoralizing.
This rejection also bothered because it didn’t make much sense. It wasn’t even accurate. I mean, I am white. Mostly, anyway. About 65% Western European, mixed with about 25% Mexican/Native American, and 10% other regions. Most people guess I’m Italian because of my darker skin, while others pick up on the Hispanic part. But I don’t speak Spanish. I don’t “identify” with my Latino side, if that means anything. Being white isn’t really a culture. It’s more like a racial neutrality due to its majority in the U.S. So in that sense, “culturally,” I’m as white as the next guy. Really, I’m just American. Isn’t that enough? Or does the “one drop rule” still apply when it comes to defining “white guy,” and what is acceptably “white” in terms of partner selection?
Making matters worse, some time long before my encounter with the White Guy Rejection, I had an equally screwy talk-to-the-hand from another female. This one a Latina. My exact shade even, if you were to put a Sherwin-Williams color palette against our skin. I was going to college in Chicago at the time. We were working together at a market research company. She turned me down because I was “too white.”
Too white? Whaaat? Take a good look at me. I’m almost as equally tan as Ray Romano, and no one would say he’s “too white.” What does that even mean? Likely, it had to do with our different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, I guess. She from the South Side of Chicago. Me, from lower-middle class Pennsylvania suburbia. I lacked the proper street cred probably. So alas, there’d be no West Side Story here.
Being biethnic or biracial sucks. I can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed looking mixed. It’s done nothing for me. If I could choose, I’d have just been plain white instead of “off-white.” It would have made things simpler.
I mean, which is it anyway? Am I too white, or not a white guy at all? Being mixed is like a racial version of Schrodinger’s Cat. I’m both too white and not white enough.
Being racially mixed is nothing but problems, unless you have some kind of “offsetting” quality, like being really attractive. Otherwise, it’s a shit deal. And no, I don’t give a fuck about supposed “multiracial beauty” or some “post-racial culture” fantasy people like to use to sell the idea.
But what about Tiger Woods? Or (insert random racially-mixed celebrity).
Tiger Woods is NOT black/white/asian. Tiger Woods’s race is ATTRACTIVE, RICH, and FAMOUS. Those things supercede race, and always have.
But going back to the White Guy Preferrer, it doesn’t stop there. Remember my friend, Cupid? He was part Mexican, too. More than me, actually. But he had fair skin and blue eyes, which some Mexicans have. So even though technically I was “whiter” culturally speaking (he could speak Spanish, for instance), that didn’t matter. All that mattered was the skin tone. He was a bona fide White Guy. I was nada.
Two years ago, I took one of those DNA tests through 23andMe. And like many other people who’ve taken them, the results were surprising. I found out I’m like 12-15% Irish, for instance. I took screenshots of my results, which I’ve displayed below.
When I was younger, I struggled a great deal with my racial “identity.” But these days, I see myself only as an individual. The results above are just fun trivia. I don’t base my identity on race. Doing so is reductionist, and limits your ability to see yourself as whole person. I don’t believe in or accept “identity politics.” In fact, if there’s one benefit to being mixed, it’s like having the Uno reverse card to the race card. Yes, some of my ancestors were probably “oppressed.” So what? Don’t care. And some were likely “oppressors,” too. Also so what? And don’t care. Attempts to white guilt me have all fallen woefully short.
But at the same time, it’s not like you can go through life and pretend race doesn’t matter. You’ll be confronted with it one way or another. Even if it’s just in the mate selection game.
For the record, I don’t really care whether I’m a “White Guy” or not. The issue is purely academic to me now. As far as I’m concerned, I’m my own “race.” Just like I consider myself my own “generation,” refusing to align with Gen-Xers or Millennials. I’m Generation Dean. A lesser known but substantially greater era that started in 1982 and runs concurrent with the others like a multiverse dimension.
I kid, of course, but not really.
Anyway, getting back to the question posted below the title. Is it racist to not date outside your race?
No. I don’t think so. You can’t help who you’re attracted or not attracted to. I don’t hold it against the White Guy Preferrer or my South Side Latina, even if they have diametrically opposing definitions of “whiteness.” Whiteness can mean different things to different people, just as any race can, I suppose. Sometimes people use race as code for culture. Other times they actually do mean skin color specifically. Either way, I don’t really care. No one’s entitled to being liked or attracted to. And even if someone doesn’t like you for the most ridiculous of reasons, so what?
Personally, skin color by itself is not a big deal to me when it comes to potential mate appraisal. I’m much simpler. I ask women out if I think they’re hot, end of story.