Crazy Idea: “Chocolate” Isn’t A Compliment!

“I can’t even look at myself naked while I change out of body into the poem.” — ANA BOŽIČEVIĆ

The issue with fetishisation and exotic terminology is that it creates a sense of negative uniqueness and hyper-sexualisation on the basis of race, in doing so it also implies that whiteness and white-features as the default, stemming from colonial ideas of “the other” and intrinsic racial differences. This emphasises differences and contributes to the global hierarchical placement of individuals and groups of peoples on the basis of race, also stemming from racist colonial ideas.

The attraction of race or in extreme racial preference also works to blur the lines of internal cultural and ethnic differences and instead clusters a race or ethnicity together, more so it indirectly impacts those that are not placed within this ‘exotic’ category, by washing out those within a culture who do not hold these stereotypical features of exoticness.

Beyond this it also does another thing – dehumanises and objectifies individuals on the basis of race and racial features, as a black woman it is not a compliment to be referred to as “chocolate” or any other food which shares a similar tone to my skin, the over-sexualisation and comparison made on the basis of my skin also reduces me to the colour of my skin tone and reflects racist undertones through placing emphasis of my own attraction on merely the colour of my skin.

In other cultures, and ethnicities, the same issue appears although in different forms, for example the fetishisation of women of East Asian descent, particularly Chinese women and the image and characteristic of passiveness placed upon them. Fetishisation is usually followed by infantilisation of these woman and is a dominant feature of what is sometimes referred to as the ‘Asian fetish’. I’d like to think that it is obvious why this itself is problematic (hint: sexualisation of child-like features… anyone?) and so moving onto the implications of this, it too abolishes individuality and forces an entire ethnicity into one box. This can also act as an oppressive tool in the same way that patriarchal ideas and stereotypes act as an oppressive tool toward women in primarily western societies.

It’s important to note that in writing this, my point is not to state that it is wrong to find attraction beyond one’s own race, but rather it is wrong to find attraction in another race because the attractive individual is of a particular race that one deems attractive.

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