I’m not attracted to Halle Berry, that doesn’t make me racist

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I got called racist the other day.

I didn’t use the word “Nigger” or anything like that; I didn’t tell a black person that they couldn’t sit next to me on the bus because they were black. I mentioned that I wasn’t attracted to Halle Berry.

Apparently that’s racist. You know, not being attracted to someone. Like we all have to be physically and sexually attracted to everyone or else that’s discrimination.

Now I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I think Halle Berry is wonderful. She’s intelligent, honest and a hard worker, all of which are excellent attributes but I’m just not attracted to her (just to clarify I’m a white gay woman).

And that’s okay.

Contrary to popular belief a person isn’t obligated to find everyone on the planet attractive.

Now if I were to say that I wasn’t attracted to Halle Berry purely because she was black – that would be racist. In my subjective opinion Olivia Wilde is attractive; Margaret Cho is attractive however I’m not attracted to them either.

There’s a large difference between finding someone attractive and being attracted to someone. Finding someone attractive is when their looks and personality appeal to you, you turn your head around as they walk past. Being attracted to someone means that their looks and personality appeal to you, you turn your head around as they walk past and you’re intrigued by them enough that you want to get to know more about them. You wonder whether they would be the type of person you could see yourself in a relationship with. You entertain the thought of something more than just “They look my version of nice”.

People all have different subconscious criteria for being interested in someone enough to pursue a relationship. For some, it’s seeing someone that they subjectively find really attractive and wanting to get to know them more based on that – a little shallow but don’t lie to me, dear reader – we’ve all done it.  The first glance we get at someone is based on their appearance, whether they fit our internal criteria of “attractive” or not. After we get to know them, we can check off other internal criteria and slowly develop an attraction to them. Are they funny? Do we have similar interests? Do they find me interesting? Oh, she likes cats – excellent etc.

So while I find Halle Berry attractive because she fits my subjective criteria of attractive, I don’t know anything at all about her to develop an attraction to her and to say I was attracted to Halle Berry based purely on the fact that she fits my subjective criteria of attractive – is shallow and really creepy.

The comment got me thinking, if it’s racist to not be attracted to someone, does that imply everyone needs to fine everyone attractive in order to spare some hurt feelings? No, of course not. That would be silly. People have the right to not be attracted to someone because everyone is different. We’re not obligated to find everyone attractive and just because we don’t find everyone attractive – that isn’t a reflection on the person we don’t find attractive.

Let’s pretend that I don’t find Halle Berry attractive for a minute. That isn’t anything against her, it’s not her fault that she doesn’t fit my criteria and she isn’t obligated to fit my criteria. She doesn’t owe it to me in any way, shape or form to be appealing to me. Further to that, I don’t owe her anything either. I’m not obligated to find her attractive, nor do I owe it to her.

So let’s stop with the bullshit “If you don’t find me attractive, you’re racist” claptrap. Sorry, not sorry but no-one is obligated to find you attractive and anyone who says to me “You don’t find me attractive therefore you’re a racist” is doing nothing more than labelling me someone who hates their community because I dare not find them appealing, like I’ve offended their sensibilities or something.

Just stop it.

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9 Comments

  1. Sounds like you are the victim of that dreaded PC campaign “Sexual Racism Sux!”

    I’m exclusively attracted to other men so I guess that’s suppose to make me “gay”, but I find myself disagreeing with so much of the gay culture BS on a social and intellectual level I feel like an outsider and get treated like one in the clique gay subcultures.

    I am white, educated, middle class upbringing – but poor [ geeze the middle class is almost wiped out ] , straight acting [ yes I'm using that phrase much reviled by the PC police ] enough that no one figures it out till I say something, they connect all the dots or very rarely they are equipped with Ultra High Definition Gaydar.

    The above attributes excluding my sexuality make me a class enemy in the eyes of the Politically Correct / New Left / Identity Politics / Feminist / Queer movement which seems to have a choke hold on gay culture and politics.

    The “Sexual Racism” accusation is a good example. The target is obviously white guys and the attack is launched on behalf of Asians guys for the most part, in Australia and NZ anyway.

    I don’t find flat noses, narrow eyes, yellow skin or round faces sexy.

    No one questions what flavours I like over others- sweet, sour, salty, aniseed, parsley. No one seriously questions why I prefer expressionist art over abstract.

    But suddenly sexual preferences are now all political and you are guilty of the Cardinal Sin of RACISM if you are not attracted to the full spectrum of ethnicity from Eskimos to Tamil Indians.

    The PC protagonists in this witch hunt to purge Western white gay guys of this fictitious demon possession of “Sexual Racism” all deploy the same rhetoric – its like Attack of the Clones!

    The cutest ploy is “We need to have this discussion/debate”, “We need to start talking about it”.

    Of course they are not interested in a discussion anymore than that Jehova Witness at your front door wants to “talk with you about God.” They have a very clear political agenda and they want to enforce it, and bullying tactics like screaming RACIST! is fair game for them.

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    • No-one ever goes on a diatribe about me not liking the taste of peanut butter but if I’m not attracted to someone (especially someone non-white) – worst person on the planet.

      Funnily enough, if I pose the question “If a black person says they aren’t attracted to a white person, is it racist?” people clam right up.

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  2. Of course no one individual has to find any other individual (celebrity or not) attractive. Likewise, none of us should be made to feel as if we need to apologize for who we are or are not attracted to.

    However, an alien visitor from another world could do a search for “race and beauty” in Google, and see from the results that this is hardly a simple issue. Apologies to “kiwi_n_aussie”, but it is not “pc” to acknowledge world history and cultural context. Unfortunately, those of us alive today were born as inheritors of a history that was anything but objective and unbiased when it comes to race. Much as we may rather not talk about it, our shared world history of European colonialism associated no end of pathology and unpleasantness with skin tones and facial features that were distinctly not of European descent. To the point, the effort was in fact to argue that people who were not European were not even human.

    “Kiwi” might say that mentioning these things is being “pc” — he might argue that this is all ancient history, and that there is no point in bringing it up. I will say that I would find such protestations to be disingenuous. Pretending that hard core rascists no longer exist, and pretending that we all live in a world free of such influences, is at heart dishonest, and is not at all helpful in addressing the complicated issues that we face in our post-colonial world.

    No one person needs to be attracted to any other one person. However, declaring that everyone of a given race or ethnicity is without execption unappealing … well, much as any one of us does and should have the freedom to do that, I think that feeling victimized if someone takes issue with such a declaration is, at best, rather naive. We live at the end of centuries of history that said dark skin is not attractive, that other features that are common on continents other than Europe are not attractive. It can certainly be an honest opinion, that one does not find these things attractive. But with awareness of history and cultural context … I personally think it best to make effort to comment on individuals, without broadening my opinion to include the millions of people of a given ethnicity that I have never met yet. A given Samoan (for instance) person might not be attractive to me. Possibly I’ve known many people of Samoan ancestry, and was not attracted to any of them. Both of these are still different from simply declaring that “Somoan people are not attractive” … because, adding “in my opinion” to that statement does not somehow untether me from the history and context of the entire world. I am part of the world, and part of history. And like it or not, if I state an opinion that just happens to fit with racist propoganda, it should not be a surprise if my opinion sounds racist to some.

    This would not mean I burn crosses in people’s yards, or participate in lynchings. But, promoting a European standard of beauty went hand in hand with those things, and that standard of beauty remains dominant in our popular media, today.

    Given the context of world history, it unfortunately is not quite the same thing, if a black or white person says they don’t find people of the other race attractive. A black person would be guilty of being close-minded and bigoted, in judging billions of people they’d never met, same as the white person would. The difference though would be that we don’t have centuries of history trying very hard to tell everyone that European features are unattractive. How big a difference we may feel this really makes, I suppose, is up to each of us to decide. But, it is a difference, either way.

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    • This is briefly how I understand your argument:

      Is it racist not to be sexually attracted to Asians?

      1 “It can certainly be an honest opinion, that one does not find [ Asian physical characteristics eg yellow skin, narrow eyes, flat nose ] attractive.”

      So it is not proof of racism.

      2 However there is a continuing legacy of white colonialism and racism:

      “we don’t have centuries of history trying very hard to tell everyone that European features are unattractive.”

      3 Therefore:

      Gay white guys need to tread carefully or risk being accused of the thought crime “sexual racism” by the PC police.

      “I personally think it best to make effort to comment on individuals, without broadening my opinion to include the millions of people of a given ethnicity that I have never met yet…if I state an opinion that just happens to fit with racist propoganda, it should not be a surprise if my opinion sounds racist to some.”

      My response:

      You acknowledge that not being attracted to the physical appearance of a ‘race’ or ethnic group is no sign of racism. But then you do a U turn and state “judging billions of people they’d never met”.

      This is a common criticism that pops up which is surprising to me because the reply seems so obvious. If I don’t find flat noses and narrow eyes sexually appealing then I’m not going to find any asians sexually attractive no matter how many I view, right?

      And “judging” is a loaded word in this context, “not being sexually attracted towards billions of people they’d never met” is the accurate idea. Is it necessary that some one has to be sexually attracted towards billions of people?

      If I am not sexually attracted to guys under 5″3′ do I need to met every single one of them on Earth first to confirm this lack of interest?

      The usual PC criticism to this is that it is superficial to evaluate sexual partners by physical appearance.

      Maybe but then if you want to start talking about romance and lurvvvv then is it really about sexual attraction anymore?

      I think the Material Girl sings it best:

      “It’s a physical attraction..It’s a chemical reaction…So much satisfaction.

      Even though you’re not for real
      Your touch is driving me
      Crazy and when you smile
      It’s just makin’ me want you more and more”

      I’ve got plenty more to say on the issue, namely the choke hold of Political Correctness on the New Left. But out of time.

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  3. I don’t know that I’d say I was making an argument so much as explaining a perspective. I can appreciate if there doesn’t seem to be much difference, to you.

    I guess I would just reiterate, I’ve not called you a racist. If I meant that, I’d say that. If the things I’ve said seem similar to what people have said to you in person, I’d suggest they probably aren’t calling you racist, either.

    It doesn’t seem especially productive to me, to leap to a conclusion that offends you, then in response dismiss what someone is trying to say as “political correctness” and “new left”.

    But, I’m cool with it if you are. Take care! :)

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    • “I don’t know that I’d say I was making an argument so much as explaining a perspective. I can appreciate if there doesn’t seem to be much difference, to you.”

      Either way that’s why I tried to flesh out the LOGIC of your argument or the “perspective” you were “explaining” if you like. And it contains a contradiction.

      “to leap to a conclusion that offends you”

      There was no leaping, I clearly laid out the premises in your argument or the “perspective” you “explain”. I did this to clarify the discussion, you could have responded at any step if you thought I had it wrong.

      “I’ve not called you a racist”

      No, you’ve made the insinuation instead, which is probably worse, lol.

      “Sexual Racism” is most definitely a child of Poltical Correctness.

      Take care! :)

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  4. Well, from my perspective, it seems as if my options are to agree with you or to be cast as “politically correct” and “new left”.

    You suggest that I can respond on any point I think you have “wrong”; yet in the same message, you counter that I have not called you racist by saying I insinuate it, and put quotes around words to suggest that explain my perspective is somehow less than honest. You consider it an argument, therefore it must be.

    I don’t see how it could possibly be a productive dialogue, all considered. You are certain I am “politically correct” and “new left” and accusing you of “sexual racism”. I don’t think any of those are accurate. But, I also think there’s a difference between “inaccurate” and “wrong”.

    For what it’s worth, sorry if I’ve offended you. And I mean that sincerely. I take responsibility for my own communication, and this would seem to be a time when I have not been up to the task. I will work on it.

    Take care of you and yours in the meantime. Sincerely.

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    • No worries, I probably read sarcasm or bitchiness in your posts that wasn’t there.

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