Between news that interracial relationships are on the rise, to the recent dating stats declaring Black women and Asian men are, on average, more single than their peers, there’s been an uptick in people advocating Black women get down with the swirl to broaden their dating prospects.

And many sisters are taking heed.

While Black men who are wed to non-Black partners was twice that of Black women (10.8% vs. 4.6%), the numbers of Black women choosing to “date out” is also on the rise.

Despite the increase in interracial pairings, the overwhelming majority of Americans are married to someone of the same race. In 2010, just 8.4% of all married couples in the U.S. were a part of an interracial union, with Hispanics and Asians “marrying out” the most.

Though many have talked up the “tanning” of America and have championed interracial relationships as our best bet to reach the post-racial Promised Land, what happens if you want to date someone who looks like you?

Recently, Slate’s Reihan Salam wondered, “Is it racist to date only people of your own race?”

Discussing OkCupid’s new service that allows users to state whether or not they prefer to date someone of their own race, Salam writes:

One of OkCupid’s questions reads as follows: “Would you strongly prefer to go out with someone of your own skin color/racial background?” I was struck by the not inconsiderable number of people who answered “yes”—including some people I know “in real life,” many of whom are hilariously self-righteous about their enlightened political views.

…What I found surprising about the fact that a fair number of people answered that they would indeed strongly prefer to go out with someone of their own skin color/racial background was not that this phenomenon exists in the world. Racial preferences in dating are quite common, and women appear to exhibit stronger same-race preferences than men. Rather, I was surprised that people would be willing to openly state that they had strong same-race preferences. One assumes that many people who do have such preferences would either choose not to disclose them publicly, or choose to skip the question entirely.

Salam argues that preferring someone of your own race is, in fact, racist, because, “There are good reasons to question the moral appropriateness of strong same-race preferences and their close cousin, in-group favoritism.”

He goes on to link in-group favoritism to segregation, White Supremacy, and racism.

…whites tend to help other whites without ever discriminating against or behaving cruelly toward blacks and other nonwhites. As long as whites tend to dominate prestigious occupations, and as long as they control access to valuable social resources like access to good schools, the fact that whites, like all people, will do more to help family, friends, and acquaintances than strangers will tend to entrench racial inequality, provided that white people choose to associate primarily with other whites.

While I understand Salam’s concern about how our tendency to favor those who are from our own group can lead to the exclusion others, particularly when it comes to doling out opportunities, this does not make our dating preferences wrong.

Instead of labeling a person who wants to partner romantically with someone of his or her own race or ethnicity as a racist, Salaam should instead encourage increased networking and integrated social and professional settings to discourage racism and in-group favoritism.

Despite his assertion to the contrary, one can absolutely advocate for racial equality while preferring to date and/or marry within their own race without it meaning the person is uninformed, un-enlightened, or racist.

Unless you’ve grown up in an environment that has taught you to hate yourself, preferring to date and/or marry someone who looks like you is normal, not racist. While you may also be open to dating others, it’s certainly not wrong to prefer to partner with someone of your own race. After all, it’s how humans have been paring off and procreating since the beginning of time.

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  • G

    While I date Black men, I will also date any man no matter his race if I find him appealing.

    And Sistas keep in mind the real elephant in the room that is what the Brothas do just that 24/7! But deride us for finding other men of other races (ie. White men) attractive.

    But what Brothas don’t say, and let me say THIS IS ONLY MY BELIEF, I find Brothas only get angry if the Sista in question meets THEIR standard of beauty (whatever that is)! Look at all the comments about the lovely Lupita when she was photographed (just photographed mine you!) with the “handsome & White” Jared Leto! Lupita was a “fetish”, Lupita is a trend . . . etc. You mean to tell me that it is not possible for a White man to find her lovely? You mean to tell me this talented woman should be reduced to freak show . . . by her own people?!

    Date who you want and to HELL with everyone else. They can’t live your life! If you want a man of the same or another race go right ahead, but don’t be dictated to by anyone!

  • newme

    Yet, another recycled article about IR relationships. How many times can you report on the same danged story? Clutch, ya’ll really need to try and WORK to find some fresh material. Stop rehashing, recycling and rewording the same articles!

  • joe

    The truth is, actual interracial marriages are not nearly as common as many believe. For some reason, marriages between whites and white hispanics are called interracial when they are really inter-ethnic. Such unions account for nearly half of all so-called interracial marriages. Factor them out and true interracial marriages are comparatively rare.

  • joe

    98% of whites choose a white spouse. They don’t try to explain to anyone why they overwhelmingly prefer to marry within their race. They think it is perfectly normal to choose a spouse with the same skin color and racial background. They see nothing unusual about wanting to have white children and grandchildren. They don’t see it as racist. They see it as the way things should be.