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These conversations frequently speak to white people with internalized white supremacist standards of beauty that exclude people of color from their dating pools and asks them to expand their desires in order to incorporate people of color into their lives through sex and romance.
I definitely think that this is a worthwhile issue that white folks need to address, but the focus of this conversation hides something deeper: the ways that people of color perpetuate these standards, and this harm, among each other.
It’s a somewhat benign example, but it shows the subtly of the ways white standards are so ubiquitous and presented as the standard for all people.
It’s common to hear folks of color talk about the ways we were taught to hate our features that distinguished us from white standards of beauty.
I wanted to be thin and straight so I could have the trendy haircuts that never worked for my hair.
I never realized that it was because the trendy hairstyles required types of hair mostly restricted to white people.
What makes us think we didn’t also internalize ways to also hate each other?
It’s also naïve and untrue to think that these internalizations won’t impact our ability to see other people of color and viable romantic and sexual partners.
Rather than begging white folks to unpack all their white supremacy, we can work on our own.
One of the tools of white supremacy is not only to train us to think that whiteness is inherently exceptional – and to constantly aspire to it through, among other things, white romantic partners.
It also teaches us how to think about people of color – even if we’re people of color.
I think the way anti-Blackness operates in this dynamic for non-Black people of color deserves its own space.