I Think I’m Attracted to White Men Because of My Own Internalized Racism

…I have a thing for white guys. And writing that last sentence makes me feel gross, like I’m a traitor, or a self-hating black woman. I know it’s wrong to think this way, to focus on being with a white guy as the ultimate goal in my love life. And I have been trying, very hard, to resist the notion that I must aspire to getting a partner who has lighter skin than I do.

Even as a kid, I knew it was strange. I hadn’t yet learned the word problematic, hadn’t studied sociology, and didn’t know how to think critically about race, but something about being attracted to the white boys in class, and hating my dark-skinned, kinky-haired, full-lipped face when I looked in the mirror didn’t sit well with me.

When I was in high school, I read The Color Complex, learned about the Clark doll tests, and it hit me. Huh. I was literally taught by society to hate myself. This realization didn’t instantly dismantle the structures of white supremacy in my colonized mind. To this day I’m still working on freeing myself from the years of damage that the media and my history books and the boys who made fun of me at school have done.

Just to be clear, I’m speaking from personal experience, and I don’t think that every single black woman is attracted to white guys because of internalized racism. But I have a feeling that some of us, and perhaps many women of color, are…

Keziyah Lewis is a feminist and bisexual writer from Florida. She currently lives in Madrid, as she recovers from several years of non-profit work.


Another person falls for stupid theories. Does it ever occur to her that there also exist white women who “have a thing” for black guys? I have known some.

Related: An article on cross race attraction, based on charts from the dating site OKCupid.

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