Getting To The Root of Racial and Skin Tone "Preferences"

Kenneth Clark Doll Test
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In the world of dating and romance it is not unusual for us to have a ‘type’. There are simply certain things that draw in our specialized interests, many of which we may not give a second thought to such as hair color or body type. However, there are things we look for in others that could use a bit of analysis to fully understand why they draw us in and where the interests stem from. Among these are race and skin color which have been objects of fetishes and preferences that can sometimes come from places many of us have never cared to acknowledge or explore.

In a society in which color does very much still matter, many of us have found ourselves being color-conscious while dating (whether we are dating within the same race as us or not). This is not something unique to Blacks, there are people of other races who may have fetishes for Asians or preferences for blondes; we all have the right to be aesthetically to drawn to what please.

What is unique to Blacks is our history in this country and the disparities between us that are the result of centuries of social conditioning and it's important to acknowledge this infrastructure when distinguishing the reasons behind our racial and skin color preferences.

We must consider the environments we are a part of, the relationships or experiences we have with other blacks and our own perception of blackness as a whole in order to fully grasp color-consciousness in dating. We have to take into account those who were the only Blacks in their schools or neighborhoods growing up and may have only had the option of dating certain races or skin colors, as well as those who had to deal with the pain of constantly being rejected by their own race.

There are many reasons why one may resort to dating outside of the expectations that have been thrust upon them. So, how exactly do we go about determining if a person who only dates a certain race or color is self-hating, open minded or simply a product of their environment?

As previously mentioned, we as people have been socially conditioned which has given way to low self-esteem. Most notably, the western world has adopted a "light/white is right" attitude that even in an increasingly multi-racial country is still something many minorities find themselves battling. It comes as no surprise that if you have adopted this same attitude you will adamantly exclude those who do not fit the mold of western beauty.

What’s so complicated about this issue is that a lot of people who have adopted this attitude do not realize it’s an issue let alone regard it as something they have been conditioned to believe. Unlearning what has been accustomed to us for centuries worth of ancestry is an arduous task and something many people either fear or find completely unnecessary.

Having a preference for a certain race or skin color is not wrong; however, dating someone solely because they are a certain race or skin color with no concern as to who they are as an individual is. The rationale behind why we choose what we choose is something that is only known to us when we take the time to peel back the layers of social conditioning and reason why we like what we like.

It does not matter if we have a fetish for Latinos or a preference for Black men with deep dark skin, we have to assess how much weight that holds on our personal requirements for our partners and if it holds a lot of weight, why that is.

If your reasoning for excluding certain races or skin colors stem from a place of being uncomfortable with who you are as a person than it may be a wise choice to take that extra step to evaluate your self-esteem as a Black person and identify the perception you have of your self-image. I personally believe it is all of our duty to force ourselves to do this type of digging.

Not only does it bring to light self-image and self-esteem issues, it makes us conscious and aware of who we are and the places we hold in this society which in turn translates over to being conscious of other things such as why some of us don’t like our kinky hair or think being voluptuous is more attractive than being thin. We are all entitled to like what we like whether the person we choose is red, yellow or green. The important thing is that we do not lose ourselves in our preferences and that we take pride in who we are in spite of them.

What do you think? Do you have a preference for certain skin colors or races?


A Girl Like Me: A Mirror To Self Hatred In The Black Community
No Better Than You: Light-Skinned And Still Black
Black Like Me: When Being "Light-Skinned" Isn't A Privilege

LaChelle is an aspiring novelist and songwriter. An avid reader and social commentator, her mission is to engage the minds of others through her artistry. Catch her on Twitter @_theELLE_

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