But see, why should I try to feel an attraction to someone I don't want? There's no shortage of men I want and I just don't understand what seems to be an attempt to make even romance PC.
By no means should you be required to date men (and thereby open the possibility for attraction) to whom you are not initially attracted. I don't think that's what some of the other posters were saying. I interpreted their comments to mean that there is something a little bit messed-up about anyone--of whatever background--categorically proclaiming (with more than a little misplaced pride) that he or she "will only date X or Z-looking/type of person." It's messed up because it implies that you don't care about personality, intelligence, sense of humor, or other important factors(hello, money? ) As if a physical attribute subsumes all else. It's like a guy saying he will only date women with large breasts.
I totally understand the historical context (believe me, it isn't that complicated to get) but I still don't get the 'so what' here. If an African-American really does prefer one skin tone over another, even if the preference is due to social conditioning, so what? I am just not seeing why it is such a big deal. What harm, other than hurt egos and irritation, is caused? Is anyone losing a job, being denied an education, going hungry, being wrongly imprisoned, dying etc because someone out there does not want to date them?
Everyone will have a different answer for this, but "the harm" IMO is that visited upon some of one's relatives, ancestors, and friends. It is psychological in nature and can negatively affect a person's self-esteem his or her whole life. I'll assume you can imagine what it would feel like to be dark/"kinky"/thick and constantly bypassed in favor of a lighter/wavier/slimmer sibling or relative (extend this to any other group's unique morphology--some East Asians'or Khoisan southern Africans' almond-shaped eyes, for example). But even if you do happen to posess those attributes coveted by the Euro-American majority society (think Beyonce, Ananda Lewis, Mya; Terrence Howard, Shemar Moore, etc.), it doesn't mean you relish potential suitors crowing about them, thereby unintentionally insulting your darker or more curly sibling, cousin, parent, etc. Also, there's nothing flattering about realizing your SO finds your skin tone, or eye shape, or country of ancestry (ahem, "Asian fetish"), or weight the most salient aspect of you. I mean, you couldn't even help how you were born and there are millions of thin or tall people in the world.
So take all this and multiply it by the complicated historical baggage of colonialism and racism and communal self-prejudice (light-skinned Cubans are criollo plantation-owners! Eurasian models are American GI-sired Vietnamese bastards!) and you can see how vocally limiting oneself to those physical attributes favored by an an exploitative society is a recipe for distress.
You mentioned a refusal to succumb to "PC romance." When I hear "PC" I think of some bureaucrat, official, or politician. Truth is, most people are decidely un-PC around their family and friends. PC isn't always a bad thing, though. If being more PC can encourage Auntie Brenda to stop exclaiming over "How light and pretty little Amelia turned out, not like her sister!" (in front of the dark sister) or if it can cause the word "good" to pass out of the hair lexicon (as if hair has a moral calculus), then so much the better.
Lecture over. Now for homework. I came across this article that runs through some of the social elements of light-skinned favoritism in some Diasporic communities. It's not the deepest or the best, but it'll do.
By the way, thanks, MachuPicchu, for a civil, non-bitchy answer.
There's a first time for everything.