Comment: What is the sex like?
Variations: Does he have a big/small penis? Is she a freak?
What the comment really means: When I see people of different races together I think they are primarily together because of the sex. I believe racist stereotypes about Black/Asian?Latina/o/American Indian sexuality. I think white women who sleep with Black men are sleazy.
Why the comment is inappropriate: Clearly this falls under the none of your business category, and it also feeds on a very long tradition sexuality being used to enforce racism. People of color have routinely been stereotyped as sexually provocative and or promiscuous, so such questions always need to be interpreted in this context. At this point in history, people also tend to have stereotypes about Whites who have sexual relationships with Blacks, especially White women. Moreover, these types of questions seem to challenge the legitimacy of interracial relationships by recreating the notion that they are all about sex.
Comment: Couldn’t you find a person of your own race?
Variations: You can do better. What are you doing with a Black/White/Asian/American Indian/Latina/o person?
What the comment really means: I think the only types of people who intermarry/interdate are people who are desperate. People who have IRs are selling out their group because it is clearly better to date/marry people within your own group.
Why the comment is inappropriate: First, of all this sort of comment feeds into the idea that interracial relationships are somehow inferior to same race relationships and a sign of desperation. The assumption here is also that the person’s partner is less than because he or she is from a different background.
Comment: Well you can’t help who you fall in love with.
Variations: Love is blind. Race doesn’t matter. Anybody can fall in love.
What the comment really means: Some sort of spell must have come over you because if you could help it you would not be with that person.
Why the comment is inappropriate: This sort of comment is problematic on a few levels. When the person says love is blind or colorblind it ignores the reality that race is important. Can you imagine a same race couple being told you can’t help who you fall in love with? The truth is that we can and do “help” who we fall in love with. Even though most people are not willing to admit it, relationships are not colorblind, and even people in interracial relationships fall into the love is blind trap. The other problem with this sort of statement it that it assumes that love is a spell that just sort of comes over you, and if you could help it and could fight it you would never choose this sort of person.