In an example of how the internet can bring people together with shared interests or life experience, there are hundreds of groups and Twitter accounts devoted to glorifying interracial relationships. In theory, they’re a celebration of love. In practice, many of them are little more than not-at-all-veiled fetishization and/or full-blown racism.
These accounts are not new, and like many other things on the internet, it’s usually easy to scroll on by and not get sucked into something infuriating. But this past weekend and even as I write this, I’m watching in disgust as the hashtag #WhiteGods is being retweeted onto my Twitter timeline with alarming frequency.
#WhiteGods was started by a few young black men (according to their profiles and Twitter timelines), and it is allegedly in praise of interracial encounters with white women. The earliest tweets with the tag are just under a year old, but this weekend saw a huge surge in their activity. On my timeline, people were sharing these posts not as an endorsement, (I wouldn’t follow anyone who would sincerely subscribe to this mess), but as an example of the level these people have sunk to and how pervasive it is.
First of all, I say “encounters” because searching the tag brings up far more references to sex and hooking up than anything resembling a “relationship.” Hey, no shame there, I just want to be specific.
Secondly, I too am exhausted by the strict racial binary code with which interracial relationships are often discussed. We humans come in a great many more shades than just black or white; in any discussion of race I don’t like to make it seem as though I think otherwise, and yet I’m aware that it happens when combating those who behave as if they do.
I read hundreds of tweets on this hashtag (so you don’t have to), and the enthusiasts are young black boys/men and young white girls/women. Their frequent responses to people they call “haters,” wherein they repeatedly say it’s about “celebrating interracial relationships,” are betrayed by the rampant commodification of people as “chocolate,” and “snow bunnies.”
"Snow bunny" was, once upon a time, a colloquialism for an attractive female skier or lady on the slopes. It has become a thing certain black men call white women, or a thing white women who exclusively enjoy black men call themselves. More on that in a moment, though -- here's a quick history break:
Historically, black bodies have been commodified, hyper-sexualized, and fetishized in ways that white bodies simply have not on a massive, systemic level. If that statement seems overly divisive, I’m now going to double-down and drop the S-bomb: Slavery.
However, looking at the realities of institutionalized sexism and also applying an intersectional lens, this is by no means a cut-and-dry race issue. It’s a tangled web of -isms made all the more sickening by its false veneer of innocence and “celebration.”
We are all free to be “down with the swirl,” but so many of these people fail to see when they cross the line into racism. Many claim they could never be racist because of their preference, to which I say (again) that marrying, dating, sleeping with, or being attracted to people of another race does not mean that you cannot also hold racist beliefs.
The Mandingo fantasy is nothing new. Interracial porn has been a booming subset of the porn industry since forever. These people are not exactly breaking new ground in their ideology, but the methodology is what has me speaking out. Social media allows these images to spread like the burning wildfire that they are, with heinous repercussions.
For example; I’m not the type of person who has a strict racial preference, so I would never do this, but I wouldn’t automatically see the declarations of these young ladies here on the tag as dangerous or threatening:
Now let’s hear from one of the fellas:
Hmmm. I'm recoiling because I don’t care for the divisiveness and I can’t help but wonder ‘…as opposed to who, boo?’ -- but I still wouldn’t call these tweets themselves insidious or personally detrimental. Now let’s take a look at who that guy is:
Whoa. 243 thousand followers who may read a “preference” as a message.
Then there are the memes. I only chose one because there’s only so much nausea I can take, but there are SO many.
And oh how quickly the laughs devolve into pure, unmasked hatred:
A look at the timeline of the hashtag’s creators shows quite a few replies to black men expressing their disdain that look like this:
From one black man to another, that is some blatant bigotry and colorism right there. But this is all about “celebration,” right? Let’s check out that account profile:
At close to 18 thousand followers, the Captain here isn’t quite the influencer as the gentleman above, but still. That’s a lot of potential eyes, favorites, and shares on this ugliness. Oh hey, he’s thrown #TeamLatina in his bio (almost as an afterthought), so it’s good to know he’s at least open to one other ethnicity. I’m guessing his Latina #WomanCrushWednesdays will look more like Cameron Diaz than Amara La Negra.
Let’s check out some of the guys claiming credit for this mess:
More young black male faces atop objectified white female bodies with sizable follower counts to witness it all.
Returning to the “snow bunny” moniker, I’ve witnessed the term become somewhat of a slur, with certain white women claiming it as certain black men seek them out, while snickering behind their backs at the implications of sexual subservience and ownership. In both a crude reversal of slave fantasy tropes and a nod to the old-school narrative of the black pimp specifically turning out white girls, it’s taken on a highly pejorative quality that makes me cringe when I see these white girls willfully claim the epithet.
These are not young women awesomely owning their sexuality, choosing who they desire and then pursuing them. They’re begging to be claimed and possessed by these jesters and digitally paraded before their social media followings.
This is a sexist tradition free of racial requirements, of course, but when race is so rigidly included, it’s amazing how quickly the oppression and discrimination multiply. We get the racist comments like the ones above, as well as seemingly “celebratory” sentiments like the amount of times these girls talk about wanting to “have your mixed babies” because they’re “the prettiest.” This is such a common stereotype that is all about fetishization and glorification of certain physical features over other ones.
Not only does it ignore the fact that biracial children may be born with a variety of beautiful physical features beyond the “caramel latte kids” we see so often being exalted on high, but it reduces the joy of having a baby to wanting pretty shoes or a designer bag or, well… a caramel latte.
Another element worth considering is that the conversation inevitably descends into penis size, and there are also all manner of memes on this hashtag illustrating the prevailing stereotypes if you care to search. They speak for themselves.
I’ve written about a problematic relationship I was in with a white man before, and many other voices have as well. That’s because it can be a topic fraught with tension. Hopefully, if love is meant to be, it will win out regardless of race, because love is love—best case scenario.
Worst case scenario is all of this #WhiteGirlWednesday, #WhiteBooWednesday, #SnowBunnySunday, #WhiteGods mess when it’s not about saying what you like, but more about saying how much you hate yourself and people who look like you.
Just as these people are unable to exalt without denigration, unfortunately some black men and women are also unable to respond without insults. When one feels insulted, it can be easy to insult back, so it’s yet another situation where we’d ideally take the high road all the time but dammit these folks are dragging us to be down and dirty.
Still, it’s definitely not progress to go through the hashtag insulting the girls and calling people ugly. No one wins in this situation. The villain here is no one person or group of people. It’s the dehumanization of bodies and the uplifting of white supremacy masked as cutesy crushes or the falsehood of “preference.” The victims of this villainy are genuine racial progress toward equality and societal views toward loving interracial relationships.
I’m frequently torn between mentioning this type of foolishness or remaining mum and continuing to fight racism in my own ways. Don’t give them more attention, I say to myself constantly. I keep thinking that at some point there will be undeniably detrimental consequences to negative attention-seeking social media behavior, but what is happening instead is deepening of these disgusting trenches of hate.
I know their knee-jerk reactions and their little defenses all too well at this point. Even as I write this, I can see them coming:
“LOL this bitch really took the time to write this whole thing”
“Salute the Gods we outchea”
“We must be doing something right”
No. No, you’re doing nothing right. Nothing new, either. But I wish for you a moment of clarity, to question your own fetishization and self-loathing. Like who you like, love who you love, fuck who you want to fuck. That knows no color and I wish you all the best. But your bigoted agendas and the swinging gate they leave wide open for pure racists to lead a Klan rally through your Twitter mentions have got to go.
Racism is #NotJustSAE; you don’t have to explicitly shout about hanging n*ggers and be caught on video doing it to be racist. It’s huge chunks of the internet declaring black women inferior and white women volunteering to be used by the black men doing the declaring. It’s #WhiteGods.
If you start a hashtag like this, give it an inflammatory name, and then actively participate in the tearing down of your people, I can’t imagine the level of willful ignorance or good pussy that will help you sleep well at night. Good luck.