A long crusty time ago in a high school far, far away there was an “epic” schoolyard fight over a boy, a black boy, who was dating a white girl who road my bus. The exact reasons for the fisticuffs have been lost somewhat to history, but I vaguely recall that two black girls decided to take it upon themselves to “jump” the girl from my bus in the stairwell just before school let out.
Perhaps one of the girls used to date the black boy. Perhaps some words had been spoken. But the fight was clearly over the boy and the gall of this particular white girl to date him. So they did confront her in the stairwell and shockingly, the white girl in question actually won the two-on-one fight.
I can still remember her elated face on the bus that afternoon as she talked about the fight in the most hyper voice possible, adrenaline still pumping. Her boyfriend was strangely proud and I was befuddled.
Mostly because I have always thought fighting over a boy, any boy, was dumb, even at 15. It hardly seemed worth it. And while, back then, I thought I understood why a couple of black girls would think it was a “beatdownable” offense for a white girl to date a black guy at our school, I knew the girl on the bus personally and she was a nice person.
I went years not thinking about the incident (which is why my memory of it is so crusty), but one day — and I can’t remember when — I got tired of caring about interracial dating.
More after the jump.
I got tired of ill placed anger at strangers I didn’t know. I got tired of looking at every interracial couple then immediately thinking of my “widdle” feelings. What the hell did these people have to do with me? It wasn’t like they’d met, started dating and married just to personally ruin my day. The insecurity and anger was illogical. Especially considering most of the time I didn’t actually want any of the men who had the white girlfriend or wife. I didn’t even know them. It seemed like a waste of time because …
It wasn’t about me.
I know plenty of black women (and black men to a lesser extent) who were amazingly militant about the whole black-white pairings and are prone to fly into some form of bitterness or rage as if every black-white coupling was a personal affront to their own self-worth. (See anything related to Tiger Woods) Every couple became a moment of doubt to question themselves, then turn and question the couple. It was usually assumed the individual had “sold out” in some fashion or hated black people or themselves or both and were an awful person and that the white person, by association, was some smug interloper sent to make our lives miserable by stealing all the “good” black men from “us.” That the interloper thought they were better than us and special because they had been chosen by this wayward Negro and so the self-hate train would ride into town.
Of course, there was never anyway to verify that these were the cases. They were mere assumptions based on what we’d heard or read or inferred or hoped was true. Because its easier to say “He must hate all women like me” than say “I sometimes lack confidence because I have issues with how I look and feel.” No one wants to openly admit to all those doubts of maybe if I was more (fill in the blank) I would be better accepted, more desirable. Hate spiral is MUCH easier and powerful. You can feel pretty energized after going on a good rant about “no good, self-hating Negroes” and referring to all white women who date black men as “snowflake.”
Black people, despite our best efforts, tend to have some self-esteem issues. For some it’s worse than others depending on what they had to personally endure. But it doesn’t matter how light or dark you are, we all have to deal with some form of dreaded “Negro Derangement Syndrome” beset by growing up as a minority in a majority culture.
Part of that derangement is being routinely told via media and other black people that you are not good enough. Not light enough. Not pretty enough. Don’t have Western features. Aren’t the ideal beauty. With women, this is particularly devastating. Add to that fact that black women tend to be the most dogged about dating and marrying within their race, but are also the least likely to get married, the level of sexual jealousy is extremely high. Often to the point of being unbearable.
It was like everyone I knew was Angela Bassett and this was “Waiting to Exhale” and “Git yo’ shit” was the rallying cry. Everyone had a story of a slight, perceived or real, of abandonment by black men for white women. The most dramatic one I can recall was an old friend from my youth who was madly in love with a biracial man who identified himself as black, got her pregnant, but didn’t want a child so she wound up having an abortion. They would later break up and he would later end up getting a white woman we both knew pregnant. She had the child and he sold his most prized possession, his expensive SUV, to buy a smaller car and his new girlfriend a car of her own.
My friend pretty much died inside, because as insulting as it was for him to have moved on from their relationship so quickly, he’d done it with a dreaded white girl. It made her put in doubt everything about their past relationship and her friends and enemies alike, latched on the white girl part rather than the “Your ex-boyfriend really sounds like an ass” part. Not that she helped it. For some sick reason she still wanted this man. Even though he’d proven to be not dependable and shallow. It was easy to focus on the white girl, who she didn’t know very well and was not within our circle of friends, but it was her ex-boyfriend who’d hurt her. And because he was so shallow he was more than likely to move on and hurt his white girlfriend too (which he eventually did). The man she was crying and fighting over was HARDLY a prize, yet I saw how it destroyed her self-esteem.
I tried to tell her that sometimes, it isn’t about you. That his choices were about him and what he wanted. Her boyfriend treated her badly the whole time they were together. Why would she even want or care what he does? Let the white woman deal with his drama. I found it unlikely that the same guy who wanted one girl to get an abortion was going to be Mr. Liberated and Sensitive Man with the white girl. And he was just as much of a troglodyte with his new girlfriend as he was with the old. She just kept her baby.
She still got stuck with him. Horrible, no good him.
Yet the angst remained.
As an adult I knew black people who struggled with trusting blacks who’d married outside of their race, even if they were still very involved with the community. I befriended a pair of siblings who had both married white people, but were involved in mentoring black students. They loved their spouses and families, but talked about their own problems, like dealing with a daughter who was more drawn to identify with her white mother’s side than her black father’s because of the racism she’d experienced as a child. This bothered her father who wanted his daughter to be proud of being both white and black. They weren’t self-loathing, self-hating black people. They were just black people who happened to have married white people. And they hadn’t actively sought out to marry only white people. They just married people they could relate to. It didn’t make any sense to despise or be judgmental of these couples who became my friends.
Because, again, it wasn’t about me.
I’m not one who talks about interracial dating as the panacea to all the woes of single black women. I think it’s weird when some folks go the full 180 and almost reduce it to a fetish, preaching to the gospel of “date a white man” with the same vigor as those who act like black women are embroiled in some dating war over black men. But then I’m not someone who feels the need to prove how down I am either by saying things like I’m so down that I don’t even find lighter black people with Western features attractive. (A statement I will never quite get. I mean, you’re so not attracted to white people you reject light skinned black people too? Is that based on pre-rejection because you think the light skinned people will reject you for being darker, and if so, isn’t this another “it’s not about you” scenario?)
Taking it personal doesn’t help anyone. If someone dates someone outside of their race it was because they wanted to and not because something is inherently wrong with you (or them for that matter). Even if the person doing the dating outside of their race is of the type who bad mouths other black people, that still has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. That’s all about them and their own self-loathing.
If I could go back in time and talk to those two girls before they decided to jump the white girl in the stairwell, I would ask them why? Why would you fight over a boy who doesn’t want you and why would you attack the girl when, again, it was the boy who chose her? Why would you risk getting kicked out of school just to stop the inevitable? Some black guys are going to date white girls. Attempting to beat up the white girls will not turn that tide. That boy didn’t belong to you just because you shared the same pigmentation. He wasn’t promised to you.
It’s just not worth it.
People would be better served in building their own self-confidence rather than trying to control the uncontrollable. You’d be better off learning to love yourself than becoming mired in bitterness and hate over that thing that’s not really about you. We all want to be loved and desired, but you’re not going to get it if your too worried about what Becky and ‘em are doing with that black guy over there.
Agree? Disagree? Is there a bigger problem going on here or is it really not about you? Share your comments and opinions below. And if you’re so inclined, you can write the counter-argument to this post, and we’ll pring it here on The Black Snob. This story is part of a series on interesting, unusual, funny and unconventional takes on issues. To see the full list of issues that will be covered, click here. To read past stories, click here.