Overused Terms (1): Self-Hating

self-hatred

Note: This is part 1 of a series on overused terms

Self-hating, or self-hatred, is a disliking of oneself and/or one’s ethnic or racial group.  The term is often used in a belittling manner to describe non-white people in interracial relationships, including those who date exclusively or mainly outside of their race. The basis for this charge is the idea that the person in an interracial relationship wishes to escape their race or ethnicity by uniting with their partner.

In accusing a person in an interracial relationship or marriage of self-hatred, several assumptions are made. These assumptions are made without knowing if they are fitting of the situation:

1. The accused person has a strong sense of racial or ethnic identity

In accusing an interracial dater of self-hatred, the accuser assumes that the person has a sense of themselves as a member of a particular racial or ethnic group. This is a faulty assumption.

Although many non-white groups living in majority white countries are aware of their racial status, this is not always the case. Some non-white people do not consider themselves to be essentially different, or do not consider this difference to be important to their sense of self and identity. How can someone loathe themselves due to their race if they don’t identify with their race?

asian-woman-self-hatred2. The accused person identifies with the opposite gender of their race

Accusers consider the two genders of a racial or ethnic group to be inherently the same or similar. But the person in an interracial relationship may not view the situation the same way, even if they have a strong sense of racial identity. For example, a black man may see himself as essentially different from a black woman. He may like or love everything about himself yet dislike everything about the opposite gender of his race. He wouldn’t be a self-hater because it’s not himself he loathes, but the opposite sex of his group.

3. Interracial dating allows a person to escape their race

Interracial relationships may not provide a way to leave your race behind. Instead, interracially dating can cause a person to become more aware of their race. It can be hard to ignore the stares, disapproval, shock, curiosity, and of course, the accusations of self-hatred. As far as race goes, it would be easier to be in an intraracial relationship — ideas about race would be less of an issue.

4. The accused person sought out a partner of a different race

Above all, many of those in interracial relationships or marriages did not set out to be in one. While there are certainly those who looked for a partner of a particular race (or not of a particular race), many more did not. They simply found someone they loved and were compatible with and did not allow race to become a barrier to establishing a lasting relationship.

See also:

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Overused Terms (1): Self-Hating

  1. Guten Abend, Alee!
    First, let me express how much I appreciate your topics. I’m endeavouring to visit often so as not to be left out of the discussion. So hope I’m the first to post a comment!!!!!!!!.
    On topic: I’ve found visiting these blogs have made me start to question something that I thought was natural and innate. Let me explain by giving you a brief summary of my life so far: I met my exhubby with almost 19yrs(my first). Tall, blonde, green-eyed, nerdy nature lover. Fell hard, we married 3yrs later. We moved to his home Country, lived happily, made a baby(bloody awesome dad). I felt life should be more, he fought me with his name and power, I stayed in Switzerland, but we divorced. HE has influenced all my tastes in men, from the outward to the inward. Isn’t this normal?. Just because we divorced, doesn’t mean he wasn’t a good man/human. To be honest, the problem laid with me. I thought I was a “Naomie Campbell”, would stay young, hot and needed forever. Seriously!. My point is though, only after reading some IR blogs from US black women that I started questioning why my preference is what it is and luckily for me, BECAUSE I live in a Country where I hardly encounter black people and if I do, they are happily married(mostly Africans or black English) or IT contractors from England, I’ve come to the conclusion that: I like what I like. I am what I am. People are people. And ESPECIALLY: no one owes me loyalty because of shared skin colour. I’m one of those who DO seek out men according to their hair colour and geeky similarities to my ex (seriously, I think he ruined me for all other men and it took me years to finally admit this, but won’t hide it anymore!), so am not entirely without an ulterior motive when I find myself attracted to a (blonde/nerdy) white male……

    Was I on topic?. Sorry if I come across tipsy. I am. Work sucks(restructuring, American style!) and I’ve fallen in like………..(guess how he looks?).

  2. Hi foosrock, guten tag (It’s afternoon where I am). Yes, you’re the first to comment. 🙂

    “[Ex-husband] has influenced all my tastes in men, from the outward to the inward. Isn’t this normal?”

    I think it is. As I mentioned in Racial Preference, Dating, and Relationships, I believe much of preference in race has to do with familiarity. In your case, your husband was your first love and you fell in love hard, so it makes sense that you’re going to be attracted to men like him in the future.

    “no one owes me loyalty because of shared skin colour.”

    So they say. 🙂

    “Was I on topic?”

    Yes. And my guess for how your new beau looks… hmmm, maybe an Idris Elba look alike? 😉

  3. Har!. You’re soooo funny!!!
    PS: Am getting even more tipsy……..will call in sick tomorrow (hungover is sick, no?)

  4. Hello Miss Alee,
    I love your c-a-l-m blog. It is nice to visit here after the BBW storm!

    I am pondering your first premise “Some non-white people do not consider themselves to be essentially different, or do not consider this difference to be important to their sense of self and identity. ” I consider myself black/woman in equal measure and that does affect my sense of identity, but yet I still feel like an important piece in the puzzle of all humanity. So different does not seem problematic, only if you view your differences as less than …

  5. This was a good post, but I was under the impression “self-hate” is the term applied to everything concerning race (or ethnicity), not just interracial dating.

    Actually, I must admit the term makes a lot sense to me. I do notice a lot of self-hate in my culture, and it’s a bad thing; however, I’ve noticed self-hate usually goes with other members of the culture being way too proud about their ethnicity (as if it’s something (ethnicity I mean) is something they achieved, and not a social construct). So these things, in my opinion, go together and influence each other. They are both often influenced from the outside: a stronger, more powerful group oppresses yours, so you (member of your culture) react either with an extreme love for the group, or a self-hate.

    Judging by what you say in this post, it’s mainly those “proud of their race” to label others self-haters, even without any proof. One of the things, as people already mentioned, is the fact you share a race (or ethnicity) with someone, it means you owe them loyalty. Wrong. They might understand some of your experiences better than members of other cultures, but they are still strangers, unless they are people close to you. I really don’t think it’s such a difficult concept to understand.

  6. foosrock,

    If you call in sick, that means you can hang out here! 🙂

    Sherry,

    Yup, I like things to be calm and peaceful up here in the clouds. 🙂

    “I consider myself black/woman in equal measure and that does affect my sense of identity”

    That’s a good point.

    I too identify with womanhood and blackness (only recently began to identify with blackness). Neither more than the other. Sometimes it seems as if people want non-whites to identify with their race/ethnicity before or over their gender.

    “different does not seem problematic, only if you view your differences as less than …”

    True, differences aren’t problematic unless you allow them to be.

  7. Mira,

    “I was under the impression “self-hate” is the term applied to everything concerning race (or ethnicity), not just interracial dating.”

    Oh, it definitely is. But I’m only dealing with the situation where it’s applied to interracial dating. I could do the whole thing in the future, but it’s a huge issue to tackle.

    ” a stronger, more powerful group oppresses yours, so you (member of your culture) react either with an extreme love for the group, or a self-hate”

    Yes, they go hand-in-hand. Self-hate as a concept for sure exists. But I don’t think it exists nearly as much as some people claim, and it shouldn’t be applied blindly to anyone who dates outside of their race.

    “They [members of your race] might understand some of your experiences better than members of other cultures, but they are still strangers”

    Exactly. And the keyword there is some experiences. Not all or most. I really can’t say that there is too much more that the average black guy has in common with me than the average white guy or average Asian guy, and I’ve dated members of all of those groups. Especially when a black guy is trying too hard to be “down/hood”; I can’t relate. I didn’t grow up around that culture so its always made me uncomfortable.

  8. I really can’t say that there is too much more that the average black guy has in common with me than the average white guy or average Asian guy

    Agreed, especially since in my relationships with Black guys we didn’t really address the fact that we were both Black. I’ve had more racial conversations with Z than with anybody. And I’ve already found out that it would be just as novel to date a Black guy from California as it would be to date a White Jew from Orange County. 😛

  9. Jasmin,

    Yes, and that is what I was trying to address with assumption number 3 — interracial relationships can actually make race a more prominent issue. With black guys, same; I rarely discussed race. The most we usually ever got around to was discussing skin color. Contrast that with AJ and I: if we go more than two weeks without mentioning at least one thing related to racial dynamics, something’s up.

    “I’ve already found out that it would be just as novel to date a Black guy from California as it would be to date a White Jew from Orange County.”

    LOL, yes. One of the first black people I met in college was a guy from the Bay Area. I thought he was from another world with all that “hyphy” business.

  10. “I too identify with womanhood and blackness (only recently began to identify with blackness). Neither more than the other. Sometimes it seems as if people want non-whites to identify with their race/ethnicity before or over their gender”.

    I’ve always identified with my gender first and foremost. Those (especially black) women who don’t, I ask this question: “What happens when a Country’s at war?”. They normally stare at me not understanding, then I point out the ex-Yugoslavia (systematic rape of girls and women), Ruanda Liberia, Congo, South Africa etc(systematic rape of girls and women) to show them that no matter what, we are first WOMEN for MEN who will abuse us irrespective of our race!

  11. PS: Alee, I did go into work. My old school upbringing wouldn’t let me shirk my responsibility………

  12. foosrock,

    Right: women are still women, regardless of their race or ethnicity. And that comes with social factors and issues that don’t apply as much to men. It’s just that in the U.S. race has seemed to be more of a pressing issue in the past for blacks especially. And they have focused on that more than other aspects of identity.

    Mira,

    Lol. I’ll simply refer you to Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary on this one since I’m not from the Bay Area (and of course Zek or Jasmin can add a thing or two). 🙂

    I always think of fungal hyphae when I hear the word.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s