‘The Daily Show’ Explains Sexual Racism In Online Dating And Why It’s (Obviously) A Very Bad Thing

If you’re a white person and you chose to tread into the murky waters of online dating, I bet you do pretty okay. But, if you’re not a white person — specifically, a black woman or an Asian men — chances are you’re running on empty in the ol’ OkCupid/Tinder/GenitalMash game. There’s a reason for that, naturally. It’s called sexual racism and if you don’t believe me that it’s real, take it from two trusted sources: Jessica Williams and Ronny Chieng of The Daily Show.

Zac Stafford, a writer for the Guardian, sums it up nicely: “”When someone says something like, ‘I don’t date black people,’ talking about all black people, that would be referred to as sexual racism.”

But, is this actually just a preference? People honestly can’t help who or what they’re sexually attracted to. Some men love Asian women and spend the majority of their lives explaining away their potential sexual fetish as a “preference.” Other people only date blondes with average size breasts and eyes that are a little too close together, because that’s what they like. The lines that separate a preference from a fetish from straight-out refusal to entertain people of other races because of their race can be blurry. But, as Stafford points out, sexual racism exists because of the same reasons that institutional and systemic racism is real: representation.

“The media tells us what we think is beautiful,” he says. “When you live in a world that only shows white people being happy and in love and successful, even as people of color you’re going to want that, and that’s kind of what fuels your dating desires and sexual racism.”

The lack of representation in media is a problem whose impact is felt pretty much everywhere. Positioning whiteness as the only desirable attribute for a suitable partner is so ingrained in the culture that it’s hard to see how it could be any other way. Working against those biases while also trying to find a person to date often feels like a losing battle.

As a biracial woman with racially ambiguous features and an extreme dislike for having to answer questions regarding my identity in both everyday conversation and on OKCupid, I only sometimes consider whether or not I should stop ignoring the idiots crowding my inbox asking me about my “exotic” looks.  But, it would only be a means to preventing the inevitability of dying alone, in a puddle of cat pee and crushed Wheat Thins, while life carries on without me. Leaning in to the fetish or preference feels disingenuous, but sometimes, it’s easier to accept the lowest common denominator into your life as a salve against eternal solitude than to keep fighting the systemic bullshit that stands in your way.

So, how will YOU, lowly internet dater looking for love, combat sexual racism? Treat it a little bit like actual, real racism! Understand the role that white supremacy plays in racism first. Understand that writing off an entire race as a rule is shitty. Keep your options, your mind, your legs and your heart open. None of this really matters, anyway. We all die alone.