I studied Sinology for a year, and met a great deal of Chinese people. Whenever the topic came up, most of them - particularly the women - insisted that they would only ever date Chinese men, and were particularly vocal about not dating blacks or Japanese men. On the other hand, I met a Korean woman who had moved to Germany (where I lived at the time), and who said she had come looking for a husband, because she believed "Korean men are no good". Interracial relationships are becoming more and more common, and with them come stereotypes: there is one stereotype that would have us believe that all women love black men, and another that all men love East Asian women. For many people (though not as many as the stereotypes would have us believe), these racial preferences in dating and sexual attraction are real, not just media tropes. There really are women who only date black men, and men who only date East Asian woman (as well as the reverse, and all other possible combinations). The relationship of such preferences with racism are murky at best; is a woman who is mostly attracted to black men a racist, and if so, who is she discriminating against - men of her own race, or black men? Is a man who doesn't want to date black women a racist? What if he just happens to like pale skin? How can we tell what role racism plays in dating and romance, and when it's all just a matter of personal preference?

Some of the stereotypes that drive such preferences could, of course, be racist. But it is also true that the factors that attract us to others erotically are not generally matters of simple choice, and the mere presence of a preference "type" does not seem to me to be clear evidence of racism. Some of us prefer tall partners--is this "shortism" because we tend not to prefer short partners?

I think of racism as consisting in beliefs or practices that would deny equal moral, political, or economic rights to members of the targeted race. I don't think anyone has any kind of a right to have me attracted to them as a potential romantic or sex partner, so I can't really see how my preferences in these areas can have the consequences of denying anyone equal rights.

Having said this, I also think that many cultures do lend some support to sexism or to regarding women as second-class citizens. I wouldn't blame a woman from such a culture for having a preference against men of that culture.

Read another response by Nicholas D. Smith
Read another response about Love, Race, Sex