Social Question

NerdyKeith's avatar

Is it racist if you don't find people of a particular race / ethnicity attractive?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5464points) August 17th, 2016

For example if you don’t find yourself attracted to latino, black or asian people?

Personally I do find asian men attractive. Some black men I find attractive, some I don’t. I am mostly attracted to latino and white men. I personally don’t see this as any different from me exclusively being attracted to only men.

So me not being attracted to some black men is no less racist than it is sexist for me not be attracted to women.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

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29 Answers

jca's avatar

I don’t think it’s racist. You can’t help who you like, in the looks department.

canidmajor's avatar

Interesting Q. I would honestly say I think it depends on maybe earliest conditioning. If, as a child, the people you trust (parents, family) react in a negative fashion, it could influence what could later be attraction factors for you. (which happens a lot!)
Otherwise, I don’t really think so.
I don’t think you are a misogynist because you are not attracted to women.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Being attracted to someone because of their gender is different than their skin color. If you have never been sexually attracted to a female, then it would seem that you are are on the higher spectrum of homosexuality.

As for skin color attraction, perhaps it’s a matter of digging deeper into what attracts you about them.

Aethelwine's avatar

I don’t think so. I’m a blonde female who is attracted to men with dark hair. I’m not attracted to blonds.

Setanta's avatar

Aesthetics are not necessarily racist. This can only be answered by asking yourself if you criterion is aesthetic, or based solely on a racial stereotype.

Mariah's avatar

I feel there’s a big difference between noticing “Huh I am rarely attracted to black men” and stating outright “I think blackness is unattractive and I will never date a black man.”

We don’t choose our attractions. I think you’re fine.

Soubresaut's avatar

I think that finding certain traits attractive is fine, and noticing one’s preferences seems to be, too (though sometimes it might reveal subconscious bias)... but declaring oneself not attracted to an entire race seems problematic… A single race is not a single set of physical or attributes, and people within a racial category look remarkably different from one another. Often, too, perceiving someone as attractive is not purely aesthetic—yes, aesthetics help, but so do the perceptions about a person’s economic success, a person’s social status, a person’s values, etc. And I can’t help but think if someone is declaring attraction based on race, they’re at least in danger of making race-based assumptions about these other qualities, or of picking up sociohistorical beauty standards that were based off those sorts of assumptions.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

It can be racist, sure. I grew up in white suburbs. Lots of people in my cohort view black as “bad”. They joke about how funny it would be to walk into a party with a black girlfriend or boyfriend, because that would be outrageous.

It’s a huge complicated subject, and that’s just one particular. I could type all night.

I grew up in that atmosphere and I’ve gotten better. I’ve had girlfriends (and friends and coworkers and clients) of lots of different ethnicities and complexions.

Mostly today I see “black” or “white” or “Asian” just like I see red-haired or blonde or short or tall.

Mostly. There’s a lot of prejudice we all carry and a lot of history we can’t ignore.

kritiper's avatar

No. And one cannot be forced to.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Of course not, preference is not racism. Does being heterosexual and not finding other men attractive make me sexist? No connection here. Preferences change too, when I was younger I did not find Indian women attractive but as I have aged that preference has changed. It took meeting one who blew me away with her intelligence, wit and compassion that completely redefined my definition of what a woman is.

imrainmaker's avatar

It’s act of personal choice.. can’t relate every instinctive action we perform with racism. That would be wrong.

MrGrimm888's avatar

It doesn’t make you racist. Especially the way you speak of it.

Blackberry's avatar

I think there are underlying factors. No one just disregards an entire race like that.

Being influenced by the Media and real life stimuli seems much mote plausible….obviously.

LostInParadise's avatar

This is a tricky question to answer. Your preferences may be based solely on aesthetics, but there could be racist components that you are not aware of. For example, company CEOs tend to be taller than average. Does this mean that taller people are more capable or that people deliberately select CEOs on the basis of height? No, but we have an unconscious association of height with power. In a similar way, racism can act on a subconscious level.

Uberwench's avatar

No, it’s not racist if you don’t find people of a particular race or ethnicity attractive. You might want to do some introspection to make sure that racism isn’t affecting your preferences (sometimes people convince themselves that they aren’t attracted to someone because they are prejudiced against them), but just having the preference isn’t necessarily racist in and of itself. If the lack of attraction is innate, then that’s just how it is.

Coloma's avatar

No. Preferences have nothing to do with racism any more than a preference for a particular breed of dog, or cat or horse has anything to do with speciesism. I am a white woman and have found other whites, blacks and asian all attractive at one point or another. I have had a huge crush on Jackie Chan for years. He is freaking adorable!

I am usually not attracted to hispanic men, russian, native american or eskimo men but I wouldn’t call my preferences racist.

Stinley's avatar

I think it’s pretty much a personal physical preference. For example you could be attracted to tall men or short men and I wouldn’t call you heightist.

But, as others have said, it’s good that you are questioning this trait. I’d ask myself if this non-attraction spills over into who you are friends with – if it does then that would be an indicator that’s it’s more than just physical attraction influencing you.

Walgt's avatar

Preference is synonymous with superiority. The reason you prefer one thing over another is because of its perceived higher quality (superiority). Quality is determined through discrimination. If you prefer your own ethnicity over others than you’re undoubtedly a racist. That is the definition of racism. However, while preference is always synonymous with superiority, superiority is not always synonymous with preference which means superiority can be objective and subjective. Preference is a subset of superiority but never the other way around. This means you can prefer your own ethnicity over another objectively or subjectively.

I too am only attracted to my own ethnicity. I prefer white women over other types, but that only means I subjectively find other types inferior. It does not mean I am saying all other types are objectively inferior. I obviously find them inferior because I prefer white women, but the claim is different.

Setanta's avatar

Preference and superiority are not synonyms. That’s just nonsense. I detest the smell of patchouli. That doesn’t mean i think i’m superior to those who like it.

Walgt's avatar

I don’t think you understand what you’re saying. If you have a preference for a particular scent, that means you believe all other scents are inferior in comparison to your prefered scent because the reason you prefer your scent is for its perceived quality over other scents. It doesn’t mean you’re superior to other people because you prefer this particular scent. Rather, it makes your prefered scent superior to other scents. Hence, the preference.

Setanta's avatar

No, it doesn’t mean that. Your basic premise is flawed and rhetorically unsupportable. Do me the courtesy of not impugning my understanding because you have a flawed premise.

Walgt's avatar

Courtesy is a two way street. In your first response you used a straw man argument, a fallacy, to dismiss my premise. You took the hierarchy of scents and incorrectly applied it to ethnic superiority which means you either don’t understand my premise, or it was deliberately deceptive, or you don’t understand what you’re saying.

If you feel my premise is flawed and rhetorically unsupportable then offer actual context with the use of proper logic to support such a thoughtless accusation.

Setanta's avatar

That is nonsense, too. It appears that you don’t actually know what a straw man fallacy is. I do not acknowledge that there is any hierarchy of scents, but whether or not that is a valid claim, i was arguing by analogy. I also don’t accept that there is any such thing as “ethnic superiority.” I understood what you were saying, and I don’t agree with it.

The accusation is not thoughtless, and I’ve already stated what your flawed premise is. Preference and superiority are not synonyms, I’m not going to continue with this silly discussion just because the internet gives you the opportunity to argue for argument’s sake.

Walgt's avatar

Really? So the smell of feces and the stench of rotten flesh are of equal quality to other scents like the smell of roses, or the fragrance smell of Chanel Allure?

Your analogy is a poor one. If I prefer the smell of roses, that means i find the stench of feces to be inferior. If you prefer the stench of feces, it doesn’t mean you’re inferior, it means your choice of scent is inferior (at least according to my subjectivity since i find the smell of roses to be superior which is why i prefer it to all the other scents)

Invalidity does not cancel out preferences. You can have an illogical, unfounded belief for your preference and it is still perceived to be of higher quality than anything else, whether done unjustly or not. You still find it to be superior quality in the end. That is why you prefer it over something else. If there is no hierarchy, if there is no discrimination to discern quality, then there no preference. There is no distinction in quality.

If I prefer white women over other ethnic women then I am indeed claiming an ethnic superiority. I am claiming that other ethnic women are aesthetically inferior to the white women that I prefer (subjectively). I am disgusted by the aesthetics of non-white women. Even within white women, I prefer women with medium to semi-large breasts, thicker hips, a symmetrical and proportional face and body. That means I consider someone who is too skinny, or too fat, with no symmetry or proportionality to be of inferior quality. If I perceived it as all of the same quality, I wouldn’t have a preference.

It works the same with intelligence, health, and culture. You’re not going to tell me retardation is of the same quality as a developed brain? Or high IQ and high degree of knowledge is equal to low IQ, and low degree of knowledge? Or that a sick person is of equal quality as a healthy person? Even if you made that claim. it wouldn’t matter because people still have a preference for one over the other for its perceived higher quality. It doesn’t matter what the reasons are. In the end it is seen as superior which is why it is prefered.

Interesting that you call my premise nonsense using a fallacy, but you don’t find that discourteous, yet you find it discourteous when I tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about? You can be discourteous to others, but they can’t be discourteous to you? You just repeated another thoughtless accusation. If you make the claim that preference is not superiority, it needs to be proven with logical arguments. You have not done that. You used a fallacious argument to dismiss it. Thoughtless.

Walgt's avatar

Someone who likes the scent of patchouli is not inferior because you find the scent of patchouli inferior. Rather, their prefered scent (patchouli) is of inferior quality in comparison to your prefered scent (subjectively, of course). This is only because you prefer “xyz” scent. You find it to be of higher quality than patchouli. Objectively, it may or may not be superior. Objectivity is more of a science thing. Certain scents are already objectively known to be of inferior quality, like the comparison between the inferiority of feces to the superiority of roses.

There are various degrees of inferiority and certain things are much more tolerable than others, but it does not change the hierarchy of quality. I prefer vanilla ice cream over any other flavor. I find it to have the best texture, taste, and quality. That doesn’t mean chocolate is nasty. I just think it isn’t nearly as good as vanilla which is why i find chocolate to be inferior to vanilla. If chocolate is your favorite flavor, that doesn’t mean you’re inferior because I find chocolate inferior. Rather, your choice of flavor (chocolate) is inferior because according to me, subjectively, I find vanilla to be of superior quality. My tolerance is higher for it because I will eat it, just not prefer it.

Other things are much more inferior and completely intolerable, like oyster flavored ice cream. I gag just talking about it. I want to vomit if i see it or smell it. I have zero tolerance for that. I hate it. I can’t have that in my vicinity. I don’t only find it inferior, I despise it. Works the same way with various cultures that are in conflict with my own preferred culture. I find them to be of such inferior quality that I can’t tolerate them in my vicinity. That is why I associate only with my own preferred culture that I find superior, from the type of neighborhoods i choose to live in, the type of people, to the type of schools I attend, or to any activity or event.

LostInParadise's avatar

This argument is in part one of semantics. You are saying that preference is equivalent to perceived superiority. I am okay with that, because you acknowledge that perceived superiority is not the same as objective superiority.

The problem comes when you put a blanket term over an entire group of people. When you say that you perceive the people of one culture to be superior to those of another, are you saying that you perceive every person of one culture to be superior to those of another? The problem here is that, unlike flavors of ice cream, there is a great variability among people in any given culture. When you say that you perceive every person of one culture to be superior every person of another, that is bigotry.

Walgt's avatar

Culture is a very broad term. I will give you an example of one aspect of culture to clarify what I mean. I enjoy music. More specifically, I only enjoy one particular music genre, that being classical music. I find every other music genre to be of extremely inferior quality and completely intolerable. If someone likes musical genres other than classical, then I find their culture inferior to mine because I prefer classical. I perceive my culture to be of higher quality.

Now just apply this to every other aspect of a culture such as art, cuisine, clothing, shelter, philosophy, science, literature, ethic/religion/ritual or lackthereof. If I’m an atheist, religions are inferior. If my ethic preference is ethical egoism, then altruism is inferior. The more other cultures differ than mine, the more inferior they’re perceived, and even more so depending on what particular aspect is in that culture. The more another cultures aspects are found to be in common with my own culture, then the less inferior it is perceived by me, but still remains inferior to my own culture.

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