NPR did a story today on how according to data collected from dating apps Black women and Asian men are the “least desirable“. I understand personal preferences, I have my own, and I expect that most people date who is around them, given that in the U.S. we still live in very segregated areas, we are generally surrounded by people that look like us. A few times within the past week I have been involved in conversations about the Black woman’s loyalty to Black men and if we should abandon that loyalty to expand our dating pool to men of other races, since Black men seem to lay blame on Black women when they decide to date women of other races. In my 39 years I have only known one Black man that was married to a woman of a different race that said it was because he met her, liked her, fell in love. Every other man I have discussed this with has begun by bringing up negative stereotypes about Black women, saying its just easier to date non-black women. (deep breath) Okay. I have strong opinions about that. Opinions I will keep to myself. Anyway, I am never quite sure how to feel in these conversations because truth be told, I have only “dated” one Black American, everyone else has been West African and West Indian. Not necessarily outside of my race but definitely outside of my culture. I grew up simple and plain Black American. I have no idea when I started to love Africa, its people and it’s culture but I do. I love hearing West African languages spoken, I love the traditional way of dress, the food, the music. That is my preference. I’ve entertained the idea of dating non-black but have never been able to do it. Even the Black Americans I am generally interested in tend to have darker complexions and very strong West African features. We all have preferences and though you cant hold what a person likes against them, we have to wonder how much the history and culture of racism in the U.S. plays a role in how we choose to date. We can probably guess which groups are most desirable according to the dating app data, one group sets the tone for the standard of beauty in American culture, the other, I think, is immensely fetishized. And that’s all I have to say about that.
This story did give me an idea though. Maybe I’ll join one of those apps and go on a few dates.