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Dating should be inclusive

Dating is hard. The intense anxiety one feels when trying to attract a partner can be overwhelming and stressful. Many of us go through leaps and bounds to make ourselves marketable during a time when presentation is everything. Instagram profiles, Tinder bios and witty captions are just some of the many avenues people choose to take to grab someone’s attention. We only have a set amount of time and space to make a memorable impression on potential mates. However, as with any game of chance and opportunity, sometimes certain players are given seemingly unfair advantages. Some don’t even get a chance to play at all. Like everything else, people of color are placed at a disadvantage in the dating world.

In numerous studies regarding dating “preferences,” white people and Asian women are always the most preferred group while the least preferred are always black people and Asian men. The results of these studies are always unsurprising to me due to this country’s history of institutionalized racism and hetero-patriarchy. However, these statistics also represent a huge problem in the world of modern dating: racial “preferences.” A preference implies that a person prefers one thing over another, like cupcakes over brownies. When you perceive one race to be more attractively superior, that is an issue.

Here’s the deal, we all have internalized biases. We all come from various backgrounds and grew up seeing images that affect the way we navigate various spaces. It becomes problematic when we use those biases to actively and consciously discriminate against people because of their race. I have heard numerous horror stories from friends and online personalities, in which they began to question their self-worth, because people explicitly told them they did not want to date them because of the color of their skin. Many people will want to argue against these claims and try to diminish racial “preferences” as merely a preference, but fail to acknowledge that their perceptions of race often come from a very privileged point of view.

All marginalized identities have some sort of negative stereotype attached to them. If you think that the images of people of color we see portrayed in media, or the racist caricatures that have existed since the origin of America have nothing to do with your so called “preference,” then that is an extremely ignorant way of thinking. How is it possible to not be attracted to an entire race of people? No one person can represent an entire demographic. Why limit yourself to specific groups of people when the whole world is your oyster?

With all that being said, I am of the personal belief that one should not feel the need to try and appeal to people who want nothing to do with you. If a person does not like your race, then they’re probably racist and not worth your time. But as I stated earlier, dating is hard. It’s even harder as a “minority” in this country. I understand the need to feel validated that you are wanted by potential partners. Which is why it is so important to make today’s dating world all-inclusive.

No one deserves to be told that they are unwanted because of traits they were born with. Be kind and don’t exclude other people from trying to get to know you intimately because of their skin color. Everyone has the right to be loved.

Channler Twyman, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment

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