I came across an article talking about the interracial romance genre while tumblring, and I got a little upset.
If you really think the interracial romance genre isn’t a fad, especially in the age of Obama (a half-white, half-African president who identifies as Black and is held up by liberal whites as their proudest achievement in their fantasies of grandeur where they view themselves as righteous social justice warriors), you are dead wrong and just not paying attention, or plain deluded.
The fact that there’s a market dedicated exclusively to it in a low-down-dirty capitalist economy such as this speaks for itself. Because if it was just regular love-is-love romance, it would not be racially specified nor require this kind of attention.
This is a money market and white people and colorblind racists are getting so hot over it.
I’m not going to come into this conversation from the angle of “skin is but skin in the dark”, as Cullars does in her article. The lights are on. I want to see who I’m touching and know who they are. I am a Black women and I’m going to talk about why articles/mindsets like this bother me.
Yes, there is nothing new about interracial romance. Even less is new about interracial exotification, exotification of “the other”. Black culture and Black sexuality has long since been treated as commodities and the so-called “romance” of the interracial romance genre plays into that, the same way it does for other People of Color/non-white peoples. I think its getting to a point where people are completely blind to the fact that interracial relationships are acceptable or unacceptable because they are interracial, especially when Black people are involved. I can’t even remember the last time I saw/read about a truly fulfilling, healthy, and beautiful relationship between two Black people, let alone a Black person and someone of a different race.
As much I hate and denounce the so-called interracial romance market, I write more interracial couples than I care to admit to or feel comfortable with.
A. Its not because Black people should only be with each other.
B. I constantly strive to write what I think is a healthy romantic relationship between a Black woman and a white man because I’ve seen it screwed up so many times by other writers. I feel like I need to do better.
C. Unfortunately, the only knowledge I have of Black men and women of other races comes from a place of Black men thinking every other race of woman is better than women of their own race.
D. Unfortunately, any other genders, races, and expression of sexuality, mutual respect, and affection is an anomaly to me except for what I build up for my own creative writings. Because I have to go hunting for it. And when I go hunting for it, I often turn up empty-handed, or, worse, severely disappointed.
I’m not saying that no Black women writers know what they’re doing. I’m not saying that its all fetish and exotification…. I’m just saying most of it is. And to deny that by saying that interracial couples only want to see more of themselves in the media or parading some trumped up idea that a lack of lighting in a room erases a person’s race (as if we’ll always be stumbling around in the dark) ignores the fact that 1) interracial couplings have always been there and are greatly supported by colorblind escapists and 2) a healthy dose of viral racism is almost always involved in their representations in literature and reality. Interracial relationships in romance tend to ignore the inevitable complication of racism because their writers believe the existence of that same relationship in and of itself transcends racism–I’m sad to say I’ve read plenty (or I’ve read enough) and that’s just not the case. My disbelief cannot be suspended because I do not live in a fantasy land where racism does not exist or never comes into the equation. By trying to skip around it, these writers make it more apparent to me.
I’m just sick and tired of the whole culture of exotifying People of Color, PoC exotifying other PoC, and the placing of whiteness on this pedestal of pureness, perfection, and upward mobility. It really pisses me off. From both sides, we see interracial couples together because they exotify each other, not because their relationship has any substance. Or we see interracial couples acting out of a sense of defiance, especially white people involved in the situation–they really believe they’re defeating racism by dating outside their race and interbreeding when they’re committing acts of racism just by thinking that and doing that. What’s more, when called out for exotifying and objectifying each other and supporting racism/internalized racism to everybody, some people engaged in interracial relationships get all defensive and go into colorblind mode.
I want to see, I need to see,
Black women in healthy, loving, and equal relationships with people of their own race on the daily and in the same kind of relationships with people of other races on the daily. To that end, I truly believe our imaginations and fantasies must strive towards anti-racism as well, that includes what we write and put out into the world.
Nothing less will convince me that the interracial romance market and its constituents are more than a fad.