Casual Racism

This entry was posted by on Thursday, 21 July, 2011 at

A year or so ago I was at one of those “pieces of flair” restaurant/bar places with a small group of people. At some point, the other members of the party had wandered away from the table for whatever reason, leaving me alone with a guy that I hardly knew. He proceeded to solicit my opinion on every woman in that establishment, which is not a game with which I am particularly comfortable.

Quickly tiring of my noncommittal answers, he began a more direct line of questioning to determine my “type”. At some point in this line of inquiry, he asked my opinion of Black girls, and being annoyed at every aspect of the conversation thus far, I exasperatedly replied, “I’ve never met a Black girl that I wanted to date.”

Now that is the kind of statement that you really wish you had not said the very instant it leaves your mouth. My companion was momentarily shocked, but undeterred, he began to name some African American celebrities and do I not find them attractive? Sure, whatever.

As if it was not obvious enough before, we were at this point clearly not on the same page. For I specifically said “date”, while he was (at least for the purpose of this exercise) not remotely interested in dating.

Regardless, that statement of mine has been troubling me ever since. The most obvious defense is that it was merely a statement of fact, in the same sense that “I have never been to Brazil” is a statement of fact. Or perhaps a better analogy in this case would be, “I have never wanted to go to Brazil.” What do I have against Brazil? Absolutely nothing. It is not that I refuse to go to Brazil. It is simply that, although technically I could get on a plane at any time, at no point in my life thus far has “Go to Brazil” seemed like the thing to do at that moment. If the opportunity should arise that I had a compelling reason to go, then I probably would. But as it stands, there are a lot of places to which I have never been, and that is merely one of them.

I am not opposed to the idea of dating a Black woman. I have met some wonderful ones that I have gotten along well with over the years, it just so happens that I have thus far not have felt that sort of chemistry with any of them. I almost feel like I should now go out and date a Black woman just to prove that I am not racist, although realistically, I fail to see how that is in anyone’s best interest. If we are really going for brutally honest T.M.I. here, I actually have a preference for Asians, yet I have never dated one of them either. The truth is, it has been years since I have met anyone at all that I have wanted to date, although that is a rather separate issue.

Maybe I would have let this whole thing pass, but some time later, a coworker was telling me about a time that he went to a strip club, and that a Black stripper was wanting to give him a lap-dance, but he had never been attracted to Black girls. This conversation also was rather outside my comfort zone, yet I felt a certain guilty relief in being able to agree with him on this point.

More recently still, I found two videos online (independent of each other, and I do not recall now how I came across either one.) The first is from a comedy series. The second is heartbreaking. So I see that this is much more than one poorly phrased, frustrated comment. This is a deep cultural problem.

One Response to “Casual Racism”

  1. timoth

    When writing this post, I was very uncertain as to whether or not “Black” should be capitalized. Initially I did not, until I came to the mention of “Asians” and began to wonder why that should be capitalized while the the other is not. So I turned to the internet and found a variety of opinions as to which is correct and why. Eventually, even though it actually looks wrong to me, I decided to capitalize, because I wanted to at least try to be respectful in that regard, even if the post itself is probably quite disrespectful as a whole. (I could have used the term “African American” throughout, of course, but I just can not be bothered with that level of political correctness. So there is that.)

    In the following post, I attempted to capitalize “White” as well, but that just looked stupidly wrong to me, so I changed it. Screw ’em. (There is irony in there somewhere, and I do love me some irony.)

    Also, as a totally unnecessary commentary on the second video: regardless of skin color, I do not think I could date someone who says things like, “RISE, Dark Girls. Rise.” Almost ruined the video for me. Is that racist? I do not even know anymore.

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