Most people, I'd guess, have racial preferences in dating. I don't think that this is morally problematic in itself, since there is surely no obligation to date anyone, or members of any particular group. Still it strikes me that many cases of racial preference in dating are likely rooted in racism. For instance, I have never been attracted to black women; and while I would insist that I have no duty to be anything like an equal opportunity dater, I strongly suspect that my preference in this case is at least partially the result of racial prejudice. (I imagine that I would more often find myself attracted to black women if I had not internalized various stereotypes, racially-based aesthetic norms, etc.) Is this a problem? Does it matter to our evaluation of a particular attitude if, though perhaps innocuous in itself, it has a causal origin in bigotry?

I doubt whether we should feel that we ought always to treat everyone entirely equally to avoid being called racist. We are allowed to have preferences and sometimes these will be on racial grounds, perhaps, provided that those preferences do not systematically discriminate against people in ways that do them harm. Unless we had some fairly fixed preferences, it would be very difficult to discriminate among different sorts of people in any way whatsoever, and dating is based on such discrimination. It is as well to be aware of one's prejudices and to consider whether it is worth trying to challenge them, but there is nothing wrong in acknowledging them and recognizing their role in defining a personality.

Blind dates are fun because they force the individual to respond to partners with whom one might not otherwise consider going. On the other hand, if every date were to be a blind date, this would not be evidence of having an open mind but rather of a lack of character.

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