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I wanted to provide a detailed deconstruction of an example of internalized racism, where it comes from, and how it affects me. Internalized racism is when a person of color adopts the discriminatory social schema that our white supremacist society inflicts upon our specific race (social schema as in the thought and behavior stereotypically applied to races, white supremacist society as in a society that caters to white people). I think before I continue, I should write a disclaimer:
Being apart of a racist system does not excuse internalized racism. We are all at a disadvantage in that we are all taught racist beliefs from the time we’re born into this (US American) society. But I am at an advantage in that I have recognized my self-hate as internalized racism, and as long as the racism upholds white supremacy, then I am a culprit of racial oppression. That is, as long as I believe in racist myths, I am failing to resist racism and am fueling the racial oppression of myself and others. I admit that once/since I became aware of my internalized racism, it has been my responsibility to deconstruct it.
With that said, I’ll get started. Here are the racist ideas about myself that I have internalized that contribute to me not dating Black people:
1. Black people are irresponsible/lazy
2. Black people are dangerous
3. Black people are uneducated
4. Black people are unattractive
5. Black people are wanton sex fiends
If you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “But I’ve never thought this about Black people in my life!” You can either 1) quit lying to yourself or 2) leave this post because continuing requires a great deal of self reflection that you’re obviously not ready for yet.
I also want to point out that in my lifetime, few people have actually said these things to me (but they have all been said to me on multiple occassions, so don’t discredit my experience). No, these conclusions that I’ve reached, not in my current age and mental capabilities but since I was a child, all stem from the way people have treated and talked about Black people.
And this is not just political rhetoric, which all but calls us N*ggers and puts on minstrel shows. No, I reached these conclusions from the seemingly innocent questions my peers have asked me since I first began school (“Why is your hair like that?” [why are you different?]), from the obviously different way I’m treated in public and by authority figures, from me unconsciously changing the way I behave to mimic behavior that’s been normalized (by our white leaders) as “correct” behavior when in social and professional situations, from comments such as “You’re not like other Black people” when I have shown myself to be responsible, hard-working, non-threatening, educated, and attractive (the opposite of the stereotypes they were expecting from me).
In short, if people discriminated* based on what they said out loud (“I think we’re all the same!” “We all bleed red!”), then discrimination would not exist. Racism is in action. If everyone in the Klan said they weren’t racist right now, would they be absolved of all claims? If you think you don’t have racist beliefs, get the fuck out—I already told you this post will take self-reflection.
Now to apply this internalized racism to why I do not date Black people. Whenever a Black person hits on me, it is not that I don’t find them attractive (speaking of, I am working on admitting when I find people attractive and when I do not, INCLUDING not finding 90% of white people attractive like society wants me to). It’s that I think they will not like my interests or be able to hold a conversation with me, because “Black people are not educated.” It’s that I feel like they will not be independent and garner their own success because “Black people are lazy.” It’s that I feel as if they cannot be romantic because “Black people are dangerous” and obviously threatening people don’t want to be romantic. It’s that I feel they’ll only want sex from me because “Black people are wanton sex fiends.”
I know that this is internalized racism at work, because whenever I meet another “token” Black person, who is an exception to all those stereotypes, I feel safer and as if I can hold a conversation and as if they see me as a person, even though a token Black person is just as capable of being ANY of those things as a Black person who is not!
What I am trying to say is, I do not intentionally not date Black people. I have been on dates with Black people, but it’s never regular. And it’s because this is the shit I’m thinking while I am with them. In effect, it’s not Black people who have the problem; Black people are not the reason why I don’t date Black people.
The problem is ME. I am upholding racist beliefs. I am a racist.
For the Black people who say, “I don’t date Black people.” I have never heard one reason for this that was not racist. Ever. Never ever. Go look at all the youtube videos of people making fools of themselves by saying this shit. That’s what you sound like. I think one of the most shameful things about myself is the way I approach dating Black people, yet you revel in it. There are easily some ain’t-shit Black people, but there are just as easily ain’t-shit people from EVERY RACE, yet I don’t see you defining other races by them.
For the people who are not Black and say, “But I date Black people!”—assess the reason why you date Black people. Do you date only Black people (probably fetishizing). Why did you approach them/accept their advances? If it was because they seemed dangerous to you and you like a challenge, or you thought they’d be good in bed (another racist belief that reduces Black people to their sexual prowess), or you thought it would piss your parents off (because of all the racist shit they believe about Black people, and you effectively if you’re using it to piss them off), then all that shit is racism. Honestly, if it was for any reason other than you liked them and they asked you out/you asked them out, it’s probably racism. You’re not absolved of all racism just because you take Black dick/eat Black pussy.
*Because the racial discrimination against people of color negatively affects their livelihood, racial discrimination against people of color is called “racism.” White people don’t experience racism, just the discrimination, because racial discrimination against white people DOES NOT negatively affect their chances of advancement in society. It is that simple.