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The Rife Team

White people, only dating black people is not progressive – it’s racist

Ella explains why white people can date black people, but  can’t JUST date black people.

I grew up around a lot of white people. I was one of the few black people in my primary school, my secondary schools and college. University is difficult because there were so many people – but out of the 35 musicians on my course, I was most definitely the only black person (until third year).

When you see and interact with that many white people on a daily basis you inevitably start feeling out of place: your hair isn’t blonde or blowing in the wind the same way as the other girls, you can’t relate when they’re trying to get tan for the summer. And as a heterosexual woman, interacting with and seeing that many white men on a daily basis leaves you pining after a group of men who for the most part aren’t interested in making you their boothang.

But after swimming through all the Brads and the Jacks, you get that one guy. That one guy who when you talk about music tell you he “loves hip-hop”; that one guys who says “I just don’t get this racism thing.” That one guys who says, “I only date black girls.”

I was invited to a party by one of my friends who “only dates black girls.” We were friends way before he had the realisation that black girls were black and attractive. I love a party, but I had to be away on that occasion and had to decline and thought no more of it. The next week, I scrolled though social media to find a photo album of the party and had a look-see. To my surprise there was a nice group photo with my friend’s sister, her boyfriend, my friend (all white) and a black girl. Judging that he had let me know that he had broken up with his girlfriend (one I didn’t know he had and who was black also) I could only assume he had found this black girl in the seven days leading up to the party.

would I have been the interchangeable black girl in the picture?

My relationship with this guy is completely platonic, and I only would have been invited as a friend, but looking at that picture I couldn’t help but think, “if I was there would I have been the interchangeable black girl in the picture, or would I have been an extra black girl in the picture?” It was a moment where I felt like an accessory.

It’s funny, because in 2012 when I was in college, I would have been like, “You like black girls?! Oh my goodness. I’m a black girl! You can date me because I fit the job description! I’m so happy, oh my goodness. I’m getting married – I better start saving my coins!”

And my 2016 self in university would have been like “yeah great interracial relationships are great cool.”

But me now is like:

Here’s why: Black people are not a commodity. Black people are (wait for it…) people.

Take me for instance: My name is Ella, I’m a singer, and I’m a blogger. My favourite colour is blue and I have a sweet tooth. There are so many things that make me interesting and If you’re attracted me and we end up dating, my skin colour should not be the first adjective you use to describe me to your friends and family.

Yes, I am black, but you don’t need to tell them and keep on telling your friends that I’m black by saying I things like “I like chocolate” or “here’s my Nubian Queen.” Creating a feeling of ‘other’ does NOT make black people feel comfortable. Most people, including black people, don’t like feeling interchangeable and collectable, funnily enough.

“is he just dating me because I’m black?”

Maybe in your head, in this Trump-thinks-Neo-Nazis- are-really-fine-people kind of climate, it might seem really forward-thinking to say that you “only date black people” – but you also have to consider how that makes a black person close to you feel. Questions like, “is he just dating me because I’m black?” and, “am I black enough?” will circle around our heads and drive us mad.

Sex educator and blogger Oloni recently uncovered a conversation between two hosts of the podcast, Guys We F*****d. They call it an anti-slut shaming podcast.  In an episode posted on 9 May 2014 called “DO GUYS SHOW EACH OTHERS THEIR DICKS?” the hosts have a short debrief of the weekend past saying things like “I been fucking black guys since like the early 2000’s” and, “this was like a real black guy”, “he looks pretty black” “he didn’t act black enough but he did this weekend.” Listen to the podcast here:

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I listen to this post and I’m horrified, but not surprised. This fetish for POC and specifically black people has been going on for a while. In the 1920s, the word negrophilia was coined to describe the growing white fascination with black culture. However, like most other philias, it’s not a great thing. It’s about satisfying your own wishes. It’s about you bragging about picking up a black girl at the club just because she’s black, or that you’ve gained a nickname like ‘Cadbury’s’ or ‘Wonka’ because of all the black girlfriends you’ve had. It is not celebrating black people. It’s collecting them, like you would cars or stamps.

Surely ‘dear white women’ is also stereotyping

Looking at Oloni’s Instagram comments, quite a lot of the internet weren’t happy about the comments made in the podcast and voiced their opinions: one user wrote ‘[it sounds like] they are talking about fucking Pokémon cards or something. These women should be disgusted with themselves.’ Another said, ‘wow that’s disgusting and disturbing. Watch the fake apology that’ll be written in the iPhone notes.’

But, scrolling further through the comments on Oloni’s post, I see comments like this spread between the supportive ones: “Half the people that have made comments about white women… you are just as bad as the women in the podcast… Makes you just as ignorant, RACIST, and judgemental, labelling every white woman in the same context.” ‘Surely ‘dear white women’ is also stereotyping. Just because two white girls did this podcast surely it’s just as bad to put all white women in the same category.’

Corrinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson, the women behind the podcast, issued a statement in regards to the episode in question.

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The TL;DR is that they’re sorry, and they didn’t meeeeannn it and they learnt from their former fetishizing ways aaaaannnnd… they’re not going to delete the podcast because they’ve never deleted a podcast and they don’t want to. Great.

I’m not trying to discourage you from dating black people and I’m not necessarily saying you’re a bad person

So, to the white person reading this, I’m not trying to discourage you from dating black people and I’m not necessarily saying you’re a bad person – what I am saying is sometimes being “racist” isn’t that stereotypical idea of being racist. Writer of ‘White Fragility’ Robin DiAngelo says when someone is accused of being racist they think they are being pigeonholed into the box of Individual people who have malicious opinions about people based on skin colour. Because that idea of a racist is what most people gravitate towards, it’s more than likely you’ll get defensive. I understand that – but if you understand that racism is embedded in our society and as a white person you will benefit from that, you also need to understand that you exhibiting racist behaviours is inevitable. But if you’re willing to make a change, you need to get used to being called out on it, and allow yourself to be uncomfortable.

So, white person, why do you date black people?  I want to know your reasoning. The real reasoning.  If you sit there reading this and think: ‘because black men are thugs in bed!’ or ‘because black girls are wild,’ you, as a grown person should know these are stereotypes. I love being celebrated as much as the next person, but what I don’t like is being made to be ‘more black’ as if that’s all I am.

So give me your reasons I’ll try and listen but  if you tell me you only date black people, I’m going to roll my eyes.

Are you a POC who’s experienced being fetishized? Do you you think that only dating black people is a problem? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram