Do we Naturally Gravitate towards our own Race? | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Do we Naturally Gravitate towards our own Race?

Do we subconsciously segregate ourselves? Why is it still a novelty to be attracted to someone of a different ancestral past? Commentator Graca Mutseyami tackles the issue of race in romantic tastes and relationships.

Since coming to university and being one of the few who are 'single and ready to mingle' I've participated in a lot of conversations to do with relationships. Constantly being bombarded by couples left right and centre; in fact, three out of my four flatmates are currently in a relationship. Three quarters of my accommodation are also invested in relationships and it is a bit hard to avoid the topic of conversation.

Confronted with the issue of race and relationships and being questioned on my type tends to make me uncomfortable because the answers I give allow people to make assumptions about me as a person without understanding my reasoning. Whilst engaging in a discussion with three men (two Asian and one black) I waited for the speech on racism I was about to receive. Being attracted to white men especially being a black woman is rather limiting as not every white man is sexually attracted to black women and the same goes with any other race.

'A natural yet semi-political segregation occurs, which sadly is very evident at the University of Birmingham -even amongst our multicultural melting pot.'
The majority of people do often subconsciously date people of their own race because naturally they are bound to have more in common. Just as how friendships tend to form between people of the same race especially non-English speakers because there is a likeness in their way of living and interests, which makes it rather simple to find mutual ground and form friendships. A natural yet semi-political segregation occurs, which sadly is very evident at the University of Birmingham -even amongst our multicultural melting pot.

However, as soon as I say 'I do not have a type but I am mainly attracted to white guys' it gives people the basis to scrutinise me and ask me imposing questions as well as offend me with ignorant and racist comments. Let me declare these points on behalf of the many people who have had to explain themselves when they really shouldn't about why they are sexually attracted to a particular race:

1. I am not sexually attracted to a particular race because my desired goal is to have mixed race children with green eyes to Instagram and make Tumblr famous.

2. I do not seek to live vicariously through them and their white privilege. I have not been deprived of a life that is only associated with the 'white upper/middle class'.

3. I'm not doing it for my parents’ sake nor anyone else for that matter. I am not rebelling against my parents either (who by the way are the most liberal people and I am fortunate to say they couldn’t care less about who I loved as long as I was happy). I live my life how I want to live my life, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

4. I'm not attracted to white men for financial security. There are many men of different ethnic minorities in corporate and non-corporate jobs who have just as much of an income and work just as hard as their white colleagues. So not only are you insulting me when you ask such a ridiculous question but also the people who have grafted just as hard, who come from ethnic backgrounds and are in CEO positions.

5. I'm not attracted to them to prove any sort of point or establish any form of identity outside of my race. I do not hate my own race. Interracial relationships are not new or foreign to the world. Evidently, new analysis of census figures shows that the number of people in England and Wales living with or married to someone from another ethnic group jumped 35 per cent to 2.3 million in the 10-years up to the last census.

6. It is not a fetish. I am not fantasying an entire race. It is not a must that I only date white men and white men only. I would happily date any race if I found the person interesting and their personality intriguing just as many people would. But unfortunately I cannot help who I am attracted to and I will not apologise for that. I do have a preference toward a specific race and I am free to love whomever I want. That does not make me a creep nor the people who date outside of their ethnic group.

7. It is not a phase.

Indeed, having someone say that 'you should naturally gravitate towards your own race' and it is rather 'sad' that I am not sexually attracted towards black men makes me rather furious. This implies I have ruled off every other race. ‘Wouldn't it be easier to just date your own race?’ is indeed another question I was asked, but I would argue by only dating black men, I would be cutting out a whole group of viable dating candidates.

'I allowed someone to imply I was a zoo attraction and a temporary fix or rather experimentation for white men before they committed to their perfect suitor (a white female as implied).'
Along with this, a counter argument of white men finding black woman attractive was brought to my attention. Being called a 'fetish' infuriated me with rage that could start world wars. Being insulted to this extent was truly a challenge to my temperament. I allowed someone to imply I was a zoo attraction and a temporary fix or rather experimentation for white men before they committed to their perfect suitor (a white female as implied). Anyone would take great offence, especially as this suggests that all my previous relationships were not because we had common interests as of course that would just be 'weird' but because I was black and they just wanted to 'sleep with a black girl' as that is what their grandfather advised, as ‘he never got to do at university, because rumour has it we're just so wild in the bedroom’.

Nevertheless, interracial relationships have not been glamorised to me, therefore that is not why I am only attracted to white men as some would suggest. As the stigma surrounded with interracial relationships, is not only getting worse as it becomes a much bigger topic of debate. With racist rants and complaints made over television adverts involving interracial families, it does nothing but reverse the integration of different cultures e.g. the Cheerio’s advert, to which Cheerio’s executives responded saying “we were reflecting an American family”. Good on you Cheerio’s.

Let's not forget that the civil rights movement, the holocaust and the apartheid were more or less 60 years ago, meaning it has not been long since the acknowledgement of equality of the races and its significance. Worthy and saddening as those movement were, we need to remember why they happened and why those moments are history.

'You'd be surprised how many people do not care.'

Moreover, if you naturally gravitate towards your own race that's wonderful, I have not written this article trying to shame you for dating within your own race. But if someone ever challenges you on why you do, please do not respond with "I am not a racist, one of my best friends is black/different origin". Don't give ignorant responses as an attempt to prove you're not racist; it just doesn't work. If you don't naturally gravitate towards your own race, that's wonderful too, but please don't act like your relationship is a catalyst towards other interracial relationships. You'd be surprised how many people do not care. Regardless of my tantrum, do whatever makes you happy and date whoever you want to date, and be with whoever you want to be with without having to explain yourselves.

Article by Graca Mutseyami


8th December 2014 at 10:26 am

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