All Articles Tagged "interracial dating"
Overarching statements are damning.
They create a certain expectation and/or reinforce stereotypes. But at the root of every overarching statement, there are truths.
While running errands in the Ft. Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, I ran into an alumna of my alma mater. Naturally, having not seen her in over a year, casual greetings turned into an hour conversation about crazy Brooklyn real estate, new restaurants, old restaurants, homecoming and, of course, dating.
“Oh, I’ve completely stopped dating Black men,” she definitively said. “I’d be a masochist if I date another Black man. I wish I knew better a long time ago.”
After rolling my eyes one hard turn, I begged the question, “Why?”
“The last Black man I dated… we went out, thought we had a good time. Next day, he tells me he doesn’t feel comfortable dating me because my nose is too wide and my lips are too big.”
I was shocked.
From time to time you’ll hear how a man implied that he’s keen toward certain physical attributes not typical of descendants of west African women. And there’s the age-old, “You’re pretty, for a dark-skinned woman” back-handed compliment that’s been said one too many times. But in actuality, as a dark-skinned African woman, I had never heard these epithets to my face. Maybe I’m sheltered?
Researcher Robert L. Reece’s recent Vox study found that when Black people simply mentioned they were multiracial, they were rated as more attractive— even if they weren’t actually multiracial. “Race is more than we think it is,” Reece told the Duke Research Blog. “It’s more than physical characteristics and ancestry and social class. The idea that you’re a certain race shapes how people view you.”
Now let’s apply this to real life, specifically in large metropolitan cities, where many Black men are in interracial relationships. In 2013, a record-high 12% of newlyweds married someone of a different race, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data.
“Among Blacks, men are much more likely than women to marry someone of a different race. Fully a quarter of Black men who got married in 2013 married someone who was not Black. Only 12% of Black women married outside of their race.”
Applied to Hollywood, pick your Black leading man —outside of Denzel, Samuel, and Jesse— and you’ll find a white or racially ambiguous women. Then there’s the conscious types —Henry Louis Gates Jr., Touré, W. Kamau Bell, even Key & Peele— who are or were married to non-Black women.
The “phenomenon” has even found its way to Africa, where women from North and East Africa are regarded as beautiful and exotic; synonyms not as commonly used to describe women from other areas of the continent. So what is the point of all of this? Why do these numbers and notes matter?
Point is: there’s validity in Black women being concerned/perturbed/angry about their men abandoning them for women of other races. And yes, dark-skinned (non “multiracial”) women may legitimately have it harder. But instead of acknowledging these facts, Black women are constantly labeled as “jealous” for simply wanting to procreate with men who share their same features. Yes love is love. But that argument is trite for Black women waiting for their Black husband.
When I asked my 40-something friend if she thinks our men are marrying other races because we’re too hard on them, thinking the trend might stem from a non-physicality, she said in no uncertain terms,”No.”
“I think it’s because we’re too lenient. We fight for them, march for them, die for them. And they don’t do this for us. It’s not that we’re not giving them enough love, it’s that we’re giving them too much.”
So I pose these questions to you: What’s the solution for Black women? Does the race or pigment of a man’s wife say something about his character? And if so, what?
To Black Girls Who’ve Considered Interracial Dating When Their Mothers Told Them Black Men Weren’t Enough
Taking one of our walks around the track at the neighborhood high school, while recounting the goings-on in my love life, I told my mom, “We decided to call it quits.” Yep, another dating situation gone wrong. While walking our last lap, breathing hard and anticipating the walk home, my mother said, “Well, Deja, maybe you should set up an account on Black People Meet.” I laughed considering all of the interesting experiences I had already had with dating sites like OkCupid and with online dating in general. After shutting down that option, she then said, “Who knows? You might not find love with a Black man at all.” Once again, I laughed. But once I finished chuckling, I got quiet and really started pondering what she had just relayed.
I’ve always felt an obligation as a Black woman to love on our Black men. I never imagined myself dating, or even marrying anyone from another race. I just couldn’t see that happening. But later on that night, as I was having a conversation with friends about interracial dating and my talk with my mother, I thought about all the reasons I felt as though I couldn’t do it, and then all the reasons why it could actually work. As you could imagine, that was a long conversation full of rambling, reflecting and cackling over wine.
One of the things I brought up was the fact that sometimes I like to be real Black. Like, a militant power-to-the-people Black. And although I’m not a racist, there are moments where I find myself not really “feeling” White folks. Not really “feeling” the injustices our people face. Not really “feeling” the micro-aggressions” and entitlement and naïveté. So with that in mind during our discussion, I wondered how I could date someone of another race knowing that I feel this way, knowing the pride I have in being Black, and knowing how important to have open and honest conversations about social justice issues and more. I think it’s important to have a deeper understanding of each other’s cultural backgrounds and obligations before entering into an interracial relationship, especially if there’s a history of conflict between them. It’s important to understand how that affects each other’s life, so being able to have frank communication about race is important. However, dating interracially isn’t just a black and white thing.
Dating someone of another race can definitely be a learning experience. You learn someone else’s culture and way of life and they learn about yours. It is an opportunity to learn and grow from someone who might come from a different background and have a different perspective from you. On the other hand, there’s also the worry that you could be pursued for reasons outside of basic beauty and a nice personality. Black fetishism is real. Admiring the differences in a partner who is of a different race is fine, but that line gets blurry when there’s a heightened expectation based on a stereotype, such as the stereotype of the hypersexualized Black man and woman, or the submissive White and Asian woman.
There’s a lot to be talked about when it comes to dating interracially, so I’m not one to believe the hype when people tell you “it’s not that deep.” When race and race relations are involved, it can become a sensitive topic, but a topic that shouldn’t be swept under the rug because of a fear of stepping on toes or running someone away. With that being said, I feel that I have a lot to consider when it comes to attempting to date someone of another race, if I ever decide to do so. But who knows? Maybe mom knows best…
I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost a year. He is Mexican of Aztec descent and I’m Black with a mixed background. The love and chemistry we have is unreal. He’s always there to support me and I couldn’t have prayed for a better partner. I have nothing against Black men, but we were friends and fell in love. Our families get along great as well, but the looks we get when we go out together are unreal. People actually walk up to us and say it’s disgusting and gross that we’re together. Even my own father, who I have an estranged relationship with, has an issue with it as well. He stated that when we have a child it will be twice as hard in this life being Mexican and Black because Being black is hard enough. I literally broke into a million pieces.
My boyfriend said he’s used to stuff like this because Mexican culture is looked at very poorly, but he has his own business and takes care of his mother and is wonderful father to his son, whom I love dearly. I’ve been in some horrible relationships and literally gave up on love then God brought us together. I thank God for him everyday. He still gives me butterflies and makes my heart skip a beat constantly. It breaks my heart that we’re in the year 2016 and people are still so ignorant. But what people fail to realize is that with all the hate thrown at us we always talk about how it affects us and it just deepens our strength for one another. But I do feel as if there needs to be some education for people who have an issue with us. I don’t believe in being ugly because that would make me look like the hatred I receive. We are planning on getting married and starting a family. What’s your opinion on what we’re dealing with?
Loved and never giving up
What should she do? Leave your advice for this reader in the comments section.
Got a question you want answered? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I gleefully ran my hands up his bare chest; his washboard abs made it easy to forgive his Justin Beiber- hairstyle. He traced his lips up the side of my neck, gently tugged on my earlobe with his teeth and whispered into my ear, “I love your skin.” Supreeth wasn’t the first one to tell me this; previous suitors had told me numerous times that my skin feels like butter– a true testament to my moisturizing regimen. At least this is what I thought Supreeth meant by his comment until he clarified with another throaty whisper, “I just love Black women.” Oh boy, was I canoodling with a guy with a racial fetish?! This was my first real-life confrontation with a comment of this sort and I wasn’t quite prepared for the contradictory feelings that ensued: I simultaneously felt repulsed and flattered by him.
Racial fetishism is hardly a new concept. It’s well documented that Black women suffered horrendous sexual crimes at the hands of colonial and slave masters as Black women were often merely regarded, by their oppressors, as objects of sexual gratification. The hypersexualized images of Black women which have persisted throughout history and into present day media have continued to feed into this monster. Take for instance “Hottentot Venus”, a South-African woman who was exhibited in live shows in 19th-century Europe for viewers to gawk at her large posterior; in the 1980s, Jean Paul Goude’s art book titled Jungle Fever featuring photographs of the Black female form – equally riveting and offensive in their allure; and let’s not forget our present day video vixens. This imagery perpetuates the stereotype of Black women being kinky creatures guaranteed to give you the sexual ride of your life. The part of me that wanted to recoil from Supreeth and slap him across the face understands this thoroughly.
On The Other Hand
But quite paradoxically, the part of me that succumbed to Supreeth’s touch knows the struggle that Black women have faced (and continue to face) with mainstream culture’s lack of acceptance of our natural beauty. We’re constantly assaulted by subliminal messaging telling us that lighter skin is better and straighter hair is best. So I can’t help but somewhat agree with writer Zara Chiron who says, “But with the fetishization of Black women, our Afro beauty is being perceived as something desirable which bizarrely gives rise to a positive point for us. We can be sex symbols; we too can be sought after as physically attractive and sexually appealing – in a world full of Barbie, majority white (Disney) princesses and movie heroines and protagonists. We are, finally, being portrayed – however questionably, in a way that says we are not completely repulsive as women.”
Straddling The Fence
As Supreeth and I were kissing, I was straddling the proverbial fence: on one side I felt offended, on the other I felt lauded. All the while in the middle feeling a degree of sympathy because if I truthfully examine my own preferences, I have to admit that I am partial to brown skin tones. Curiously, I don’t view myself as having a fetish – just a preference – so who am I to point fingers and call Supreeth a fetishist? I came across an article an article by Latoya Peterson who made an interesting observation, “… sometimes certain characteristics (which may or may not be common to a certain race or ethnicity) can be highly coveted by individuals. Darker skin is not common to all races. Neither is long, straight, jet black hair or blue eyes. So, it would stand to reason that people who find certain characteristics attractive would start seeking out individuals with those characteristics – which may lead to dating along racial lines. Hmmm…preference or fetish?”
“Why do you love Black women?” I asked Supreeth. “Oh, you know… they’re more fun,” he responded. He delicately caressed my back for a short moment before he added, “I have lots of Black friends, you know.” Stunned silence. I could not believe that he actually said that with a straight face. In just two sentences, Supreeth denied me of my individuality and boxed me into a general “Fun” category based on my skin color. I went from straddling the fence to being undeniably offended.
My experience with Supreeth was not the last of its kind. Subsequently there was Hiroki who told me that, “[He had] a thing for [my] skin color,” and Jeff who said that he preferred Black women because “they taste better.” Despite my experience with these men, I sometimes still struggle with this internal push-pull of feeling of being adored yet objectified. Can you relate?
Empire star Derek Luke’s comments about his marriage had everyone talking about interracial dating. But do you know where the stars stand when it comes to dating outside of their race? Well, you’re about to find out.
In this Ask A Black Man Celebrity Edition episode we decided to get to the bottom of this whole obsession between famous men and White Women. Do all entertainers really date lighter and whiter as they climb to the top or is that perception a fallacy? Elijah Blake, Sebastian Mikael, and DeRay Davis answer.
Whether you believe she exaggerated her relationship with “Millionaire Matchmaker” beau James Freeman or not, we can probably agree that Kenya Moore’s last dating experience was a complete disaster. Weeks after the fiasco, the former pageant queen spoke to Hello Beautiful about Black women who are down with the swirl and why she believes options are so limited when sisters choose to exclusively date within their race.
“For Black women, we just have to be open because there’s not a lot of eligible bachelors, that are Black, for us to choose from anymore,” she explained.
Moore went on to refer to statistics that suggest that the dating pool for Black women shrinks significantly after you subtract Black men who are gay, unemployed, convicts and those who are interested in women of other races.
“If you take away the ones that are gay, in jail, this is a real issue. Statistics show why we don’t have the choices. You take the ones that are gay, in jail, don’t have a job, the ones that are already married and the ones that are dating and marrying outside our race, what do you have left? You don’t have much to choose from.”
For this reason, the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star encourages interracial dating.
“The nicest thing is that you have options.”
What are your thoughts regarding her comments?
Yes, it’s the interracial dating debate again. But instead of making assumptions that all men from the continent either have dated, are dating, or want to date a fair-skinned or non-Black woman, we decided to ask actual Black men if this whole light is white mentality when it comes to dating is as real as society makes it. Their answers just might shock you. Check out what the fellas had to say about the pervasive ideal that the higher a man climbs in society, the lighter his woman gets in the video above and weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments section.
Check out all episodes from Season 2 of Ask A Black Man here.
You probably know more about Azealia Banks than I do.
However, I’ve done my homework, and in the process, learned a lot about her. I learned that she’s incredibly feisty and outspoken on social media. I learned that she’s not shy about discussing her sex life. I learned that, despite frequently spouting coarse invective (“fa**ot,” “ni**a” and “b**ch”) about other people on Twitter, she proudly calls herself a feminist and pro-black.
I also learned this: Azealia Banks dates “lots of white guys.”
Now, from what I’ve read, she hasn’t said that she only dates white men. The “only” seems to be implied, and it’s an assumption she’s okay with, especially since someone recently asked her on Instagram why she “dated white dudes with money,” to which she offered this response:
“Because black men take black women for granted and I’m too busy with music to be fighting for my rights at home. I already have to fight for respect with the black men in hip-hop so When I get home I like things to be nice and easy. Make sense?”
Azealia Banks probably meant “Make sense?” as a rhetorical question. But “Make sense?” is something I’d like to attempt to answer here.
Or, better put, it’s something I’d like to hesitantly attempt to answer here. I say “hesitantly” because I know Banks is a lively debater and I would be nervous to actually tangle with her in verbal conflict.
My hesitant response to Banks’ “Make sense?” question would be, “Um…no. Actually, it kind of doesn’t make sense.”
To be clear, in my book, people can and should date whomever they choose. My editor Victoria likes to say, “Love is love,” and I wholeheartedly agree with that declaration. Personally, I have dated all across the rainbow. If you saw the last handful of guys I went out with, you might even think I have a singular preference for white men. But many people hear “I date white men” or “I date white women” and they insert an “only” where it doesn’t belong.
Do I date white men? Yes.
Do I only date white men? No.
If someone were to ask me, “Why do you date white men?” My answer would vary, depending on my mood and my audience. I might venture a humorous yet thoughtful response, like,“I grew up as one of only a handful of black kids in a white school. Several of my beloved family members are white (my stepmother and my stepsister). So, hey, what do you expect? An interracial relationship was kind of inevitable.”
Then again, I might act offended at the question itself, and shoot back, “Really? Are people still asking that in 2015?”
But whatever reply I’d give (if I even bothered to give one at all), I’d hasten to avoid what I call, racially escapist reasoning. Meaning, I wouldn’t say (or even imply) that I date white men because there’s something about black men that I don’t like and want to avoid. I wouldn’t make any comparisons about what white men like/do/are/say vs. what black men like/do/are/say. In fact, I wouldn’t bring up black men at all when talking about my decision to date white men. Because frankly, black men have nothing to do with it.
Which is why Banks’ racially escapist reasoning (she basically said, “Black men take black women for granted, so I date white men because they’re nice and easy”) doesn’t make sense to me.
I mean, I get it. But I only get it because I’ve heard it before. The racially escapist explanation for interracial dating is nothing new. For years, people have been similarly defending their relationship choices with some version of “I date white men/women because black men/women are too ____.” (You can fill in the blank with any generalization, like black men/women are too selfish, too aggressive, too mean, too arrogant, too needy, too nagging, too broke, too unfaithful, too untrustworthy, too stingy, too shady, etc.)
There are myriad reasons why one would date outside of their race–from the torrid (exoticism, curiosity, fetishism) to the meaningful (genuine and mutual attraction).
But my question is: Why are we still asking people who date outside of their race to explain themselves in the first place?
Then, my next question is: Why are some people’s explanations for why they date outside of their race based upon broad generalizations and blatantly dogging the so-called unsuitable mates within their race?”
Maybe I’m the only one who’s tired of the lame rationale that if you date a white man (or woman) it’s because you’ve got something against black men (or women).
I generally don’t agree with dating any type of man/woman simply because he/she seems like the antithesis to another type of man/woman. That’s not just racially speaking, either. That goes for the guy who chooses to date women with afros, only because he thinks their natural hair means they’re cooler and freer than the so-called stuck-up women who have relaxers. That also goes for the woman who chooses to date guys with a traditional 9-to-5, only because she thinks they’re more financially reliable than, say, writers and musicians who supposedly don’t pick up the check.
I don’t date one type of person simply for the sake of not dating another type of person. If I date guys from Brooklyn, it’s not because I don’t like guys from Harlem. If I date guys with beards, it’s not because I don’t like clean-cut guys. I don’t date someone because he’s the right to someone else’s wrong. I date a guy because I like him. Not because of who he’s not (not broke, not clean-cut, not black). Just because of who he is.
As a black woman who dates white men, I wish Banks had chosen another way to answer the “Why do you date white men?” question, besides reverting to racially escapist logic. So, that’s one reason why I’d say, “Um…no” to her rhetorical question of whether or not such statements “Make sense?”
The second thing is this: All black men do not take black women for granted.
Actually, no. It’s two things: 1) All black men do not take black women for granted. 2) All white men are not “nice and easy.”
I have dated a lot of black men. I can’t think of one of them who took me for granted. (Not to mention that there’s no one word or characteristic that I could summon that would accurately apply to all black men I’ve dated and/or all black men who roam the earth.)
I have dated a lot of white men. I can’t think of one of them who was unfailingly and unremittingly “nice and easy.” (I can’t think of any person or group of people on the planet who are “nice and easy,” in fact.)
There is no one way to describe all people. Period.
Giving Banks the benefit of the doubt, she may have been using a racial generalization simply as a way of being incendiary, controversial, or even artistic. But Banks’ generalizations about black men have raised eyebrows because of her self-professed “pro-black”-ness. Her outspokenness about dating white men has some people thinking that Banks is a walking contradiction.
I enthusiastically support a black woman who call herself pro-black choosing to date white men. But I’m less supportive of a black woman who calls herself pro-black bashing black men when explaining why she chooses to date white men, and vice versa.
But you tell me: What’s the most pressing matter here? Is it about whether a black woman or a black man has the right to be pro-black in life and pro-white in love? (I’m using both “pro-” terms somewhat loosely, of course. But I hope you know what I mean.) Or is it about whether or not a black person can be “pro-white” in his/her love life without being anti-black?
For me, it all goes back to Banks’ rhetorical question, “Make sense?”
“Love who you love” will always make sense to me as a way of explaining interracial relationships (if they need any explanation at all). But the “I date white men because black men…” thing? Well, that will always leave me scratching my head.
We’ve already discussed the off the wall and crass things some White guys can say when they’re dating a Black woman for the first time.
Some of them can be quite ridiculous, unimaginable even.
And to illustrate just how absurd some of these comments are, BuzzFeed put together another one of their brilliant videos, flipping the script. The video features Black women saying the same type of stereotypical, distasteful and ignorant things White guys say to Black women they’re attempting to pursue romantically.
Take a look at the video below and let us know if you got a kick out of it.