I’m not a fan of blanketed statements. One size fits all, generalized sayings that people come up with to justify an opinion have a penchant for the absurd. Case in point: I had dinner recently with an old flame who, despite attempting to rekindle our relationship on numerous occasions (that night included), decided to reveal to me that he’s only attracted to white women. Pump the brakes. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Cue Childish Gambino singing “hold up.”
This individual and I have a complicated history, mind you, but he wasn’t saying this for shock value or out of spite. All the more reason his statement was equal parts slap in the face and genuine confusion.
I’m all for dating who you want to date, bedding who you want to bed and loving who you want to love. Attraction, after all, is not a simple, formulaic thing. But for him to say that he’s only attracted to white women, despite the fact that he’s happily dated me and other Black women before, is highly suspect. You mean to tell me that out of all the Black women living on this third rock from the sun, he suddenly finds none of them attractive? To me, there’s strategy and thought behind this negation; a flat out decision he made to deny connection to the women that look like him, birthed from a place of pain, frustration, or God knows what else. Sadly, he’s not the first Black man to have uttered such a statement, nor will he be the last. But when did attraction to Black women become so taboo, so off limits for some Black men?
After the shock had settled, I asked him to further elaborate. He couldn’t. Perhaps he knew his conjecture was riddled with flaws and contradiction. And when I asked him about it several days later, he had the nerve to be hurt as if I had said something with equal, lasting weight. He doesn’t owe me a response, and I certainly don’t expect one anytime soon because I know the answer may require some serious digging and sincere reflection. Then again, he doesn’t have to find what he said problematic. If he truly considers himself to be attracted solely to white women just because, then, hey, so be it. But you and I both know that ain’t true. What bothers me most is the underlying insinuation. What his statement suggests is what we’ve all heard at some point or another about Black women being deemed heavy-laden and burdened, angry, and argumentative. Sure, that can describe some of us, in the same way it can describe some white, Latina and Asian women, along with women of other races and ethnicities. Herein lies the problem of generalizing. There’s also this perceived notion that white women, in particular, have an innate lightness of being, a trait that, in the eyes of some Black men, skipped Black women completely.
I find it ironic the fact that he (and other Black men who share his sentiments) succumbed to the labels that have long been placed on Black women. Especially considering the sheer hate, lies, misconceptions and stereotypes that are spread about Black men in this country on a daily basis. Not to mention the fear. How many times has the sheer presence of a Black man spawned some supposed threat, particularly in the eyes of law enforcement? Are some of us feeding into all of this negativity, not taking it upon ourselves to know fact from fiction and not to generalize?
What I know for sure is that there is no science behind what makes two people attracted to one another. Attraction is a multi-layered thing that ebbs and flows over time. But in order to connect with another person, that requires being honest and truthful. My old flame suggesting that we rekindle what once was and in the same breath telling me he’s only attracted to white women? There’s not a lick of sincerity or truth in those words, and I’d have to be out of my mind to go for that.