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.