Race Fetish

"Once a year the Gores hold a family reunion in northern Mississippi... my grandmother Gore liked to say, if any descendant of mine should marry someone colored I'll come back and haunt 'em. When I was grown I liked to tease her with the knowledge that our blood had been commingled with that of the other race ever since the country began; she would then simply change the subject and complain about how the Civil War was the vengeance of God on a generation of Southern boys who preferred shooting and hunting to going to school."
Gore Vidal, Point to Point Navigation

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.

Unfortunately, this tendency does not necessarily make someone antiracist. Indeed, if Bob is disgusted by both other races and women, mistreating Alice, who is not of his race, might be Fetish Fuel for him on a number of disturbing levels. (And if females of the other race are stereotyped as always being lust-inspiring and the man hates them for precisely that reason, that might be Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny.)

While it can certainly be part of the initial attraction, this trope is unlikely to be a fundamental part of a mixed marriage in reality, 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 men with White women), Black Gal on White Guy Drama (White men with Black women), Matzo Fever (Gentiles for Jews), Shiksa Goddess (Jews for Gentiles), Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow, 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. Compare Like Goes with Like for characters who prefer their own race.


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!"
  • Jill: Part-time Lover has the title character outright state a preference for Black men based on confidence and style (every guy is well-endowed in this world so it's not that trope) to the extent she gives her real name and number instead of it being "business" with the book's last encounter being three of them, which would normally qualify as Where Da White Women At? except Jill's an Ambiguously Brown Darkskinned Redhead.

  • 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.
  • The eponymous detective in Rock Slyde prefers big black women.

  • 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.
  • Charlie Sheen's character on Two and a Half Men occasionally displayed a fondness for Asian hookers, though by no means exclusively. (One Imagine Spot depicting his funeral shows mostly white women - and at least one token black one - in the church wearing short black dresses. They spit on his corpse, and the saliva is said to lessen the pain of all the pitchfork stabbings his soul is receiving in Hell.)
  • 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 Asian women. All of his affairs are with one. It's implied to be due to having served in Vietnam; he even conceived an illegitemate child during the war.
  • 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 (including stating she'd attacked him before because she thought he was a burglar), while the husband ignores the degradation since he enjoys sleeping with a white woman.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, it would not take a tremendous leap of the imagination to conclude that Gul Dukat has a somewhat creepy fetish for Bajoran women. Meanwhile, the Cardassians were brutally occupying the Bajoran homeworld at the time with Dukat as the governor. With the exception of his Cardassian wife, who is occasionally mentioned but never shown onscreen, the only women we see him involved with or interested in are Bajoran.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lwaxana Troi is quite open about her preference for human men. That said, she has pursued men of other species in serious relationships, so she's definitely not limited to humans.
  • There's a possible Fantastic Racism example in the 1983 Sesame Street TV movie Big Bird in China. Big Bird is in Chinatown one day when he catches sight of a painting of a beautiful yellow bird in a shop and is instantly taken with it. The shop's owner tells him that it is Huang Feng, the Chinese phoenix, and that she can only be found after those who seek her come to China and solve four strange riddles that will eventually reveal the Phoenix's location. Immediately, Big Bird feels a strong desire to go to China and tell the Phoenix how much he admires her culture, even though he knows next to nothing about the Chinese and never displayed an interest in them either. It's hard not to reach the conclusion that Big Bird is romantically infatuated with Huang Feng and seeks her for a mate. In any case, when Big Bird finally finds the Phoenix at the end of the movie, he finds that she's not a bird at all, but a Chinese goddess who teaches foreigners about China.
  • During a Freudian Slip, Phil from Modern Family accidentally makes it known that he has a serious thing for black women.
    Phil: I'll admit it, I'm turned on by powerful women. Michelle Obama, Oprah, Condoleeza Rice, Serena Williams...wait a minute.

  • The Black Eyed Peas' "Latin Girls" is about how they like Latin women.
  • "Black Girls" by the Violent Femmes.
  • The Rolling Stones' "Some Girls" compares attributes of women from various races and nationalities. Subverted somewhat in that not all of them are deemed positive or attractive. They also wrote the songs "Brown Sugar" (about slave rape) and "Little Negrita".
  • "Goddamn, you half-Japanese girls do it to me every time...
  • Referenced in a very dark manner in the Radiohead song "Pearly*," which is about "dirty people who use sex for dirty things."
  • Stephen Lynch, a white man, has a song called "Vanilla Ice Cream" which is, oddly enough, about his preference for dark-skinned women.
    "Oh, I hate vanilla ice cream, I like chocolate instead"
  • Childish Gambino mentions in several songs that he likes Asian girls (he is black). Most obviously on "Kids":
    Finding you is like finding Asians I hate
    But they say I got a fetish, nah Iím skipping all of it
    Black or white girls always come with a set of politics

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."

  • 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 George C Wolfe's 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.)
  • Niels brings us two examples of this trope:
    • The title character, bisexual Niels, has the jungle fever, bad. He's in a poly-amorous relationship with a black couple, and his personal security is staffed with blacks as well. Several comics have drawn attention to his various sexual fantasies.
    • Agent 250, our Manly Gay secret militant agent, seems to have a fetish for Scottish people and culture. His current boyfriend, Agent 300, is a full-blooded Scotsman, and several comics have drawn attention to 250's uncontrollable arousal whenever this fact is emphasized. 250's ex-wife Irene even lampshades this in one strip. He is especially attracted to his boyfriend's accent, which comes in two flavors: his more subtle accent, being the product of a rich private school education, and his thicker, natural Glaswegian accent, which he only drops into when he's too drunk to maintain his upper-class-gentleman composure.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • In Clerks: The Animated Series, Randall is only interested in Asian Chicks, though when through some wacky circumstance he has several Geishas eager to do his bidding, he sends them out for porn featuring Asian women.
  • An early episode of The Simpsons had a nightclub singer named Gulliver Dark performing in one of the most popular burlesque houses in Springfield. He sings "I could love a million girls/And every girl a twin./I could love a Chinese girl/An Eskimo - " which is as far as he gets before the act is comedically interrupted (by Homer, of course). After he gets Homer to join him on stage, they sing the rest of the song: "...An Eskimo or Finn./I could dig a Deutschland chick/A girl with golden curls./In fact I think that we could love.../About a million girls!" The showgirls dancing with Gulliver are almost all Caucasian (which, this being The Simpsons, means they have yellow skin), but they dress in "ethnic" costumes depicting whichever culture he would sing about.
  • On American Dad! Bullock admits that he loves fat Asian butts, and he cannot lie. (Also, sluts. Fat Asian sluts are "the trifecta!")
  • Archer's Lana Kane has yet to be seen with anyone other than white men (Cyril and Archer, to be precise). Given her fascination with watching interracial porn, it's likely this is more than just coincidence.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a variation in the episode "Simple Ways": Trenderhoof certainly seems to have something of a (g-rated, of course) fetish for earth ponies, and one of the driving forces of the plot is that he's interested in Applejack because she fits his idea of what earth ponies are supposedly like rather than being interested in her as an individual. Applejack, of course, wants nothing to do with him.