Why I won’t date white women any more
Hansit explains why he’s changed his dating preferences as an Indian man
It wasn’t the rejections themselves that hurt the most, but the way they were often delivered to me – it was that white women accidentally forgot to censor their serious racist undertones.
Whiteness, much like gender, is a performance. My experience of the dating scene here in the UK as a brown man from the subcontinent has mostly been negative, and I think my lack of performative whiteness is the problem. It wasn’t the rejections themselves that hurt the most, but the way they were often delivered to me – it was that white women accidentally forgot to censor their serious racist undertones. I am well aware of the fact that a brown man initiating a conversation with a woman online has certain implications – but men of every cultural, social, and economic background harass women online, and it seems that Indian men deserve to be the butt of the joke since they cannot spell “boobs” or “vagina”, unlike white men, who can send a well framed sentence like, “Send nudes,” which I suppose communicates the message of online harassment more succinctly. I should specify that I’m not seeking to condone online harassment – it’s just that sometimes I need a good, cathartic laugh about the community I represent and belong to.
It seems that Indian men deserve to be the butt of the joke since they cannot spell “boobs” or “vagina”, unlike white men, who can send a well framed sentence like, “Send nudes,” which I suppose communicates the message of online harassment more succinctly.
There have been several instances when my politeness was mistaken for an unwarranted advance. This has taken a severe toll on my self-perception, often to the extent of paranoia. It didn’t help when a British Indian female friend remarked, in ‘jest,’ that if there were a hierarchy of physical attractiveness amongst men based on race, brown men are at the bottom followed by black men in the middle and obviously, white men at the top. This has been proven to me multiple times. For example, a white girl I was briefly seeing made several borderline offensive comments while we were flirting. “Aww, you have such an exotic accent. I wish I sounded like that”, she would say.“Where does your accent disappear when you sing in English?”, “What will your parents think if you brought a white girl home? Will they accept me? Will your community shame you?”, “If and when you tell your friends about us, they’ll think you got quite a catch, wouldn’t they?”, “Hindus seem to be way more chilled out in comparison to Muslims”. She said these things quite unabashedly and I chose to ignore them maybe because she was right. I did think I’d landed myself quite a catch – a white girl.
We need to question why certain character or cultural traits are defined as “bad” and more importantly why being “bad” in that sense is unwanted.
This is not to suggest that brown men have it the worst. Women of colour are often fetishised by white guys while simultaneously rejected or looked down upon by guys from their own community. Brown men have literally made a career out of fantasising about dating white women. Just see the work of Kumail Nanjiani and Aziz Ansari. However, not all brown women are found equally attractive by white men. If a brown woman performs whiteness mixed with a perfect balance of ethnic behaviours, like dancing to Bollywood music exotically for the white gaze, cooking delicious Indian food, and fashioning the saree elegantly, then she could become the most priced commodity in the “sexual marketplace,”but if she doesn’t, she is less favoured. A lot of women of colour have written about this extensively, but I couldn’t find anything similar penned by a man of colour. The only thing I could find was a Reddit thread that was bashing brown men for being “brown,” and talking about the brown guy stereotypes like being ‘skinny-fat’ and lacking confidence and charisma (from growing up in a toxic brown culture that always dictates you to bow down to authority). These are negative if shown by a brown guy, but if a white guy exhibits the same traits, he is judged as cute and nerdy. Other brown stereotypes include loving our families, not going to the gym to maintain a conventionally attractive body, being a workaholic, and being worried about securing our futures. This led me to delve deeper into these stereotypes. For example, many in the West think Indian men are not very sociable, they prefer eating their cuisine, prefer hanging out with their kin, and prioritise their family. Basically, that they’re very sheltered. But why are these behaviours and value systems deemed undesirable? These stereotypes stem from deep-rooted racism but are also problematic in a sense I can’t even articulate. I mean, if white people’s food tasted better, maybe I’d have had consumed it more. We need to question why certain character or cultural traits are defined as “bad” and more importantly why being “bad” in that sense is unwanted.
Brown men have literally made a career out of fantasising about dating white women. Just see the work of Kumail Nanjiani and Aziz Ansari. However, not all brown women are found equally attractive by white men.
However, it must be noted that not all brown men are considered undesirable – only those who fail to act white. British South Asian men do very well for themselves in the dating scene because they have learned how to perform whiteness. When I moved here for university, I struggled hard to assimilate. I stopped wearing clothes from my home country. I tried dressing more “local” in hopes of getting lost in the crowd. I decided to groom my eyebrows, hair, and beard. But sadly, I wasn’t as adept at altering my personality as my other Indian peers. They were next to unrecognisable at parties. They would assume a certain pretentious aura – extra friendly and polite, talking in a weird accent, and speaking poorly about their home country and its problems in front of a white audience in order to garner their sympathy. Most of these students unsurprisingly belonged to upper castes, came from big cities, and had had an elite educational background. Having to see these things firsthand often made me cringe really hard, but it made me question whether in their pursuit of trying to imitate the English, were they ignorantly really making a caricature of themselves? Anyway, I was failing to be white – and I strongly felt the pressure to catch up. Never in my life have I ever felt so particularly tormented by my “T’s” , “D’s”, and “R’s”.
I wasn’t as adept at altering my personality as my other Indian peers. They were next to unrecognisable at parties. They would assume a certain pretentious aura – extra friendly and polite, talking in a weird accent, and speaking poorly about their home country.
I want to think about whether those judgements or lack of validation from white folks are actually important to, or for me, now. On the other side of the spectrum many men of colour seem to suffer from white skin fetishism, which is the product of an unholy union of colonial indoctrination and patriarchy. Do I suffer from that as well? And am I specifically focused on feedback from white women? If yes, was it because I was specifically looking forward to dating or sleeping with them? That would be pretty disgusting, wouldn’t it? Moreover, I believe that my lifestyle or habits are incompatible with white culture. I am culturally very brown. Therefore, I don’t think I can be in a relationship with a white person on a long-term basis and if that is not my intention, then I am perhaps unintentionally specifically looking to sleep only with white women because I want them to be my sexual trophy. I don’t know. I’m sick of constantly evaluating and examining myself through a white lens and subjecting myself to white standards. I am tired of hating on myself.
I’m sick of constantly evaluating and examining myself through a white lens and subjecting myself to white standards. I am tired of hating on myself.
This is not to say that I don’t have white women as friends. In fact, I consider myself extremely lucky to know a few white women who are absolutely kind and wonderful, but I feel it is imperative to state that most white women haven’t done enough to recognise the power they hold and to acknowledge their privilege. They are well aware of their power and position in the society. They know that they are infantilised to the extent that society deems them incapable of committing evil acts. They understand that they are on the top of the list of groups of people who need to be rescued or saved. Hence, they have learned how to exploit their fear and testimony to this fact is the endless number of people of colour who have died because of white women’s weaponised tears.
I believe that we as POC have done enough to assimilate with white society. We wear their clothes, we eat their food, we read the works of their intellectuals, we read their history, and we speak and study in their language.
In conclusion, I don’t think I could ever seriously date a white woman on a long term basis, because the vacuum created by the power imbalance will eventually feed into my paranoia. Personal acts of non-prejudice and non-judgement on a white person’s part won’t do much for me because their individual actions won’t erase the history of colonialism and oppression that afflicts my people. I don’t see any point of reconciliation happening until former colonies economically progress well enough to undo the damages and trauma of centuries of slavery and colonialism. Personal acts of solidarity and words of brotherhood (psychosocial equality) are vacuous without tangible material equality. Secondly, I believe that we as POC have done enough to assimilate with white society. We wear their clothes, we eat their food, we read the works of their intellectuals, we read their history, and we speak and study in their language (for fuck’s sake I’m writing this very piece in the language of my colonisers!). I am unwilling to change my fundamental values, my core attitudes and behaviours, compromise my identity as an Indian man, and most importantly be shamed for my cultural baggage. I wish to reclaim the stereotypes surrounding brown men. I want to attack racism and not condone brown misogyny. I simply wish to be brown and proud, openly and unapologetically. I refuse to be seen as an equal in accordance with white people’s standards.
What do you think? Leave us a comment.
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