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Tuesday
Jun022009

Sometimes the White Girl (Or Guy) Isn't About You (Unconventional Wisdom)

If this picture makes you mad, maybe you should ask yourself a few things. Like, why on earth do you care?

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.

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Reader Comments (143)

Interesting post. I like the whole take responsibility for yourself part, but I think on a subcounscious level I understand why some black women would be offended. If the "white" woman is the world's ideal of beauty, and if that is the case, why does she have to have her pick of all the men in the spectrum? Why can't she leave some men for the rest of us. Why she gotta hog the black dudes too? Rhetorical question of course.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAdeshola Blue

I can see both sides of this. On one hand, if they seem happy, yay. But on the other hand, there's nothing I hate more than black men saying "I don't date black women because...[insert bullshit here]' Thanks for being assholes dudes.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commentershannon

OMG are we the same person? I just wrote a post about interracial relationships and how I should be less freaking judgmental. So strange, my friend.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRyanB

Black women will be threatened by black men dating white women UNTIL we realize that we too have options outside the race and begin to pursue them-- and allow ourselves to be pursued.

Listen, I've got an even weirder take on it as a white girl who's a brunette :)))

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDot

I'll be happy to address that, Adeshola. Rhetorically, of course.

It could be argued that The White Woman isn't hogging or taking anything, since she cannot technically "make" The Black Man date her. The Black Man who would find himself in a relationship with The White Girl is probably a man that would've dated her anyway, regardless of how The Black Woman feels about it. I think once that reality (or possibility) is accepted, this entire thing would be a lot easier to swallow.

Ultimately, this deep-seated resentment towards people that date outside of their race is archaic and petty. There is no guarantee that a brother who isn't dating a white woman will date a black woman, or any specific black woman (i.e. yourself). Just like when men date other men, or women date other women. No one is taking anything from anyone. We cannot be possessive about individuals we never had in the first place, especially once we age past twelve. People are going to do what they're gonna do.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenternOva

Nova, I hear ya, I was just throwing the psychosis out there. It has been my experience that the majority of the guys that dat white woman aren't the kind of guy I would date anyway. For me it is a moot point because I married the man I wanted to be with.... And he is black.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAdeshola Blue

Well said nOva, my feelings on this topic are all over the board.

For a time I did have that tinge of jealously upon seeing a black man with a white woman--despite the fact that two of my uncles (one on each side) are married to white women whom I love, along with the 9 cousins produced from those unions. Before I was married (to a black man) I was an equal opportunity dater, Bi-racial, Hispanic, White, Samoan, I didn't have any restrictions on who I might be attracted to/felt a connection with which is why I had to get over that sense of possession when it came to black men. I had to admit as many others should, they are free to be attracted to and connect with whomever they like as well. As the Snob said, it just ain't about me.

I will be honest though and admit for some archaic reason I still feel some small victory has been won when I see a "reverse" mixed race couple--a white man with a black woman. Hypocrisy abounds.

Oh and the only piece of dating advice I give my younger sister is n*ggas come in all colors.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMrsT

BM will continue to get the sideye for IR until they stop saying, I date _ because BW are mean, fat, bad attitutude, gold diggers (a lot of men don't have gold to dig anyway really). They have been the ones silly enough to publicly put down women in their own ethnic group.
And when are BM gonna start getting their WW to starting fight police bruatality and other causes that BW are help fighting on their behalf? Is it b/c they are too busy fighting for their kids multi-racial movement so they can benefit from white supremacy on behalf of their mother.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpoliticallyincorrect

Karyn, I hope you're the Karyn Langhorne of Unfinished Business and A Personal Matter fame. If you are, I freaking love your books. If not, well, I still love those books! AND I agree with your post 100%. I addressed this issue on my own blog. Black men don't belong to us, therefore we have no right to expect anything of them. Nothing to see here. Keep it moving. Next.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRoslyn Holcomb

The way I see it we're all pretty much damaged goods. White people have their prejudices. Black people are color conscious, acknowledged or not. Did you see the Tyler Perry movie trailer featuring a dark-skinned black girl madly in love with a light skin guy sporting "good hair?" Some people like me enjoy contrasts, such as very dark skin and pale white skin. Whatever floats your boat is fine with me. It's useless to have jealousy. Everyone is going to have problems, whether you marry outside your race or stay inside. The most important thing will have to learn is to stop believing in fairy tales, Hollywood stories and photo ops. They only show part of the illusion.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdukedraven

I know I shouldn't resent black men dating white women. I know I shouldn't judge those who find love in the arms of women of others races but I do.

Maybe I'm irrational but there are times, it things just seem unfair. As a black woman, you can go the school, pursue an advanced degree, get a "good job", keep your nose clean, have your act together and still be relegated to ice cream sundaes alone on a Saturday night with nightcaps with your B.O.B.

It's unfair for highly educated black women to be expected to date men who aren't interested in life-long education. Yeah, yeah, I know there are bus drivers and what not interested in self-improvement but I promise you that for each one who is, there are 20 more who are not. Why are we expected to date them?

Yes, I know I can date men of other races, but damnit, I love my culture and I want to pass on my family's cultural traditions to my children. I've been fortunate enough to work with people from different culture. It very upsetting for me to hear people who are half Asian disparage people and the culture of China or Korea. I cringe when I hear biracial people play racial hop-scotch.

I'm just saying.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

I agree its not about you as an individual, and a the majority of the times it's not about you, as a member of "the black race". However I have to say there have been instances, in the US and elsewhere, when I've observed or somehow been in a situation with another black person (male or female) when it was clear to me the other black person felt I'd spoiled their specialness by disproving they were the only black person who would inhabit such a place/activity etc. I never ask anyone to be black for me. I'm also very careful about applying the US centric, passe ?, one drop rule to any person- even when their afro antecedents are very much apparent.

We've all seen the video's of the little [black] kids who consistently choose the white doll as the smart,attractive,nice doll. vs the black doll. cf A Girl like Me @4:45 That's heartbreaking. No one, regardless of their views on IR dating, etc would deny that it reveals a very problematic self regard in the child and the home environment. That is about that child, fast forward to when said child is dating etc and the same preference is made-repeatedly-> its still about that individual, and-- the same lack of self regard.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdilettante

Why does everyone seem to think that there is something inherently wrong with every white woman or the black man that decided to date her?

It's really nobody's business but there's. As a black woman in a relationship with a white man I don't feel that I have to explain myself to anyone. Our relationship is between the two of us and no one else. And no, I don't have anything against black men. in fact, I pretty hesitant about going out with him because he's white.

Not everyone has some personal agenda to specifically seek out a white woman or man or anyone other group outside their own. Sometimes it just happens that way. You meet someone and realize that you all are good together.

I just wish everyone would stop trying to draw their own conclusions about someone else's personal life.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKyra

I LOVE Hiedi and Seal. One of my favurite hollywood couples. I love the fact that their relationship seems so genuine and they make LOTS of babies lol. I cant stand tiger, so I'm not gonna comment on him, although i'm sure no one expected him to end up with a black woman lol. I really dont care who other ppl happen to fall in love with, it comes in all packages. My first boyfriend was white, and i've dated pp of all ethnicities. What i cant stand however is when certain black men ,and I've seen it happen act like being with ANY non black woman is some sort of acomplishment, regardless of status, education etc. Even then it's not so much anger as it is 'girl you can KEEP his colour struck ass cuz i DO NOT WANT! :(

Good post Danielle

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermimi

Wow, a lot of great point made both in the post and in the comments.

Growing up I was taught to never bring a non-Black man home, and that definitely shaped my view on dating and who I dated when I became an adult. Because my father saw IR dating/marriage as such a negative, when I was younger I saw it in the same way. It took some growth and some exposure to diferent folks for me to get out of that mindset.

As some of the other posters have noted, my biggest problem is not with IR dating itself, but with the motivations of the BM who do it. I have no problem with love, its a beautiful thing and if 2 folks fall in love & happen to be of different races, so be it. But there seems to be a lot of BM who have a lot of anger towards BW, and they use that as their excuse to date outside their race. BW aren't all fat, ugly, have attitudes, emasculating, etc. The level of self-hate and hate for their own people boggles my mind.

I had never considered IR dating until I finished school, got my good job, and promptly discovered that all the men on my "level" weren't checking for me, and neither are the blue-collar men cause I make too much $. I played by the rules (went to school, got a job, etc) but at the end of the game it was a big "gotcha!". So I've had to open up my dating pool out of necessity and I've found that I've met some really nice guys that I wouldn't have given the time of day to otherwise.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJubilance

As one of the white women how as married a black man, thank you Danielle and commenters for shining a little more light on some of the glances I get when with my husband sometimes.

I've known what you describe, but the eloquence made it real for me.

Peace.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergimmeabreak

As a bitter nerd who went on to great success, I can tell you that sisters were not checking for Tiger and Seal before fame. Just saying...

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWenzel Dashington

Indeed, if said person (male or female) is not with you, then she/he doesn't belong to you. That being the case, said white person can not possibly be stealing her/him from you (singular and plural). I understand that twinge of rejection, that one gets in seeing someone of your "race" with someone of another "race", but we have to get beyond that twinge and move on.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Noface

I agree with most of the comments. I agree with politicallycorrect about black men or women downing each other when they are in a interracial relationship. I don't understand why if you are so happy with the white girl/guy you are with you have to still keep complaining about your racial counterpart and all of their flaws. it all has to do with rejection, nobody wants to feel rejected. I understand that some men and women will pursue what they lik, it is just some sort offeeling of rejection that some black men/women have seeing their racial counterpart with a spouse of another race. I also believe that black women do need to widen their horizons and stop proclaiming thhat they'd never fate a white man because of slavery or this or that, I sure don't here this same argument from the majority of black men, although I do know a black man who has repeatedly sad they wouldn't date a white girl for this reason or the other. I think that we have bigger issues as a race, we can't tackle them divided, we shouldn't degrade each other or make our racial counterparts look evil though. i used to be that black girl who took my own low self-esteem out on black men and I even stooped to the point of perpetrating the stereotypes about them( not in the company of whites though, I wouldn't go that far), I have realized that it made me feel no better about myself and even worse. I don't need to be validated by a black man or a white man, i am who I am. I just think that we as a people shouldn't feed into the ignorance and the stereotypes that people already have about our race. I had even began to strongly dislike white women, even though some of my best friends were white. It is like I loved my white girlfriends collectively but disliked white women as a whole! I know that sounds so harsh, it really made me feel torn, it made me feel as if I was hiding the true me, but I wasn't because that was not who I was. I am over it now, I believe that personal experiences also affect the way that feel about interracial couples, I have had a bad experience in high school and I began to hold grudges against black boys. I am now over it. I am a highly likeable young woman and I can humbly say that I have alot of blessings and a wondeful family who has made it easier for me to deal with such personal things.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNAGROM

Well tiger is a billionaire now and i'm still not 'checking' for him, he just doesnt do it for me lol. I'm suprised you didnt mention show killer taye diggs who seems to believe that all his career problems come from having a white wife lol. For the record, I dont think he deserves Indina, met her once and she's really sweet and good for him if all the rumours of infidelity etc are true. Sorry for going of on tangent, Im bored at work today :)

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermimi

@Wenzel, were Heidi and the nanny checking for them before the fame. What supermodel dates a bus driver?
I love Heidi by the way, she has a genuine aura about her and I think thats why black folks don't give Heidi and Seal the side eye

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpoliticallyincorrect

Um @ Wenzel Washingon, lets not try to generalize black women shall we? I for one am not interested in thugs, black, white, Latino, or Asian, and I certainly would beinterested in an artsy man like Seal (Im not a fan of Tiger's personality though). I don't think that your mentality helps the situation because you are once agin putting all black women in a box. What if I had reversed it and said that most black men wouldn't have been into First Lady Michelle Obama or ex Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice? We don't all go for the gangters.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNAGROM

Also Danielle, it goes both ways, you failed to mention the hate geared at black women by some white women and black men when they are in interracial relationships. Also jealousy comes in all shades, are we foolish enough to believe that only blacks feel this way about interracial couples? I don't think so. Look at all of the black men who were killed for being even suspected for approaching a white woman in a romantic manner. Hate and intolerance comes in all shades.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNAGROM

I like Heidi too, and Seal is sweet. He doesn't dump on black women thank God. I hate it when somebody who is in an interracial relationship criticizes the black man or woman.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNAGROM
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