If you’re a person of colour, and you’ve tried dating white people or anyone else outside your race, you probably know what it’s like to be fetishised.
Being called a ‘chocolate princess’, ‘caramel treat’, or any other food-related flirtation that’s supposed to be a compliment is a form of fetishising.
So is being told your ‘foreign’ accent makes you hot when you’re angry, being asked to speak random words in your non-English language for sexual excitement, or having people assume you are ‘naughty’ because of your ethnicity.
A moment that stands out to me personally, is a man touching my thigh and trying to seductively ask “so, how Muslim are you?”
I think a lot of people are somewhat aware that fetishising racial groups or comparing people to food is gross, but aren’t super sure why – so let’s get into it.
Fetishising Ethnic Minorities Is Racist
Fetishising ethnic minorities is racist. Straight up.
It inherently relies on the objectification of that person’s body and features, as well as utilises damaging and racist stereotypes to pigeon hole that person as a certain ‘type’.
When you compare people to food (chocolate/caramel, etc) you are inherently objectifying them and removing their humanity.
Instead of humanising them, you’re talking about them like they are something to be consumed for your pleasure.
It removes their individual personalities and experiences, and reduces them to an object that you are projecting your fantasies on.
I have a question for black men. How do you tell when a woman of another race is fetishizing you over having a genuine interest in dating you beyond your skin colour and certain stereotypes linked to that?
— TONI TONE (@t0nit0ne) April 1, 2020
So Is Having A Racial Type
Speaking of fantasies, the same goes for having a racial ‘type’.
It’s just another form of racial stereotyping, where you assume that everyone of a racial group is inherently similar. There is so much diversity in every group, including racial groups, ranging from skin tone, to facial features, to body types, to personality, to values and politics.
To have a racial type or preference is to assume that everyone of a certain race is the same and has features in common that you sexualise… which again, is racist.
There’s nothing wrong with interracial relationships but there is something very wrong with white people fetishising poc like this, just to get a mixed race baby. It’s disgusting. Stop objectifying a whole race like wtf
— 𝖂𝖊𝖉𝖓𝖊𝖘𝖉𝖆𝖞 🖤 ⁷ ⧖ (@sophieuphoria) October 6, 2020
A really common example is people who have an ‘Asian girl thing’, or who fetishise Asian women. To pretend that all Asian women have certain features is just ridiculous, when Asia refers to an entire continent. It lumps Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, Indian, Pakistani, etc women all into one group – and just from that list alone, it’s obvious that this group come with an incredibly diverse range of looks.
When people say they have a fetish for Asian girls, it usually means young, petite, East-Asian women with pale skin and straight hair, who fulfil the Anime-girl stereotype. Which is obviously, a minority of Asian women.
Do you see where I’m getting at?
To cast a whole racial group as one monolith is to deny individuality, agency and the inherent differences that come with being a person. So really, it denies personhood.
What’s with white girls thinking that fetishising a certain race is “cute” or “quirky” https://t.co/LyY4OaEnLy
— Isak |BLM|(F-slur Era) (@burnttheduck) October 7, 2020
Refusing To Date People Of A Specific Race Is Also Hella Racist
What I’ve just explained above also works to deconstruct why thinking a certain race of people are inherently unattractive to you is racist.
Excluding a specific race from attraction means you think that everyone in that race is 1) unattractive and 2) the same. To deny the individuality and vast diversity of individuals is to deny their personhood. So, it’s racist.
The only time racial preferences aren’t inherently racist are when people of ethnic minorities prefer to date within their own race, because that’s just survivalist.
Dating in your own culture can often be easier, because you don’t have to justify your customs or cultural beliefs as much, and it’s easier to avoid racism when the person you’re seeing shares your race. Basically, there’s a lot less questions and emotional labour involved, and so sometimes POC may priorities dating within their culture for that reason. It’s not racism because it isn’t an assertion of assumptions on other races, but rather just an understanding that people of your race have more in common with you.
Hey, mixed race people like myself are not for you to fetishise. White People, stop fetishising mixed race babies and then getting mad when they look like BIPOC and struggle like BIPOC. Thank you :))
— Tabby⁷⟭⟬ᵉˣᵒ𖧵❖ (@minnyoonggii) October 7, 2020
Date Someone Because You Like Them As A Person, Not Because They Fulfil Your Race Fantasy
The key take away here is basically that you should date someone because you like them as a person, NOT because they fulfil a race fantasy or stereotype that you find attractive and want to exploit.
I don’t know why the world finds it so hard to see us POC as regular humans with genuine interests, hobbies and personalities that aren’t limited by race, but conversations about it and the calling out of harmful stereotyping and fetishising is the first step to being treated how we deserve. With love, kindness and humanity.
Image Sources: Twitter