I’ve been meaning to write this for sometime, but tonight feels like the perfect night.
Bachelor/Bachelorette Effect: when a white person “has not problem dating a person of color” only to never seriously date one. A great example of this found in Season 10 of The Bachelorette. That season, Andi Dorfman, a Southern Jewish police officer with a J.D., eliminated Marquel Martin, one of two black contestants, was eliminated during episode five. (The other black contestant was Ron Worrell. He left after episode three.) I recall the disappointment on his face (and in his tears) upon being eliminated. I could only think “what did you expect to happen? She is a Southern Jewish police officer with a J.D.” The chances of her choosing to date, let alone engage, a black man is slim to none, but still Marquel believed it could happened. He chose to trust her and hope for the best. I am not saying a Southern Jewish police officer with a J.D. wouldn’t seriously date a black person, I am saying it is unlikely; however, I’ve found the prospects of dating white people in general slim, especially is the person of color if race conscious, no matter how liberal the white partner is.
The Bachelor/Bachelorette Effect is when a perfectly well intentioned white person dates a person of color only end the arrangement for no apparent reason. After so many dates, this usually “liberal/open-minded” white person loses interest in said person of color. I know many of you are thinking “this just happens with dating,” which is true, but the difference between dating and interracial dating is the cultural and societal barriers that are often unacknowledged and unspoken. For instance, the person of color may bring up a specific incident of racial profiling or racial injustice that the white person does not have to deal with. This realization of not having to deal may reinforce a feeling of “I don’t have to deal with this ‘I’m white.'” They are right. They often choose to opt out.
Well intentioned white folk, do us folk of color a favor and do not pretend you are open-minded and willing to date person of color. Be honest with yourself and with us.
One of the best films that deals with the complexities of interracial relationships Ali: Fear Eats Soul.