Originally, I planned to write about Preference vs. Exclusion in an entirely different way than what I’m about to unfold. Preference in terms of dating choices vs. exclusion of dating choices. When someone has a preference it is usually referring to a type of person they like to date. Preference becomes exclusion when someone with a preference excludes anyone who doesn't fit that mold of their preference. I wanted to write about why my preference for black men wasn't exclusion. My interpretation of preference is, the first choice, your first pick over another option. You want this option above all other options because it appeals to you. Exclusion is without consideration at all, when you are picking among your options, any option that doesn't fit your preference isn’t an option to you is up for consideration. Which is true, but the reasons why I felt my preference wasn’t exclusion is what lead me to rethink my ideas about preference.
All the different reasons you are attracted to a person physically; facial features, shape, height etc. can all be part of any given person or any race. To say you don’t like to date a certain race of people is exclusion. You’ve made up your mind that the experiences and perceptions you have of black women are unappealing to you. Those misconceptions - that may have been taught to you -and/or experiences caused you to make these vast generalizations about black women. FYI, those are stereotypes. Now you have these stereotypes of all black women in your head, and you decide that all black women are like this and you don’t want to date black women. Those are institutionalized streams of thoughts that give you your “preferences”. If it weren't for them, then you date people for whom they were on the inside.
I am someone who has always dated black men, mostly dark skin black men. That’s what I like; my philosophy was that black men were my preference. I’d proclaim I don’t exclude men of other nationalities, but -if and when they float my way – I’m not checking for them. I’d state things like it didn’t feel right in my spirit or I just can’t see myself being intimate on a basic level with someone who isn’t of the same race as myself. There are valid reasons one may not want to date outside their race, but after much evaluation mine aren’t all that valid. I excluded other men from my dating pool on site. I realized that the reason I exclude other groups of people from my dating pool is because I’ve somehow convinced myself that by choosing to only date dark skin black men I am somehow getting back at the institutionalized ideas about black men, partially dark skin black men. If I chose to date them, they are no longer undesirable, because I desire them. Somewhere in my mind, I felt that if I chose to create a family with a black man then the effects of broken homes on black families could stop with us. Yes, somewhere in my mind this justification ran that deep for me, now where all that originated is a story for another time.
Now, I didn’t write all this to say you should revalue why you chose to date the people you do and you should change your mind and all that jazz. I’m saying all this to say that your idea of what beauty is -may not be of your own personal holding- but by the misconceptions you were taught to believe to be true. As for me, I still love black men and on some level, it is my way of getting back at institutionalized oppression. But (I don't think you need but)I don’t care; I feel no guilt about it honestly. Have I opened up my pool of dating, yes but it isn’t because I suddenly want to be equal in my dating choice but because the partner I want may not come in the package that I expect.
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Zaire is a Seton Hall university graduate with a B.A in Broadcast and interactive Media. She’s a host, aspiring writer and all around media and public relations enthusiast.