Is It OK to Have a Racial Preference in Dating? OZY's Audience Weighs In

Is It OK to Have a Racial Preference in Dating? OZY's Audience Weighs In
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Why you should care

A little disagreement never hurt anyone. 

Last week we asked our audience, “Is it OK to have a racial preference in dating?” We received so many thoughtful — and feisty — answers. Here is a collection of perspectives, with some editing and condensing. Check back tomorrow for the next Third Rail With OZY question. Every Wednesday, we’re going to smartly debate hot topics in the lead-up to our next TV show, Third Rail With OZY, launching on PBS this fall. A hint: This next one will get political … with a very special guest. So stay tuned.

Ian Lane

Just the way you may have a preference for long-legged women, hairy-chested men or tall men or large-breasted women, these are nothing more than personal preferences and have nothing to do with anything negative.

Wanda Johnson

I am a Caucasian woman who has dated Caucasian, Mexican, Puerto Rican and Black men. I think “preferences” can change throughout your lifetime, so I think it should be OK to have a preference, if you are basing that preference on attraction. The question of maintaining racial purity — be it Black or white or chartreuse — probably needs to become a thing of the past, but that statement is coming from someone who has been accused of taking a good Black man from a Black woman. I think we are all in one big melting pot, and the colors are coming out just fine.

Rebecca Johnson

I think people are looking for a partner who is in their “tribe,” and it comes down to how you identify your tribe. It could be race and religion and regional identity. But more often in modern times it can also be more related to values and worldview. So for me I’d rather date a liberal Black person than a conservative white person (probably). So why haven’t I dated a Black person? They seem too far from my tribe. That’s the short answer. Too different, physically, culturally, etc.

Alfred Lukasek

Date who or whatever you want, purely a personal thing.

Brittany Harrington

Having a racial preference becomes a problem when you won’t even consider dating someone because of their race. That’s neither natural nor tolerable.

Chika Dunga

I am a 24-year-old first-generation Nigerian American. This question comes at an opportune time because just yesterday I had an argument with [a relative who] proclaimed that “he’s not into Black girls.” Where is he getting these messages from? I blame this toxic society that constantly emphasizes that white is the standard and Black is the last thing that should be on your mind. I find it ridiculously naive to pretend that color doesn’t matter in dating when it really does. Black men and Asian women have the highest rates of interracial dating compared to other groups. In an ideal world, interracial dating rates should be equal across all groups — but they are not. The numbers don’t quite add up.

Honey Sunlight

I am mixed. My mom is white and my dad is Black. We’re a few other things too, but if my mom told someone she was fully white and my dad told someone he was fully Black, that someone would have no problem believing them. I’ve experienced both white and Black men fetishizing me for my skin tone, and I really don’t enjoy that feeling. But to be honest, mixed people very rarely hit on me or show romantic interest in me, at least not nearly as often or as much as Black or white men. I’m not sure why that is.

Ricoshay Bounce

I had a coworker at a previous employer tell me, “I only date Black men.” I say anyone who uses race as a qualifier is narcissistic and not a safe date.

Chrystal Hunt

You shouldn’t write someone off purely for skin tone, but if you’re not attracted, you’re not attracted. My No. 1 preferred feature is blue eyes, which knocks out a good 80 percent of the planet anyhow.

Kenneth Paciocco

Our preferences don’t make us bad people. They just make us unique. Enough with political correctness.

Su Waldron

I have been told by Black and Asian friends that they prefer to date their own race. I personally see nothing wrong in it. I think it depends on your own feelings.

Stacey Baker

Even though it’s a simple question, I don’t think there is a yes or no answer. I think the problem arises when you will only date or refuse to date someone of a certain heritage because you assume they all share the same traits, or when you refuse to date someone of a particular ancestral heritage because you think they are beneath you; that’s the problem.

Personally, I date based on attitude and face. I like quiet, Rubenesque girls. Color of the face doesn’t matter, as long as it’s round and attached to someone shy and giggly.

Frank Thomas

If I’m a cow, why would I want to date a horse? I’ve seen gorgeous people of several races, and if beauty were the only reason for dating, I would have tried to snag one of them. Do not date someone you would not want to marry. I am not against racial marriages, but they do have their baggage, and you need to be sure.

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