Colorblindness and Other Myths About Interracial Dating

interracial-approval

Pew Research Survey of Americans' Views on Interracial Unions (2010)

“Love knows no color.”

“The heart wants what the heart wants.”

“It doesn’t matter whether a person is black, white, pink, or purple.”

When it comes to interracial dating and marriage, most people claim they are color blind — that they don’t consider the perceived race or ethnicity of potential dates. Many in mixed societies such as the United States will also add that race has become a non-issue in dating or is quickly becoming so. Yet nearly every study and anecdotal evidence of how and who people actually date and marry shows otherwise.

Love is not [color] blind

Colorblindness as a social concept is largely a myth — people notice immediately and make judgments on superficial characteristics such as gender, dress, and yes, race. In activities as personal as dating, people use perceived race or ethnicity to make instant assessments about a person’s interests, attractiveness, and even personality.

As physical appearance is the most readily noticeable trait about a person on first meeting, it can be a determining factor in whether one chooses to romantically approach another or accept an approach. In mixed nations where divisions (and hierarchies) are made based on race, race influences perceptions of physical beauty, whether one is aware of it or not.

In any case, few people are blind to differences in physical aspects such as weight, height, and style of dress — these are important factors to many people in assessments of potential dates. So how and why would they disregard an equally noticeable trait such as race or ethnicity?

Social Trends in Interracial Dating and Marriage

Trends in interracial dating and marriage show clear patterns. The most noticeable pattern being that interracial relations trail far behind intraracial relations, especially in the United States. Socioeconomic divisions are one cause of this disparity, but it can’t be the only cause — three quarters of Americans live in urban areas with a racially diverse group of residents. If most people live in areas with a sizable amount of people of various races, why aren’t there more interracial unions?

The same is true for the interracial unions that do take place — certain trends persist. Some pairings greatly outnumber others, and are disproportionate to their members’ percentage in populations. Other pairings are almost non-existent, and not for lack of available participants.

Studies on interracial dating show that while most people date intraracially, members of certain groups are more open to, or even prefer interracial dating, while others strongly prefer not to interracially date. How could this be if love knows no color?

Colorblindness was never particularly convincing as a social idea, but in interracial dating and marriage it seems it simply does not apply.

*Other myths include “Common Pairing = Natural Attraction” and “Racial Preference is Personal”

See also:

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35 thoughts on “Colorblindness and Other Myths About Interracial Dating

  1. I think “being colour blind” doesn’t mean “not seeing someone’s race”, but “not attaching any meaning to it”. The, you know, “I don’t see you as a black person” sort of excuses.

    That being said, even defined this way, colour blindness doesn’t exist (even I can see that, with my very limited knowledge of racial issues and zero experience with it). People DO attach certain meanings to everything. Heck, there are people who will form their whole opinion on your personality based on your musical taste, so how can anybody pretend that even bigger things, such as gender and race don’t matter is beyond me.

    That being said, I am not sure how useful is the chart you posted. It shows only what people claim, not their real reactions. There are many who like to present themselves in better light; let’s see how they act when their daughter really brings home a black guy.

    Also, the chart ignores the gender; and we all know it’s another important thing.

    (I understand you put the chart as an illustration only, but it got me interested).

    I have a couple of questions:

    – Which pairing is the most common? (White guy + Asian girl?)
    – WTF is “Common Pairing = Natural Attraction” excuse?

    PS- I’m currently reading a Young Adult novel with an inter-racial romance. The girl is white, the guy is black (or mixed, the author is not clear on this one). Racial issues are never mentioned, and there’s nothing about the guy’s behavior that is made explicitly “black”. Still, the author constantly makes references to his skin colour (well, the protagonist, the girl does), as if that’s the most striking thing about him. I guess this sort of romance is supposed to be seen as “colour blind”.

  2. Mira,

    ‘I think “being colour blind” doesn’t mean “not seeing someone’s race”, but “not attaching any meaning to it”. ‘

    That’s the definition I meant — [not] attaching meaning to race… Was that not clear above?

    “That being said, I am not sure how useful is the chart you posted. It shows only what people claim, not their real reactions.”

    That’s why I added it — to show what people claim versus what they actually do.

    “Also, the chart ignores the gender; and we all know it’s another important thing.”

    Yes, unfortunately I don’t think such a (reputable) chart exists.

    “- Which pairing is the most common? (White guy + Asian girl?)”

    I’m pretty sure that’s second. White men/Hispanic women is more common… as much as you could call that interracial since the Hispanic women are mostly of the whiter variety as well, according to studies.

    ‘- WTF is “Common Pairing = Natural Attraction” excuse?’

    Lol. You’ll hear it more from “realists” or armchair evolutionary psychologists — the idea that some gender/race combos are just naturally more attracted to each other due to biological factors, and that’s why they’re more common than other pairings. Sometimes it has to do with the idea that race is responsible for certain immutable qualities that attract or repel others (more common with “realists”).

    “I’m currently reading a Young Adult novel with an inter-racial romance…the author constantly makes references to his skin colour (well, the protagonist, the girl does), as if that’s the most striking thing about him. I guess this sort of romance is supposed to be seen as “colour blind”.’

    It can’t be color blind if she’s constantly making references to color…

  3. That’s the definition I meant — [not] attaching meaning to race… Was that not clear above?

    It is clear in your article, but I (I!- of all people) know many (whites) don’t take it that way. Many claim they don’t see the colour in literal sense of the word. I remember an article written by a professor who asked her students: “really, you didn’t realize that your professor is a black woman?” They were very embarrassed. I’m sure you know this much better than I, but (American) whites seem embarrassed to even mention someone’s race. As if saying “He’s black” is something offensive on itself.

    That’s why I added it — to show what people claim versus what they actually do.

    Well, if we go with these charts, there should be more inter-racial relationships in the US. I mean, less than 10% of people (in any given racial group) are against it, right?

    Riiiight.

    I’m pretty sure that’s second. White men/Hispanic women is more common…

    Right. I keep forgetting Hispanic are not seen as white.

    What about the opposite, white women and Hispanic men? (It seems that white girls don’t like to date outside their race as much as they are perceived to like).

    ometimes it has to do with the idea that race is responsible for certain immutable qualities that attract or repel others (more common with “realists”).

    Ha… What? WTF?

    These people are… Facepalm-worthy.

    That being said, aren’t simpler excuses, such as penis vs vagina size more popular?

    It can’t be color blind if she’s constantly making references to color…

    I think it’s meant in a “she doesn’t see him as black” sort of colour blindness. He seems like a good guy (nice, but not “nice guy” in a bad way), learns Latin, kisses her hand, etc. Not sure about the current stereotypes about black males of high school age, but doesn’t seem like a typical stereotype of one.

    Still, the girl, who likes to paint, focuses too much on his skin colour (ok, she’s a painter, but why doesn’t she focus on his eyes instead), and there’s a scene in which she eats a chocolate muffin and he eats a vanilla one (he baked them).

    Also, his hair is described as: “Sideshow Bob curls”.

    But her friend and family never say anything about him being non-white and everybody treats him as if his race doesn’t exist.

    I am pretty sure that’s what (whites) consider colour blind.

  4. Mira,

    “It is clear in your article, but I (I!- of all people) know many (whites) don’t take it that way. Many claim they don’t see the colour in literal sense of the word.”

    Oh yes. I was going to get into that, but that’s a whole topic in itself. And it doesn’t need much refuting — the idea is just bizarre.

    I’m sure you know this much better than I, but (American) whites seem embarrassed to even mention someone’s race.”

    At least when the person’s around…

    “What about the opposite, white women and Hispanic men?”

    That’s third most common overall (white Hispanic man/white woman, that is). Asian woman/black Hispanic man is supposedly up there as well, as far as their percentages go, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it (or I assumed the guy was non-Hispanic black). But there is a steep drop-off from there — the rest of the unions are much less common.

    “Ha… What? WTF?

    These people are… Facepalm-worthy.”

    Seriously. It’s interesting because someone actually linked one of my other interracial articles (and my whole interracial category) at a forum where they were discussing the topic. They somehow managed to interpret it as supporting that theory. It’s amazing the amount of people who link my articles with commentary it never said or even hinted at. Perhaps I should be more clear.

    “there’s a scene in which she eats a chocolate muffin and he eats a vanilla one (he baked them).

    “Also, his hair is described as: “Sideshow Bob curls”.’

    Oh, uh, lol? 🙂

    I don’t think I want to know the title of this book.

  5. Hmm sounds like one of those common books for bored white housewives with a mandingo fetish.

    lol love is colour blind. You can meet people who don’t care about your ‘race’ but that is about as close to colourblind you can get right now in.

    Oh I’ve met some of these ‘Colour-blind’ fokes, they are usually ones with a problem if I were to date their son or something similar.

  6. Nkosazana,

    The book is Young Adult; it means it’s targeted to teens. And no, it’s not really about the inter-racial romance; the romance is just a small, and not really important part of the plot. And the guy in question is quite sweet, unlike the annoying, “emo” protagonist.

    But it does show, I think, certain attitudes that white people have about being “colour blind”. (Or what they think colour blind means).

    Also, who said being colour blind was a positive thing in the first place? Sure, not discriminating based on race and not buying into racial stereotypes are a good thing, but I think many people care more about how they APPEAR to be, and not as much about how they really are.

    I mean, how many of them have friends of different races? Real friends, not acquaintances or co-workers. How many of them do seriously consider dating outside the race (I mean on truly be open to people of different races). Sorry, but “I don’t have anything against IR dating, I just never met anybody outside my race that I find hot” doesn’t fly here.

    Alee,

    At least when the person’s around…

    I guess. Which is exactly the situation in which they were interviewed.

    Though I must say that some white girls got very offended/shocked at me for writing “black” in some of my comments. As if I said something bad just by writing that word. Then they proceeded with racist rants without ever mentioning race, and calling blacks “those people”.

    Ok, and now I must throw in a stereotype about Americans (and I am aware things are more complicated than this, but it’s something I’ve observed): Americans seem to care about the shell more than the essence. What I’m saying is, they often seem quite concern about the words that are allowed to be used, the words that seem offensive or not, etc… While ignoring the more important, essential stuff, such as context,

    Example: removing the N word from books, but not worrying that much about what it really means when a white person says “those people”, or “I have black friends, but”, or “I am not racist, but… ” But hey, as long as she doesn’t use the N word, it’s all right!

    The worst thing, black people seem to react the same way… I mean, many condemn the word use (not just the N word), more than the essence.

    /rant end.

    “Also, his hair is described as: “Sideshow Bob curls”.’

    Oh, uh, lol? 🙂

    I don’t really know what it means. I always thought Sideshow Bob had dreadlocks.

    I don’t think I want to know the title of this book.

    Well, it’s not THAT bad, mainly because IR romance is just 10% of the plot. The good thing is that there’s IR romance in it, but the book ISN’T about it; the black guy could have been white and the plot would have been the same.

    Still, it shows, I think, the way whites write when they think they’re “colour blind”. They do appear quite clueless, even if they don’t have (apparent) malicious intend.

    But there is a steep drop-off from there — the rest of the unions are much less common.

    Interesting. One would assume black/white unions would be the most popular, since, well, there are many whites and blacks (more than the other minorities…. right? There are more blacks than Latinos?) I mean, if people were colour-blind, most of the IR uniions would be black/white. Certainly not white (or whatever) Asian- there aren’t that many Asians in the US (not as many as blacks).

    But for “some” reason that doesn’t happen.

  7. When I said Americans don’t care about the essence, I didn’t mean they never do, or that they’re unable to. I was referring to this type of situation, when it’s determined what is PC, what is offensive, etc. To me, it seems they often miss the point. Or not maybe miss the point, but focus on less important things, and never on what is truly important.

  8. Sistah,
    I fail to see where you are going with this. Are you trying to just hip swirlers to the fact that it might be harder than ya think?

  9. Very insightful piece Alee,
    Being in a gay interracial relationship myself, I don’t think love is Colorblind, but I do think a person chooses not to see color. We live in a society that’s obsessed with the color of ones skin (and we’re the only country that waste so much time on something that’s a 16th of an inch thick), and like you said in your post, “…members of certain groups are more open to, or even prefer interracial dating, while others strongly prefer not to interracially date.”

    I think it’s a personal choice…we love who we love. The problem I see in society about who loves who and all , is that people want an explanation for everything; even those things that have no concern to them. “Why did Cindy meet Reggie”… “and why are they together”… what they really want to ask is, “Why isn’t Cindy as close-minded as I am?”

    I was asked by a friend once, ” Why did I get with him?” meaning my partner. And the fact that I fell in love with him, just wasn’t a good enough of an answer for them apparently. But that was my answer… the only answer really. I fell for his differences, his similarities, his uniqueness, and his familiarities; and to me he was a fresh breath of air when the norm had me questioning a relationship at all.

    I think if every single interracial couple and those that would potentially date outside of their race were asked the same questions, there wouldn’t be one answer that would be similar amongst them all. So again, People like what they like. 🙂

    Great post though!

  10. Also, his hair is described as: “Sideshow Bob curls”.

    I would’ve put the book down there. Comparing a guy’s hair to that of a goofball cartoon character from “The Simpsons”?! Shaking my head.

  11. Mira,

    I LOL’d at the chocolate/vanilla muffin part, but that’s kinda messed up (if it was in there to prove a point).

    No Hispanic men I’ve ever known have shown a particular interest in White women (again, this is coming from Chicago, home to some non-White men’s strange “light, bright, but definitely not White” mentality, and the one exception is a couple I befriended in Spain), but in Z’s office (which is not that big), 3 of his White female co-workers are dating Latinos. (There might only be 3 White females working there period, but I don’t know for sure.) He says they alternate between playing the wannabe Latina role and making off-color jokes. *shrug*

  12. changingmoods,

    I would’ve put the book down there. Comparing a guy’s hair to that of a goofball cartoon character from “The Simpsons”?! Shaking my head.

    Well, it was cheesy, mostly because it’s unclear wtf “sideshow bob curls” actually mean. I took it as “dreadlocks”, but I am not sure if that’s what they are. In any case, she didn’t say the guy was black at that point (was that meant to be a clue? Telling us he’s black but not using the word?)

    Jasmin,

    I LOL’d at the chocolate/vanilla muffin part, but that’s kinda messed up (if it was in there to prove a point).

    I think it was meant to be a cute, bonding moment. I mean, HE baked those muffins, and they kiss after that. But I really don’t understand what’s the significance of chocolate and vanilla (and, in a way, it makes a sweet, bonding moment a bad porno vibe, which wasn’t meant to be).

    Anyway, I think this whole novel thing opens an important question: “colour blind” white authors writing non-white characters and all the ways they are clueless and fail. I am interested in this because, well, I am a white author and almost none of the characters in this novel I’ve been planning for the last 7 + years is white. And I sure don’t want to fail in this “chocolate muffin way”.

    No Hispanic men I’ve ever known have shown a particular interest in White women

    Maybe it’s a local situation? My friend had a different experience in Texas, and again, THAT might be a local situation. Most of the guys that approached her were Latinos. Then a few blacks. One Jewish guy. NO white (WASP) guys.

    I think I’m attracted to them so I’d probably date them if they were interested. (I mean, if I were in the US and not married, lol).

    So, which pairing is the rarest one? Black woman/Asian man? (I’m not counting Native Americans here, since there are, sadly, not many of them left 😦 to know how other races feel about dating them).

  13. “No Hispanic men I’ve ever known have shown a particular interest in White women (again, this is coming from Chicago, home to some non-White men’s strange “light, bright, but definitely not White” mentality, and the one exception is a couple I befriended in Spain)”

    I assume your only referring to non-white hispanic men. I think it’s quite common to see hispanics of primarily European heritage dating and marrying each other.

    I presume the man your referring to in Spain was not a traditional Spaniard, but a man of non-European origins. Obviously, ‘white’ Spaniards marry each other as well.

    Unless, of course, your one of those Americans who oddly “others” Spanish Europeans into their own bubble separate from other Western Europeans. Which seems really odd seeing considering they’re all essentially cut from the same cloth.

  14. Nkosazana,

    “lol love is colour blind.”

    Prove it. Lol. 😉

    ‘You can meet people who don’t care about your ‘race’ but that is about as close to colourblind you can get right now in.’

    There are people who won’t care (though they are in the minority), but how many people wouldn’t consider it as a factor, as significant in any way, at all? And how many of those people live in mixed societies such as the U.S. and the UK?


    Mira,

    “How many of them do seriously consider dating outside the race (I mean on truly be open to people of different races).”

    IME, few. It’s always “I just never met such a person”. And I guess for some people, that is the case, but for a lot, it’s just a song and dance so they won’t appear “racist”.

    “Americans seem to care about the shell more than the essence. What I’m saying is, they often seem quite concern about the words that are allowed to be used, the words that seem offensive or not, etc… While ignoring the more important, essential stuff, such as context”

    This is true, to an extent. Many Americans are very concerned with appearing polite and “good”. As long as a person says the right things, as per their personal standards of “niceness”, they are all right. But if a person says “wrong” things, they cross them out immediately and never stop to check if they might have a point or not. It’s… unique.

    “One would assume black/white unions would be the most popular, since, well, there are many whites and blacks (more than the other minorities…. right? There are more blacks than Latinos?)”

    There are actually more Latinos than blacks (~16 percent vs. ~13 percent). But Latino isn’t a “race”– the first neighborhood I lived in as a child was mostly Latino and a lot of the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans looked black or like they had a black parent, but some didn’t identify as black [Hispanic].

    Sherry,

    “I fail to see where you are going with this. Are you trying to just hip swirlers to the fact that it might be harder than ya think?”

    This is not targeted towards a certain group. I just wanted to discuss the idea of colorblindness and the notion that race is or is becoming a non-issue in dating.

  15. Hi Deeone, welcome. I’m really glad you’ve joined. I’m interested in your perspective. 🙂

    “I think it’s a personal choice…we love who we love.”

    Hold it right there. Lol.

    Yes, love and relationships are a personal choice. But who says personal choices aren’t influenced by society and experience? I think they very much are, whether we’re aware of it or not. I’m not a “tabula rasist”, but in no way do I believe personal preferences arise from the ether.

    ‘The problem I see in society about who loves who and all, is that people want an explanation for everything; even those things that have no concern to them.’

    Yes. I’m one of those people — I need (and find) explanations. 🙂

    But I don’t probe into individual relationships such as “Why did X marry Y?” No, that’s not as significant as “Why do X people overwhelming marry Y people and rarely marry Z people?”

    Am I to believe that it’s coincidence or “love” that is the cause of interracial numbers being as skewed as they are? Because I surely don’t. Everything indicates otherwise.

    changingmoods,

    The book (those parts, at least) does sound a bit cheesy. And the muffin part is eye roll-worthy; very cliche.

    Mira,

    ‘it’s unclear wtf “sideshow bob curls” actually mean. I took it as “dreadlocks”, but I am not sure if that’s what they are.’

    His hair is ambiguous… it does seem like (really thick) dreadlocks, but then it sort of seems like a piece-y version of Marge’s hair, which I’m pretty sure is not locked. But maybe the author was referring to the texture rather than the style.

  16. Jasmin says:

    “No Hispanic men I’ve ever known have shown a particular interest in White women”

    It’s not that common where I’m from either… most Hispanic men date/marry Hispanic women. Some black Hispanic (men and women) date/marry non-Hispanic black (men and women).

    Mira says:

    “Maybe it’s a local situation? My friend had a different experience in Texas, and again, THAT might be a local situation. Most of the guys that approached her were Latinos.”

    Yes, many nuisances with interracial relations are regional/local.

    Texas is its own country, ha. And Texas has many Hispanics — they are the largest [ethnic] group there (most are Mexican or from regions of Central America; I have family in Texas and when they hear “Hispanic” they think “Mexican”). So just by chance alone, she’d be approached by a lot of Hispanic men in Texas.

    “I think I’m attracted to them so I’d probably date them if they were interested.”

    I can’t really say if I would or not (based on appearance alone) because they all look different and have different ethnic/racial backgrounds. Like by Hispanic/Latino, do you mean…

    Greivis Vasquez (Venezuelan)?

    Al Horford (Dominican)?

    Robin Lopez (Afro-Cuban father/white American mother)?*

    Jorge De La Rosa (Mexican)?

    Gilbert Arenas (Afro-Cuban father/black American mother)?

    Andres Nocioni (Argentine)?

    *His hair is the bestest

    They all identify/are identified as Hispanic, but clearly vary widely. In my hometown we don’t really refer to people as “Hispanic/Latino”, but “Puerto Rican/Dominican/Mexican/etc”, because that narrows things down a bit (not by a whole lot, still).

    “So, which pairing is the rarest one? Black woman/Asian man?”

    Yes.

    Hi Sten 🙂

    You said,

    “I assume your only referring to non-white hispanic men. I think it’s quite common to see hispanics of primarily European heritage dating and marrying each other.”

    I don’t know if Jasmin was referring to non-white Hispanic, white Hispanic men, or Hispanic men in general. But in my hometown white Hispanic men mostly date/marry white Hispanic women, so I’ll agree on that. And the actual numbers agree with that.

  17. 🙂 Thanks for the Welcome Alee. The pleasure is mine to be a part of your blog.

    Now, for my response:

    You said, “Yes, love and relationships are a personal choice. But who says personal choices aren’t influenced by society and experience?”

    I will agree that experiences play a factor in the choosing of a mate, because unless a person is completely loopity they won’t back track and find another individual who possesses the same qualities of the person they let go of. Experience is the best teacher, that’s is in fact true.

    But as far as society being a deciding factor… hmmm, I don’t know about that one, or rather I would like to better understand how you feel society plays a role. Maybe you can elaborate on what you mean. Because I’m thinking in the sense that if we were to go by what society disapproves and approves of, then we will soon find ourselves seeking the approval of others on relationships that should only require the approval of those in it.

    It’s good as well, to seek explanations in certain aspects of life, but I think theres some aspects that really don’t have explanations, only opinions.

    I liked how you put it… “Why did X marry Y?” No, that’s not as significant as “Why do X people overwhelming marry Y people and rarely marry Z people?”
    That to me makes a lot of sense and when asked in that way, I would lean more to it’s something that was learned that didn’t sit well within an individual; that they sought out to correct.

    Maybe something early on transpired that made people X to look at people Y differently than what they may have been taught or trained to believe. I often wonder myself why I choose to date outside of my race when no one else in my family would even consider. Sex, maybe. But a full blown relationship, I don’t think anyone in my family would.

    And I suppose that played out in my relationship, because I didn’t want to be seen in the same light as those who were most familiar to me. I opened my mind and the possibility that someone outside of my race just might be the perfect fit for me. I could have easily listen to other’s who said it wouldn’t work, because of our differences; but I and those like me, must find out for themselves what works for them.

    This topic is one of interest to me. And I have found a lot of the comments thus far to be quite insightful, I’m also getting different perspectives and rethinking a lot of my own perspectives about the matter at hand…. So thanks again for the welcome and I look very forward to hearing more of what you and your readership have to say about the topic. 🙂

  18. Hi Deeone,

    “But as far as society being a deciding factor… hmmm, I don’t know about that one, or rather I would like to better understand how you feel society plays a role. Maybe you can elaborate on what you mean.”

    Sure.

    I mean more of a subtle influence. I actually have a topic that relates more to this, coming up probably in the next month or so; I want it be comprehensive and thorough so I won’t publish it yet. But I’ll use a made-up example for now:

    Say there is a society where Y people (we started off with letters, so I’ll just continue with that :)) are better off financially, are more visible in the public arena, and generally have more pull in the way society runs. There are a greater amount of Y people, so they are seen as the “default”. They appear in media as the “good” and likeable people; their men are the most gorgeous and their women are the most beautiful. The grand message that is sent is that Y people and things associated with Y-ness are better.

    But X people and Z people (and maybe W people), also live in this society. They aren’t as visible in public arenas, and when they are visible, they are portrayed as less well-rounded than Y people or given credit when they exhibit attributes associated with Y-ness. Sometimes X people are given praise for a couple of their attributes but both X people and Z people get the subtle message that who they are is just not good enough, or at best neutral, unlike Y people.

    There is also the issue that X, Y, and Z people don’t really know each others’ groups personally — they only know of their public images. Each group varies greatly in appearance, and in culture (but less so).

    In this society, do you think it would be far-fetched if X and Z people began to view Y people as desirable, in many ways (and not find each other as desirable), and thus be more likely to date and marry them?

    “I often wonder myself why I choose to date outside of my race when no one else in my family would even consider.”

    I date interracially (and intraracially) because I had a diverse, “raceless” upbringing (my parents more or less raised me as colorblind, so I’m quite familiar with the whole Colorblind Principle. Yet I wouldn’t say they are colorblind themselves…). So it was just the natural course of things. Plus, there are cute, smart, interesting men of every race, why would I limit myself? I would feel deprived. 🙂

  19. Sten,

    Ha, no. My friend who lives in Spain isn’t a Spaniard, he’s Colombian.

    Where I’m from (Chicago, if you missed it) the vast majority of people who identify as Hispanic/Latino would never be mistaken for White. So the concept of a White Hispanic, didn’t exist for me until I read it online–I’m sure there are White Hispanics in Chicago, but they are more likely to just identify as White.

  20. Jasmin,

    “Where I’m from … the vast majority of people who identify as Hispanic/Latino would never be mistaken for White.”

    Same. The majority in my hometown are Caribbean Hispanics and have a clearly mixed, Native, or black appearance. Maybe about 20 percent could be considered white, anywhere, and maybe 5 percent that could be be mistaken for “regular” white in America. And I still never considered the latter white because, well… Hispanic people aren’t white where I’m from, no matter what they look like.

    But I think that might be a local thing — I was reading Yahoo Answers once and this white guy from my hometown started a question that was phrased something like, “Why do Hispanic people call themselves white? No one thinks they are white and real white people don’t consider them white, lol?” And of course he got flamed in the responses (by the Hispanics, other people just explained and some basically agreed).

  21. Alee,

    It’s always “I just never met such a person”. And I guess for some people, that is the case, but for a lot, it’s just a song and dance so they won’t appear “racist”.

    Well, sometimes, it is true. You shouldn’t force things just for the sake of it. But all in all I think many people don’t really consider dating outside their race. Maybe as a concept, yes- but not when they meet actual humans of the race different than theirs. I mean, if you’re truly open to dating outside your race (which many people claim), then there would be some evidence (you’d date or approach them).

    This is true, to an extent. Many Americans are very concerned with appearing polite and “good”. As long as a person says the right things, as per their personal standards of “niceness”, they are all right. But if a person says “wrong” things, they cross them out immediately and never stop to check if they might have a point or not. It’s… unique.

    I sure find it confusing. I guess it’s different than in my culture. For example, I get the feeling that a white college professor saying: “A popular racial slur for black people was ni… (pronouncing the N word)” would be taken in America as a huge scandal, much bigger than a person saying: “I am not racist, but I don’t think Affirmative Action is ok” (or IR dating, or whatever, even “I don’t think blacks have the same intelligence). I mean, I’ve seen it online.

    It’s not just about racism. Take sexism, for example. Remember the story about the Serbian guy who was almost sued for sexual harassment because of a rose? That was seen as offensive, and yet, the fact it’s still (somewhat) “strange” for a woman in America to be an engineer is seen as (somewhat) ok. (Which is ridiculous by my culture standards- female doctors and engineers are a norm; I mean, there are equal number of males and females in these professions).

    I’m not saying my culture’s ways are better; it’s just something I find confusing about US.

    There are actually more Latinos than blacks (~16 percent vs. ~13 percent). But Latino isn’t a “race”

    I know that (see below). But for some reason unions between them and WASPs/other whites is seen as IR?

    And I really thought there were more blacks in the US. (Before I started frequenting race blogs I thought there were about 45% of blacks in the US, 50% whites (whites = Latinos, too), 4% Asians and 1% Native Americans).

    His (Sideshow Bob) hair is ambiguous…

    I guess it IS ambiguous. Now that I think about it, they’re probably not dreadlocks. And I always assumed Marge had the 60s “beehive” hair.

    But maybe the author was referring to the texture rather than the style.

    I don’t know. Bob is white, right? While they can have the same texture, I don’t think… Oh well, I guess we’ll never know.

    So just by chance alone, she’d be approached by a lot of Hispanic men in Texas.

    Yes, but there were many white guys…. Or the guys she thought were white. But she thought Latinos were white, too. We only later realized they weren’t seen as such in the US.

    I can’t really say if I would or not (based on appearance alone) because they all look different and have different ethnic/racial backgrounds.

    Right. I keep forgetting about the cultural difference.

    By Latino, I mean: “those people of Central or South American descend that I consider white (and similar in phenotype to Italians, Greeks and Spaniards) but who Americans don’t see as white”. Basically Latino = Darker white to me (the way a guy from Spain, say, Javier Bardem is).

    Obviously, I don’t consider all of them hot (Latinos, Italians, etc.) It depends on the guy. But I think that phenotype is my “type”. I didn’t mean on the ethnicity (Mexican, Argentinian, etc.), but the phenotype. Jay Hernandez phenotype, maybe?

    And yes, Robin Lopez = gorgeous hair (maybe THOSE are Sideshow Bob curls?)

  22. Mira,

    “But all in all I think many people don’t really consider dating outside their race.”

    Right. Intraracial everything is pretty much the default. But this varies (sometimes widely) based on the gender/race combo.

    “For example, I get the feeling that a white college professor saying: “A popular racial slur for black people was ni… (pronouncing the N word)” would be taken in America as a huge scandal”

    Well, that word in particular probably is the most taboo of all words. But I’ve seen white academics say it to no major ill effect; it was clear they were only saying it to make a point and listeners recognized that. But I also went to liberal schools/events in a very liberal part of the country.

    “much bigger than a person saying: “I am not racist, but I don’t think Affirmative Action is ok” (or IR dating, or whatever, even “I don’t think blacks have the same intelligence)”

    No, the last two would be scandals (the first might not be as much, depending on the reasons the person gives). People are still talking about Mississippi Republicans being opposed to interracial marriage. And the last scenario would be a huge scandal, for sure. And it has been a few times in the past, most recently with a Harvard 3L saying that in an email. I wasn’t surprised at her statements, but I was surprised she said it out loud/in a public venue.

    “But for some reason unions between them and WASPs/other whites is seen as IR?”

    Because people basically treat it like a race — most Americans’ idea of a Latino is basically a person of mixed ancestry. Which most are, but to vastly differing degrees.

    “I really thought there were more blacks in the US. (Before I started frequenting race blogs I thought there were about 45% of blacks in the US, 50% whites (whites = Latinos, too), 4% Asians and 1% Native Americans).”

    You must pay a lot of attention to black media. Because there certainly aren’t 45 percent blacks in mainstream media. But some people in America too think there are way more black people than there are… these people tend to live in areas where blacks predominate.

    At least you got the last two correct.

    “And I always assumed Marge had the 60s “beehive” hair. Bob is white, right? While they can have the same texture, I don’t think…”

    Marge does have beehive hair but it’s really curly.

    I think Bob is supposed to be white. Maybe he’s Jewish, ha.

    “By Latino, I mean: “those people of Central or South American descend that I consider white (and similar in phenotype to Italians, Greeks and Spaniards)”

    Huh, well, you might have to change that definition because (a) that is not what Latino means and (b) you just excluded most Latinos. 🙂

    “And yes, Robin Lopez = gorgeous hair (maybe THOSE are Sideshow Bob curls?)”

    LOL.

    Now that I think about it, it might be! If those are Sideshow Bob Curls, I’ll take them.

  23. Alee,

    Right. Intraracial everything is pretty much the default. But this varies (sometimes widely) based on the gender/race combo.

    You mean, there are groups who actually PREFER to date interracially? (I mean, it’s not a bad thing, I’m just surprised).

    What I do think it’s true (but correct me if I’m wrong), is that white women are not as open to dating interracially as some people claim they are.

    Well, that word in particular probably is the most taboo of all words. But I’ve seen white academics say it to no major ill effect; [ .. ] No, the last two would be scandals (the first might not be as much, depending on the reasons the person gives).

    Oh, ok then, it makes sense to me. Still, I’ve seen these on the Internet, so maybe things work different online, OR places I visit(ed) don’t offer a clear representation of how people actually feel.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not an advocate of free, random use of the N word for whites. Nor am I trying to imply that word is “just like any other”. What I do think there’s difference between referring to a word and actually using is; and I do think some other things people say (even when they don’t use any offensive words) are worse.

    You must pay a lot of attention to black media.

    Yes. And no.

    Why yes? Because black produced movies are cheaper than the Hollywood mainstream movies, so TV stations in my country often buy them. Not the obscure, less known stuff, but I’ve seen many black produced movies.

    Why no? Because (and I think this is more important) of the “pre-contact racism”. I’ve never met a black person; so I’ll notice black people in a group the way I won’t notice whites. So if there are, say, 3 blacks in a group of 10 people, I’d think half of the group is black. I am trying my best to unlearn this. But I’m still not immune to it, unfortunately.

    Marge does have beehive hair but it’s really curly.

    There are theories that Marge isn’t white, but I don’t know. Non-white characters aren’t yellow, and Marge’s sisters seem white.

    I think Bob is supposed to be white. Maybe he’s Jewish, ha.

    Well, Krusty is Jewish.

    Huh, well, you might have to change that definition because (a) that is not what Latino means and (b) you just excluded most Latinos. 🙂

    I know. I’m not trying to excuse myself, and I certainly don’t trying to imply that is what Lations really are. I’m just trying to describe why the whole Latino categorization is so confusing to me. I’ve talked about it before: I can’t see people like Adriana Lima or Salma Hayek or J Lo or Freddy Rodriguez as anything but white. I sure don’t want to imply that they ARE whites, or that they should be seen as such.

    So maybe I should call it Jay Hernandez phenotype and stfu?

    Now that I think about it, it might be! If those are Sideshow Bob Curls, I’ll take them.

    Indeed!

  24. Mira,

    LOL, when I was a very-young kid, I assumed the US was like 50% Black. I don’t think I had really reasoned through the math well though, because it’s not like I lived in an all-Black neighborhood. But at the same time I must have picked up on the reality somehow, because when people moved in next door, I exclaimed to my mother, “Look Mom, we have new neighbors! And they’re Black like us!” 😛

  25. Mira,

    “You mean, there are groups who actually PREFER to date interracially?”

    Yes, Asian women (to white men, mainly), according to a couple of studies.

    “What I do think it’s true (but correct me if I’m wrong), is that white women are not as open to dating interracially as some people claim they are.”

    True, they aren’t as open as people perceive. But all women are less open to interracial dating than the men of their group (except, again, Asian women).

    “I’ve never met a black person; so I’ll notice black people in a group the way I won’t notice whites. So if there are, say, 3 blacks in a group of 10 people, I’d think half of the group is black.”

    How typical. Plenty of [mostly white] people with less exposure to black people think like this. 🙂

    It always seemed a little… paranoid to me (not calling you paranoid).

    “maybe I should call it Jay Hernandez phenotype and stfu?”

    Well, if you’re going to mention Latino, you might want to be a little more specific, just for clarity’s sake.

    Jasmin,

    50 percent? Huh…

  26. Hey, just realized I haven’t been around in a while.

    I think a lot of people in the United States and abroad think that the black population here is MUCH higher than it actually is. I have a white American friend who is well educated who was stunned to learn that the black population was just 12-13%. She said she thought it was about 40%, 30% at the lowest.

    When I went to Europe, I met some people who said they see so many black people on the American television shows they receive that they just assumed there were a lot more of us in this country.

    Mira,
    Why yes? Because black produced movies are cheaper than the Hollywood mainstream movies, so TV stations in my country often buy them. Not the obscure, less known stuff, but I’ve seen many black produced movies.

    This is VERY interesting and explains a lot. I was in Spain not too long ago and was surprised by some of the black-themed movies that were showing on TV there… like the movie “Jungle Fever.” There was also some sitcom called “Buddies” featuring Dave Chappelle that was so bad that it only had five episodes appear in the United States… but the whole season (13 episodes) ran on TV in Spain. Some of the students I talked to living in Spain assumed this show was really popular in the United States and I said, “I have NEVER seen this show in my life!”

    Now I understand why some of these movies and programs appear so frequently in Europe!

  27. Bunny,

    “Hey, just realized I haven’t been around in a while.”

    Yes, you haven’t been. *weeps*

    “I think a lot of people…abroad think that the black population here is MUCH higher than it actually is.”

    Some do… and some are like, “What, there are black Americans? Aren’t they immigrants?”

    I know some people who still say things like, “There’s no such thing as a black American. Americans aren’t black!” They think American = white, and all black people are essentially Africans of various origins… Which of course makes no sense because if you want to go that route, white Americans aren’t American either; they are basically Europeans of various origins.

  28. Alee,

    Yes, Asian women (to white men, mainly), according to a couple of studies.

    This is interesting. Is that just an American thing?

    True, they aren’t as open as people perceive. But all women are less open to interracial dating than the men of their group (except, again, Asian women).

    I know. I wonder why that might be the reason. IMO, men (at least those here) are more open to f… have sex with women outside their group, so maybe that’s counting as “IR dating”?

    How typical. Plenty of [mostly white] people with less exposure to black people think like this. 🙂

    It’s not restricted to race. Many men perceive that a group of 10 people with 2-3 women in it has equal number of men and women, or that there are more women than men.

    One would think that, in case of race, it’s due to the fact a person never had any contact with a certain race, so she notices what is unusual to her first. But women? Women???

    It always seemed a little… paranoid to me (not calling you paranoid).

    I don’t think it’s paranoid, it’s more of the “unusual”. Like seeing a person with green hair. Quite unusual. So people stare. A lot.

    I guess you guys don’t know what is like to never meet a person of a different race. Even seeing someone of a different race on the streets happens rarely. Most of the people here never met or talked to a non-white person. We know they exist, but it’s like knowing Australia exists- we have zero personal experience with them.

    That’s one of the main things about the pre-contact racism (I call it pre-contact; I have no idea what’s the official name for it. It seems nobody talks about it, since it’s sometimes assumed everybody lives in a racially mixed society, or at least in a country with tourists from all over the world).

    Well, if you’re going to mention Latino, you might want to be a little more specific, just for clarity’s sake.

    I guess I still don’t understand the term Latino. I mean, I understand it intellectually, but I can’t translate it to my cultural view.

    Bunny77,

    My country is known for buying cheap, obscure films and TV shows, since everything else is unfordable. TV series Tropical Heat, for example, was extremely popular in Serbia (during the early Milosevic years); nobody outside Serbia remembers it, but to us, it was one of those series that defined an era. It now has somewhat cult status, so they even made a documentary about it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Heat#Popularity_in_Serbia

    Seeing black produced series and movies on TV is not unusual here.

    Though I must add that, embargo or not, poverty or not, we were never prevented from watching TV series and movies that were truly popular at the moment: illegal copies were everywhere, and today, illegal download. If there’s one stereotype of Eastern Europe that is true, it’s this one.

  29. “There’s no such thing as a black American. Americans aren’t black!”

    You know, I never met one of those. I don’t know were people dig out those ignorant people. Maybe I’m hanging around in the right crowd.

    Hah reminds me that I read that some white people in South Africa thought you guys in america wasn’t the same as the dirty kaffirs (their words) they had in South Africa. You guys were just like white people but with dark skin because you could become doctors and great athletes and stuff like that..

  30. Mira,

    “This is interesting. Is that just an American thing?”

    Yes… I’m not sure if it would be the same in the UK though, if they had as many Asians and of the same origins as those in the U.S.

    ‘IMO, men (at least those here) are more open to f… have sex with women outside their group, so maybe that’s counting as “IR dating”?’

    Ha. But they are also marrying them in these instances, so it might be slightly different.

    “It’s not restricted to race. Many men perceive that a group of 10 people with 2-3 women in it has equal number of men and women, or that there are more women than men.”

    Now you know why it seems like paranoia to me… it’s like “Oh no, they are taking over!”

    “I guess I still don’t understand the term Latino. I mean, I understand it intellectually, but I can’t translate it to my cultural view.”

    Think of it as you would a religion (although it’s not) — people of various ethnic/racial backgrounds can be of one religion.

    Nkosazana,

    “You know, I never met one of those. I don’t know were people dig out those ignorant people. Maybe I’m hanging around in the right crowd.”

    No… you just need to dig a little harder. 😉

    But it comes down to the idea of the “true” American being some blonde-haired, blue-eyed person… forget the fact that most Americans, white or otherwise, don’t look like that.

    “You guys were just like white people but with dark skin because you could become doctors and great athletes and stuff like that..”

    *spits out drink*

    You might want to inform Black America of that interesting development.

  31. Oh, speaking of “Americans aren’t black”… You do know that only Native Americans are seen as “real Americans” in my culture?

    Alee,

    Like I said, I understand what “Latino” means intellectually. It still prevents me from seeing them as a race. Or seeing Adriana Lima as a non-white person. It clashes with my cultural view, which is a good thing, because it proves, once again, that race is a cultural construct.

  32. You might want to inform Black America of that interesting development.

    Well, that’s what I read. I guess it was because you guys were seen in the media even if it was only a small group of people and I guess the white people in SA had so much scorn for us that they couldn’t believe that we could be capable to be doctors and anything else.

    Oh, speaking of “Americans aren’t black”… You do know that only Native Americans are seen as “real Americans” in my culture

    lol, I did not even know you guys really thought that much about America. I guess in my country black people and white people are Americans.

  33. Mira,

    “Oh, speaking of “Americans aren’t black”… You do know that only Native Americans are seen as “real Americans” in my culture?’

    Good!

    I mean, that’s fine with me. Some people in America can be very picky about who is American or not. So it’s good to know that they’re not considered American either, in some places. 🙂

    You can’t simply view “Latino” as a religion, like Judaism? That would make it less complicated. And you wouldn’t have to worry about whether someone is white, non-white, etc. Because the only bond they really share is that, not their racial background.

  34. Well, “Americans” is a tricky term. When people here say “Americans” (which is, 95% of the time, derogatory- Americans are seen as bad), then yes, “Americans” are seen as white, fat, etc. (Like that image I used for my “stereotypes about Americans” post).

    But then many people go: hey, remember, who the only real Americans are.

  35. Mira, what a COOL story! I love when things like that happen… and love that Nick Slaughter came to Serbia and is doing a documentary on the social impact of Tropical Heat.

    Thanks for sharing that with us. My husband thought it was a great story as well.

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