Online dating has attracted approximately 40 million users in the United States, compelling users of all ages to ask themselves a very important question: “What’s your type?”
In an online dating world, the first impression really is everything. But on the screen, this impression is based mostly on one attribute: looks. Online dating apps haven’t revealed people’s superficiality — people want to date someone they’re attracted to, naturally — but they have shed some light on who people are attracted to.
From Tinder to eHarmony, the first thing you see when you scroll through potential matches is someone’s face — and, therefore, someone’s race as well.
Preferences for who we’re attracted to can be an assortment of things: height, build and style can all neatly fit into our preferences, but when race falls into consideration, it could become problematic.
Racial fetishization is a serious social issue, but there’s a distinction between fetishizing race and having preferences. The question is where we draw the line. Having preferences for sexual attraction is perfectly natural, but making those preferences exclusive to race crosses into fetishization.
People are far more likely to point the finger when someone is attracted to someone outside of their own race. Is it fair to accuse someone of fetishization for not being exclusive to their own race? It seems that monoracial relationships are so normalized that it is easy to turn to fetishization when exposed to an interracial couple. The media is a big part of the normalization of monoracial couples, even though 17 percent of newly married couples in the United States were interracial as of 2015.
Although interracial love should be supported and equally represented, it should not be glorified for being interracial. The issue of racial fetishization is grounded in seeing people as representatives of their respective race rather than as individuals.