Tuesday, January 26, 2010

fail to see their interracial relationships from the other side

This guest post is actually a two-part post by two writers, cl and fromthetropics. cl writes of herself, "I'm an Asian American female graduate student who spends a lot of time thinking about math, race, gender, and human relationships." fromthetropics writes of herself, "I am mixed cultured, and always feel in-between -- both here and there, but neither fully here nor there."


cl:

I was traveling through Europe with my boyfriend over the Christmas holidays. At the Prague castle, a ticket agent spoke English with my white boyfriend, and then turned and tried his Japanese with me. When I didn't respond, he asked my boyfriend standing right next to me, "What does the lady speak?" His English wasn't great, his accent heavy, and my boyfriend didn't hear him at first over the buzz, so he tried again, "Japanese?" This time, I spoke up, "No, Chinese." He then tries a few lines of his limited Chinese with me. I just wanted to get past him as quickly as possible, so I obliged sparingly, as it had become clear to me that he was going to hold on to our ticket until I had given him some indication of my ethnicity. Pretending to not hear him hadn't worked.

My boyfriend mused afterward that he thought the guy was nice and sweet. I shook my head and said I didn't think so. When he asked why, I didn't have an answer for him. I didn't know how to begin to explain or phrase even to myself what felt so uncomfortable and racist in that interaction, without sounding hollow or oversensitive. Really, this sort of conversation about race is always difficult to begin.

He's white, and while he's as aware as I might hope for someone to be about racial issues, ultimately, he doesn't see race everywhere like I do. He saw that interaction with the ticket agent as a friendly interaction, an innocent curiosity. I saw it framed in nothing but a racial context. My skin color prompted him to try and use Japanese with me, despite having just used English with my boyfriend. When I chose not to engage, I saw his turning to my boyfriend to ask what I said as him stereotyping me as a quiet, demure Asian woman who spoke broken English at best. I finally spoke up because I hated playing into that stereotype. Responding didn't prove to be a better scenario for me either, but I so often feel trapped by these scenarios, where common courtesy with curious strangers makes me feel like I can't point out how offended I was by that interaction. I'm just too sensitive, they'd say.

And these are the scenarios that my white boyfriend doesn't have to live with.

The question that I've been struggling with recently is how much of my attraction to him is motivated by race. I don't know if I find him more attractive because he's white and dating him makes me seem less ethnic. I'm more white by association. I notice this even in the town that I live in. When I’m there with my sister or my mother, I get asked questions about where I'm from and what my ethnicity is way more often than when I’m out around town with my white friends or my white boyfriend.

Do I find him more attractive than the average Asian American male because he's white, and I have the underlying belief that white is beautiful? How much of my attraction to him has to do with the fact that being with him represents a climb in social status, or that maybe I'm attractive enough to be with a white guy? That I'm attractive enough to "overcome" my Asian-ness? How much of it affects his attraction to me? Is he with me because I'm Asian, but I run counter to his subconscious assumptions about Asian women? Maybe it’s because I'm not what he would've expected an Asian woman to be like, that I'm more interesting and intriguing and unique to him. Would I have been less interesting to him if I had been white?

I want to know how an Asian American female, to whom topics of race and gender are personally important, begins a conversation about these things with her able-bodied, heterosexual, attractive, white boyfriend. How do I begin to explain to him what oppression is like and why these topics are more than just a "passion" for me, that they are more to me than just a fervored interest? How do I explain to someone who's never felt oppression in his life the anger, frustration, and helplessness I feel? How do I explain why this isn't just something that we could agree to disagree on, have differing opinions on?

Race and gender issues are personal to me because they affect my life directly. Should an expression of such anger and frustration be kept to myself or among other people of color, who can empathize and wouldn't take it as accusatory and angry? Or because he's my boyfriend, my partner, are the emotions I experience allowed to be expressed? Though he can't empathize, should he be willing to listen and recognize that he can't empathize? Or is he another white male with whom I have to be careful about how I approach the topic of race or sexism?

Do we just avoid the topic of race altogether?

He gets it in theory. He gets it on paper. But at the end of the day, he doesn't live it. He can say that he doesn't see race when it comes to us dating, that it doesn't cross his mind that we're an interracial couple, but I see race everywhere. I wonder what other people expect when he mentions his girlfriend and an Asian girl shows up. I wonder what they think. I wonder how I come off to other people of color, and I wonder all the time if I'm not more attracted to him because of his status as a white male in this society. Race isn't something that I get to just shelve and pull down every once in a while and think about. I live it and deal with it constantly.

How do other interracial couples navigate these delicate issues of race?

---

fromthetropics:

The post on how some white guys fetishize Asian women (and I am sure Asian men too, e.g. in homosexual relationships) was cool and all, but that phenomenon is too obvious and easy to spot. What I really want to get at are the subtle racial nuances that affect interracial relationships, particularly when the guy is white -- so nuanced that he doesn’t even notice it.

I am an ‘Asian’ woman, but mixed cultured. I do not have the choice of not being in a cross-cultural relationship. I want to keep the cultural difference in my choice of partner to a minimum, since I have to deal with it in all other aspects of my life. I am in no way infatuated by the idea of being with someone from a completely different (and thereby seemingly exotic) background. I click best with guys who are either a Westernized Asian* or Asianized Westerner** because they are closest to me in terms of culture. I have been both casually and seriously attracted to guys of all backgrounds, Western(ized) or otherwise. But the guys I've actually dated have been Eurasian or white.

I often question my preference, though. When I am with non-Westernized Asians who are uncomfortable dealing with white people, I wonder if that will become an issue for me. Will I have to retreat into an exclusively Asian world to make things easy for us, or be the one out there dealing with the white world for the both of us? Is my preference a preference for white privilege?

The white guy I dated was already quite aware of racism by the time I had met him. So I thought the whole racial side of things was all sorted out. Little did I realize that it runs a bit deeper and in more nuanced ways.

I hated hearing about the time he lived in Asia. I could sense that he was not fully aware of how white privilege worked in nuanced ways through him and his mates. I could picture the kind of people who would have wanted to befriend him, the kind who see white as ‘desirable,’ and how his white mates would have behaved. The instant celebrity status would have gotten to some of their heads. (Some of their stories corroborated my hunches.)

How do I know all this? I have lived in China, where they either treated me as a Westerner or Japanese. The kind who made the most effort to spend time with me saw these foreign characteristics about me as ‘desirable’. A bunch of us foreigners got invited to a birthday party, and once there realized that we, not the birthday girl, were the main attraction. They treated us well, but I felt uncomfortable that we were invited specifically for our privilege.

But my then partner didn’t seem aware or bothered by this type of nuanced privilege. This mattered to me. It mattered because we might be present in the same space, but we would experience our interaction with others differently -- him with privilege and me without.

It also means that I felt the need to question why I was attracted to him, while he didn’t. Am I attracted to him because he is white? Do I see white as desirable? I’ve been attracted to plenty of Asian guys before, but why have I never dated one? Is it coincidence? I asked these questions while I was with him, and even after. That was in Australia.

While visiting Indonesia recently, those questions became -- So. In. My. Face. White man + Indonesian woman couples abound. With far too many, the power imbalance in which race appeared to play a role was obvious, whether due to the financial implications (white = financially better off than most Indonesians) or because ‘white’ is simply seen as desirable. The latter bothers me because it is so much more nuanced and hidden. A couple of times I approached a white single guy to talk about work with no other intentions whatsoever, and I could sense them pull back, suspicious that I may have other motives, given that so many women before me did. It is hard not to think about race in this context -- when you see it at work all around you.

It is hard for me to not question my attraction when the guy is white. Even when I believe that it is not because he is white, I ask: But does he know this? Does he know that him being white does not matter to me? Or does he think I am just another Asian chick who is starry eyed over white guys? Does he think it is that easy to get me attracted to him?

Why did my former partner say that race doesn’t matter when all three of his girlfriends have been Asian? His brother’s girlfriend is Asian. His (white) best friend also has an Asian girlfriend. Is this pure coincidence? Does it really not matter?

Do white guys not feel the need to question their attraction to Asian women because, as someone in a position of more privilege, they do not have to worry that they are doing it for some apparent gain in status?

If they do not question whether a girl likes them because they are white, how will they know who loves them for who they are, and who loves them for whatever status can be gained from being with a white guy? Or do white men not question such things because they enjoy that extra attention and ego boost they get from being white in Asia?

If they do not know that white privilege runs really deep, how will they know that I like them for who they are, and that I don’t give a shit that they’re white? Will they know that I scrutinize my motives precisely to make sure I don’t shortchange them -- that I do so because I respect and care about them as a man, minus the race qualifier?


* I use this term to differentiate them from those who are also culturally Asian (e.g. born and raised in Asia), though I will sometimes just use ‘Asian’ when it is not necessary to differentiate.

** By ‘Westerner,’ I do not mean specifically Caucasian, though I do tend to meet more Caucasian Westerners than, say, Black Westerners where I live. By ‘Asianized Westerner,’ I mean, for example, Westerners who are interested in Asia, speak an Asian language, and don’t ‘feel white’ regardless of what color they are.

158 comments:

  1. Wow. This is very insightful. Thank you, Ladies.

    Though I'm not Asian, I'm a black American, I have dated white guys and as I've gotten older have asked myself precisely the same questions about why am I interested in them. I grew up in a predominately white area, and there were more minorities from Asia (China, Korea and India mostly) than black kids, probably 85% white, 10% Asian and 5% black (I met approx 3 Latinos that I knew of in that school system). Anyway, white guys were what were around mostly , so I started getting crushes on them etc from a young age. Although to be honest the few black guys around and the Asian ones mostly only had eyes for the white girls anyway and almost no one of any race seemed to pay much interest in me. As I've gotten older I tend to feel very guilty about liking white guys so often, and though I have dated a few black guys, I've dated more white guys than anything else. In all honesty though I haven't dated all that much period and I don't know why but I often think race, and being kind of a fish out of water in both the white community b/c of my color (and increasingly my awareness) and the black community to a degree b/c of where I was raised. I just don't know.

    The last white real boyfriend I had, which was several years ago once said to me out of the blue "they shouldn't teach black history to black kids b/c it makes them hate white people." I hit the roof and we broke up shortly after that. Since then I've been a little more wary and there is a guy (white again) who I met through friends who I'm kind of interested in and even though right now it is really preliminary and we might not even date I keep wondering "does he get racial stuff, will I have to curtail myself, etc."

    Also, one of my closest friends is a white male and though he understand racism exists and wouldn't dismiss me out of hand, it seems the more I get really fired up about racial issues, the more careful I have to be with him b/c he sometimes thinks I'm "over reacting" or thinking about my own race too much. So I'm trying to be more careful but it makes me sad to not be able to speak honestly with him. Then again, I know so many white folks (an alarming number who are conservative) and though they are nice to me, they come out with some stuff, especially on Facebook, and more and more I wonder about so many of them. Sigh.

    Sorry for the blathering

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  2. CL -- I dated a white guy on and off for a good portion of college. The issue of race rarely came up and I know that should I be in another IR, that would have to be different.

    It bothered me that the stares we would get didn't bother him. It irritated me that he didn't really even notice. It didn't occur to him that when our white waitresses would hit on him in front of me, it was because they couldn't possibly fathom that he and I were dating. He didn't want to talk about the flirting or the racial aspect. He just wanted to ignore it.

    I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back it was his way of avoiding a topic that he got to avoid all the time and it only added to my irritation.

    Having said that, I'm not sure of the best way for an IR couple to navigate racial issues aside from just being honest and open about it -- and accepting; a lot like we expect (whether fair or not) posters here to be.

    For someone who goes x yrs never really having to deal with race, dating someone who's had the opposite experience can be a bit shocking -- actually it can be shocking on both ends. I was absolutely amazed at how much stuff he didn't catch/didn't see as racial...

    I could go on for days, but I guess my ultimate point is that I'd suspect it's better to discuss it too often, than not enough.

    FTT -- I like the points you bring up. As a non white male, I've long assumed they don't wonder because it's genuinely something they've never considered. It's easy to think "I'm just attracted to Asians..." and never ponder "why" -- and on the flip side assume "She's just attracted to me" and never wonder "why" because race just isn't a part of their lives unless they make it so.

    It's like -- I would never assume someone was dating me because I have 5 fingers on each hand -- that's pretty commonplace and we take it for granted, just like many white people (though they may not realize) see whiteness as commonplace and take it for granted. Were there an epidemic of people losing fingers, I might begin to wonder if someone only wanted me for my "complete" hands...

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  3. Wow! i don't have much insight on this, but I find it very interesting. I always wondered about the asian woman/ white man dynamic, and both of the above views are something I never thought of. As a Black woman who has dated white guys, I never wondered why I was attracted to them, but I have constantly worried that they found me 'interesting' or 'attractive' because I was the unknown, and being seen with me is a new trend that makes them looks cool and progressive (it's been happening more since Obama apparently, Black is in. My best friend is 1/2 white 1/2 asian, looks 100% asian and she dates nothing but white guys, many who I kind of looked at as pervy fetishists. I wondered why she couldn't 'see through' these guys and I must admit that I have judged her because of this in my mind; clearly I need to try and see it from both sides as well.

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  4. Thank you for the post, cl and FTT. I really appreciate your perspective.

    I'm a (straight, cis, lower-class background with upper-class education) white woman dating a South Asian man, and I know I often sail along in privileged oblivion -- or get overly, white saviorly ferocious at any whiff of racism. I've often found myself thinking "I relate to men of color better than white men because they understand systemic oppression in a way most straight white men don't." I think I've used a sense of false equivalence between male privilege and white privilege to downplay or ignore any racial dynamic in our relationship, and continue sailing along in privileged oblivion. Or worse, take seriously any discrimination and racism he faces but secretly feel like it's confirmation of how well we "relate." (Not acknowledging that my chosen interest in anti-racism is completely not equivalent to a person of color's forced attention to racism, and my forced attention to sexism and classism isn't the same as his forced attention to racism.)

    In addition, I've caught myself thinking "If I were dating a black man, or a Latino man, or a Native American man (with the tone of my thoughts implying a REALLY oppressed minority group), then I'd have to think much more about the racial/ethnic dynamics of my interactions with Man I'm Dating." Again, it's a justification for me to ignore the ways in which my whiteness gives me privilege over him -- it's not like we have a dynamic that fits a cliche, like white woman/black man or Asian woman/white man, so I don't have to question my own motives! Right.

    And (though I love the guy, for many many reasons - but I know you don't need that qualification) my motives could use some questioning...As FTT says "as a person in a privileged position, [I] do not have to worry that [I am] doing it for some apparent gain in status." At the same time, in many white liberal circles, dating someone who's not white DOES give a certain gain in status -- so as a person of privilege I don't have to worry about the the appearance of dating someone to gain status points, but I get the status points.

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  5. Cl: said...
    "He's white, and while he's as aware as I might hope for someone to be about racial issues, ultimately, he doesn't see race everywhere like I do."

    Please forgive me, but somehow I get the vibe- although you care for your white boyfriend; you hope he is not as racist as you think he might be. Especially after incidents like this when you have deep seated issues in how you were treated, yet he either glosses over them; or is outright blind to them. You seem to be asking yourself these questions as you examine your motivations for being with him. If I date a white man will he be as racist as I’ve been led to believe about most white people? Will this one be different somehow?

    @fromthetropics:
    "I often question my preference, though. When I am with non-Westernized Asians who are uncomfortable dealing with white people, I wonder if that will become an issue for me. Will I have to retreat into an exclusively Asian world to make things easy for us, or be the one out there dealing with the white world for the both of us? Is my preference a preference for white privilege? The white guy I dated was already quite aware of racism by the time I had met him. So I thought the whole racial side of things was all sorted out. Little did I realize that it runs a bit deeper and in more nuanced ways."

    It must be stressful hoping that race will never come up in your conversations with white men, in the fear that they just won’t get it. That the reason you and he are together is not because he is as progressive as you've hoped; but that you (and women like you) have been fetishized by him. He just hasn’t told you yet.
    Hope I dint offend:

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  6. I had to comment on this one. I'm mixed, with a white mother and a black father, and I jumped into dating at the beginning of college after difficulty in high school, much like in LisaMJ's comment. I've found also that my social circle in art school is limited racially because of the high cost of the institution, even though I live in the racially diverse (yet segregated) Chicago.

    Anyway, I dated my first black guy, also an art student, my freshmen year. While I had someone to commiserate on with new racial issues that were coming up for me by moving to a city with a larger black population, I found at the same time I was getting rather rude stares from black women (I'm light skinned, he was very dark skinned, and we both had mohawks at the time). Also, I found that when we went to restaurants, we tended to be served with a little less attention that I was used to receiving with my non-black (mostly) social circle. It troubled me, but it wasn't the reason for us breaking up.

    After some more trial and error, I've ended up with a Ukrainian immigrant for the past 2 1/2 years now. If I remember correctly, he mentioned the term "white privilege" on our first date, which to me was a very good sign. Having come to the states as a child, I sort of see my boyfriend as white, but also able to look at majority white culture from the outside, or at least he was able to as one of the ESL kids in school. He's had to speak and read contracts for his parents, feel strange about their culture and language in public places, etc, so I see him as having a certain kind of experience that would lend itself to being sympathetic to mine. He's really great about observing outside behavior towards us, here's an example:

    Going grocery shopping, both of us are standing with our baskets are in an isle looking for products. Surely, we both seem like customers. In fact, I tend to outdress him. Unfortunately in my neighborhood, the residents tend to be white, and service people tend to be more ethnically diverse. A woman approached me, not my boyfriend, and asked me where a product is. I stared at her, somewhat dumbfounded, clearly not dressed as a person that worked at the market. She was rather embarrassed when I told her I wasn't employed there. Afterward, I was curious. I asked my boyfriend if that ever happened to him, because it seems to happen to me occasionally. He said no, but didn't negate the obvious things contributing to the situation happening. If he had called me oversensitive, or negated the possibility, I don't know what I would have said.

    Anyway, my only concerns revolved around the reactions of his family (I admit I had assumptions of what an eastern European family would have of me). They were fine. And after the high school dating problems I shared with LisaMJ, it's taken a long time for me to believe him when he said he found me attractive.... but that's a different post altogether.

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  7. @fromthetropics:
    "Why did my former partner say that race doesn’t matter when all three of his girlfriends have been Asian? His brother’s girlfriend is Asian. His (white) best friend also has an Asian girlfriend. Is this pure coincidence? Does it really not matter?"

    I'm sure he would say as much. "It’s merely a coincidence; you’re getting all upset over nothing." Makes you think when there are so many instances of white males (as in the military) either coming home with an Asian wife; or simply ordering one from a catalog. Let’s not even talk about the sex tourism trade, where white men/women of means can travel overseas and partake of young bodies as if they were fast-food takeout. It does matter, its just not in his best interest to tell you that.

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  8. I'm interested in the "Your race doesn't matter to me" and "I don't see race in our relationship" statements that both cl and fromthetropics mention. They remind me of the debate between colour-blindness and race-consciousness.

    In that debate, I tend to see race-consciousness as more productive. Whereas colour-blindness aims at making racism impossible by pretending racism doesn't exist, race-consciousness acknowledges that, though race is socially constructed, that social construction continues to have an impact on the lives of racialized people. To me, then, it's important that our partners DO see race in our relationships, for a few reasons.

    First, I would hope that a white partner would be aware enough of race to not actively and directly discriminate against their partner of colour. This means not insulting or essentializing a POC's family, food, religion, or things that might work a little differently from the white mainstream. Depending on the POC and the relationship, I would think it also means not using racial slurs lightly within the relationship, not teasing the POC about the little differences, and not fetishizing the POC.

    Second, I would hope that a white partner would be aware of race because a supportive and caring partner ought to seek a better understanding of their loved one. If I have a problem at work, or at school, or with my family or friends, I want to be able to turn to my partner for understanding and support. If my partner cannot begin to understand the problems of race that I deal with in my everyday life - either because they choose colour-blindness (ie. to be stubborn about their own ignorance) or because they genuinely believe the racism I've experienced isn't there - they're not really able to give me the support I need. They're not really a safe haven for my heart.

    I think we can expect our privileged partners, even if they don't come pre-fab with a racial consciousness, to make an effort. If not, then we will continue to have to code-shift, to hide our feelings, to feel lesser, pressured, and in many cases might come to resent our partners. We deserve better.

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  9. I think race should definitely be discussed in IR relationships, from an early stage too. It doesn't have to be an argument, nor should the PoC submit their particular sensitivities for questioning/approval. Just stating them firmly should be enough - if the White partner cares about your feelings.
    That ticket agent incident made me think of how eager I am to practice my foreign language skills whenever I get a chance. I avoid doing it until I know the person well enough to make sure that it's ok though.
    I think the stereotype of the shy Asian woman who speaks broken English exists in Europe too, but I would say it's not nearly as strong. People who work in tourism in many European countries are usually required to manage in least two foreign languages (in your face, USA :P), so such incidents are not uncommon. Definitely your race prompted his reaction, but I tend to think it was more about showing off his language skills and clinging to every opportunity (imagined or not) to do so. There is particular pride in speaking an Asian language, or Arabic, anything that has a different alphabet and/or is considered particularly difficult. My parents still can't forgive me that I didn't pursue Japanese in college, lol, and when I dropped Norwegian to study French they had a fit, because French is not "rare and special".
    Going off the field here. What I meant (for cl) is that, even though your race triggered that guy's approach, I think it's unlikely that he thought "oh, look at this White guy with his little mail-order China doll who can't speak English". It should be common courtesy to address a person in the language of their choice, but, unfortunately, in many places in Central and Eastern Europe, it is not. Even the countries that are somewhat diverse can't see past their own brand of diversity.

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  10. um Marianne, you weren't there, you can't tell her what happened or that her interpretation is wrong

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  11. Great posts! And very timely--I just blogged about a similar subject a couple days ago, and my boyfriend and I had a conversation about it last night.

    I think I have a similar story to Alicia's in that my boyfriend, being White and Jewish and based on where he grew up, was considered outside of the "White club". (I once told him that it was ironic that he grew up in a place so White even he couldn't make it in, because he looks as White as they come.) I feel like we can talk about a lot of things and he's willing to listen and would never (I hope) tell me that I'm overreacting or being too sensitive or anything like that (though maybe he's just scared of my fiery temper). :-P

    I think race should/has to come up--it's such an integral part of our (meaning POC's) lives that to ignore it means ignoring a core part of who you are. I don't think I could date a guy who was all sunshine and rainbows and "we are the human family" crap. I'm too vocal for that. :-)

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  12. @Marianne re: "Definitely your race prompted his reaction, but I tend to think it was more about showing off his language skills and clinging to every opportunity (imagined or not) to do so."

    That may be, in terms of his intent, but what I saw as objectionable is the fact that he asked her white boyfriend to fill in the information about her nationality or cultural background. He could have switched languages to try Chinese or asked her in English before turning to the boyfriend. That part betrayed other assumptions about the pair that could very well have been hurtful or insulting.

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  13. if it's any comfort at all, those questions are not gender or even white/non-white specific.

    my wife and i are both 'brown', and have the same 'country of origin'. her race, though, are a majority, while mine are visibly different and a minority (with the associated racist trouble exotica attachments). i seem a lot more race-conscious than she is. i can relate to many of the "why are we together" questions too!

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  14. I've always been fascinated by racial issues. I am white male and have been married to a mixed Native American and African American women for about 10 years now. However, even as a kid I lived in poorer neighborhoods some were predominantly white, some black and some hispanic. So, I am no stranger to racial issues.

    Personally, I believe white people are lumped in a group and given a bad rap for what I consider to be human nature and not "a white thing". As I read some of the comments it occurred to me that everyone is speaking from a minority perspective in an area of white majority but seem to ignore the fact that white people can and do experience the same issues in areas where they are the minority.

    Racism is alive and well in all groups, nationalities and ethnicities. At the same time I believe some people can inadvertantly make something racial when it isn't. The truth of the matter is unless you can read another persons mind and heart you don't know what their motive is for treating you one way or another.

    My wife and I have had no problems in this area and, frankly, it comes up so infrequently it would be hard to have any issues. Now if we chose to make an issue of every perceived slight, every stare, every inquisition (well intentioned or otherwise) we could. But all that does is create contention where there doesn't need to be any.

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  15. @Dr.Pangloss re:"Racism is alive and well in all groups, nationalities and ethnicities."

    Racial animosity might be present between some people of all groups, but racism as practiced in the US at least, is a system of oppression, and it keeps you and me and other white people at the top of a racial hierarchy that is hard to miss if you look at it. Yes, it affects all of us, but racism isn't just a bad attitude toward others.

    "At the same time I believe some people can inadvertantly make something racial when it isn't."

    When it isn't TO YOU. How do you know? How do you presume to know more about other people's lived experience than they themselves know?

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  16. @M.Gibson,

    I didn't say "he's as aware as I might hope for someone WHITE to be about racial issues." It's occurred to me too that if the same issues cropped up with someone who's Asian or a minority, I'd be less forgiving. That is, I'm more likely to forgive someone who is white but oblivious about these issues than someone who was a minority but also oblivious. That's something else that's made me wonder if it's perhaps another reason I'm more attracted to my boyfriend.

    @Marianne,
    While you're probably right that the ticket agent didn't think this sentence: "oh, look at this White guy with his little mail-order China doll who can't speak English", it doesn't mean that he didn't have any subconscious stereotypes about me. I think the Implicit Attitude Test is a great example of how we might have underlying stereotypes that affect our interactions and beliefs about other people. Moreover, I responded to him in English that I was Chinese.

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  17. Dr. Pangloss are you implying that cl & fromthetropics are making things racial or perceiving slights? After reading your entire comment I'm convinced that you need to read around this site and DfD as well. You're making some classic white-guy (read: not human nature) comments.

    cl & fromthetropics, thank you for sharing your stories.

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  18. @cl

    I'm sure he had, Eastern and Central Europe is as full of stereotypes of all kinds as other places. The Asian bride isn't a common one (or not in the way it's seen in the US) because those are countries that export brides themselves, not import. But your post is very relevant of attitudes that I have noticed at home. If you're Asian, you're either Chinese or Japanese, doesn't matter where you're really from. And you are expected to carry your millennia of culture with you. The "shy and demure" stereotype is more common among those who took a particular interest in Asian cultures, they would expect you to act like you descended from a history book or a miniature. If confronted, most people there would react in shock, because these are seen as positive stereotypes that should be flattering. Some big EE (Eastern European) cities have Asian communities of different sizes, each with their particular myths and stereotypes. Positive stereotyping is very tricky because the intention will be seen as overruling the effect, and apparently your boyfriend tends to see things the same way. I hope the incident didn't ruin the rest of your holiday.

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  19. @Dr. Pangloss:

    I wonder if you and your wife truly don't have problems in "this area", or if she just finds it fruitless to have any meaningful conversation with you about them?

    I think that "human nature" causes us to notice physical differences, but it is definitely a "white thing" to brush aside any deeper conversations about racism.

    Like bloglogger and Victoria, I think you really need to do some research. I'd say that white privilege extends beyond the confines of the US or other "western" nations and manifests in even sicker ways... Hence your experience in poorer neighborhoods does not automatically absolve you of racism. Actually, your self-perceived expertise on racism is yet another manifestation of your superiority complex.

    You telling us to get over ourselves? Why don't you try to do it yourself first, and you just might learn something.

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  20. Fantastic post! I am a black woman who dates outside of her race, and have been in similiar situations. Sometimes the white guys I have dated just didn't get it when it comes to race.

    I think it's very introspective and honest of you to question why you date white men and why they date you. Glad you put this topic out there, and keep up the great writing.

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  21. You have just listed the reason I will never, ever raise my daughter in the West. Chances are they will ended up with a white boyfriend w/o aknowledging the racist brain-washing which pre-determined their fate living in a racially-based relationship. I will do all my power to make sure my daughter does not fall into this sad fate. If she grew up in Asian and still chose this sad existence, then that is her lot in life. My kids will NOT be Asian-American ANYTHING. I will not make the mistake my parents made.

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  22. i don't know who i amJanuary 26, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    Let me put it this way. I have a white male friend who never showed any particular interest in dating Asian women, all his previous girlfriends were anglo in the extreme. However he ended up marrying a Filipina and I think because he works in an industry with lots of Asians.

    If your boyfriend's previous girlfriends were heavily Asian and all his friends show a similar propensity and he doesn't live or work in a highly Asian heavy area, you better think again.

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  23. Sometimes it's not even the White partner, but the other White people around them that try to impose a perceived preference. After many years of dating solely White men (pretty much the only available option I had in my country), it so happened that I liked two Black men consecutively. Most of my friends acted as if I "defected" to the other side, even though they knew I had always been open to the idea of IR. And they gave me all the explanations they could think of for why I might have done this, from physical stamina, to muscular tone, to penis size. More so, they expected me to show interest in any Black man I saw, as if I was already "wired". I couldn't say I have a special physical preference for Black men, or special expectations. I don't do the "chocolate-vanilla" comparisons, I've been in love with men of different body types, I've kissed thin lips and thick lips with equal passion- but if you have more than two love interests of a different race, you get branded (and sex is usually seen as the reason), as if you're some kind of sexual deviant. I was even asked how long I thought this "phase" is going to last me, until I get back to "normal". When I told my Dad that I was happy Obama (a man that I don't consider even remotely sexy) won, he said jokingly "oh, I think I know the reason". I think the way your White partner treats you is much more relevant than their dating history. The dating history argument can be easily turned: if you're their first non-White partner, isn't it more likely that you'll be treated as an exotic novelty? I heard both sides of this argument supported strongly, usually by those who are against this "sad" IR existence.

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  24. @fromthetropics: It's very interesting that you question the roots of your attraction to white men, because until this year, I hadn't realized that 100% of my romantic fantasies revolved around white males. I believe it's because I was socialized to view them as 'the most desirable.'

    But now, I am just hella wary of them. I don't believe many of them in my age bracket are quite mature enough to handle my strong feelings about race or to own up to their privilege and as I mentioned before, I'm always forever suspicious about the hidden Asian fetishizers.

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  25. Thanks for getting onto Dr Pangloss' case guys. Really appreciate that I didn't have to do it myself. But about the point he raised on how with some relationships it just doesn't come up - yeah, I can see that happening. Drowned Lotuses' take is one possibilty. But heck, I've seen pocs who will lash out at other pocs for calling out racism, so another possibility is that the poc in the relationship is totally 'assimilated'. Or, the poc is just oblivious to it, or don't care (and that's great)...But I've also seen a few commenters here say that they never noticed racism until they hit their 30s, or until they moved to another city, etc. But either way, his comment did come across with a kinda 'superior' feel to it, whether intended or not.

    @free - I don't think that's the point. The West isn't evil per se. In the post, I say that it was really in my face IN ASIA. Many, many Asians in Asia 'worship' white privilege, often more so than in the West. I think it's more about attitude than where you are raised.

    @M.Gibson - I get what you're saying. And I agree with the examples you bring up. But...hmmm, somehow it kinda feels like it's along the same vibe as the Asian fetish post that I thought was too obvious. I'm talking about relationships where the couple really do care about each other. But how racial perceptions come up in the most nuanced of ways in places that neither expect it, and how there's a gap in how each experiences it because of the different ways society treats them based on what they look like. (And often the nuances are even more difficult to get across the guy's head when it's coupled with male privilege.) I suppose it's like being in a cross-cultural relationship. Or maybe that's the same as what you're saying?

    @i don't know who i am - yeah, i totally get ya.

    What I find real difficult is when you actually really care about each other...it's almost like, you feel guilty for even asking all those questions. And you wonder how you determine whether a preference is just a preference, or the preference (on both sides) is informed by socially constructed racial perceptions.

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  26. @Sonic - And I don't think (as far as I can remember) ever questioned my attraction until a few years ago when I actually fell in love with (as opposed to just dating) a white guy. I can't make much sense of this at the moment. Either I just wasn't aware of race issues all that much before, or it just became all the more important to question it to make sure I wasn't shortchanging the guy. I dunno. The jury's still out.

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  27. Coming from the white side of an interracial relationship (over now though), I would say that your boyfriend is not as aware as you could hope for. The incident you described seemed pretty obvious, at least to me. I'm not going to judge how good your relationship is, but I will say this. If you cannot be comfortable enough with him to bring up those issues after all this time (and it is his job to make you feel comfortable), how is it going to be down the line? What kind of future do you have with someone you cannot even be yourself around? I sincerely mean those as questions, because only you can decide if it is worth it. But what I've learned through my recent break up is that honest communication is essential to any relationship, if you don't have it you are destined to fail. You can work on it though. Me and my ex were extremely open about racial issues, and I'd like to think I earned her trust on that through constant communication and listening. Don't settle for as good as you can hope for. Get what you want. They are out there, whether it is a white person or not. Which is ironic, because we broke up due to a lack of that in other areas. But that's another topic altogether.

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  28. cl and FtT, great post!

    TheOstrichLaureate at 10:26 AM points out the basics: A good partner will want to understand the other partner's point of view. A partner's cluelessness can* be dealt with if both of you are motivated, kind, and respectful. If the partner is not interested in YOU, bail, you deserve better.

    *Avoiding clueless potential partners may be the right strategy for someone not up to that particular variety of conflict / lack of consensus.

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  29. Thanks guys.

    But I’d also like to hear more of what other’s experiences have been like and what your views are, both from the white and poc side. And even the views of those who have not been in interracial relationships.

    I’d basically like to steer away from getting well meaning personal advices about my own relationship(s) because a) a lot more than race goes into relationships, more than can ever be expressed on a blog; b) getting advice for my life is NOT why I shared such a personal story on a public blog like this. It’s my life, not yours. You don’t know me, you don’t know the people in the stories I share. You don’t know how much I care about them either. Besides, I don’t take advice about such important issues from people I don’t know. When people I don’t know tell me that the people I care about are ‘bad’ or ‘not worth it,’ it leaves me with a very bad aftertaste, the kind that makes me feel yuck and like a jackass for talking about them and wish I never posted. Or perhaps it is the way I wrote it that’s inviting such advices? If so, some tips on how to write about personal stuff and issues without painting others in a negative light or as two dimensional beings (and be concise at the same time) would be great.

    My apologies if the above sounds a bit ‘biting,’ but (yeah, there’s a ‘but’) I’m a bit wary of well-meaning advice after that ‘dump your friend’ drill I received in my post about pop-psychology, and I’m worried this one might go down that path too. It’s not black and white. It’s not, ‘he’s got an Asian fetish, he’s bad’. I’m not talking about clueless guys either. I do avoid clueless guys. That’s easy to do.

    What was hoping is to open up space for a discussion (or dialogue?) about the nuanced dynamics and issues that happen in interracial relationships. I wanted to see if we could dig a bit deeper under the surface, if that makes any sense.

    What other kinds of issues arise in interracial relationships? What has your experience been like?

    How do white readers (men especially) experience interracial relationships? Has it ever occurred to you that your poc partner might be asking these questions? How does it feel to know that they’re asking such questions, or that they are so aware of race? Have you ever wondered about your own motives or your partner’s motives? Why or why not?

    How do men of color experience interracial relationships? What affects your preferences?

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  30. CL:
    If my boyfriend thought that some stranger was just being nice, I would've schooled his ass right then and there. When we started going out, instances. like the one you described, would occur and I'd gripe about it right in front of him. "How can that asshole just assume I'm (insert Asian ethnicity) when I'm Korean?! I'm so sick of people doing that! It's so fucking ignorant and insulting to just assume such things!" So from the get go, he knew race was a sensitive issue. After a blow out like that, I'd tell him how such a situation should play out (if it has to at all). I'd also bring up other similar situations, how angry I was over them, and why. Maybe I talked too much during these moments, but I'm glad that my boyfriend listened. He is very aware that we are an interracial couple and of the social implications that follow suit. One of the reasons I liked him over other potential suitors was because he was the first one to NOT bring attention to the fact that I am an Korean/Asian woman. I cannot tell you how appreciative I was of that. It made me think he was comfortable being with someone who was of another ethnicity/race. He knew of the stereotypes that particularly stamp Asian women, but he didn't crack really bad jokes about them to my face upon first meeting.
    The only tip I can give is tell him how it makes you feel when such an instance occurs. If he cares about you, hopefully he'll understand and start being aware of your sensitivities and what it means to be in an interracial relationship. If not, school him with as much patience as you can muster. Break his rose colored, racially unaware glasses (for lack of a better metaphor).

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  31. @ Fromthetropics:
    "Why did my former partner say that race doesn’t matter when all three of his girlfriends have been Asian?"

    I think these things are often a bit more complicated than they seem. Personally, almost all the girls I've been in relationships with have been South Asian. Now obviously I do find South Asian women attractive, but it's not that I'm focusing exclusively on them. I've been interested in people of a whole host of backgrounds and would have happily have gone out with them, but attraction has to go two ways. For whatever reason, the ones who reciprocated were South Asian.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that the types of people we get into relationships with are not just a result of our choice - it's also about circumstance, and who is into us.

    And even if your (ex?) partner has a marked preference for Asian women, that doesn't have to be a bad thing. We can't always help who we like, and I assume he wouldn't just go out with anyone solely because they were Asian.

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  32. @Eurasian Sensation - Well, no. Preference isn't a bad thing per se. But how come cl and I are asking questions about our preferences while I don't see white guys doing the same? Especially given how White man + Asian woman couples seem more common than other combinations. I mean, I was surprised to hear the questions that cl was asking because we're continents away and the questions we were asking were pretty much EXACTLY the same. Go figure.

    How come I'm asking questions and they're not? I suppose I wonder because here's my line of thought: If they asked questions, but came to the conclusion that they do like the person they're with regardless of race, then would the fact that they even bothered to ask help them become more aware of racialized situations that I encounter in their presence, or how they have racial prejudices that come up from time to time, or how they can from time to time be oblivious to white privilege? (I suppose I'm addressing this to everyone.)

    Re: advices - I suppose some of those advice weren't directed at me, but I'm gonna follow up on my comment about it anyway. There's something different about Alisha's advice compared to, say, the two previous ones. Alisha's advice doesn't cast the white guy in a completely negative light. She doesn't seem to see white people as two dimensional cardboard cut out who are either good or evil, but more like a complex being as humans are. It's not a 'dump the guy' type of advice, but more like, 'well, here are some things that might work, and here's my experience with it'.

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  33. [Pick a name! Choose Name/URL; you don't have to enter a URL -- multiple comments under "Anonymous" would be confusing. ~macon]

    Okay, wow, I just got hammered.

    [The rest of your comment is redacted. If you can't indicate that you've listened respectfully to what people are saying here, and if you're going to totally dismiss the concept of white privilege as "racist" on top of that, you've got some catching up to do. Google "Racism 101" and "white ally" for starters.]

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  34. @ FTT:

    >> "How come I'm asking questions but they're not?"
    >> (in the OP) "If they do not question whether a girl likes them because they are white, how will they know who loves them for who they are?"

    The heart of white privilege is the ability not to perceive oneself as racialized'--i.e. to see yourself as "normal" instead of white or Asian or etc. I can imagine that there are a few sketchy white guys who are specifically looking for a woman with Whiteness Worship Syndrome (white people can have this too, note), but for the most part, I imagine it doesn't even cross their minds.

    In other words, most white guys automatically assume that "ze likes me for me". Because white male is coded as 'neutral'. Stereotypes attached to WM are usually perceived as part of someone's "personality" rather than something linked to his race and/or gender. (I think that with WW, there are a certain set of stereotypes that go with "[white] woman," but the stereotypes of whiteness are folded into 'personality').

    I agree with you that even just asking the questions is a good start. It's basically the difference between "I don't see color" and "I know I'm racist, how can I be anti-racist as well/instead."

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  35. As a white guy in his first serious relationship with a black gal, I can say that I have definitely had to examine issues of race and privilege.

    I agree with forthetropic's assessment about not needing to question my attraction since I'm not doing it to gain status. On the other hand, I have had to question whether I'm an interracial tourist, whether the "exoticism" of dating a black gal is part of the attraction.

    Also, I've also been slow to realize how we can have very different takes on the same situation, and how I generally haven't had to recognize when someone treats her differently from me. I confess I've been guilty of "whitesplaining" of the kind engaged in upthread by Dr. Pangloss -- framing problematic actions and statements by other white people in non-racist terms so as to exonerate people with whom I identify.

    When this happens, a discussion about race and privilege ensues. And my partner has made it clear when I do/say things things that are problematic, I don't get to turn the discussion around to my own hurt feelings for "trying so hard." Instead, I need to make real choices -- like severing relationships with friends whose racism I hadn't had to be aware of.

    Thank you both for this discussion that really hits home and gives me more to think about.

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  36. Can I chime in with fromthetropics that commentators refrain from giving me relationship advice? It doesn't quite leave me with a bad taste in my mouth as I can usually ignore advice like that pretty easily. However, because my boyfriend can't speak up for himself, I feel the need to defend him.

    I want to point out that in the original post I've mentioned one instance in which he didn't see race. One instance clearly isn't representative of someone as a person in any way. There was a lot of noise and I was standing closer to the ticket agent so while I had heard what he had said, I couldn't even be sure that my boyfriend had. He often agrees with me and he often stands up for me. In fact, most of our conversations in Europe was about race. When chatting with someone at the hostel we were staying at, the stranger asked me out of the blue where I was from even though we had already talked about flying in from the US and our life in the US. My boyfriend looked to me immediately to see how I would respond or even how I might want him to respond because he knew that such a question bothered me. I deflected because I was again uninterested in playing into the angry minority with a stranger. A while later went to bed but my boyfriend had stayed up and continued chatting with the guy. In this conversation, my boyfriend brought up race with him and this incident earlier in the evening. What I was unwilling to engage in, he willingly defended on my behalf. He knew to wait until I had left to begin the conversation so that I didn't seem like a sideshow.

    He's not perfect, but I don't demand perfection from my partners. The point of the story in the original post was to illustrate how I have to deal with these instances of race all the time and he hasn't had to deal with them at all. That is, not until he started dating me and then only in the context of dating me.

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  37. @fromthetropics re: "How do white readers (men especially) experience interracial relationships? Has it ever occurred to you that your poc partner might be asking these questions? How does it feel to know that they’re asking such questions, or that they are so aware of race? Have you ever wondered about your own motives or your partner’s motives? Why or why not?"

    When I was in an interracial relationship (I am a white Euro-American male) my partner, a female Japanese national, didn't really have a racial awareness that I could see in the beginning, but I didn't either, so I might have missed it. But I do recall an incident that brought it into focus for me. We were traveling through an almost totally white rural area, and at a restaurant where we stopped for dinner, she said that she felt uncomfortable, as if the other patrons were staring at or judging her or us. What I experienced at that moment has changed my life. I felt a conditioned response coming into my consciousness, like a prompt for a line in a play. I knew I was supposed to say, "Are you sure?" or "It's probably just because we don't live here," or something out of the "oversensitive" repertoire. But maybe because I was also a stranger there, I hesitated. I looked around, and I saw the looks, and I saw them as racially-motivated, and said, "Wow, I wouldn't have noticed that if you hadn't told me." I realized that being white blinded me to what she could see, even though I had been observing my own culture for much longer than she had.

    It seems like I was constantly questioning my own motives in being with her, but it never occurred to me to question hers or to wonder whether she ever questioned hers. I suppose that I thought of myself as an individual and not as a white person, so I assumed it was only my personality or individual qualities that attracted her to me, but in reverse, I wondered if I was objectifying her because I knew that I had been attracted to other Japanese women before. Now I think that part of the reason we split is because we didn't go into these issues. For an IR couple not to just seems odd to me.

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  38. So I've thought about race before, but never really to the extent of how it relates to who I'm dating. I was attracted to asian girls not really from a young age, but found in college that my attraction toward a few of them was reciprocated better then my attraction to various white girls. I would like to think it was my personal charm that was the clencher as obviously I wasn't the only white guy on campus in Kentucky rather then my just being white itself as some dating qualifier.

    I've lived in Asia, specfically Singapore and dated a Chinese girl there. Not once did it cross my mind as to how my girlfriend at the time felt having a "white" boyfriend. I wasn't totally ignorant of racial concepts as I know she herself had been called a twinkie or bannana, eluding to being yellow on the outside and white inside. However, those comments came before she ever dated me.

    I think now for me, dating asian women is just a reaction to boy my attraction to their physical beauty, some to their exotic subtext, and partially because of the acceptance I've found with them as opposed to their white contemporaries.

    I read the story above about the ticket taker and I don't necessarily think the guy was being racist. If a guy looked decidedly German I think I'd be tempted to try whatever German I knew on him before English, but perhaps it was impolite to assume that the lady wasn't fluent in English or that it wasn't her first language. However, they were both tourists and it would seem any person used to dealing with tourists would first categorize them by their apparent ethnicity or nationality. I don't really see an overt racist tone to the encounter. But I wasn't there so it would be impossible for to judge the value of the million small variables I couldn't observe.

    I think racial interraction and how it affects both relationships and causal every day contacts is affected by so many things my mind is numbed at the concept of listing them.

    I hope everyone posting continues to find and keep love in whatever partner makes them happy regardless of race.

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  39. Thank you for this - I especially appreciate the insight into how these things work in different parts of the world.

    I'm a white woman whose most recent ex and current (male) partners have been Arab. I find that I'm mostly well-received by their (non-American Arab) families and friends, with little curiosity, probably because I speak Arabic decently, at least with enough effort to be appreciated abroad.

    What's most frustrating to me is the reception I get from, well, mostly older white women in the United States. They're constantly trying to "warn me" about Arab men. Granted, the women who do this typically have experience dating (or being married to) Arab men, but they seem to think that's an excuse for their utter racism and their stereotypes toward my partner.

    My current partner is amazing (and thus I'll afford him the privacy he deserves), but my ex was emotionally abusive. When certain white friends (and frankly, especially Jewish friends) found out about this, all I got was "I told you so" - which was not based on him as a human being at all, but on his race.

    UGH!!!!

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  40. Meant to add, re: the Prague Castle ticket taker...I swear, I had the same guy when I visited! The man who was there when I (again, white, pretty plain/European looking) visited first tried German on me, then French, then Spanish.

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  41. Seems like a hell of a lot of work just to date a white guy, and that's before you even get to the regular old human interactions that occur in a relationship. Good luck with that.

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  42. I've questioned these things a long time ago and made peace with them. I don't find it a problem to have a physical preference for a different race, but I couldn't say that there's any particular Black feature that turns me on. And no particular American feature either, LOL! Well, I do like his accent a lot (VA-KY combination, as I understand), but I like tons of other accents.
    As for the PoC man I date/might date, I look for a few indicators, gathered from the conversations I've had with different men. The best giveaway is if he seems to have a chip on his shoulder regarding the women of his race. Second, if he seems preoccupied with comparing himself to my former White partners, as in what I did for them and what I would do for him (been there!). Third, if he frequently points out that my tastes and interests are White (as in "liking opera is a White thing" - my current bf likes opera and I don't know how much of a pass that gave him in life). Or if my tastes aren't White enough. If he seems fascinated with a particular feature deemed as White. If he tries to seduce me by explicitly pushing forward a particular feature deemed by him as Black. If he is very interested in the shock value of our union.
    Of course, first I would ask him directly about these things, but sometimes we don't get a direct answer., or the behavior contradicts the words. These are the red flags I gathered from my personal experiences with Black American men.
    Then there's the cultural aspect, I've met guys fixated on European White women (apparently, we are loose), or Eastern European White women (even looser, and cheaper too, and dumber). I'm proud of my heritage, I want it acknowledged and respected, I'm happy to share it (especially here in Canada, as an immigrant), but if I see a fixation, no thanks.
    Other than that, I guess I would just have to trust the man until I have a reason not to. I can't drill a hole in his brain and see what he's actually thinking.
    In terms of race, I wouldn't dismiss anything he says, and we already talked about these things. In any racially charged situation, I would let him take the lead and decide what's best. He's the man, anyway. But if I ever take him to my country, he should listen to me too, and understand that it's a different culture with different rules. I would give him all the disclaimers in advance, so he makes a conscious choice.

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  43. Male POC here. I guess all my relationships have been IR, my ethnicity is fairly uncommon in the US and though I've been on a couple of dates with girls of my race it's never gone anywhere.

    I have considered a lot of the racial issues regarding common features in my past relationships and the "comfortable" conclusion is that it's a sheer numbers game, that most of the girls i've dated have been white or black because that's the makeup of my area. Is that an accurate conclusion or am I deluding myself? I can parallel to my peer group; most of my male and platonic female friends are white or black and I've got a few who are other or mixed race. If the group of available, interesting women parallels my friends, and say only 5% of those women would be willing to date me, and only 5% of that group are actually compatible with me, then it's not inconceivable that in my 15ish years of dating, the only people it's worked out with are in the majority or largest minority group. Beyond that, I've just got my gut instinct- I see a pretty lady, the first thing I think is "pretty lady", not "pretty white lady" or "pretty black lady" or "pretty asian lady".

    I like to say New Orleans is one of the most racially progressive cities in america, because it's a town limited by geography and people of different races have been living together, working together (and sleeping together) for near four hundred years. Even then, we've got our racial tension, but I feel that it's a lot less pervasive than in other cities (especially in the south).

    It really hits me when I go on a road trip with my white girlfriend (of almost 3 years now). She's more comfortable in small towns and rural areas than I'll ever be. When I'm driving through texas to visit my sister (in Austin), I only stop in Houston and San Antonio. The "eyes watching you at gas stations and restaurants" - that's never, ever, ever a comfortable feeling.

    (Louisiana's a little better in cajun country, I'm not sure if it's for historic reasons or otherwise, but I've had some very negative experiences in Texas.)

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  44. cl and FtT, I apologize. Bad writing on my part - I mixed comment to specific persons with generic comment/opinion. "Clueless" is too flip and too broad a term, having both humorous and pejorative usages - "unaware" is a less loaded term.

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  45. Hey I haven't read all the comments (sorry!!) so I apologize if I touch on points already covered, and stick to my own experience.
    I'm a white cisgendered midwestern gal happily married to a Black African man. We're all fabuloso now but we had some VERY ROCKY times in our first few years together. Looking back I feel lucky that he stuck with me sometimes.

    I didn't get it. I had grown up in an all-white conservative place, and I was the worst form of little white liberal girl. I was SO well-meaning, but when we went into a store, I didn't see the looks he got. I didn't understand. And I did not know how to listen when he tried to tell me. I did not hear. I didn't fully grasp how horrible it was for his younger brother going to university in Wisconsin that people followed him around stores. I was so completely oblivious. I did not understand what it is like for a Black man to be pulled over by a cop in rural Minnesota (not really, at least - I thought I understood so much of this but I really had no idea). He clearly loved me a lot that he did not just ditch me.

    We had so many conversations. I read a great deal. We talked endlessly about his experiences growing up. I learned (FAST) to be a better listener. I grew more comfortable telling him when I didn't understand and he appreciated that I could admit it.

    We're both in a very different place from where we started. we have a healthy open relationship in which we talk about race all the time, especially now that our two biracial children are going to be navigating race in a way that neither of us has ever had to. What we both had from the very beginning was deep respect for each other.

    I don't know if this helps either of you at all. I hope it does.

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  46. My husband is weird. He definitely suffered from a black woman fetish, which i wasn't privy to until it was waaaay too late. Now i'm stuck with him....*bitter laugh* haha

    It's not all doom and gloom though because we really have a huge amount of ish in common, fetishes notwithstanding. It is frustrating though, to get written off as being paranoid when i point out things that may or may not be, racially motivated. example 1. We're a military family, and when we go to military stores of any type, i get carded(sometime twice)he doesn't, and the cashier is always white, asian, or just non black. Never have i been carded by a black store clerk, unless it was required with EVERYONE. example 2. we moved to the UK recently, and naturally we were looking for a home. the realtor(white woman)only spoke and made eye contact with him...as if i did not exist. the house was clearly available, and we were told that we would be the perfect tenants because we were temporary renters. guess what? the next week we were informed that the house was put up for sale, even though it is still listed as FOR RENT to this day. example 3. a white woman who worked in the military's version of human recources repeatedly asked me if i was my child's biological mother, and after i had convinced her that i was, she asked me if my husband was her biological father, after telling her yes, she asks if he is on her birth certificate. mind you i was there for a re up on my ID,and i still have no clue why the hell she asked me these questions. i could go on and on, but i don't want to bore you.

    the weird part is that, he co-signs when his black male friends complain of discrimination, i mean to the point of getting out right indignant when he's recounting their experiences to me. so why am i written off as paranoid? now i just keep shit to myself because i don't want a red mist to descend the next time i have to try to convince him that something was racially motivated. the poster who said that they won't raise their kids in the western world(a bunch of white, and white-washed people), is not far off the mark...lately i've been thinking the same thing.

    @Dr.Pangloss- your wife may feel the same way as me, so i wouldn't rest on my laurels just yet.

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  47. (Dislaimer: To my ex who knows I post here and may be reading, you are awesome and I am not talking about you).

    @ Jillian

    I am in a somewhat similar situation as you, though currently single--a POC ex who was emotionally abusive. And like you, I get "oh, it's because he's [race]/[culture]." Do you ever feel pressure, purely from yourself, to sugarcoat that experience when talking to others so as not to reinforce the stereotype?

    Hehe, I suppose another way of putting it is, I feel that pressure and I am unsure if this is benevolent or WIWLish (that's too flippant--more like, I am unsure whether it is right or not). I attribute his behavior solely to a poisonous personality on his part. Thoughts, anyone?

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  48. @SSDD
    I don't know how to say it correctly, but I really feel for you in your situation. Hopefully your children are supportive to you, and you can help them navigate these issues more ably.

    @Joseph
    Please research this blog and other suggested readings in the comments of this posting. For one very basic question, would you in your right mind ask any "decidedly German person" in the United States something in German upon seeing them? And how does looking "Asian" automatically put me into the category of being Japanese? (That assumption leads into classism among other issues...)

    "Find and keep love in whatever makes 'em happy." One question that is clearly enunciated all over this post is the question of how "race" augments one's feelings. Please rejoin the conversation after you've come down from your happy cloud.

    By the way, your whole reason for dating Asian women is scary. You even say it's a fetish. You are the guy that all Asian women gotta avoid. Hope you realize that.

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  49. if you are wondering that your attraction to him is his "whiteness", then it is. the mere fact that you are asking yourself those questions indicate that you are aware of your racial attraction to white guys. dating, love, and relationships should be about the two individuals, even if you are of different races.

    i am black, and my wife is mexican. yes, we talk about race but that isn't the basis of our relationship. we talk about cultural differences but we don't dwell on them. we are people first, even in our racial distinctions.

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  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  51. @PEOPLEGOGY
    You know, I don't want to come down on you too hard, but the first part of your comment? It kinda rubs me the wrong way. Please justify that logic. If you wonder whether X exists/applies/is true, then it automatically does/is? That's ridiculous. I'm getting more and more annoyed just thinking about it. Basically, one should never be introspective, never think about or question one's motives?? I'm sorry, but that sounds like an excellent way to become an asshole. Far too many people are already slaves to their lizard brains, thanks.

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  52. @NancyP – No worries at all.

    In the post I wrote, “so nuanced that he doesn’t even notice it.” But when I read, “In other words, most white guys automatically assume that "ze likes me for me",” I thought, “You have got to be kidding me.” Then I read what some of the white male commenters said after that to the same effect, and my jaw pretty much dropped to the ground. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I was. Do white men think that all that extra attention you get in, say, Asia, is because of personality??? Like…for real? I kinda thought they understood that part of that attention is because of white privilege, and that this would extend to even relationships but they (even the WIWL) didn’t care enough to question it…or something like that. To be honest, I’m a little confused by all this, or shall I say, am having a hard time accepting that white men don’t bother to ask these questions.

    Btw, Eurasian Sensation mentioned that preference isn’t necessarily a bad thing. True. When we see it in isolation, it doesn’t seem like a bad thing. But we also can’t look at the preference pattern that feeds the WM/AW trend in isolation, given how the black female commenters have noted several times on this blog that black women are not commonly seen as desirable/attractive in a white majority society (or even Asian majority society). When we see this other trend that is happening, somehow the WM/AW trend does appear racist…no? If it wasn’t racist, then different combinations would be happening in proportion to whatever the population is in that city…no?

    I think this is why I ask those questions. It’s another way of asking, ‘Is it just a coincidence that I am in a WM/AW relationship? Or am I part of the statistic and it’s partly because of social construction?’ And I say ‘partly’ because most of the time race isn’t the sole reason for liking someone (or even the sole/main reason for a break up).

    (ps. @Eurasian Sensation – yes, it’s “ex-partner”. My comment may have appeared vague on that as I wrote it on impulse thinking I had completely messed up with my post if ppl were talking about him the way they were. I think that even though someone is out of your life, they still should be respected as a person/individual. It was kind of hard to get that across with the post even though I did try to set out at the beginning that he was quite “aware of racism”, and tried to bring in my own experience of privilege in China in explaining his privilege in Asia, and avoided writing sentences that may cast him specifically in a negative light. You (generic) will notice this if you reread it. The rest of the post are just loads of questions.)

    (cont'd)

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  53. (cont'd)

    And for those doubting cl’s experience in Prague, here’s a similar scenario: I was with a white male friend in Asia doing a half day tour. He and another man were the only two Caucasians in the group. Naturally, they got talking. But at one point we were stuck in a bus and I was standing right in front of the other Caucasian man. He kept talking to my friend. By this time I thought he would have noticed that I was the friend since we were often, though not always, walking together. So I tried to join in on the conversation by acknowledging that I understand what he’s saying, since it would have been physically awkward to stand right there and pretend like I couldn’t hear. But to that other man, I was invisible. And my friend didn’t notice my invisibility in that other guy’s eyes. By the time the bus stopped, I had given up. I purposely walked ahead of the two and maintained a distance so I wouldn’t have to feel awkwardly invisible in their presence. It was too mild an incident to be bothered by it. But I did, for a split second, have to swallow my ego as I walked away thinking, “Even if he assumed that my English wasn’t good, could he not see that I was intelligent enough for the conversation? Did he not notice that I was the friend? Am I that invisible?”

    It’s too mild an incident for anyone to be cast as the ‘bad racist guy’, or for me to even mention it to my friend. Nobody meant anything by it. But it’s the kind of incident that I notice, and my white friend doesn’t. That's why I keep saying, its very nuanced. Just because it's nuanced, it doesn't mean that it doesn't matter. If the nuanced unawareness is there, then the same thing will crop up in different ways at other times in more or less pronounced ways. And it can pile up.

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  54. @Drowned Lotuses

    IF I knew German, and they were clearly a tourist, I probably would? Most people are flattered if you know a little bit of their first language. I never said "Asian" generically, but the guy has seen many tourists and he saw the lady in question and assumed she was Japanese. Obviously, he was slightly stupid you won't get any argument from me on that. The guy was attempting to show of what he knows and seemed to blunder into what in reading it a 2nd time I think can be viewed as racism. His real mistake as mentioned above was in assuming he had to look to the boyfriend for translation as if the boyfriend's native language was not their shared one. You could say that it implied he thought the guy was more educated then the girl simply based on race and their relationship.

    I stated very clearly that I wasn't very attracted to Asian girls until I got into college. Where I said I found that they better reciprocated my advances. The exotic aspect is something I came to appreciate, not something I liked right away. Asian being exotic to me because I was from the stix in rural American. I'm sorry your on an angry cloud, but I'm just posting my thoughts.

    I never said it's a fetish? You might have felt the implication, but it has continued to be the result of disasters in dating white girls and finding more acceptance with asian girls. I've dated other ethnicities as well with varying success. I'm just dating from a group of people where I have the highest success rate.

    There is no reason to be viscious in your reply. You don't know me and I don't know you. If you have a diffrent insight just say so. I've refrained from sharing thoughts on what eligible people should avoid you as that would be a prejudgment and I'm not often given to those.

    I had to edit my post. My apologies to the moderator for the extra approving work. I wrote the first reply half asleep and later noticed a reply that offered an insight that I had missed.

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  55. I have to admit that I was definitely guilty of this, and probably still am to some extent in my relationship with my husband. Although I try to be more aware of it now. He is not one to really talk about these kinds of things though, but I can tell when he is frustrated about things that happen, interactions with strangers etc. in public. It wasn't until our son was born that I really started to step back and look at the way the world really works, the way white privilege affects me, affects him, affects other POC, and ultimately affects our son. From a very self-centered point of view, I got interested in confronting these issues solely because I love my son so much that I don't want to do "stuff white people do" to him (or to my husband), and I figure the best way to avoid that is to learn as much as I can, mostly by reading as much anti-racism literature/blogs as I can.

    @ Jillian and Willow- I have had similar things said to me, including, "aren't you afraid he'll run off with your child like in Not Without My Daughter?," "Is it true all Muslim men beat their wives?," "Do you have to walk three feet behind him everywhere you go?," "Did he force you to become Muslim?" and on and on and on. I don't even know what to say to these people. Its mind-blowing.

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  56. @Southern Masala

    I couldn't imagine being "perceived" as Middle Eastern or even Muslim in this country at the moment. I hope your husband and the whole family is dealing alright with the situtions and circumstances you find yourself in.

    I recently was talking about this kind of thing with an Iranian friend of mine who migrated to Sweden when he was a child. We also touched on the broader topic being discussed above about race relations and how understanding culture has to be a part of dating across ethnic boundaries.

    I think some people assume if you adopt some of your husband's cultural or religious aspects it in some way infers your being mistreated or brain washed. Being Muslim still has such a heavy stigma that somehow barely gets applied to the likes of the anti-government white power groups that are domestic terrorists.

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  57. thank you for this wonderful post!

    i am a black woman whose mother is white and father is black. i married a white man 2 1/2 years ago. before i met my husband 5 years ago, i decided not to date any more white men, because i had several negative experiences with them. these experiences ranged from noticing that i had to explain too many things that i experienced as a black woman, to being disgusted when they would say or do something that smacked of white privilege.

    i find the comment by @false to be interesting--and frankly, much too flip and dismissive--because i have never found it completely easy to date black men, either. true, there is a common bond in terms of what we may have experienced historically/culturally, but i haven't met a great number of men of color who closely mirror the way i see/think/feel about race (AND who simultaneously fit with me personally). the black community is not homogenous, and it's a mistake to think that it will automatically be easier for two people of color to date, just because they have both experienced oppression.

    i feel extremely fortunate to have met my husband. he is deeply intuitive about everything, including race/white privilege. i started out in the relationship expecting the proverbial other-shoe-to-drop, waiting for him to say or do something that demonstrated that he didn't "get it", but that just never happened. we absolutely don't go through life pretending that we're color-blind, or dancing around issues of race. but he's very outraged and understanding about race in a way that is neither naive, nor disingenuous, and never tries to pretend that my experiences are anything other than valid. he is also outspoken about race/white privilege when i'm not around, so i've become very secure in what he is really about; i'm confident that he is not an Afrophile, a guilt-riddled white liberal, or a racist waiting to happen.

    yes, we had some important conversations when we started realizing that our relationship was getting serious. and that is of course one of the keys to dating a white person and seeing what they are made of. that, and really paying attention to situations that happen when your alarm bells start ringing and your gut is on fire. something that reveals that your partner can't see their white privilege, and can't even think critically about it if you ask them to. i suppose that there are folks that can live with spending years explaining themselves to their partner, but that's just not something that i could do.

    honestly, it wasn't easy for me when our relationship first became serious, and i had even more reservations when we moved into talks about marriage. i've always struggled with my authenticity as a black woman, i think especially because i'm biracial. i asked myself a million questions. what does it mean if i marry a white man? what if we have children? am i rejecting black men if i choose this man as my life partner? am i somehow trying to reject my blackness by choosing him?

    i think that i've come to terms with this by remembering that i vetted my husband rigorously. that no man of any race has ever understood me and what i need as completely as this one. that i will be judged by many people because of the person i've chosen to marry, for lots of different reasons (and that it's really not their business). and that regardless of the fact that i like punk rock, zombies, cephalopods, and married a white man, i am still very much a black woman--i am both an individual, and a member of the diaspora of people of color.

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  58. I feel that Jospeh Woolsey is displaying common white tendencies and classic derailing.
    In my honest opinion.

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  59. @fai

    I'm sure I display many common white tendencies, being mostly white and all, but which in particular are you referring to and why?

    I'm not "derailing" anybody. I give my original thoughts on the subject being discussed and if they're not the same as those otherwise being discussed I'm "derailing"? It's called offering another perspective (not the same as distracting from the main thrust of an discussion or etc.). This is if your referring to the employee that was ticketing. But I had already conceeded that after reading someone else's post it made sense to say that the ticketing person did seem to express racist characteristics. I think I had "perceived" that I had run into this same thing so many times myself that I substituted the person telling the stories experience for my own and didn't pay attention to the telling details which were later pointed out.

    If your referring to derailing in some other context or with regards to my own relationship I don't really perceive your reasoning. Nor do I really care to speculate based on such a minimalist response.

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  60. @Joseph Woosley who said: I've refrained from sharing thoughts on what eligible people should avoid you as that would be a prejudgment and I'm not often given to those.

    So you do have thoughts about who should avoid Drowned Lotuses? I think you just said what you said you wouldn’t say.

    I think now for me, dating asian women is just a reaction to boy my attraction to their physical beauty, some to their exotic subtext,

    Yes, s/he was inaccurately quoting you. But I think the above is why s/he may have thought you said ‘fetish’, because that’s how it comes across as without you realizing.

    finding more acceptance with asian girls

    This is basically the premise of the post and what it is trying to address. Why do white men find more acceptance with Asian girls? And why do they not question the possible underlying reason? Basically, I think you demonstrated exactly what the post is about without realizing. The underlying reason could be that you share the same values and interest as many Asians, but it could also be that white privilege is at work.

    @MissCegenation

    Thank you so much for sharing. Two of the main reasons I post on swpd is because sharing my thoughts and hearing others’ insights help me a) get the ugh, yuck, and grraaaarrrr out of my system, and b) come to terms with things which have been bothering me. But with this post, while I appreciated very much what others were sharing, I felt as though the thread didn’t hit the nail on the head. I needed to hear something, but I didn’t know what it was until I read your comment. I think Eurasian Sensation came close, for me at least, but there was still an element missing that I needed to hear.

    What struck a chord with me (if I understand you correctly) is that you did ask those questions, and yet came to terms with them precisely because you had asked them. And you framed the questions in such a way that it’s not just about the relationship or whiteness, but also about you as a black woman. That’s something I didn’t think about – how the questions I ask about my motivations relates to who I am as an Asian. How it affects how I see myself – feeling…guilty and/for being inauthentic maybe? I think I needed to hear that ‘it’s okay’ but in a non-flippant way.

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  61. I agree with fromthetropics. Something about MissCegenation's comment made me feel more at ease and at peace with the topic. Thank you from me too.

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  62. Wow. How awesome is that!

    And I should add, "...in a non-flippant," non-colorblind way (because whether we like it or not, we do live in a world where race, ethnicity, etc etc etc matters and intersect with social hierarchy).

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  63. @fromthetropics

    Thanks for your reponse. I found it intelligent and completely on subject. I myself wander a little when posting so I hope you'll forgive that tendency.

    In your first couple items I don't think you were asking me to address any of your points so much as you were expressing where the other poster was coming from so I won't expand on any previous statement directly mentioned.

    As for the last, yes, I agree my example of relationships plays exactly into the topic that's why I mentioned them. However, I'm not such an intellectual that I would destroy what happiness I've found to get to someone to admit they might like me partially because I'm white.

    As I'd mentioned for me it was more of coming to appreciate Asian women at first starting with their kindness toward me and then realizing how beautiful I found them to be both in their various cultures/heritages and in appearance.

    Realistically, whether I perceived it to be a response to my appearance or personality, it's almost certain that race came into play. Otherwise, why would I have noticed a difference in racial response, right?

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  64. I find it hard to believe that someone could decide to "not date a white man ever again" and yet still end up marrying one. I don't know. I had to look at myself deeply. What I do know as a black man is that I've been program to see white women as the ideal. I don't feel good about it. I feel awful. I as an individual will have to make the decision on wether I will comply readily to such programming by a white supremacist culture. If I end up marrying a white woman, I know deep down inside that I've lost the battle. I can make all the excuses in the world, but at the end of the day, I can't fool myself. I will know that I've unwillingly succumb to a powerful white supremacist culture that puts a premium on white skin. I don't want that to happen to me. So I will fight on. I now date all races and I have to reprogram myself into not puting white women on top of the food chain. It would be easy for me to say that it's my individual choice and so what if I only date white women, but I know that's just an easy out. Individual choices when look at as a collective can reveal an ungly truth. I don't want to be a part of that ungly truth. As one man said once. "be the change you want to see in this world"

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  65. @ cl and fromthetropics

    thank you for your thank you!

    for me, once i got past knowing that my husband was the right guy, i still had to talk to myself and confirm that i was ok with me. i think that for many PoC the spectre of guilt and worry about inauthenticity is always there for a million different reasons.

    as PoC's, it sometimes becomes impossible to get the world to be quiet enough so that we may listen to our own gut, because we're already pulling ourselves in so many different directions in order to match what we think the world wants from us. so of course, it's even harder to trust yourself, much less another person, with the possible injection of more racial shenanigans into your life. but i did (and still do) find it useful to look at how my fear of "inauthentic blackness" gets triggered.

    but i really did get lucky in finding my husband. he's amazing.

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  66. Thinking about Joseph's comments, can I suggest that (thinking on my feet) women are perhaps more selective in their choice of partner? Men might (for whatever reason) be more willing to settle with an easier choice, so that if WOC were programmed by society to value them more highly, that might explain the large incidence of WM/AW couples.

    Certainly of break-ups I see, the majority tend to be initiated by the woman, which seems to support my hypothesis.

    Thoughts?

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  67. @Peter

    i completely disagree. i think that men are just as likely as women to be selective (or careless) in their choice of partner.

    i have my own theories about this (as i'm sure other readers do), but i don't think that following this vein of conversation would be what the writers of this particular post intended.

    is this a topic that Macon or anyone else would care to tackle in a future post?

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  68. Thanks for asking, MissCegenation. It's not a topic I'd care to pursue, and it's not one I'd care to include here as a guest post either -- it's not enough about "stuff white people do."

    (I've disallowed quite a few other off-topic comments on this thread. I wonder what it is about the topic that invites so much of that?)

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  69. stuff white people do: like to theorize about the psychology/sociology of WM/AW relationships?

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  70. @false: Took the words right out of my mouth! I want a relationship to be a safe space for me, not a classroom where I have to start teaching Racism 101 and cracking out White Privilege for Dummies. I know all relationships are supposed to be about working through things and yadda yadda, but white privilege? Is one of those things most people are NOT equipped to engage in AT ALL! There's far too little give and take with such a dynamic.

    @Kwame: You've said eloquently my own thoughts on white+POC relationships. I remember a discussion the Black student group on campus had about IR relationships, and the usual black gendered stereotypes were parroted by these kids. "Black girls are too loud and angry", "Black guys are too thug", "I'm a special snowflake because I don't speak 'ghetto'". On and on. I was blown away that in the face of such irony that they could take themselves so seriously—and be "educated" to boot. I finally spoke up and said that a room of Black men and women, ALL of them would have to be fulfilling these stereotypes then? A room full of "undatable" negroes? I went on to say that while I'm definitely attracted to people of all colors, and in theory open to dating everyone, life is about reality—systems of oppression, injustices, etc.—not detached theorems. I actively fight against the force of white supremacy by choosing not to get with white people. Yes, I know my loss…

    I want to live my life as proof that positive Black relationships can work. I want to be the change—the truth that I know is possible in this world. I'm in a white-majority environment, so I know it's going to be hard, but it will be well worth it. Until Black people can free themselves from white supremacy and stop demonizing themselves, I have to do my part by showing some love, actually giving Black people a chance and not writing them off as "too ghetto". Oreoism and Special Snowflake Syndrome are easy to catch, and the idea that white people MUST BE the perfect match is seductive (or assumed?)

    And is may be just me, but I'm SUPER TIRED of "interracial relationship" being code for "white+POC of choice". It's not all about white people, f what ya heard! What about Blatino relationships? Amerasian couples?

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  71. @zedster

    was there somewhere in this posting, or in the comments, where it was alluded to that white people must be the perfect match?

    i agree with you that in thinking about interracial relationships, we can't think in terms of just WP and PoC. but since this is a blog about stuff white people do, it's more in the interest of this site to talk about that dynamic.

    however, your use of the "Oreoism" is really, well, base. you haven't directed that accusation at anyone here, but i take issue with it. partly because it does nothing to further the discussion we're having, and partly because it's a way to silence others with a machine gun, by questioning their blackness.

    sorry, everyone--i realize i'm not working within the parameters of the blog post. but this really bothered me.

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  72. @MissCegenation:

    Thankfully, I haven't really got the sense from this post that white people must be the perfect match. If only that were true in other parts of day-to-day life!

    I used "Oreoism" for the Black students in my story who defined themselves that way, short of actually using the word. They felt that because they didn't fit into stereotypes they believed were true of their race, they were somehow special and therefore needed to look outside of their race to find compatibility. I'm a bit confused as to how you interpreted that as me questioning anyone's Blackness, but I'd appreciate clarification if you care give it.

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  73. Oh, and my gripe with "IRR" being used as code was more about its use in general discourse—outside of this blog. Of course it makes perfect sense to talk about white IRRs here.

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  74. @joseph

    I did not mean to quote you as saying you had a fetish, but (as fromthetropics explained) you do explain your attraction as more of a fetish than of anything that is based on "true bonds of affection". I don't think you reveal anything apart from the racial side of your attraction. And as far as the reason that you have better chances with Asians, it honestly creeps me out.

    The image floating in my mind is this: white boy can't get in with the girls in Europe, so he goes around the world exploiting his privilege(s) and mops up the people that would like him (for his privilege(s)? maybe, but also maybe not).

    There's so much more going on here and I don't mean to simplify. However, your portrayal of your desire and the reasons behind your desire are so tainted with racial privilege that it really irks me.

    I do not doubt the possibility of an interracial relationship developing based on attraction and bonds between interests, etc., but to "grab 'em because you can get 'em" sounds wrong, don't it?

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  75. @zedster

    if we can agree on the explicit definition of "Oreo" (someone who has black skin/is a black person but acts or speaks like a WP/has "white values"), then i'm not sure how using that term to describe someone ISN'T questioning their authenticity as a black person.

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  76. @MissCegenation:

    I agree with that definition. Perhaps mine is an uncommon use, but "oreo" in this case was an articulation of what would be the logical conclusion of their reasons why they didn't date other Blacks: "Black people are loud and ghetto. I'm not loud or ghetto, so I must not really be Black/have Black values/must have white values." Of course, I don't think they even bothered to follow their assumptions through to that conclusion, but they set up the dichotomy that Black people are either "really Black" (loud, angry, ghetto) or they are "oreos" (everything else/white), and they unintentionally defined themselves as the latter.

    I'll admit that "oreo" by itself lacks the (un)intentional self-identification that I'm trying to convey, and I think that's where the issue lies. I'm not sure what word I could use instead. Perhaps I should have stuck with "special snowflake"; I was using that and "oreo" as synonyms to address how they set themselves apart from "regular" Black people, in the way that the LJ group of self-identified "oreos" do, but "special snowflake" lacks the racial aspect. I forget that not everyone is familiar with using "oreo" as a self-identity rather than just a pejorative slapped on by someone else.

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  77. @Drowned Lotuses

    Obviously you have a personal problem with me because I accept that in general Asian women have been more accepting of me then white women. You would prefer I spur their attention and indulge in intellectual self congratulation for doing so, but I prefer a love life thanks. It almost seems like your suggesting I stay with my own "kind" even though it's just as likely some of them would be partially dating me because I'm white as well.

    Maybe this relates to your own love life in some way or insecurities. I don't know and I wouldn't care to guess as it's not my business. Again, I won't speculate on your love life if you'll refrain from "overly" criticising mine.

    You are indulging in alot of fantasizing about me.... That's a joke. :) If you must know I've had exactly 3 real relationships the shortest being about 2 years and the others much longer with one ongoing. I don't really believe in sex outside of a commited relationship of some variety so you can probably dispose of some of your preconceptions.

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  78. [Peter] Certainly of break-ups I see, the majority tend to be initiated by the woman, which seems to support my hypothesis.

    Umm…How about: Many guys like to play passive aggressive (or take their partner for granted) until the woman finally gives up and breaks up with them? At least that’s my reason when it happens. But that’s got nothing to do with swpd now, does it?

    [macon] (I've disallowed quite a few other off-topic comments on this thread. I wonder what it is about the topic that invites so much of that?)

    Perhaps because it hits a raw nerve with many, both white and poc? Since it questions the very motive of something we think is supposed to be above race and all that ugly stuff, i.e. love and how we feel towards those we see as precious to us. One time a white male colleague (who has dated both white and poc) sent this link from “Stuff White People LIKE” to a bunch of us (all of whom are either Asian or very knowledgeable about Asia). It’s about white guys liking Asian girls. Myself and another Asian girl knew he was poking fun at it, and we played along (even though at the time we both had white partners). But our white male boss who is happily married to an Asian woman flipped and sent out a 1-2 page length essay-like response tearing it apart. All of us just kind of backed off as it looked like it hit a raw nerve with him.

    Or perhaps because it intersects quite heavily with gender? (Btw, if my vague memory serves me right, what is discussed in this post is almost identical to what Jane Austen talks about in “Pride and Prejudice” with the only difference being whether ‘status’ is expressed by class or race.)

    Or perhaps it also strikes at a lot of our insecurities? In particular, white male insecurities, especially as a ‘man’ as opposed to as a ‘white person’? (e.g. The proverbial white guy mentioned by Drowned Lotuses who had a hard time in their own country (e.g. the US), but then becomes real popular once on the other side of, say, the Pacific Ocean? Or even if it’s not that drastic a change, the normal/average white guy suddenly finds that it’s ‘easier with the ladies’ when they (the women) are not white?) Hence, producing some urge to shift gears into defensive derailing mode without realizing, maybe?

    ****
    “not date a white man ever again"

    I have said that to myself too after realizing that even the most socially aware of white guys often don’t ‘get it’. But then I thought, it makes no sense to say this. I can’t see the difference between, a) desiring a white man/woman because they are white, and b) rejecting a white man/woman because they are white. They sound like two sides of the same coin. In both cases (if I may borrow MissCegenation’s idea), the person is not comfortable with who they are, and feel as though the presence or absence of a white person will serve as an affirmation of who they are (attractive, worth something, black, asian, not-racist, or whatever have you).

    ****
    (@MissCegenation – You don’t know how healing it was to hear what you said, hey. I won’t go into details, but I didn’t realize this myself until after I posted the thank you comment above. It’s like a weight or thorn in my heart that I’ve been carrying around for a few years has been lifted off/taken out.)

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  79. @Joseph Woosley – Ah, finally you’re getting more honest with us. Here are a few thoughts.

    However, I'm not such an intellectual that I would destroy what happiness I've found to get to someone to admit they might like me partially because I'm white.

    @macon – This is not the first time I’ve heard (white) ppl refer to it as “intellectual”. How about, “swpd: think that efforts to tackle racism are nothing but an intellectual treadmill”?

    @Joseph – Why would you want them to admit that, btw? I don’t think that’s the point.

    then realizing how beautiful I found them to be both in their various cultures/heritages and in appearance.

    Comments like this make you sound like the kind of guy who would, after marrying an Asian woman, say something like, “…my beautiful Asian/Chinese/Japanese/Vietnamese wife…” when talking about her. When I hear stuff like that, the amber warning lights go off. Try imagining your Asian partner saying things like, “Let me introduce you to my awesome white boyfriend.” Or, “My lovely white husband makes the best coffee.” How would that feel?

    Like some have said earlier, there is nothing wrong per se with having a preference and appreciating certain features. But unless you can move on from there (note: I don’t think you necessarily have to change partners to do this, just change your attitude) and appreciate them as individuals as opposed to essentialized representations of their ‘culture’, then my guess is that you’ll continue to play into racial prejudices. E.g. When you come head on with ‘their culture’, you may love it in an essentialist fetishized way (and in some cases act like you know more about it than members of that culture), or hate it because you see it as inferior.

    Another example: My mother had a female Asian friend who grew up in Asia, and married a white man. This friend exhibited attitudes which showed that she felt as though she was better than ‘full-blooded’ Asians because she had a white husband, and that her biracial baby was also better than us because he was half white. We put up with it for awhile because we didn’t think she knew any better, since she couldn’t even seem to tell that we didn’t give a shit about her husband being white (i.e. we didn’t see it as anything ‘special’). For us he was just a guy (albeit arrogant). It was annoying to say the least. But there are also many mixed raced couples who don’t exhibit attitudes like this. So, which do you want to be?

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  80. I'm a white woman, early thirties, middle class background. I've been married to my husband 5 years in April. (He's black.) I am aware that the majority of the complications of an IR marriage fall largely on my husband, often in ways I don't fully grasp. He seems to handle it very well, but then he wouldn't really let on to me. A few times when we're out somewhere with people, he's given me this little look that says, "you're being so naive." I'm not always great a registering people's attitudes, especially if I'm not listening to them.

    I don't think he overreacts (I hate that word) or reads things into things--if fact, he's more inclined to give somebody the benefit of the doubt. I actually am more likely to go through this when out with my sister-in-law. Honestly, I do feel overwhelmed. I don't really know how to deal with it, so I just concentrate on not saying anything stupid. I want to communicate that I’m not shut off from listening, but also that I’m uncomfortably aware that I can’t really put myself in his shoes. And not to worry, my in-laws keep me on my toes and far away from patting myself on the back!

    I do have a struggle when dealing with MY family. They're not exactly liberal-minded people, and though they would have to get up pretty early in the morning to find any real fault with my husband, there's always that something there. Partially I think it's because THEY think that I was attracted to him because he's black and therefore I could make some kind of statement by marrying him. That has always made me SO angry, because it's so disrespectful and trivializes our marriage, and so not true! Actually neither he nor I ever dated anyone outside our "races" before we met. And I have to admit, it wasn't exactly love at first sight. I thought he was a bossy military guy and he thought I was a snob. Both of which are somewhat true. :)

    I do sometimes wonder where to draw the line between showing respect for my husband and keeping a connection with certain family members. In general, my relatives look on my spouse as an extraordinary "exception to the rule," and respect him a lot personally. But they don't seem to see the contradiction there.

    Actually, in a larger context, our lives have been such that we do have a good level of peace between us concerning all these things, and that is SO not what it’s all about. I think that’s the way it has to be.

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  81. @fromthetropics

    I had a long reply typed up and deleted it because I felt the conversation could go on forever in examining nuanced behavior. I don’t want to hijack this blog post. My basic point is so long as I know I'm not only or predominately attracted to someone because their Asian or non-white and I'm not attempting to date only Asian or non-white people there should be no problem or need to further analyze. I would have to be sure the converse was true of my partner as well of course.

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  82. @fromthetropics

    wow. that's a very kind and powerful acknowledgement of my comment! i'm glad i could be so helpful with what you've been struggling with. i also get a whole lot out of thinking and talking to others about this stuff.

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  83. @blueshield/Joseph

    The point was that you framed your attraction in terms of racial category because of their willingness to date you. When you base your attraction on that, it sounds like you have developed a fetish.

    As for any personal feelings against you, I have no desire to drown myself in obsession over vengeance against you. But will I respond to someone engaging me in conversation, hells bells yes, I will.

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  84. @Drowned Lotuses

    I think I already conceeded that I probably phrased the first post badly. It was one of my first posts here and I was just putting it out there. I probably opened myself to critism by poorly wording some of it or in a order that drew negative attention. However, I never really think there is a reason on the Internet of all places for personal attacks. Your first reply was one of those.

    You use some powerful terminology "vengence" and "obsession" in your last post. This seems to be about more then our dialog here and while I wouldn't mind talking with you about it outside of the blog, let's just leave it the way we currently have it in the blog.

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  85. @blueshield

    I feel like I'm talking to a wall. Lol!

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  86. From the white side...I've noticed that I do a lot of things in my relationship that I see talked about on swpd to my partner (who uses the pronoun"they"). I have definitely psychologized their problems with white people, like maybe not even saying "you feel insecure" but sometimes thinking it in my head. And I sometimes get really defensive in conversations about my white friends. Like if they point out something messed up my friends did, I want to find some way to derail them. Having thought about white privilege for awhile, I think I potentially avoid doing some messed-up things that I've noticed, like, for instance, overtly telling them they're overreacting to a racist thing somebody did, but it's a lot harder for me to admit when I'm being racist or, as somebody else said, somebody I identify with is being racist.

    I think a lot of it is like what you all said, just, white privilege, being able to walk around all day and not think about race. Even as someone who says I am anti-racist, when my partner brings up something having to do with race, I sometimes feel like, "I don't want to deal with this right now." In terms of being an ally, I neglect to acknowledge the fact that racism is something POC have to deal with all the time, whether they like it or not.

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  87. I can't see how someone of color who considers race an important issue could stand to date a white color blind person. I can barely stand to date black men (I'm black) who act as though race and racism are not important issues...let alone a white person. I prefer to date reflective, anti-racist, social justice types, and that's hard to find in any race.To choose to be with someone who is white AND refuses to see how race impacts the world...that's just courting disaster, imo...

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  88. @njg1988 - thanks for being honest. It gives me hope when I know ppl are trying.

    I can't see how someone of color who considers race an important issue could stand to date a white color blind person.

    @monianne - Yes. And I'm gonna assume that you're neither talking about cl nor myself, since we both explicitly stated that the white men we're talking about in the post are quite race aware. It's just that they have a hard time picking up subtle nuances.

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  89. cl:

    I find it very interesting that you wonder how you come across to other people of color. I'll answer.

    I am a young black woman. I, too, am dating a white man. I ask similar questions of myself.

    Honestly, I subconsciously stereotype Asian/As.-Am. women who date white men as "sell-outs." I cannot relate to Michelle Malkin, etc. These relationships are rarely transgressive. To clarify, I know countless white men in relationships with Asian/As.-Am. women who hold and freely express their racist views. The women in these relationships don't challenge these men. In contrast, most black women I know are very hesitant to date white men because they're worried they're secretly racist. Yes, they stereotype white men!

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  90. Thank you so much for posting this. I’m mixed heritage Asian American (white father, Korean mother), and have had so many of the same issues. I just got out of a long term relationship with a white man, and I definitely think race was one of the reasons we broke up. Even though I don’t look exactly Asian, I don’t often pass for white either, and had some very similar experiences to yours with the man at the ticket counter. I often found myself worrying what other people thought, in so many different circumstances. I also dated a Korean American man a while back (not mixed heritage like me), and worried just as much. Recently, I spoke to my mother and she confessed that she had worried about the same things after marrying my father.

    I think that being both a woman and of mixed heritage puts an awful lot of pressure on us from a lot of different places. I hope that, as I get older, I’ll learn to deal with these issues better and more constructively. I’m really glad that so many people are sharing their thoughts and experiences because these are often really difficult things to talk about.

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  91. *i think one of the difficulties of having a serious IR relationship is that there comes a time when the white partner must acknowledge their (white) privilege and kick the haters, commenters and subtle racists out of their collective lives. it's really hard to do - because *(and i am extrapolating as the woc partner here)* once the white partner becomes truly aware of the nuanced racism of peers, friends and family - the world irrevocably changes and not necessarily for the better.
    ** i call tolerating these people a white privilege because ignoring their stupidity is not a right i have when these people want to come to my house, eat my resources and pretend that everything is a-okay with us! that choice is not one i can even make and respect myself as the tolerant/tolerated target. not even for being the 'exception'.

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  92. @violetta,

    Thank you for being honest. I know that you're not the only person of color who thinks like that. Even though the post was phrased "I wonder", really I meant, "I worry." And this is a bit of what I mean when I've said before (in this thread, in another thread on this blog? they all blur.) that sometimes being a minority feels to me like someone else's ideas and opinions always end up determining what I do. I feel as though either I'm behaving in a way to fight a stereotype or I'm reacting to someone's stereotype of me. Do I stop dating white men because of what other people of color might think? Do I date white men because of what non-anti-racist people think? I have no idea.

    I started thinking about this topic because my boyfriend and I had a couple of arguments about race and it got fairly heated. I wondered in a relationship where there are so many factors and issues to work out, whether it was more important to promote a harmonious relationship or to actively push for the other person to understand how race affects me. Was it really necessary to try and push this idea through his head? I'm still not sure what the answer to this is for me personally. I pick my battles. Sometimes I need him to pick up on certain racial nuances and sometimes it doesn't matter to me enough to risk another heated argument with him.

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  93. @kkm. You wrote: ... there comes a time when the white partner must acknowledge their (white) privilege and kick the haters, commenters and subtle racists out of their collective lives.

    I guess I've been lucky because I've brought very few people with me into our lives (we met and live in my husband's hometown, my family is tiny, and most of our friends were our mutual friends when we met or were always "his" friends.) But on a related note, I have found that I (the white partner) need to be the one to deal with other people - like neighbours*, who are in our collective life but not by our own choosing.

    *example, the neighbour who kept calling our son "the little half-emperor."

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  94. @cl

    I met many Asian-American women in college. They all exclusively date white men. I remember one showing me pictures of her sister's "Hapa" children. She told me she wanted her children to be beautiful too.

    One thing I look for in a friend is a reflection of my own experiences. I was raised to be proud of my "blackness." In my family, we go so far as to never mention white members in our family tree. Her comment about "Hapa" children being more beautiful than children with only Asian ancestry made me very uncomfortable. I used to think that people in interracial relationships saw each other as individuals and simply fell in love with each other. After interacting with these women and noticing more and more men in my family dating white women I've become more skeptical.

    I mainly stopped by to say...I understand not all Asian/As.-Am. women dating white men are like the ones I met in college.

    I know what it's like to be stereotyped. I consciously try not to. Outside of the U.S., in France or Italy, for example, black women who date white men are stereotyped in the same way Asian/As.-Am. women dating white men are. I know what it's like to be stared or snickered at. In Italy, some people assumed I was a prostitute! Once black men there heard I had a white boyfriend or saw him I was treated very rudely. French and Italian men would not stop coming on to me touching my hair and talking about my "chocolate skin."

    My bf is white however he's not American. White Americans treat him as an "ethnic white." We have a lot of shared experiences. I don't have to explain as much to him as I have to explain to white American acquaintances. That isn't to say I didn't have to explain anything! We've also had "the discussions."

    I enjoyed reading these two posts and the comments that followed. Honestly, I had no idea non-black people thought this hard about race. It's very refreshing hearing another perspective. Thank you.

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  95. "Do white guys not feel the need to question their attraction to Asian women because, as someone in a position of more privilege, they do not have to worry that they are doing it for some apparent gain in status?"

    I can't speak for the rest of my white male demographic, but I can say that this is absolutely not the case for me. I had a crush on a Korean friend whom I suspected felt the same way toward me, but my awareness of the "yellow fever" phenomenon made me profoundly uncomfortable with my feelings. I constantly second-guessed myself when I was with her, wondering if I was fetishizing her, and if she thought I was fetishizing her, and if she liked me just because I was white. We kissed a couple times while drunk at parties, but she didn't seem compelled to pursue the relationship further, and I was afraid of being more proactive because of how she might interpret my advances.

    So now I'm dating someone from my exact ethnic background, a white New York Jew with Eastern European lineage, and sometimes I still wonder if I ended up dating someone just like me because I actually feel more comfortable with my own race, due to some subconscious racism I have yet to address. It's exhausting!

    This is, of course, not to say, "White guys have it just as hard blah blah blah," just that, for me, the questions you mention definitely come up.

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  96. Interesting although I'm not so sure I believe that white men don't have to question why they date Asian women so much as they CHOOSE not to question it. I don't think it's accurate to assume that white men can't date specifically FOR status since not all white men are equally privileged. A possible example that comes to mind for me is when white men date Asian women because they don't have access to other high status white women (e.g. the white women that would date them are not the ones who fit the beauty ideal or feminine ideal). I've seen white guys who seemed to just fetishize Asian women while still being able to get high-status white women, but I've also seen white men who couldn't get dates just start targeting Asian women.

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  97. My partner and I discuss it a lot. It never causes issues between us but racial/cultural issues intrude constantly. In fact I think it has strengthened us because if you can communicate & navigate through this stuff together it makes you stronger. But it is sad to have to.

    Our background: I’m an Aussie white female, my partner of 1.5 years has a white English mother & a black Cameroonian father. He was born in Africa though raised in Northern England. We met in London, we currently live in Melbourne.

    A lot of other people have covered some of the issues I've come across (ie finding the line & the reality between naivety & militancy, questioning yourself about being a race "tourist", self-consciousness, etc). Although I've never experienced any treatment of him that has been singularly outrageously racist (though he's told me horrible stories from before I knew him) it’s more the million little things that build up over time & are a constant assault on his psyche.

    One thing I wanted to comment on is that even though my partner is of mixed racial heritage, the majority of people won't see or say that, he's just automatically defaulted to black.
    One thing I’ve found so weird about that though is that he’s automatically cool apparently! Everyone wants to be friends with "the black guy". So he's still singled out for his racial appearance but people seem to think its ok because they aren't saying anything negative to or about him. Just as a simple example: white people will ask if he likes hip-hop or reggae, because he has darker skin & a dready afro (although as he will laugh & point out - he does. And I will point out - well not exclusively, and so do I but no one asks me the first time they meet me!)

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  98. The blurring of his culture & his skin colour annoys me greatly. People associate him in with the "MTV" African-American hip-hop culture or Jamaican reggae culture before he's even opened his mouth.
    His Northern English heritage - of which he is fiercely proud - is completely overlooked & you can tell people are surprised when he starts talking in a Yorkshire accent.
    White people don't seem to see he has white anglo heritage too - you should see the surprised looks when he's walking with his blonde mum! That's if they even realise - I think more people think it's an interracial, massive age gap relationship than a normal mother-son one! (It's one of those things that you have to laugh at because otherwise it's too depressing)

    But then again it works both ways - there have been instances when larger-than-life African ladies will call him over to chat & ask him where he is from, when he says Yorkshire they will ask again until he says Cameroon, as if his English heritage isn't important. They won't acknowledge or say hello to me at all.

    Even in our circle of international friends here among the Americans (black & white from the US & Canada, with some Korean & Malaysian heritage mixed in, race comes up a lot over beers as you can imagine) my partner eventually decided to effectively avoid a black friend in the group as he seemed to decide the two of them were automatic best mates - it's-us-vs-them kinda thing - & at parties would involve him in crude racial jokes or stories & generally make everyone completely uncomfortable.

    But in a way our friend is right - the two of them do have a connection that me & our other all-white friends can't experience no matter how sympathetic we are. That is to have grown up as a person with black heritage in a white-privileged culture - innately a racist culture.

    At the end of the day, I guess I'm really seeing for the first time how society keeps people of mixed race in limbo in a lot of siuations.

    But all I can say for my own personal experience of this relationship: I just hate how someone I love so much, & find so endlessly interesting & amazing, is so thoughtlessly trivialised, reduced, & wrongly pigeonholed so quickly & repeatedly by so many people, purely because of a thoughtless snap judgment based on his race.

    I just hope one day the whole situation can become a little more sophisticated.

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  99. Belinda, thanks for sharing. And I was just wondering - is it easy for you to pick up nuanced 'racism' (or 'vibes') or stereotyping when it happens in front of you? Or are there times when he picks it up but you find yourself just not 'getting it' until later? And if so, when you do 'get it', what is it that helped you understand what he was talking about? Is it just that you're more willing to listen, or does he explain it in such a way that it's easier to understand?

    I ask because I sometimes (or always?) find it immensely difficult explaining what it is that I have a problem with (tho I guess for me it's often an intersection of racism and sexism, and I've found that even the nicest of men have a hard time understanding sexism, so that might be part of the reason why it's hard for the guy to 'get it').

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  100. I think by this stage not much slips by as it may have done at the start but i have learnt from things that have upset him in the past. The thing that I can't know until he tells me is when he's near his "threshold" when it will all get too much - but that's usually a build up over weeks or months. Though the way he communicates about a dodgy situation will be to ask me how I saw it, rather than a straight out "can you believe that guy!" or whatever. Then we'll discuss or debate it out.
     
    It's interesting you bring up the intersection of sexism and racism because this definitely has a bearing on our situation. I was focussing on white priviledge above, but the obvious other theme here is male priviledge. I'm very conscious of gender expectations and sexism in my day to day life. So as neither of us are priviledged white males I think from the start we were at least half on the same page. No one needs to convince a non-white or non-male person that there are some serious problems going on!
    So perhaps where th white partner is male the situation will differ but I can only speak for mine.

    We both have rants all the time where the other will just listen. I think though neither of us were completely naive to begin with we now both have a lot more understanding of the daily impacts - me of racism and he of sexism. Like the other day I asked him if many days go by where he can forget he's mixed race. He said barely one, and I said it's similar as a woman. You are never allowed forget about it. Ask a lot of average white guys how long they can forget about being white guys and all you'll get is odd looks!

    I think the most important thing though is to not buy into this idea of "over-reaction". WTF!! There is no such thing as over-reaction to a racist (or sexist) situation. No one should feel guilty to be affronted and insulted and react however they feel.
    We all need to speak up and being afraid to make a scene or scared of fulfilling someone else's negative stereotype is just not a good enough reason to let people know when their thoughts and comments are at least insensitive and at worst downright racist. 

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  101. Thanks Belinda!

    Like the other day I asked him if many days go by where he can forget he's mixed race. He said barely one, and I said it's similar as a woman.

    I've never thought of it that way. But yeah, I do think about both everyday almost.

    ...to ask me how I saw it, rather than a straight out "can you believe that guy!" or whatever.

    Hmmmm. I see. I see. I'll try that next time.

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  102. Thanks for posting this article. You are thoughtful and honest. I am an Asian American male and was born and mostly raised in the United States, but have also briefly lived in the Far East. Throughout my life, I have experienced many of the issues that you discuss in your blog and a few others.

    First, I'll start by saying that I don't look fully Asian. Even though I am 100% Asian (at least that I know of), many people have mistaken me for being part Asian. People ask me if I'm part white, part Latin, Eurasian, etc, etc. I have heard this in Asian circles, white circles, black circles, and Latin circles. When I first heard this growing up, I felt a tinge of happiness and sense of contentment. Now that I'm older and wiser, I initially have the same feeling, but I also have a tinge of guilt. I feel guilty because I realize that it is incorrect for me to be "happy" that I look part white. By doing this, I am elevating "whiteness" to a higher standard of beauty than "Asianess".

    I think that this and other realizations have also lead me to question why I'm attracted to certain women. In all honesty, I find "Caucasoid" features more attractive than "Mongoloid", "Negroid", "Australoid", or any other "race" of features. Why do I feel this way? Well, it's easy. Look at the standard of beauty that is flashed across the movies screens, magazines, artwork, and even religious idols in the United States and quite frankly around many parts of the world. The standard clearly portrayed to us is the "Caucasoid" or the "Western" standard of beauty. This is what was fed to me while I was growing up. Sure, I had beautiful Asian family members, but the overwhelming image of beauty that was shown to me when I watched Disney movies, when I watched my high school cheer squad or play productions, when I watched Miss America pageants, the list goes on and on, is a Western standard of beauty. In short, the Western standard of beauty has been ingrained in my mind. This is most likely why I find "white" women attractive on looks alone. In truth, I think this preference of attraction is true for many Asians and other non-white races who grow up in mostly white countries like the US, England, Australia.

    If you don't believe that the Western standard of beauty is placed on a pedestal for many non-whites, then explain to me "double-eyelid" surgery and Rhinoplasty in Asian women and hair straightening and skin lightening in Black women? Once again, the answer is easy ... Western beauty is placed on a pedestal. How many white women do you know get surgery to have single and slanted eyelids or permanent dark black and curled afro hair? I'd have to say one in a trillion at most.

    I know the sad truth, but I cannot change my preference in attraction. My mind has been programmed after years and years of what I have seen around me. The only women I've dated have been white women, latina women with part European ancestry, or light skinned black women who were half white. Sure, I've been attracted to Asian women and wanted to date them, but the ones I like weren't interested in me. My overall trend though, has been attraction to women with "Western" features. Of course, this only leads to an initial attraction. If the woman has a bad personality or has a set of morals different than mine, then I will not continue the relationship.

    This is where I will end my contribution. There is so much more that I have to share, but this will have to wait for a later time.

    ~VVV

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  103. @VVV:

    "I know the sad truth, but I cannot change my preference in attraction. My mind has been programmed after years and years of what I have seen around me."

    Your mind can be reprogrammed, just like it was first programmed for years and years. If you're happy with your preference for white/Eurocentric features and don't want to change it, then say that. It's disingenuous to hide behind the "I can't help it" excuse. It's the same excuse (white) people used to give for why they thought Blacks/Indians/everyone who's not white was inferior. They were "programmed" to think that, after decades of being taught. And HR folk are simply "programmed" to think that all Latin@ job applicants are really "illegal" so they have to do extra background checks. And cops are just "programmed" to think all Black men are criminals that they must shoot/kill first and ask questions later. It's just programming. No hard feelings, eh?

    Scratch that. You're not the only human being subjected to white supremacy. I also live in a white-dominant country where, despite trend in "multiculturalism" white supremacy is the foundation of our lives. I, too, have been programmed to devalue myself and other non-white people and assume whiteness is inherently beautiful. But such preferences are unhealthy, unjust, and damaging, so I chose to change them. I actively challenge these programming signals, I question why someone is presented as "conventionally beautiful" (rather than "exotic"), and I surround myself with examples of non-white beauty, non-white people, and non-white media to counter that programming.

    Re-programming ourselves is hard work. If you're not up to it, own it. You're not alone, though, most people aren't either.. We have the word "status quo" for a reason…I, however, care too much about social justice (and my own mental well-being) to throw up my hands and let white supremacy have control over me. As Ghandi said, be the change you wish to see in the world. I wish for a world that values everyone, not just white people. How about you?

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  104. I can see what you are saying VVV but I have to agree with Zedster.

    Take heart in the fact that if it were impossible to overcome cultural programming, there would be no such thing as an "interracial relationship" and no need for this lively blog.

    Perhaps try exposing yourself more to alternative media and cultures, and trying, hard as it is, to ignore white-saturated media?

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  105. As a white women I know what you are talking about when you say white people don't see race. its true we don't. However, I love to talk about race, it has always been a fascinating subject but one that needs more attention then it has. Mainstream America calls it taboo because it might "upset people". they are really just afraid "the man" will lose its power. That's what it is really about POWER. Sorry about the rant anyway back on topic. I have been in a lot of situations where I'm am very aware of my whiteness. this is a hard issue to approach because white people are either oblivious or ignore the issue and it doesnt exist for them, in most cases you would have to slap them with a sledge hammer to get them to realize whats going on. race is so ingrained into our society it's hard to step away from ourselves to recognize whats going on. there is a lot of baggage brought to interracial relationships, but you need to talk about it freely: all the nitty gritty issues. if you can't trust your partner to try to empathize or at least TRY see what you might be going through how can you trust to be with him in general.

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  106. i just searched "asian men" and only saw 1 result on the entire page, and it was from the authors comment about gay asian men. once again, everyone ignores the amount of pain and suffering asian men in america have to go through.

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  107. wowser,

    As you may have noticed, this site often has guest posts. Some of these that deal with racism faced by Asian women were written by women of Asian descent. If you're a man of Asian descent (or even if you're not), you're more than welcome to send me a guest post about the amount of pain and suffering Asian men in America have to go through:

    unmakingmacon @ gmail

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  108. Don't worry wowser! We (quite a few non-Asians and non-whites) see it.

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  109. I am a white woman engaged to a black man. A few years ago i failed to see our relationship from the other side, but one day he told me that someone asked him how he could date someone that didnt understand what it was like to be black. That infuriated me as we have been together since 10th grade. Rather than ignore the comment and move on, i decided to learn as much as i could about his culture so that no one could say that about me again. For 2 years straight I read every book I could find on slavery, the civil rights movement, and what it was like being black today. It really opened my eyes and i am much more aware of how people treat us differently - what i never noticed before now has blaring lights and sirens in front of it so loud I couldnt miss it if i tried. It has made our relationship much much stronger and now we have open, honest conversations about race all the time -whereas before we never talked about it.

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  110. Hi,

    I just want to say thank you, so much, for this whole conversation. I'm humbled by the stories, insights, and thoughts people have shared. I really appreciate the chance to listen.

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  111. The more I think about this, the more I feel like you just can't win. You've basically got 3 options, none of them good:

    1)you prefer to date people of your own race. Maybe you even refuse to date outside your racist. If you admit this openly, people will call you racist, and they might even be right.

    2)you prefer to date people of a different race. Maybe you even have one particular race you prefer. Again, people will call that racism, and make you feel guilty for it.

    3)you try to date all races equally, and maybe you say that you "don't see race" or "just don't think about it much". In that case you're just being naive, and probably you're enjoying a whole lot of white privilege.

    In the end, anything that can be labeled can be hated. I think the most important thing is that we have the ability to sometimes step back and laugh at ourselves, so the comedians talking about racial issues are really important.

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  112. Yeah, luddite, why even bother to THINK about the choices you make and why and how they've been influenced? We horrid darkies and anti-racists will just harsh your squee.

    Macon, is the reason you keep posting comments like luddites is to show what a great White guy YOU are in comparison?

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  113. Macon, is the reason you keep posting comments like luddites is to show what a great White guy YOU are in comparison?

    Yeah, uh huh, right, exactly! what other reason could there be?

    o_O

    Actually, I don't think macon d is a "great white guy," and I don't recall ever claiming here that he is one. Like the real me, he doesn't try nearly hard enough to combat his chosen target of white supremacy.

    I'm also trying to learn about common white tendencies, and I'm glad that this blog has grown into a place for a lot of different people to talk about said common tendencies. And btw, welcome back, Witchsistah, I hope you find things here bearable again for awhile -- I appreciate your commentary. I also welcome any guest posts you might feel inclined to muster; a post explaining, e.g., what it is about this blog and the convos here that -- if I'm reading you right -- drove you away before, and now makes you hesitant about taking part again, would be most welcome. (Is that too much like asking POC to do work for me? If so, please insert apologetically smiling emoticon HERE. I'm asking because I think the best posts on this blog are the guest posts, especially those by POC, i.e., the real experts on white ways.)

    Actually, you should see the comments that I DON'T post (especially the dozens that came in this weekend because a white-supremacist blog got ahold of one of the posts here for good-ol-boy amusement and ridicule). Wait, no, you shouldn't see those, which is why I don't post them.

    Sometimes it's still not 100% clear to me what comments shouldn't get published, especially when they're coming in thick and fast. I will slip up sometimes. If I remember right, my thinking about luddite's above was that I wanted to preserve it because it displays another common white tendency that I want to write about, another white whine -- "Seems like no matter what we do with you people, us white folks can't win!" Maybe it also got by because what's objectionable about it seemed relatively mild compared to the dozens of derisive, sneering, leering and drooling ones that came in this weekend.

    I'll keep adjusting the moderation controls, and I appreciate your reminder.

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  114. And btw, welcome back, Witchsistah, I hope you find things here bearable again for awhile

    Slow yo' roll. I'm not "back-back." I just posted a few times. I may dip out again. Hell, I probably will seeing how not much has changed. To quote the late great comedian Robin Harris (taken from us too soon), "I'm just here for the night, muthafukka. Siddown!"

    -- I appreciate your commentary.

    Psssscht! Yeah right. Whateva, mayng. *rolls eyes*

    I also welcome any guest posts you might feel inclined to muster; a post explaining, e.g., what it is about this blog and the convos here that -- if I'm reading you right -- drove you away before, and now makes you hesitant about taking part again, would be most welcome. (Is that too much like asking POC to do work for me? If so, please insert apologetically smiling emoticon HERE. I'm asking because I think the best posts on this blog are the guest posts, especially those by POC, i.e., the real experts on white ways.)


    Depends, how much do you pay? Because that's the only way I'll do it. No more free race education for White folks as you all seem hell bent on not getting it. If I'm gonna give myself agita, I'mma at least get a check for it!

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  115. I'm not hellbent on not getting it.

    And who says you'd be writing it for the sake of white people? Why not write about a white way or two (or about this barely bearable blog itself) for the POC here instead?

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  116. To quote from Derailing For Dummies:

    "If You Cared About These Matters You’d Be Willing To Educate Me"

    Often in these discussions a Marginalised Person™ will tell you it’s not their responsibility to educate you. This is because Marginalised People™ believe that they have other priorities in life, like working and studying and being with their families for example.

    Clearly, they are labouring under a misperception – as a Privileged Person® you have far more right to their time than they do, and besides, don’t they want to make the world a better place? Isn’t that why they alerted you to the fact you were being offensive in the first place? Well, now clearly your education is their responsibility!

    By placing this burden of responsibility onto them you remind them of just how daunting a task that is and how their lives are constantly being monopolised by the Privileged®, even in something that should be empowering to them, like deconstructing discrimination.

    You trivialise their lives, needs, interests and obligations by suggesting they should be spending all of their time and energy in engaging with clueless Privileged People®, putting in hours and hours of effort in repeating the exact same thing they’ve already said three thousand times to three thousand other Privileged People® in their past.

    And furthermore, you remind them that, if they really cared about their own issues, they’d willingly take that task on! Surely it’s a small price to pay to change people‘s minds?

    Well, you want them to think that, but of course it isn’t. After all, most of the conversations they have with Privileged People® often feel to them like beating their heads repeatedly against a brick wall embedded with rusty spikes.

    Which is entirely the point. Keep them worn out and exhausted and maybe they’ll just go away.

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  117. Point taken, to a degree, but in a way, I find that irrelevant. I'm not asking you to educate me nor other white people. I also don't want you to go away. And really, I'm not even asking you to write a guest post; it's more like, I'm saying it would be cool if you did, especially since something or other about this place clearly compels you a bit, somehow, and you often have a way of cutting to the chase, as peeps used to say. But I do see of course how it's not your job, my apologies for the egregious suggestion.

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  118. @Witchsistah- I was responding to this:

    "Do I find him more attractive than the average Asian American male because he's white, and I have the underlying belief that white is beautiful? How much of my attraction to him has to do with the fact that being with him represents a climb in social status, or that maybe I'm attractive enough to be with a white guy?"

    You know, from the original topic? I'm trying to think of how someone in an interracial relationship can be comfortable with it, despite all the questions about it that don't really have an answer. People on both sides of the racial divide have to answer the same questions. But thanks for assuming that I'm a racist white guy trying to squelch all discussion about race.

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  119. Yanno, the main reason I left this bish and will probably leave again soon is, outside of the shitty way you routinely throw BW under the damn bus here cuz we're a bunch of tough, rawhided nigger bitches an' all, how you respond to those of us who are PoC who don't continually kiss your ass.

    If we're not up to our quota of giving you continual cookies and head, if we dare question YOU or YOUR motives or reasoning, you turn smarmy and snide on us. That's why I dismissed you saying you appreciate my commenting. You really do not. You've shown me and others that in the past. Maybe we Fightin' Darkies bring your site hit points and THAT is what you appreciate. But you damn sure don't appreciate US.

    I asked you about why you post comments like luddite's because I really do feel you do it to show what a great, enlightened White guy YOU are by comparison. No one can be THAT fuckin' obtuse and claim to be so damn smart and knowledgeable as to continue to post ish like that, especially without any commentary (that is unless challenged by a lowly Negress) as to the purpose. I expect folks who claim to be smart to actually ACT that way. No, "I'm really a genius even though I couldn't suss out those blatant insults in that comment!"

    Admit it, you value SOME of your commenters, especially when it comes to your PoC commenters. The rest of us, not so much.

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  120. @kathleen

    I'm confused and your comment leaves me slightly mortified.

    What exactly infuriated you?.
    Was it your failure itself? or
    The fact that your faliure was obvious to someone else?

    whilst I understand that we all have different motivations for learning about things.
    I'm surprised that your motivation was not based on the love for your partner but as a defensive move so that no-one would point out your inadequacies again.

    This is one of the reasons that I never thought and nor bought into the idea that sex/dating/relationships overcome racism or lead to any special understanding.


    And one of the reasons why I call foul when people point to their POC partner as evidence that they cannot be racist.

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  121. @luddite who wrote:

    I'm trying to think of how someone in an interracial relationship can be comfortable with it, despite all the questions about it that don't really have an answer.

    Have you read the comment thread, especially MissCegenation's and cl & my response to it after (we wrote the post)? Have you tried thinking about the issue "from the other side" as the post title suggests? I ask because it doesn't sound like it. Let me explain...

    I think the most important thing is that we have the ability to sometimes step back and laugh at ourselves,...

    Yes, this is easy to do (laugh and move one) when you're part of the privileged group. It's easy to detach yourself and not think about it. But this is less easy to do when we are without privilege. For example, my lack of male and white privilege might mean that another white male might practice racialized sexism on me and my partner would not notice it, not because he is a bad man, but because privilege blinds you to injustice/prejudice. This can have very severe implications in a relationship.

    Hence the title says is indirectly asking you to see interracial relationships "from the other side". It would be great if you could go back and read the post and the comments with this in mind.

    But thanks for assuming that I'm a racist white guy trying to squelch all discussion about race.

    You might not be a "racist white guy", but it is actually near impossible for anyone in a place of privilege (of any color) to be fully aware of all their privileges (e.g. failing to see interracial relationships from the other side and not be bothered by it). It follows that you will mess up, as you seem to have here.

    @macon - luddite's comment bothered me, but I did not comment till now because I just didn't have the time to (and I still don't). But seeing what's going down on this thread with you and witchsistah, I thought I just had to say something before it's too late. I suppose it would help if you could insert even a one sentence commentary to get commenters like luddite to question his/her own views. I could be wrong, but it just seems easier to do this (very brief comment) when the comment comes from the white male owner of the blog, whereas I would feel as though I need to write a long, measured explanation with examples to get the same point through (as demonstrated above) and be extra polite in the way I write it lest it gets labeled as 'overreaction'. That might take some of the burden off the others.

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  122. @Witchsistah,

    I'm sorry but I'm not seeing the murderous behavior on my part that you're talking about while it's happening. I saw it a few months ago, and wrote a post about it, but I'd appreciate recent examples. I'll definitely keep a sharper eye out for it.

    Who's this "we" you're talking about, and for? You and ?

    If we're not up to our quota of giving you continual cookies and head, if we dare question YOU or YOUR motives or reasoning, you turn smarmy and snide on us.

    Again, I'm not seeing this; if you'd point that out at the times it happens, I probably would. I continually write here that I'm not looking for cookies (which implies that I'm not looking for head either), but I guess in your eyes I'm a liar, an accusation which, yeah, does get my back up a bit, and probably even makes me a bit snide and smarmy sometimes.

    Maybe we Fightin' Darkies bring your site hit points and THAT is what you appreciate.

    Do you? I hadn't even thought of that. If so, no, I don't especially appreciate it. I'm not out for hits (hit "points"?) or page views or whatever -- there's no advertising on my site, and I'm not blogging under my real name.

    I expect folks who claim to be smart to actually ACT that way. No, "I'm really a genius even though I couldn't suss out those blatant insults in that comment!"

    Where did I "claim to be smart" and a "genius"? I don't think I have; if I haven't, kindly stop putting words in mouth.

    I'm going to slow down and read comments more carefully in search of blatant insults murderous behavior involving large vehicles. Thank you for the reminders, and thanks also to fromthetropics for the suggestion regarding commenting myself on the few egregious comments that I still do let through -- I'll do that whenever I can. I can see now that I should wait until some point in the day when I can concentrate more carefully on which comments to let through, and also which I should comment on myself. I think that's going to mean publishing many comments at once, and writing posts less often -- fair prices to pay to avoid people getting hurt.

    Anyway, enough metablogging here? Sorry to have derailed your post's thread with it, cl and fromthetropics.

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  123. Where the fuck did I call you a "racist White guy," luddite? WHERE?!

    See, THAT shit right there makes me just throw my hands up and say "Fuck this and fuck them!" I'm past sick of emo White folks making my suffering all about their wounded fee-fees.

    Luddite, you may not be a racist White guy but you are a clueless one and a wilfully clueless one at that. And you want PoC to co-sign your cluelessness. Now, there are PoC so desperate for romantic attention from White folks that they will literally put up with ANY kind of bullshitnanigans from WP in order to get it. I suggest you get your colorblind swirl on with one of THEM.

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  124. @macon...

    You know, witchsistah just did (point out a few things to you) and it seems everytime she does. You ask her to point out where...
    she just did. and you are responding to her and it by asking her more questions.

    Now I could buy the fact that in reading the volumes of comments your eyes just skipped through luddites.

    Cos the we should all not take things too seriously/be able to laugh at ourselves line was beyond stupid/ignorant and obtuse and stacked to high heavens with privilege, that when pointed out, you who have spent time examining your privilege should have simply put your hands up and said...
    my bad... I didn't see it, I have more work to do.

    I mean if you get smarmy by witchsistahs comments to you, can you imagine how many of us Women of colour (especially) feel on this blog?
    Where we go over the same ignorant/arrogant/ comments daily?

    The fact is, without the POC comments to lend and provide examples of the effects of white privilege (not just racism) on us, there is no way you would be able to really breakdown white privilege for your audience.

    There are many times when many of the 'enlightened' readers still don't get it, and it usually even here requires a breakdown which involves time and sometimes being naked with our emotions and still we have people like luddite coming in here and effectively saying...
    hey! why can't you just be like me... laugh at yourselves...
    you know, your son might be disadvantaged and branded a criminal from birth
    he might be refused the same opp as his peers to show his genius
    he might be beaten by a racist cop
    and your daughter....
    well she might be told everything about her is ugly
    she might be branded as stupid and a whore
    she might be raped and no-one believes her cos (them nigra wimmens luvs it rough)
    she might be overdosed on medication which have a mental effect on her (because black women are over medicated and prescribed mind altering drugs at a higher rate)...
    she might never be taken seriously and isolated by her peers
    but hey......
    we should according to luddite, we should just laugh at ourselves and not take it so seriously.

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  125. Yes soul, I can see that, thank you (though i can hardly begin to imagine how poc feel). I do recognize that I have work to do, and I do appreciate the value of poc input here.

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  126. @macon...
    at the risk of being pedantic...

    Do you see what witchsistah is saying?.
    and why luddites comments really are ridiculous?

    And to be honest, its witchsistah you should be thanking for still having the decency to call you on some of this stuff and bring it to your attention.

    She is teaching you, I hope you are resilient enough to listen and learn.

    Because the constant slipping in of comments like this, just feel like..'damn... we gotta re-iterate this BS again! after everything we've discussed'?

    Thats how it feels macon. like after everything... after time, energy, effort, being open, having your private humiliating moments ooggled, dissected and squash, after laying out humiliating events in the event that they don't get repeated...
    after the countless explanations......

    THIS... still gets through.

    That's what it feels like.

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  127. Do you see what witchsistah is saying?.
    and why luddites comments really are ridiculous?


    Yes, I do, and I thank you for the clarification. I screwed up, and will do my best to mind the gates better in the future. Thank you also for explaining how it feels to have to read and respond to repetitious whitened cluelessness and obstinacy.

    I do appreciate witchsistah's efforts, and I'll also admit that the fallacious accusations and presumptions that sometimes accompany them can make that difficult. If she's generous enough to offer further critique, I'll try harder to see past those elements, and to withhold my response to them.

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  128. @macon.

    Her accusations are uncomfortable but not fallacious.

    She is being more than generous to you, but you are saying she is not doing it in the right way. (effectively a tone argument)

    If you took a step back in the light of day. you would see that.

    When all is said and done and stuff keeps happening, then what is the logical conclusion?.

    In addition, she has been commenting here for a long time, she didn't start out commenting like this. Something changed, she saw something which many other people either haven't seen, are being 'softly softly' on or can't be arsed to deal with or which some people just think...' oh well better the devil you know'.

    Maybe she is simply tired of doing the same thing over and over with no benefit to her.

    Maybe she is fed up, after giving and giving only to have things fly in our faces again. How can one demand civility when their actions are less than civil.

    Don't you get it?
    The incidences of dubious comments are getting more and more frequent and their presence feels like an endorsement by you. After all, you approved it.

    Look, I don't doubt that you are trying, but we have all mentioned it at some point, that this...is NOT easy and it will never be.
    It's not easy for POC and its not easy for white people either. Giving up privilege never is, identifying is no walk in the park either.

    But you get extremely defensive with witchsistah. extremely.

    And seriously she is not wild she doesn't need to be tamed to speak 'macon'.
    Stop it. You are much better than this.

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  129. I understand, soul, I do get it. Thank you for the further explanation.

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  130. "Again, I'm not seeing this; if you'd point that out at the times it happens, I probably would."

    "I do appreciate witchsistah's efforts, and I'll also admit that the fallacious accusations and presumptions that sometimes accompany them can make that difficult. If she's generous enough to offer further critique, I'll try harder to see past those elements, and to withhold my response to them."

    "I understand, soul, I do get it. Thank you for the further explanation."

    @macon
    You seem to just be paying lip service. You get defensive and snarky with Witchsistah's very reasonable frustration with the ridiculous comment you approved, unreasonably challenge her to produce evidence and make posts to teach you, and then reply to someone else saying how much you appreciate her. When that person calls you out you thank them. All the while you constantly claim that you 'get it' when you obviously don't.

    How on earth could you approve luddite's comment? And the fact that there are worse comments is a derail/deflection. So what? Just because it isn't "rraraghhg niggers and spics!111!1!" doesn't mean we want to see it anyway.

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  131. @soul,
    I really appreciate all that you have written here. I find it very hard to wrap my head around the dynamics between macon and witchsistah but something felt very off and what you have written here makes a lot of sense.

    @witchsistah,
    I value your presence here and the ways you challenge my/our thinking. I admit that it's hard for me to hear you sometimes, because I become aware--reading your comments--of how often I/we screw up and let you down. But I appreciate that it's harder to come back to a place again and again that has let you down and continue to talk about being let down (and silenced, and trampled on, etc--this list is long, I'm sure).

    @macon,
    I think you owe Witchsistah an apology that addresses all that soul has pointed out. Responding to soul is not enough. This doesn't mean that you have to have "gotten" everything that soul and Witchsistah have said to you--that will take time and thought--but that you OWN where you are falling short and do not put that on Witchsistah or anyone else.

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  132. Wait, a minute.

    macon, what do you 'get'?

    I don't understand. Why did you just clam up? What "fallacies" were posted by witchsistah? I think sometimes when PoC get real with the wrong White Folks, shit hits the fan, that's more of what it seems like. If we have luddite and his ilk posting, we can direct fire at the overt nasty white guy, and forget the privileges macon d can exercise himself and does exercise. That's nothing original; hell that's almost EXACTLY what witchsistah said, but I just wanted to make it known that that's READILY apparent to me too.

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  133. @macon...
    cool beans and franks.

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  134. Rochelle, thank you for your comment. I would address your points, but then I'd be repeating things I've already said in various comments upthread; thus, it seems to me that repeating what I said upthread in this comment would be a white guy hogging center stage more than necessary. (I've learned that in situations where they've screwed up, white people tend to talk too much, instead of simply acknowledging their mistake, apologizing, promising to do better, and bowing out.) I'm sorry that my publication of luddite's comments affected you negatively. It was wrong of me to publish it, and and I'll do my best to publish no more comments of that sort in the future.

    Thank you Julia, I can see that I overlooked an apology to witchsista. As this post points out (and as commenter Roxie put it even more succinctly in this comment to that post), white apologetics tend to go on and on, so I'll try to keep it short:

    I apologize, witchsistah, for focusing too much upthread on my own reaction to your comments, and too little on what you were telling me in your comments. I also apologize for asking you to do work, which I did when I asked for examples that I could learn from about where I've recently thrown black women under the bus here, and which I also did when I invited you to write a guest post for swpd. I apologize for not recognizing that it's MY work to find and understand examples of my own misbehavior. I also apologize for being thrown off by what I consider (as I explained upthread btw, Colin, but shouldn't have explained) your inaccurate characterizations of my motives and actions from attending to your main points, and from attending to the pain that my still-unwittingly and common white actions have caused not only you, but other commenters here.

    I'm also starting to feel like I should apologize for what is turning into another overly long white apology, so I'll end by promising again to try to do better in the future, and by thanking you for (as soul was kind enough to put it) having the decency to call me on some of this stuff and bringing it to my attention.

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  135. Macon,
    I don't mean to belabor this, but something is feeling funny to me about this:
    "what I consider your inaccurate characterizations of my motives and actions"

    So, I get that no one can know your true motives but you, but discussing motives gets us back to that whole intention/effect problem, and we know it's the effect that matters more.

    On actions, it seems to me that whether they are inaccurately characterized or not is an open question.

    I guess what I'm saying is that Witchsistah (and soul, too, to a certain extent) didn't get to these characterizations from thin air. They are real, and they are related to what you have said and done here.

    It's not clear to me exactly how we have ended up where we are, and I'm guessing it isn't clear to you, either. But it seems like THIS is part of what bears thinking about, and I hope you will be open to revising your stand on accuracy/inaccuracy here.

    This is what I will be thinking about and trying to understand. Because what you missed I mostly missed too.

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  136. I'm a little wary of jumping in on this one, and I may upset some folks, but here it goes.


    @Macon, not to do something that white folks often do, i.e. asking POC's to do work for a white person, but have you considered enlisting someone, either a POC, or a white person who is very sensitive to racial issues, as co-moderator? This might make it easier to catch some of these things. I personally, have never moderated a blog, but from reading quite a few, I know it can be a great deal of work if each comment is reviewed before it is allowed into the discussion. I know some bloggers who don't allow comments for that reason, or who just let the fur fly b/c it can be time consuming with all of the nastiness people spew on teh interwebs on all sorts of issues, not just racial ones. I read Field Negro's site and he just lets everyone and everything go though, which can be very annoying and insane, but I understand why he does it. Even the best sites with moderation let some crazy ish through, I once saw a pretty good POC blog with several black moderators let a very, very anti-black comment slip through. I would volunteer to help you myself, but I know I don't have the time or the patience to read some of what I imagine must be pretty ugly.

    Also, I sympathize with the feelings of witchsista and others b/c I know how it is when crazy stuff gets through that really gets under your skin, I have been there. BUT, though I can agree and sympathize, and I respect you greatly witchsista, I can see how macon might characterize what some of you said as being fallacious when you basically accused him of letting luddite's comment through only b/c he wanted to make himself look good, get cookies, get his head patted and to "get head." I mean I guess you can't prove that sort of thing but macon genuinely seems to be trying and this was not his intent and it seems a little unfair to automatically assume he has bad intentions. I read one website where the host always encourages us to assume other's good intentions, which isn't easy and I can't always do, and sometimes it seems clear people aren't acting in good faith, I really don't personally see that with Macon. He made a mistake, he has admitted it, and yes he did get a snarky but we all do that, especially when we feel we are being attacked, but I've seen blog hosts be much,much, much harsher in responses and snarkier with those who disagree with them And, though this may be from a vantage point of greater privilege where the stakes aren't as high for him from a racial POV, he seemed to respond less snarkily relative to what he was responding to. I am very reticent about posting this b/c I don't want to protect or defend a white man unfairly against a black woman, but I really value this site, and the work Macon does and I am happy to criticize him as needed but I don't want to pile on him or assume he is doing this whole thing solely for selfish reasons and that it is his M.O. to throw minorities under the bus. It seems like, unless he is directly asked a question, or is informing someone of why their comment was not included he often just moderates and lets us suss out the issues. And though he sometimes lets some upsetting things through, sometimes it does help to further the conversation, keeps us on our toes and sharpens our ability to point out why and how something is problematic (which can help when out in the real world dealing with face to face knuckleheads) and sometimes, occasionally gets someone to re-think things.

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  137. @luddite,

    To be honest, I have no answers. Part of the reason I decided to write a post like this (I won't speak for fromthetropics) is exactly because I'm trying to work through these issues and to feel comfortable with dating someone outside of my race. In a way I see the point you are making, and I understand why Macon chose to publish your comment, but I didn't like the way you had framed it.

    Here's why:
    1.) You used the word "hate" and neither fromthetropics nor I in our original post mentioned hate in any capacity. We mentioned situations that made us uncomfortable, the doubts we had. We questioned our motives, but never did we suggest a hatred for white people nor people who are completely unaware of race issues.

    2.) Your first two characterization of the "options" suggest that being racist was a thing to avoid like a bad smell. Like carefully sidestepping the difficult topics and choosing your words delicately for fear that somebody might call you racist. This seems silly to me. Personally, I'd prefer someone who never dated outside of their race but was acutely aware of the reasons why they chose to never date outside their race than someone who never gave a thought to how race plays a role in their relationships.

    I'm pretty sure fromthetropics is with me when I say that neither of us wrote this post with the intention of the commentators to "vote" whether this was racist or not. Neither of us wrote it wanting them to tell us if we should keep dating white men. Neither of us wrote it for "advice" or what to do or how not to be racist. We wrote it to see whether others have had similar experiences and how they might have come to find solace in it.

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  138. LisaMJ:

    I find the timing of your comment and the fact Macon let it through very telling. And what it tells me is that I should definitely reconsider saying anything else here for a very long time.

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  139. To add something I should have asked in general:

    When do a Black woman's thoughts, feelings, and experiences ever get to be equal to (or - gasp! - more important than) those of a White person?

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  140. RVCBard, we're all in a system of de facto white supremacy, talking to each other on a blog that's dedicated to exposing that system and its effects. Therefore, I definitely strive, and yes sometimes fail, to subordinate white feelings to non-white ones. I'm still learning about my failure in that regard, and this exchange is another lesson for me.

    Regarding my suspicious publication of LisaMJ's comment --let me put it this way: for one thing, I did not publish it because I'm looking for a "cookie." Had the writer been white, and especially, had the writer not been a regular and constructive commenter here, white or non-white, I would not have published it.

    LisaMJ, thank you for your input, but FTR, none of what you said makes me inclined to modify my apology and thanks to witchsistah (which is not to say that I think that's what you were asking me to do). As I wrote above, my attention to certain characterizations of me and my motives by witchsistah amounted to a distraction from what I should have been attending to, her main points about how some BW get treated here.

    Regarding moderation, you're right, the reason that I haven't asked anyone non-white to help is because that would be like asking them to do anti-racist work. "Not, their, job," I keep reminding myself.

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  141. @LisaMJ

    Your entire comment reads "intentions, intentions, intentions", when intentions don't mean shit; effects are what truly matter.

    And who the hell is being 'attacked'?

    "I am very reticent about posting this b/c I don't want to protect or defend a white man unfairly against a black woman"

    Then why are you doing exactly that???

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  142. RVCBard, we're all in a system of de facto white supremacy, talking to each other on a blog that's dedicated to exposing that system and its effects.

    Thanks for pointing it out to me! I never would've figured that out on my own since my peanut-sized Negro brain can't spell context, let alone know what that means or how that applies.

    Therefore, I definitely strive, and yes sometimes fail, to subordinate white feelings to non-white ones. I'm still learning about my failure in that regard, and this exchange is another lesson for me.

    I'm getting really tired of White people using my pain to learn lessons.

    This shit right here? Is exactly why I feel where Witchsistah is coming from.

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  143. I'm getting really tired of White people using my pain to learn lessons.

    This shit right here? Is exactly why I feel where Witchsistah is coming from.


    Point acknowledged and understood, RVCBard. I'm confused about where I should go from there (in terms of moderating the blog, and especially of what I should say about how I plan to better moderate the blog), but I'm understanding better how frustrating it can be to read and comment here.

    (Btw, what I wrote about context was a preface meant to situate what I next said, not a pointing-out of something I think you don't know. You, with a peanut-sized brain? Me, ever thinking you have a peanut-sized brain? Good lord, puh-leeze!)

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  144. "what I wrote about context was a preface meant to situate what I next said, not a pointing-out of something I think you don't know."

    Honestly, Macon, I'm not trying to gang up on you but if you thought she already knew it, why say it? It sounds pedantic and I understand why RVC felt talked down to.

    It won't help to tell RVC that you don't think she has a peanut-size brain if you treat her as if she has a peanut-size brain. I can't speak for her, but my guess is that RVC is not feeling particularly reassured.

    Macon, as a friendly suggestion, do you need to just go take a walk outside? Drink some V-8? Something? It's feeling like you haven't regained equilibrium since your back-and-forth with Witchsistah. Maybe some distance and some fresh air would be good?

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  145. @ RVCBard, I commented when I did b/c I had been thinking about this a lot since this topic came up, had decided to just keep my thoughts to myself, but then as the discussion continued I decided to chime in. I didn't have an agenda or a plan for when and how I commented. In no way was I saying that witchsista had no right to speak or to disagree I was pointing out some of what, in my opinion, were some areas that might have sparked the back and forth.

    @macon, I wasn't saying that you should retract your apology and that you had a "right" to be snarky, I was just trying to point out, in essence, that it takes two to tango and we all screw up and sometimes it can be easy to get snarky or take things personally when they are addressed you. I'm not sure what about my comment made it unpublishable had I not been black or a regular contributer.

    @Rochelle I addressed intentions b/c to me it seemed that Macon's intentions were exactly what were being addressed, i.e. his intention for allowing that comment was for x reason, and I disagreed. I also don't believe I used the word "attacked" and didn't accuse anyone on either side of this discussion of attacking someone else.

    Lastly, the last time a discussion on this topic came up, I mostly held my tounge to some degree b/c I thought I didn't have a dog in this fight and didn't want to add to what was getting really intense. And like RVC bard, but for different reasons, this makes me reticent to comment or to comment as freely. Maybe I will do what is often instructed to others and just sit back and read and learn rather than comment for awhile.

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  146. Macon,
    I don't know if you're rejecting my comments or not getting them, but after rehashing with a friend, I'd like to say this:

    Enough of this "i understand. I'll do better." stuff. You don't and you won't until you get real with how little you get. I think you think you need to be the Guy Who Gets It or something. You don't. It would be much better to be the Guy Who Is Sincere About Where He Is.

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  147. Julia/the other Julia,

    Thank you for your helpful comments, sorry for their delay. As I wrote upthread, comment approval is likely to slow down here as I go through comments more carefully than I did before.

    I think when I said above that I understood something, it was something in particular, instead of everything that's been said here. I also wrote that I don't understand some of what's been said here (at one point I described my confusion, for instance, and at another I asked, egregiously, for clarification about where and how I'm throwing black women under the bus).

    I think you're right that I don't get a lot of it, and probably never will get all of it -- after all, I'm trained to be "white," and part of that training commonly results in tremendous difficulty in empathizing with non-white experiences with racism. I do get that.

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  148. I can't presume to speak for anyone else here, but the crux of my love/hate (probably more like/dislike) relationship with SWPD is that the real, yet unspoken title seems to be "Stuff Other White People Do". There seems to be a pattern of initiation:

    1. WP shows up.
    2. WP says something non-productive (at best).
    3. WP gets shot down.
    4. WP learns, earns a gold star and crosses over to the other side of the fence.
    5. Repeat.

    Essentially, there's a distancing between what White people do and many of the White people on this blog. In the middle stages (around 3 and 4), a commenter might frequently say, "I used to..." or "I'm ashamed to admit that I...", but eventually "other White people" become the focus. I don't think other people have to outline their personal struggles for my benefit, but it can be off-putting to read comment after comment from "anti-racist gurus" because the cynical part of me suspects 99.8% of them don't do a thing in real life situations.

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  149. Hey Jasmin,
    I think what you've written is really important. And also complicated and deserving of more discussion.

    macon,
    Could this be its own swpd post, do you think?

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  150. @Jasmin, you forgot the part around step 5 where the WP gets cookies for regurgitating something a BP taught them and suddenly opening up the eyes of another WP who is reading. :-/

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  151. Julia/the other Julia said...

    macon,

    Could this be its own swpd post, do you think?


    Yes, I do think so. In fact, I had the exact same thought when I first read Jasmin's comment.

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  152. I absolutely agree that the points that Jasmin brought up would make for a good topic. As a WP, I feel that is very important for me to maintain a sense of humility when it comes to race issues. Most people do want to be on the 'inside' of a group and feel approval from that group. I include myself in the 'most people'. But, I think if we as WP let go of our humility and begin to try to sound like experts, we stunt our own growth. I think for some, it may become more of a contest to see who can be the best anti-racist. I think WP (myself included) need to be re-centered on the purpose of exposing and understanding our own white privilege -- not just trying to score points by pointing out whites who are more clueless than themselves. I think there may be some very heated commentary on this subject, but still important.

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  153. Don't post this if it is too damaging for your reputation, whatever, this is for you to read over all else:

    Dude, stop playing both sides. You are a straight up weasel.

    You say things like I "get it", that's "understood". (a recurring pattern of wanting people to believe something is true because you say it is instead of showing it)

    Then you say things like, Witchsistah, I don't get it, provide me with examples. (so...are you a liar? Do you get it or not? Stop being so helpless when it suits you, no one needs to help you, help yourself. You ahve all the info you need. She didn't like the comment. She is a longtime member whose opinion is highly regarded among people who know what they are talking about. Therefore, something is wrong. Figure it out yourself, do some critical thinking. That's the best way to learn anyway)

    Then you say things like, other white people do apologetics, so I am going to just apologize. (Again, exactly what Witchsistah pointed out, you always need to distance yourself from other white people when you talk, to make yourself look better. You have apparently been stuck in your self-made don't fully get it, but somehow I am still better than other white people who don't fully get it because at various times I make them look worse to let you that I get it by comparison zone for a long time now. And it is frustrating. For someone who says they will "try" harder, it's not that it is bad that you mess up, but it is frustrating when nothing at all changes from you.)

    Then, in your actual apology, you pull the EXACT SAME APOLOGETICS SHIT you just said that you are aware other white people do. (do you not understand how this is frustrating now? And how your constant straddling back and forth make you look like, fairly or not, someone who is more concerned with their image as an anti-racist than being one...oh by the way, what Witchsistah pointed out to you. You think she is throwing it out of nowhere, just trolling it up? That is extremely disrespectful of her contributions to this blog over time. Just because you do not realize you come off like an insincere dude, does not mean that is not how you are perceived.)

    And your 40 pages of saying "thank you" and "I appreciate it" before writing something that shows you clearly do not are patronizing and offensive.

    Pardon my language, but shut the fuck up and take a loss once in a while.

    Oh and Witchsistah, to be perfectly honest, I think you should go. You don't deserve to be wasting your time with fake ass weasels. This is "cupcakes" from that other thread about watching non-white women get abused. Well what do you know, happens on the internet as well. Peace.

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  154. Julia/TOJ, Thesciencegirl, and LolaAnn, thanks for your input.

    I first started reading here around last Halloween. Don't remember how I got here, but since we were doing a big segment on Affirmative Action in my Ethics class (in which I'm the only Black person), I was reading pretty regularly at Abagond, and I had just gotten back into my own semi-regular blogging, a conflation of factors made reading this blog convenient. I like some of the posts here, and I think the best part of many blogs are the commenters, but watching SWPD interactions play out juxtaposed with real-live SWPD at an elite school (i.e., 2% Black and even the 4 of us here are too many) left me a little cynical about the effectiveness (for lack of a better word) of White anti-racist work.

    It's common (anti-racist) knowledge that WP like to equate racism with the KKK, skinheads, etc., and that's not good enough because racism is bigger (and deeper) than that. But the next step in the food chain is anti-racists pointing at "regular" WP, without realizing that you can't "graduate" to anti-racist. At this point, I think actions, not people, are anti-racist, because few people are going to learn something, particularly something that goes against everything you've ever been taught and all of the messages you are still receiving, and get it right every time. So if the way to get to being an anti-racist is to never do anything racist, well, you are going to lose, because you will mess up eventually. In fact, by clinging so tightly to the "anti-racist" label, you may be even more likely to perpetuate racism, because you think you are above getting called out on your sh*t.

    I don't think participation in a blog like this one is necessarily a significant indicator of real-life commitment to anti-racism work, but again, the cynical part of me wonders, how many people here have questioned the homogeneity of their friendships and/or changed it? How many are interested in hanging out with ethnic minorities when they are not doing "essential" ethnic minority activities? (That's a pet peeve of mine.) How many spoke up when that friend made comment about something being "ghetto"?

    As a White person reading or participating in this blog, it may be a tough cookie to swallow that neither of those activities can or will ever make you any less White. But it has to be done.

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  155. This was a very interesting read!

    I am in the same boat as the OP, though I am adopted and raised by WP in a suburban middle class area. Everyone I have dated has been white, and while I am happy with my current partner I find myself asking the same sorts of questions - what does this mean? How can we deal with issues of race when we are obviously never going to have the same experiences? Why doesn't he GET IT?!

    It's gotten a bit tougher since we both moved to Japan, which is notoriously homogenous and, to an extent, xenophobic. I am treated as a "normal" and he is of course treated differently because of his whiteness. Like in the Europe example the OP gave, I get "konnichiwa" and they either ignore him or say "Sorry no English." I won't go into how wholly ignorant Japanese people are about just about everything, but needless to say this causes great frustration for my boyfriend and results in tense discussions where I hold back because he insists that he is colorblind.

    That being said, judging by many of the comments on here, interracial relationships make many of us happy. I do cheer on the inside whenever I see an Asian man dating a non-Asian woman.

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  156. Wow, sorry to drag up an old post, but have any of y'all seen these shirts on ThinkGeek (usually not a bad site, unless I'm missing something...)?

    Looking for a Japanese Girlfirend (hoodie)
    -Description: "If you are, then you'll need this shirt to succeed. Apparently there's a whole bunch of guys in the world who wouldn't mind getting attention from Japanese females in the world...Features a nice red "rising sun of Japan" in the design. You never know what conversation this T-shirt could start, or where it might lead!"

    Looking for a Japanese Boyfriend
    -Description: Now accepting applications for full and part-time Japanese boyfriends. Start immediately. No experience necessary. Free training. Openings in our anime and robot departments. No reasonable offer refused.

    What do you think?

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  157. I have the same problem. As a gay asian man, I believe in equal opportunity policy. I am attracted to guys with different ethnics backgrounds.
    However there was time I dated an older white man. It actually bothered me alot since I was not sure whether he liked me for me or he liked me because I embody his asian fetish.
    What irk me even more is when we went out to a restaurant. The waiter / waitress always dropped the bill in front of him - not me. And like what cl said, he was totally clueless when I told him that the waitress was being racist. That I am being a young asian moocher, going out with a rich older white male.

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