5 Things I learned from “20 Things You Learn From Dating White Guys”

If you’ve read Thought Catalog before you know that it tends to publish click-bait. Nothing wrong with publishing click bait, it’s how some people make a living

Having read this post last week on Thought Catalog  my first thought was:

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Before I start I want to just get some things out of the way.

For starters, I am in no way knocking the author of the post. This isn’t about the quality of the post. As someone who occasionally publishes typos, I’m not going to get on a blogging high-horse.

No Shade Here.

Blogging about race is incredibly difficult to pull off (just read the comments section of the post if you’d like to be reminded of that fact).

I’m not 100% on board with the piece I will say that some of the points gave me some pause.

If you missed my post about interracial dating  you might not know that I am the product of an interracial marriage and I tend to date people who don’t necessarily look the way I do.

Yes, that means that a lot of the time I’m dating white women. (Don’t worry, Mom is ok with it)

Do I think that the 20 Things you learn from dating white guys (or people) is a valid representation of the universal experience of all people who date someone of a different race? Obviously not. 

Do I think that there are things you can learn from maybe not the best Thought Catalog post? Yup

Here are 5 things I learned from the post:

1. Not all girls/guys of your race will be mad if you date outside your race, but some will be.

For most people, especially in large metropolitan areas like NYC, the idea of interracial dating isn’t as big of a deal that it once was because of how common it is these days.

But, there will eventually be someone who calls you out on it. Might be a friend, or it might be a random person on a dating website. Here’s an example: (an fyi: the first line is a reference to a previous message about bbq places…small talk is weird you guys):

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In my 10+ years of dating online this message reflects maybe 1% of the responses I’ve received. It’s not a large percentage but it happens.

2. Most differences have less to do with color and more to do with your background.

Reading the 20 Things made it sound like dating a white person is like dating a Martian.

I’ve found that  major differences have more to do with your upbringing and less to do with color. That’s not to say that there isn’t a high likelihood that if you’re black you wont have major differences with a white person.  If you’re African American, you’re 3 times more likely to live in poverty than a Caucasian. This means that yes, you’re 3 times more likely to come from a different background from your White counterparts. But what this has more to do with background than color.

If you grew up in a household that placed value on maintaining your caste, or marrying people of the same ethno- religious group, maintaining a certain level of education, etc. then your differences there will have more impact on your interracial dating than the color of your skin.

I’ve dated white and asian women who grew up  poor or working class, and Black and Hispanic women who grew up incredibly wealthy and if I’m being honest, I had more in common with the people who grew up poor or working class. Chances are If you and your partner both are liberals who went to Ivy League colleges, whose liberal parents went to Ivy league colleges, like their parents before them,  you’ll have quite a bit in common.

3. When you’re dating someone, you’ll find something to make fun of them about. Occasionally it is their race.

Maybe it will be their race, or their obsession with Real Housewife shows, or  their unabashed love of Miley Cyrus’ twerking skills (or lack thereof). Sure, race is an easy target but couples tend to playfully tease each other even when they’re the same race. Crazy, I know.

4. People will make judgements based on how you look.

When a hetero couple goes out to dinner we all know that most of the time the check is put directly in front of the man. Is it because of the inherent sexism of wait staff? Maybe so.  More likely, it’s because society tells us that men should pay for dates. Same goes for the question of “What’s it like dating race x?”. This isn’t to say that making decisions based on heteronormative thinking is the way to go, just that most people make these decisions subconsciously.

People will make judgements based on information available and race and gender are *usually* the first thing someone notices/makes and assumption on.

If we were all the same color, we’d ask what it was like dating certain religions, people in certain careers, etc.

5. Fetishizing people happens. It isn’t limited to  just white people.

Some people fetishize others. It happens. It isn’t limited to just white people fetishizing people of color and it can go both ways.

The author of the Thought Catalog piece makes it a point to specifically mention white d’s in his piece to emphasize the otherness of genitalia unlike his own. He also makes it a point to say:  “Because you’re not the same race, you always find yourself attracted to them. It’s the difference between your features that creates that magical spark.”

That is, 100%, a fetishizing statement.  Is there any difference between that statement and a white man saying “I love race X because race X is so submissive.”

Fetishizing can go both ways. Not to say that it is inherently good, just that it isn’t only a White guy thing. It’s a human thing.  Most ethnic groups have stereotypes.

Moral of the story here? Things can be about race, but not everything is about race.

Good Luck out there

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