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Interracial Relationships Aren’t Magical, So Stop Fetishizing Them

Avatar • May 15, 2015

by Ashley Reese of The Gloss

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Tumblr knows that I’m in an interracial relationship.

As I scroll through my dashboard, I’m regularly met with posts from blogs Tumblr wants me to follow. Most of them are blogs about interracial relationships, full of photos of happy mixed couples being happy and, er, mixed.

Good for them, but I’m really turned off by the enthusiasm and fetishization of interracial relationships. While each interracial coupling has its own special pace in side eye hell–white dudes who are all about getting an east Asian girl, black men who go for white women because black women are too difficult–for the purposes of this piece and personal experience, I’m going to focus specifically on interracial relationships between black women and white men.

If you check out the interracial or swirl hashtags on Instagram, you’ll stumble upon serious tackiness and serious thirst. For example, this meme gets a ton of play:

that moment when you find out he likes black girls

And here’s an example of the tags from these kinds of posts:

swirl love thirst too strongI obviously have no problem with relationships between black women and white men or else I wouldn’t be in one, but I have a lot of problems with the subculture that surrounds fans of this partnership.

When it comes to white men, the enthusiasm within swirl culture is so dependent on stereotypes, including the fetishization of black women’s bodies. It’s one thing for a black woman to say that “black girls do it better” as a playful, self-congratulatory approach to their sexuality; especially when black women are given little space to be honest, open, and empowered by their sexuality. They’re either reduced to pure sex objects or devoid of sex appeal entirely. But white men asserting that black women do it better is…

Read the rest here

How do you feel about the enthused fandom behind #teamswirl?

Ashley Reese is a writer for TheGloss. Read more articles from her Accidental Virgin series here.

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Tabatha
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Tabatha

I’m down with whomever is down with me. If that person happens to be a different race then so be it. It’s important to find someone that will respect you for you, that will love you for you, and sometimes that person is of a different color. If you prefer black men then fine, but don’t cut a dude out just because he doesn’t sport Cafe Ole.

Bigantic
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Bigantic

I thought the pro interracial couple pride was innocently and simply meant as a slap in the face to racism… But sometimes the #teamswirl goes too far and merges with the idea of “dating up” or “marrying up” (pertaining to race, not wealth).

Nicole
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Nicole

I think social media has done a lot, both negatively and positively, for interacial relationships. Growing up, I always felt more an attraction towards white men. No problem. Just me. But I mostly dated black men because everyone around me told me I was supposed to. I learned that other black women were attracted to men outside of their race when I got older and that it is perfectly fine to have that attraction. Then, there is the fetishism of it all. Sometimes a trend develops. Social media has been instrumental in the spreading and developing of trends. Some women… Read more »

Camille
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Camille

I always think teenagers made those thirsty memes lol.

Corelle Perry
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Corelle Perry

I also think history has creative this ‘sub-culture’ of ‘the swirl,’ and regarding the sexuality of black females. Dating-wise, I am open to all races. However I have ran into Caucasian males who apparently like me because ‘I reminded them of their ex’ = the ex was black= they were just looking for a black girl! That left a bad taste in my mouth and it led me to believe that they can play games like some of the men in our communities. Hopefully I will meet a really nice looking black men who is confident and God-fearing…

Chel
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Chel

I hate when some white guys hit on me and always mention that their ex was black almost like they’re filling out the experience section of a job application as if I won’t be interested unless I know they’ve been with other black girls. Though from my experience white men have definitely been more polite and respectful when approaching me than black men. But hey, all races have their jerks and their gentlemen.

Corelle Perry
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Corelle Perry

Yeah, that is true. From experience, I learned that there are those regardless of race and creed who are apparently trying to be players! :-/

Ameenat Enifeni
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Ameenat Enifeni

Or when they say “You’ve probably been with guys that have bigger penises” I’m like … 1) I’m a virgin and haven’t been with any and 2) have some self-confidence fool

Nicole's Naps
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Nicole's Naps

I think if we look hard enough, we can find something offensive in any subject matter. My first impression is that these posts are innocuous. But only those posting really know their intentions. Either way, I’m not worried about them. I’m in a “bi-racial” relationship. I never did, nor do I romanticize our relationship simply because of our skin color.

Sherron Roberts
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Sherron Roberts

I don’t understand why people can’t just like what they like (for whatever reasons) without having to defend or explain their choices. If some white men prefer to date or marry black women that’s their business. If some black men prefer not to date black women, again, that’s their business. Other people’s preferences don’t make or break me & my life either way. For me, race doesn’t matter at all. The personality & how the man treats me is what is most important to me.

Rose
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Rose

Next thing you know, this author supports memes about black love. Can’t people just like what they like?

cha
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cha

What’s wrong with memes about black love?

Abi Nnenna
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Abi Nnenna

You’re missing the point.. Read carefully about what she is saying. She’s clearly trying to stimulate a much deeper conversation about the “fetishtization” of a particular demographic of people, whether it be (Asian/Black/African etc) NOT the race/ethnicity of whom one chooses to be with. People are so quick to assume and get defensive when they read a sentence or phrase that they don’t like without reading everything in its entirety.

brianna
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brianna

I think a lot of y’all are missing the point. She clearly states that she isn’t against interracial relationships (hence the reason she stated that) but against the fetishization that SOME participate in. Yes some of the posts in the #teamswirl tag are innocent, but most are only glorifying specific body parts stereotyped by race (big dicks for black guys and big butts for black girls). If you think that mindset above is ok than you have a few issues to deal with personally because that is the exact definition of fetishization. Again the author IS NOT putting down interracial… Read more »

Myllee
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Myllee

I do think it goes deeper for some Black women ( please read some), after being told they are ugly whether from Black men or the media. When having Non Black men especialy White men who defines what is beautiful and which other races follow , validating their beauty ( hair, features , skin) well it some lose their sh*t lol. To some extent I understand tho.

Sana
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Sana

Low self esteem basically

TJ
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TJ

You’re definitely onto something. Black women definitely do suffer from a barrage of negative messages about their appearance. It does have an effect. Being wanted by someone who isn’t black when you’ve been made to feel ugly and undesirable because of your blackness can become a type of twisted brass ring. It’s problematic but an understandable reaction on the part of *some* to life long denigration.

nixie
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nixie

I think a lot of y’all are missing the point entirely. Get out your feelings and re-read what she said. She’s obviously not bashing interracial relationships

Destiny Gough
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Destiny Gough

I absolutely agree with this piece. As a black woman in a relationship with an first-generation Asian man, I am very well acquainted with the side eyes, blatant double-takes, rude/annoying interrogations and especially the supposed fetishes we have for one another’s race/culture. I also diagree with the harpering on a black woman’s ass or an asian man supposed small penis but large bank account. Oh, the fetish that kills me every single time I hear this nonsense is: “I needs to get me a man from Japan! Y’all baby gonna have dat good hair!”
.…I SO wish that sentence would die..

melissa teo
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melissa teo

My boyfriend is from Morocco and hes Arab so maybe i cant relate to this whole white boy thing but yes you are right..its like every other relationship..i dont see why it needs to be romanticised.. i for one never looked at myself as being special for having an Arab boyfriend but i do feel special because he isnt like a lot of the idiot men we have in the “western” world…hes more traditional so to speak and sweet..what a change from every other guy who wants to be a swinger, have foursomes blah blah blah

ak47
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ak47

Some of today’s black women have lost their minds. How quickly you’ve forgotten the misery inflicted on black women by white men and now you willingly lay down with them? Y’all must be crazy!!

ak47
Guest
ak47

Some of today’s black women have lost their damn minds. A rude awakening awaits you when you discover men will be men regardless of their race. You think black men treat you poorly, you’re in for a rude awakening if you believe a white man will treat you better. They never have and never will.

Phitzgerald
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Phitzgerald

I think most IR relationships are disingenuous. When I hear crap like love sees no color it sounds overly shallow-cliche and devoid of logic. Something used as a guise for self hatred on the black persons part. The non black partner usually can’t get the top tier/top rated of his own group and opts for IR. There isn’t this majical thing called ‘LOVE’ that puts a gun to your head and says your supposed to be with someone. People make a CONSCIOUS decision to partner with someone. With the trends now it seems more like a voluntary suicidal genocide, because… Read more »

SerenityJ
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SerenityJ

I don’t feel that way. You can be with whomever you want,and no your partner is an individual, not a reflection of you. You both are individuals. Read the comments here: https://www.facebook.com/forblackwomenonly/photos/a.448495271828335.106648.421138457897350/1130473133630542/?type=3&permPage=1 As quoted: “If you’re a black woman and you love yourself, you have black love. No one or nothing can destroy the natural love you have for yourself, not white supremacy, not misogynoir. The only type of black woman who is begging for black love is one who does not love herself and needs the black male gaze to validate her own existence. It is pathetic.” And: “As… Read more »

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