Black Women’s Interracial Dating Woes

I’ve been working on two blogs for awhile now. The first is about black women and interracial dating, the second is about race and culture and what I feel is a growing disconnect within the lesbian community. They are equally touchy subjects and since I’m one the few that has stepped outside the comfort of my cultural confines and branched across the unknown relationship waters known as cultural diversity, I feel as though I can speak on this and offer a varying perspective.

There is this part that I hate that always accompanies the knowledge that I’ve dated white girls. It’s my deep love for black women. Why must there always exist some caveat to accompany such an acknowledgment? As if I haven’t loved more than my fair share of black women just because I have dated outside of my race. I’ve had a few fleeting discussions about interracial relationships with black women before who’ve boldly questioned the dating preference, going so far as to openly wonder what I see in a white woman and what they can do for me that a black woman can’t. Ultimately acting as though there is no reason in the world why I shouldn’t be with a black woman. It’s a bit presumptuous if you ask me and the responses always boggle my mind.

I love and consider all women equally, but that takes nothing away from the deep affinity I have always felt for black women. Not only do I come from one, I love and have loved many in my short lifetime.

But why come across as if the romantic interest in me waned with the discovery of my openness to interracial dating anyway? The truth is, it doesn’t change a thing with regard to how I operate in any romantic relationship I engage in, but it changes how I’m perceived because now I’ve engaged in something they could never fathom themselves doing. I’ve learned to be okay with that.

A little back story before I continue. I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness. In fact, I was baptized fairly young even by today’s standards. I was 9 years old. I was taught very early that a person should be judged by their character, not their skin color. My parents instilled that value in me from an early age, despite the fact that they were raised during a racially aware and highly volatile time in America as it related to race, gender and culture. They remain hot button topics in this country today.  With that said, they also instilled a solid sense of cultural awareness, acceptance and balance that extended beyond just knowing and appreciating our own “kind”.

I used to wonder if [black women] felt justified in their contempt of me while I was in a interracial relationship because they thought I was putting white women on a pedestal just because I put my girlfriend on a pedestal. Are white women held to a higher standard in society in general? Of course they are. Are they put on a higher pedestal universally? There is no doubt, so I do understand why some black women take offense to interracial relationships, but I don’t agree with their reasoning at the same time. I understand better than most that white privilege is a very real thing in America. It’s as real as the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor and the haves and have nots. Everything that is most beautiful in a woman is directly and indirectly insinuated to be inherent in the white female mystique, yet at an early age most black girls are taught to not only look beyond the “mystique”, but to strive to be better than whatever the mystique may be, and this sentiment should touch every aspect of our lives by the time we’re young women. Sadly, this doesn’t happen for most girls.

One of the issues as I see it relates to self-esteem, insecurity, and issues dealing with beauty’s depiction in the mass media and how society says beauty is to be appreciated. Somewhere along the way someone believed that to date a white woman is to take the easy way into and possibly out of a relationship, which is a misleading crock of shit. White women have as much attitude as black women, but the cultural differences in the way those attitudes are expressed is prevalent, however it’s there all the same.

I will admit that I didn’t want to ever address this topic because I didn’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone, but I digress because I need to get some things off my chest. The most glaring being that misconceptions are just that… mis-fucking-conceptions no matter which side of the Mason-Dixon you call home.

What I know with certainty is that it’s never easy to go with your heart when you know so many are against you. We as black women are sensitive and feel almost everything strongly. We’re caring, tenacious and completely trusting once you’ve been let in. We are raised to nurture and have been through more mental and physical ups and downs than any other woman in our quest for acceptance and RESPECT in a world where our struggles are deeply felt and are ten-fold, and not just on a domestic level.

But what else fuels the discontent? I think it boils down to socialization, socio-economic background, exposure to diversity in life and culture, personal comfort level, family acceptance or lack there of, etc. Intolerance isn’t inherent in anyone, it’s learned. I’m most comfortable with the familiar and growing up in an environment where I was exposed to women of all races and cultures. It wasn’t really out of the ordinary that my first girlfriend was white. It’s also why I have no problem dating a beautiful white woman while also concluding that black women are the most beautiful women on earth.

But don’t get it twisted like the people who assume too much when they see me walking down the street with my girl on my arm. The cultural pride found within my black identity is not to be fucked with. My unconditional love and respect for most (not all) black women is not to be fucked with. I’m not the type of person who believes that feeling pride for ones ethnicity and culture, no matter skin color, is something to be avoided or shunned. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of who you are and where you come from especially seeing as though none of us have much choice in the matter.

I believe black women are secretly the most admired women on earth. They have no choice but to be strong, resilient and persistent. The absence of strong black patriarchs denies a girl the very thing she needs most as she matures into a woman. The feelings of admiration that can only come from someone to whom she not only relates, but also embodies; her father. He represents love, authority, strength and security.

I believe racism and sexism hold most black women back more than any other woman in society, save the Native American. Black men are still men thus they get to escape the denigration that is often felt by not only being a woman, but being black on top of it. We are natural born fighters and our loudness doesn’t always or often equate to anything having to do with hostility, as another misconception often erroneously points to. Where there is strength and strong emotion there is as confident tenacity and undeniable mental preservation that rears its pretty head as often as necessary in the face of adversity and harmony. It’s a daily grind.

Black women need to know that they are beautiful and loved. They need to know that they are valued and treasured and held to such a high standard because they are often admired especially from a distance. She need not put anyone down because of their choice to date outside of their race, but instead realize that by not doing so she is not taking away anything from her own identity, awareness or pride.

There is no reason for any woman to feel as though she or anyone else is less than as a direct or indirect  result of interracial dating. There is no excuse for this, yet it persists.

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Comments

7 Responses to “Black Women’s Interracial Dating Woes”
  1. carol g. says:

    I am a black women of mixed race heritage, and I think it is crazy to think that all black woman are to same, whether good or bad. I personally have never been attracted to black men, although, I have dated a few. It's not based on looks that I don't find them attractive, it's the way many, that I've personally come across, don't see me as an individual. The ones I have known seem to think that there is some set system to being a black woman. I don't get this, because in reality, all people are products of their backgrounds, and own personal experiences; therefore, no two persons are the same. There is something pathological to think that all black women, or people of any race or group are all the same. I is very certain that black men who have this belief are in need of psychological counseling.

  2. Faceless Love says:

    Hello Knowledge,

    I have recently just discovered your blogs. They are truly insightful. I was also raised as one of JWs (never baptized), and me coming to grips with my sexuality is wrecking havoc on my life. I feel ashamed and confused. It has driven me to the point of suicide twice (attempted and thoughts) . How did you deal with it all ?

    Congratz about your daughter !

    Thank you once more for the lovely thoughts,

    Faceless Love

  3. Knowledge says:

    I just want to thank you, first off, for taking the time to read my words and leave a message with your thoughts. I appreciate that immensely. You are brave to share such an important part of your life and the struggles you've faced with coming to terms with your sexuality, and I thank you for having the courage to share it with me. I know how hard it is to struggle with coming to grips with your sexuality as a former Jehovah's Witness. I am so sorry that you feel ashamed and confused, but this is a natural part of progression, unfortunately, for many people who have walked in your shoes. It's hard to contemplate my next few sentences because I realize you are not at the point where you can look past the guilt you must feel often, but I know that deep down you will one day come to realize that you have absolutely no reason to feel this way! None at all. Jehovah God loves YOU for the person you are on the inside and outside. I know that you are in a delicate place right now, and the fact that you have attempted to end your pain through suicide not once, but twice makes me want to reach out to you in any way that I possibly can.

    I was baptized at 9 so my growing up in "the truth" went hand in hand with having a multitude of expectations placed on me at a very young age. I lived with guilt for so long, not only guilt, but fear as well, that I didn't even know who I was inside because I'd repressed my feelings for so long. I didn't "come out" so to speak until after high school and by then my attendance at the Kingdom Hall had already waned. I know how you feel so strongly I wish I could take your pain from you, bear it for you, and allow you to finally be and feel free. You don't have to give up your love and belief in God just because the organization no longer accepts you because of your sexuality. Once I stopped putting all my belief in the "organization" and their "truth" and really started to put all my faith in God, my eyes became opened. I prayed long and hard and I still do, daily, for guidance and spirituality. My love for Jehovah has not depleted, however my understanding of spirituality on a broader scale has helped to free me from the confines I once felt restricted to when it came to the organization and their application of the bible scriptures. The guilt impedes on life because it halts your happiness. It halts progress. You feel like just being happy means you're doing something wrong, and it's two-fold for gay and lesbian former JW's. You are not alone. I just want you to know that. I know you know, but there are millions of us out here and the pain will get better, eventually it will go away, and you can retain your spirituality in the process, and become stronger in your own personal faith and your own personal relationship with Jehovah in the end. The pain WILL end. I won't sugar coat it and say that it gets better overnight, but I will say that your belief in not only God, but yourself can and will carry you through. I used to think that because of my love for women, I couldn't possibly have a place for God in my life because he considered my life a sin. I almost, for a time, felt like I may as well abandon God before he abandons me because my life was so wrong in so many people's eyes, yet I could not stop being the person I was. I could not stop putting my faith in HIM and you know why? It's because that faith is built within us, it doesn't have anything to do with the organization and how they feel about your life, or how they try to interpret the scriptures to justify their belief that homosexuality is a sin. The story history of Soddom and Gommorah is not a testament to the history of homosexuality or homosexuals in any sense of the word. It does not represent us or our way of life, and in fact had more to do with men who were rapists and sexual deviants as it related to men AND women. Our relationship with God has everything to do with what is inside of our hearts. I had to seriously search within myself and stop being afraid, for one. I researched the history of the Witness religion, right down to the founder and the trails and tribulations he experienced during its beginnings, the mistakes and miscalculations that he made shows that we are only human after all from the very foundation of the organization to the all-male governing body that runs it. Basically, I learned everything I could about the beginnings, the roots, and where it all fit in on the broader religious scale. I also researched other religions, all the major ones, and I read lots of books from unbiased individuals so that I could feel confident in my decision to live my life in the way I felt most comfortable, without fear or guilt. What I walked away with was a far greater understanding than I ever had at any point prior. What adds to the guilt, confusion, and fear is the fact that there are truly good people that are Jehovah's Witnesses who mean well for themselves, their family, and other people, but their thoughts and feelings are being dictated by the organization and that's what it boils down to. It is a form of brainwashing, unintentional or not. My mom and some of my siblings still attend the meetings, but I realize that they have never shunned me in ways that some ex-JW's have been been shut out and closed out of their families lives. Their love for me has remained strong so that's been a powerful force, although my mom does not fully accept my life, she is there for me whenever I need. That is important, and so I wonder about your support system, and I hope your family is sticking by you. If not your immediate family, then someone else you consider family.

    I really encourage you to read a book by Raymond Franz who was a member of the Governing Body for 9 years before he was disfellowshipped for what the Elders considered apostasy. He questioned the governing bodies policies and was ousted from a religion he loved with all of his heart. He wasn't homosexual, but he would go on to write a book detailing the inner workings of the Witness organization and how decisions, sometimes detrimental and not even based on biblical teachings, were made. Reading accounts from other gays and lesbians and how they overcame adversity and found peace in their newfound love of God and spiritual acceptance was the breaking point for me. I knew then that I could live a life free of guilt and pain because my love for Jehovah has always been stronger than my love for the religion, which is nothing more than an institution, one that brings in probably billions of dollars annually, and one that touches the lives of so many millions of people. That is what religions do, they provide a safety net, a comfort and support system for people who think and believe in the same thing. There's nothing wrong with that besides the rejection of those who love God just as much based on a fallacy. His book is called Crisis of Conscience.

    In any case, I know this is a long reply, so thank you for bearing with me. I ramble, and don't always stay on track, but please feel free to ask me anything, any questions or concerns. If you are EVER feeling suicidal again, please know that you can reach out to me anytime you need to or want to. I am here for you.

    I am not as radical in my spiritual views as it may seem in this e-mail. I no longer struggle with wondering if God still loves me or wondering if I will survive whatever is in store for all humans at our end. I know in my heart that love heals ALL, that includes same-gender loving people who are just as worthy as everyone else of receiving God's love and spreading his message of peace and understanding.

    If you ever need to talk, I am here for you. Remember, when all else fails, this is a man-made religion no matter what you have been taught to believe. You deserve the truth and you deserve to live a happy, fulfilling life with the person you love, no matter what their gender.

    Thanks again for following my blog…. I hope you come back soon!

    Have a really good day.

    Anytime you need to talk… feel free to hit me up.

  4. WTF am I doing? says:

    I have recently stumbled across your blog, and I am impressed. Reading about your past cheating ways is very therapeutic for me right now. I think we probably have very different personalties, but I have also found myself smack in the middle of a full blkown affair. I am trying to figure out why I let this happen to me, while at the same time mourning the loss of my newfound "fun". While short lived (not sure if it's all the way over), I think I became addicted. I can't beleive that I have let myself go there, and my emotions are in shambles. Reading your about your experience is immensely helpful. I recognize that I am apparently completely fucked up, but it helps to know that someone else has been here too…

    • Knowledge says:

      Thank you for stumbling onto my blog. Trust me, anyone who has been in your shoes has asked themself the same question, "Why did I allow this to happen?" You are not alone. I hope you have the strength to come out of your situation, and recognize why and how you got there in the first place. That's half the battle right there. We all slip and fall and the degrees to which we do so are our only differences or similarities. I wish you the best. Please, take care of your own emotions before trying to cater to anyone else's. You deserve to be happy.

  5. Tami says:

    Knowledge this is very very interesting indeed. To be 100% honest, it doesn’t always sit well with me when I see a black woman with a white woman. At the same time, I do believe love is love. So clearly I have my own personal caveats!

    It is never my intent to be racist in anyway; however, I believe that personally having attended an all-white college and spending my career in corporate America you realize that no matter how hard and how smart you are and work sometimes all I blond-hair, blue-eyed girl needs to do is come along and smile. So in a corporate and collegiate setting where having been given the backseat to white girls who have been less qualified or every equally qualified as I and given the okey doke because they have something I never will….fair skin…is a hard pill to swallow. BUT black women swallow it everyday and we keep going and we don’t give up.

    I think there is a huge misconception about black women, not only in the media but within our very own community. And as you pointed out, many of us don’t have or didn’t grow up with the father figure or the protection and adoration of a father. And personally, having paid my way through college and worked and busted my ass and then seeing the white girls whose daddy paid for everything and didn’t need to lift a finger…leaves an impression, for lack of a better term.

    So I think (and I can only speak for me) that there is some misguided anger at the interracial couple which is meant for a world and a time that devalues black women. Where we are told we are not beautiful, not smart enough even when we are. So black women have to find ourselves and believe that we are all that and a bag of chips even when no one else does and the world is telling us otherwise. So seeing a black woman who chooses a white woman for me, doesn’t garner the same respect if she were with a black woman. It seems as if she’s almost tyring to escape and trying to buy acceptance by the white community. Again, not saying this is right but that’s how I feel.

    Now, I’ve gotten a lot better over the years. I am happily in love with a woman whom I adore and adores me. I’ve never dated a white woman, and I don’t know if a white woman would ever understand me and who I am and what I go through.

    I think this is a great post, it really makes me think. It really interesting how we can accept somethings but up to a certain point… i may have to blog about this!

    • Knowledge says:

      Tami, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this subject. It's a sensitive one for most black women to talk about openly and I appreciate the fact that you've expressed yourself in the raw. The reason I wrote this was to start a conversation so to speak, whether it be with someone else or with ourselves. I hope I've accomplished that for you. I am very interested on what you have to say further, so if you decide to write a follow-up on your blog, I'll be reading.

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