How Interracial Couples Sometimes Perpetuate Stereotypes
It's our first ever Mulattea Monday! Now you can get the tea every Monday at 11:00 a.m. and start your week off right. I just felt like Mulattea Monday had a better ring to it than Mulattea Wednesday. Easier to remember.
This is the beginning of a three part series on interracial relationships, which is really exciting! So let's get into it.
There are a lot of unspoken stereotypes found in dating spheres. Sometimes we use them to feel better about ourselves. Other times it's to make people feel worse about themselves. Whether you like it or not, 100% of stereotypes are dangerous and problematic. Stereotypes involving interracial dating are no exception to that rule. We see stereotypes play into interracial relationships all the time. Have you ever heard these examples?
"The biggest threat to a black woman is a thick white girl." Implying that men will always prefer a white woman to a black woman, hinging on what black women's bodies to do serve them.
"I only date foreign." Assuming the people in your immediate community aren't good enough?
"Sorry, I only like black guys." Just stop.
These are phrases I've heard firsthand, and every time I try not to get into it, cause not everyone wants a lecture on the dangers of stereotyping. So instead I just...
It's so important that we take our thought processes and constantly analyze them, something I call, "think before you think." More commonly, it's known as checking your problematic thoughts.
It's easy to think in stereotypes. It isn't challenging. It is void of all critical thinking and personal evaluation. That's why it's so scary just how many people think this way with no qualms whatsoever.
Take, for example, the Old Navy ad.
If you don't know what happened there, Old Navy tweeted an advertisement featuring an interracial family. Shocking, I know.
A plethora of Twitter users revealed they're total racists, and tweeted things like this at Old Navy:
Wild, right? Had me all kinds of confused. Well this hate for interracial couples was seen all over America, and guess who got mad? Jack McCain. Son of former presidential candidate John McCain, Jack is in an interracial marriage with a beautiful black woman named Renee Swift McCain. So, here's the tea:
Jack, after seeing those super annoying white supremacist tweets all about miscegenation and white genocide, tweeted this:
But then some awful person decided to say this....
To which, Jack McCain FIERCELY clapped back in perhaps the most humble way possible.
This fun example just goes to show that many people have subconscious (and sometimes fully conscious) stereotypes of other races that play a huge role when it comes to interracial relationships. That woman saying, "So basically, you couldn't get a White woman," is a materialization of the stereotype that black women are a last choice, like those red strawberry chewy candies that are ALWAYS left over after halloween. When in reality, black women, and other women of color, are like whole chocolate bars. And snickers. And Sour Patch Kids. Boy am I hungry.
There are so many stereotypes that play into interracial relationships. White women are dubbed "snow bunnies." People say, "get you a Shaniqua if you want that good home cooking." Heck, when I started dating Carter, there was a joke that went around that he had, "jungle fever" (which is problematic on so many levels, don't get me started). Like, it's fun and games when it's little statements like that, but people don't understand how stereotypes truly shape our perceptions and encourage problematic thought processes. It's after hearing for the hundredth time that you should, "only date foreign," that you start to believe it and start to look down at the men and women around you.
Jack McCain gave possibly the most composed, classy response to a hateful and ignorant group of people. So, my advice would be to take a very Jack McCain-esque response when faced with stereotypes. Defy their stereotypes. Turn them on their heads (the stereotypes, not the people). Challenge people. Make them think about what they're saying.
Better yet, make them think about what they're thinking.
Maybe, if you're lucky, they'll learn something.
Like I said, this is part of a three week series on interracial dating. Next week we'll get into stereotypes more by analyzing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's The Danger of a Single Story. We'll see why they're harmful, what they do, and why they can be severely inaccurate. Get into it.