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A character is expressing a sexual attraction to people of a certain group. This group can be as wide as entire races and ethnicities, or as narrow as a local tribe or country. As long as the division is based on geography, ethnicity, or race rather than individual qualities. A classic example is when a Caucasian is attracted to an Asian for being "exotic." This viewpoint is sometimes built into the narrative itself, especially in older works. In modern works this has a chance of backfiring if the paramour in question vocally disapproves of being objectified in such a manner.

Note that having a race fetish is not necessarily a bad thing in itself; it becomes a problem only when it overshadows, or is incorrectly perceived as overshadowing, the concern for the actual individual. If the person with the fetish cares more about physical lust than getting to know their lover as a person, such a shallow relationship won't last (and if it does, it would be a chore to watch and loaded with Unfortunate Implications).

This trope is likely to not be a part of a mixed marriage, since you hopefully wouldn't marry someone you don't know and love as a person. However, outsiders may still belittle the relationship by trying to reduce it to this trope, either by accusing the lovers of having an ethnic fetish, or thinking members of their own race aren't "good enough." Specific tropes include Where Da White Women At? (Black for White or vice versa), Asian Gal with White Guy, Matzo Fever (Gentiles for Jews), Shiksa Goddess (the inverse), Latin Lover & Spicy Latina, Hot Gypsy Woman, Sensual Slavs, and Everyone Looks Sexier If French. As you can see, this is a very pervasive trope.

Examples of Race Fetish include:


Film

  • In What Dreams May Come, the main character offhandedly remarks that he thinks Asian girls are beautiful, leading his daughter to believe that only Asian girls are beautiful.
  • Hair has a song called "Black Boys/White Boys" where two groups of girls - one white, one black - sing about how black boys and white boys (respectively) turn them on. The song is so very obviously about heterosexual race fetishism that it becomes very easy to overlook the fact that the song is also about homosexuality (with added Race Fetish) in the army: The male white officers agreeing with the white women that the black boys are delicious like chocolate, and the black officers agreeing with the black women about how kissable the white men are. By making the fetishism a mutual affair, the song makes clear that it's not about racism or sexism. Also, the focus on shallow beauty/sexyness is done in such a way that it sends an anti-racist message: The difference between races is a shallow difference, merely a matter of how you look. And in the end, each of us is lovable and beautiful to someone.
    • The work is from the same time as the Civil Rights Movement. The black guy "Hud" is a fully accepted member of the otherwise white hippie gang, and the song can be said to say "not only are people of other races not evil, you may even consider having sex with them!". While Captain Obvious these days, it was a radical message back when it was made.
  • Jungle Fever explores an interracial relationship between a black man and a white woman based on racial sexual fetishes. Another interracial relationship, where the couple sees each other as people first, is offered as a counterpoint.
  • In Hairspray, Tracy's best friend Penny falls in love with black dancer Seaweed and proudly states that she's never going back to white men.

Comic Books

  • The 1967 comic-book story "Cold Steel For a Hot War!" follows the adventures of Captain Hunter, a Green Beret who is searching the jungles of Vietnam for his paratrooper twin brother, who's been shot down in enemy territory. His guide on this quest is a young South Vietnamese woman who may or may not be a VC double agent; Hunter knows this, and yet he cannot repress his feelings of lust for her, repeatedly referring to her (in the inner-monologue narration) as "an Oriental kewpie doll." Finally determined to get some answers, he unexpectedly grabs the woman and demands that she reveal her true motives before pulling her close to kiss him in a relatively nonviolent Slap Slap Kiss moment - whereupon two VC guerrillas leap down from a tree to attack them both (the woman is not a traitor after all) and one of them mocks Hunter's foolishness with "Yankee shouldn't mix war with pleasure; it make him very dead!"

Literature

  • In Eighty-Sixed, there is an entire list of Queens, many of them categorized by what ethnic or societal groups they find attractive.

Live Action TV

  • Seinfeld, "The Chinese Woman." Jerry dials a wrong number and gets a woman named Donna Chang. He apologizes and hangs up.

 Jerry: redialing Should've talked to her; I love Chinese women.

Elaine: Isn't that a little racist?

Jerry: If I like their race, how can that be racist?

    • Though it turns out she's not Chinese.
  • Barney's Establishing Character Moment in How I Met Your Mother is announcing to Ted that he's moved on from half-Asian girls, and is now going after Lebanese girls.
  • Saturday Night Live: in a sketch about a how-to-find-love seminar, Tracy Morgan's character is only into Chinese transsexuals.
  • In Scrubs, the Dirty Old Man Kelso cheerfully admits he has a thing for oriental women. All of his affairs are with one.
  • On My Name Is Earl, Joy thought her father would give her hell for her marriage to Darnell, because of the way he approached her dating a black guy in high school. It turns out, the young man was Joy's half-brother; Mr. Darville cheated on his wife multiple times with several different black women. Joy also has at least one other half-sister named Liberty, who is on Earl's list.
  • On Mad TV, there is a reoccurring skit about an interracial couple who host a call-in show called Inside Looking Out, where they give tips on interracial relationships. The white wife is an unabashed bigot who makes derogatory remarks about her black husband, while the husband ignores the degradation since he enjoys sleeping with a white woman.

Music

  • The song California Girls by The Beach Boys is all about "the girls from state X are attractive in this way, while the girls from state Y are attractive in that way instead".
  • The Beatles' "Back in the USSR" is in part a parody of "California Girls."

 The Ukraine girls really knock me out

They leave the west behind

And Moscow girls make me sing and shout

That Georgia's always on my mi-mi-mi-mi-mind.

  • Estelle's American Boy is about her liking her man because he's American.
  • Black Eyed Peas song Latin Girls is about how they like Latin women.

Newspaper Comics

  • In one The Boondocks storyline, Sara (white woman) is upset when she finds out that her husband Tom (black man) only ever dated other white women. He eventually argues back by listing all of her ex-boyfriends, all of whom have generally black names (one was apparently kicked out of the Nation of Islam for dating her).

Stand Up Comedy

  • In 2005's Comedians of Comedy, Brian Posehn wished that someday America's relationship with Iraq would be like our current one with Japan. "We find their old people adorable, they have restaurants in the cool part of town, you have a Scott who only fucks Iraqi girls."

Theater

  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street starts with the song "No Place Like London", where young Anthony sing about the wonders of the world. While the film adaptation and some (maybe most) theater versions have these wonders be mountains and such, there's also a version where it's quite clear that he's singing about the women of the different countries. In all versions, the song is most likely intended to present Anthony as a good guy, not as a racist and sexist. It's just that the more sensual version has aged badly. Which is likely why it didn't stick.
  • In the play The Colored Museum, Miss Roj mentions that gay bar "The Bottomless Pit" does not just cater to black men, there are also "The dinge queens, white men who like their chicken legs dark".
  • Hair often use the song "Black Boys/White Boys" in the same way as the film version.

Web Comics

  • In Single Asian Female, it's theoretically impossible for a white man to be attracted to an Asian woman as anything more than a fetish object. Because all white men are creepy jerks, and it's time the Asian women realize that the Asian men deserve to have them. (Yep: While the in-universe narrator was a female Asian, the author was a male Asian - and a quite bitter one at that.)

Web Original

Western Animation

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