The vibrant party light danced ferociously through apartment, keeping in sync with the heavy electronic beat. It’s rainbow flashes temporarily lighting the otherwise pitch-black living space.
My friends and I moved deliberately through the crowd, where we met several familiar faces for our first time outside of class. Naturally, we exchanged hellos, hugs and some overly enthusiastic shouting.
Amid the chaos and laughter, we managed to find silence in the kitchen where the five of us continued our electric conversation. As we entered the quiet space and continued to chat, the conversation became touchy and slightly controversial; at least for me.
Being a biracial woman, I’m always asked ‘so, what are you?’, especially among new peers. This evening was no exception to that fate-ridden question. One of my new friends asked and I proudly answered, ‘black and white!’, happy to embrace my biracial identity.
Upon my response, another friend chimed in, ‘ I would loooove to date a black guy just so I could have mixed babies. With the caramel skin tone! Mixed babies are just so much cuter!’ Okay, what? I get it, we’re cute people. But I definitely think this statement alludes to a bigger issue of fetishism. I understand that this was probably intended as a compliment, but instead I felt taken aback.
The remark reminded me of a statement Kim Kardashian made, where she explained that in high school she would often see magazines where interracial couples were featured and would think they were ‘so cute’ and that from then on, she was always attracted to a ‘certain kind of look’; the ‘swirl love vibe’, as I’ll call it.
*Cue sight*. There are many things wrong with that statement. So many, in fact, that I actually needed to take a break from writing this article.
Personally, the reason to celebrate swirl love (and at least why I celebrate it) is because this type of love encourages breaking racial barriers, widening boundaries and ultimately celebrating diversity – what’s not to enjoy? However, what shouldn’t be encouraged are the exclusionary attitudes. I’ve seen countless posts on the Internet, ‘White Girl Wednesday’, or the famous adage, ‘once you go black you never go back. Or maybe it’s as simple as ‘Asian girls do it better’. I understand that us minorities want to amp up that we’re most desirable and do things the best, but when it comes at expense of others, it’s not cool.
I’ve also heard and seen comments about mixed or light skin men and women being more ideal simply because of skin tone. This is an exclusionary mindset and it is not okay to exclude someone based upon race, complexion or ethnic makeup.
A racially or culturally diverse significant other is not a trophy or eye candy and when one is struck by the color of someone’s skin instead of his or her personality – fetishism is completely overlooking who he or she is as an individual. A perpetuated stereotype about a group of people does not, in fact, represent thousands upon thousands of human beings.
Race should not matter in relationships and while I completely support people dating whomever they feel most connected to – regardless of race or ethnic background; what I do not support is the fetishism and stereotypes that are sometimes perpetuated by interracial love enthusiasts.
However, with all of this being said, I do believe that these views most likely few and far between. But, because of some of the things I’ve both heard in my life and read on the Internet, it definitely seems like an issue I believe still needs to be addressed.
Fetishizing someone of another race if not a compliment. Instead, it can often lead to a person feeling objectified and even used. As a person whose experienced this on a personal basis, it has definitely left me feeling a little uneasy.
One may feel that narrowing their preference of men/women to a certain racial group will increase their chances of finding a soul mate. Though, I believe, that expanding upon those boundaries and eliminating the exclusionary attitude is what actually makes one happier. That’s what swirl love is all about, isn’t it?
Note: I am not speaking on the behalf of those in interracial relationships nor am I alluding that all individuals feel this way about interracial love. I am simply speaking from experience in the remarks I’ve heard, the articles I’ve read and posts I’ve seen on the Internet. I thought it was an important topic and wanted it to be addressed.