Minority races should not be fetishized for personal pleasure

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I recently read an article by the Washington Post regarding the struggles of interracial dating. The author Maureen Evan Arthurs shared her shocking experiences as a black woman married to a white man.

Although she wears her diamond ring prominently on her ring finger, many times men approach her, husband in a close radius and ask “how much” is she worth.

Because Arthurs is a beautiful black woman with a white man, others automatically assume she is a prostitute.

These incidents continued over time. Sporadic yet scarring, after four years of reoccurring events, Arthurs decided to see if any other black women had experienced the same thing.

She did a bit of research and stumbled upon a survey done via Twitter by Ebony editor Jamilah Lemieux.

The writer tweeted “RT if you are Black woman (trans or cis) and have been assumed to be a sex worker by a White man.”

It was retweeted over 150 times. The following are a few responses:

“@AmourAmour- All the time, by creepy old white men in their late 50’s who want to relive their time as colonial in West Africa.”

“@Dr.Jozie- In a club having a great time with friends when approached and asked, ‘Are you working tonight?'”

“@YvoneJones- Since I was ten.”

After scrolling through and reading pages of responses, I was dumbfounded. These black women have been assumed by white men that they are sex workers simply because they find these women attractive, see them associated with another white male or find them out at a bar or club.

The presumptions made by ignorant individuals cut deep for these women.

For Arthurs, she hid these accusations from her husband because she felt so ashamed. For the other women on Twitter, plenty have stated “I’m used to it,” or “I hate that this is a regular thing.”

It should not be this way for any minority or any woman.

As an Asian-American, I’ve had multiple experiences both in America and Singapore where I’ve had some older white male hit on me. While it is not as extreme as Arthurs case, it has still had a huge impact on me.

I’ll be going out with my friends, when I feel that dreaded shoulder tap. I already know what’s coming. I turn around and see an older white male trying to flatter me. I politely try to decline and go about my way, when one last shot in the dark is made.

“You know, I have yellow fever.”

And on cue, I would roll my eyes and run as far away as possible.

I’m sure a lot of minority women will empathize with me for the following pick-up lines:

“You’re (insert race here)? That’s so exotic.”

“I find (insert racial group here) so cute!”

“You’re pretty hot… for a (insert race).”

I don’t think the people saying these things realize how blatantly offensive and creepy they appear. Now I realize that’s obviously not their intention. To them, it’s a foolproof pick-up line that’ll get whatever “exotic” girl he’s trying to reel in to come home with them.

But most of the time it fails to do so. Or if it works, it later leads to girls feeling guilty for submitting to this feeble attempt at ethnic appreciation by sexually aroused white males.

I just want it to stop.

I have no problem with any male trying to show cultural appreciation. I praise you for having an open mind. However, I do have a problem when males insinuate demeaning qualities about me as a person based on my race or when males try to fetishize my race.

Just because I am Asian does not mean I’m going to appease any male for having some odd sexual disposition towards my race.

Just because I am Asian and you are white, black or whatever race other than Asian, does not mean I owe anything to you if you “usually don’t find my race attractive but I’m an exception.”

If you happen to find any woman of a different race attractive, then please emphasize the immediate qualities that made her catch your eye rather than her race.

Compliment her hair, smile or eyes without immediately pulling out that “you’re so exotic because you’re from ________ card.

There are plenty of ways to approach and flirt with someone without sounding offensive. While I know that’s not your intention, please don’t make us think otherwise.

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