He Said/She Said, PostRacialist

When Love Is Black (Guest Post)

by Frenchie

When my boyfriend and I first made our relationship official almost a year ago, the most common question I was asked by my friends was, “…Is he black?” As an educated young black woman, the meaning and weight behind the question never ceased to surprise me and is continuously reflected in the dynamics of black relationships. While I’ve dated inter-racially before, dating an African American man in the U.S. brings an endless amount of joys and challenges like no other. Our relationship has functioned as a sounding board for many issues facing black people in America, and it is necessary to note that this has become an inescapable reality. To date a black man in America is to date the entire race and over 500 years of history.

More after the jump.

Statistically, our relationship should have failed a long time ago. News articles and TV constantly remind us of the violence, misogyny, institutionalized racism, police brutality, and class issues that the black community faces. We are also often reminded about stereotypes against the “angry black women”, “promiscuous black men”, “dark skin vs light skin”, inter-racial and even inter-ethnic dating both consciously and subconsciously. Through many articles about the Obama’s, aspects of our own relationship are scrutinized and dissected for deeper meaning and shortcomings. And, most interestingly, is how older black couples will offer us advice, often without provocation, because they feel invested in the success of our relationship.

We’ve found that these dynamics are inescapable. We can no more deny them than we can deny our own history. Neither of us fit any mold or black stereotype but we’ve found a safe space in our relationship to have honest discussions about how these statistics, stereotypes, and realities effect us both overtly and covertly. To date a black man in America is to understand that he may have been raised by a single mother and this will resonate throughout your relationship. That he has to be ten times better to be thought of as a equal, even if he is not treated a such. That getting pulled over for DWB or “fitting the description” can cause him to lose his life, or cost him his pride. That there is no single definition of success or progress, and at times he may fall short. That being upheld by society as an example of masculinity, sexuality, and athleticism can often rob him of his own manhood and humanity. That everyone else wants him, but no one else would trade places with him. That, at times, his anger is justified.

We have stumbled along the way, but we do not allow these things to define us or consume our relationship. As his girlfriend, it has been important to offer an understanding ear, support, and criticism and advice when needed- and to laugh. We’ve defined our own relationship without CNN and others spewing constant negative statistics about being ‘Black in America’. If our relationship continues to thrive, its not because we’ve defied the supposed odds, its only because we loved each other.

Frenchie is from  Miami, FL. Ms. Francois currently resides in Washington, D.C.   where she is pursuing her masters in International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University. Frenchie also has a B.A. In Political Science.

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41 thoughts on “When Love Is Black (Guest Post)

  1. David Wise says:

    "To date a black man in America is to date the entire race and over 500 years of history." That sounds like a lot of men and emotional baggage. Hee, hee

  2. Dimestorediva says:

    What the heck! Is this an early April fool’s? It’s come to this has it, that dating your own race needs an article on the subject, to inform the Snob’s black female readers who are all obviously dating white, hispanic, asian and indian men, what they’re missing out on. What an epic fail of an article.

  3. MrsT says:

    I find it, um…interesting that someone would be "surprised" that a black woman is dating a black man. Perhaps surprised if said black man is equally or more so educated, gainfully employed, and lacking a police record and a baby mama. But not by the mere fact of his blackness, when did it become unusual for black people to be together? Is it really that bad?

  4. lee says:

    i hate to break it to ya but dating any man will bring and endless amount of joys and challenges. lol really though… i can kind of see where the comments are going with this article. the majority of black women that i know are in relationships with black men. i’m not exactly sure where this story is going.

  5. France says:

    I wrote the piece to combat the constant stream of negativity towards black relationships and black women ie, black women can’t keep a man, black men are all dogs, all black woman are angry and bitter, educated black men want complacent white women, etc. In some ways we have internalized those stereotypes to the point that a healthy black relationship is an anomaly that doesn’t deserve to be written about or analyzed. If I ‘d written yet another "Why you cant get a Barack" piece (http://www.theroot.com/views/memo-black-women-get-real), everyone would feel comfortable with that over-simplification of black relationships. Unfortunately, the higher the education level of a black woman, the more difficult it is to find a mate. However, when you do find love and stability with a black man, or any man, understanding the challenges he faces, what has shaped him ,as well as his role in society are integral in maintaining a relationship. The same would apply in dating a black woman. Peace and Blessings.

  6. VikingAlumni04:] says:

    Wow, I really thought that this article would be well-received but I guess not. I mean, we hear it all the time that "bruthas" are crossing over and dating outside their race, so you’d think an article celebrating black love would get a little support. I can somewhat see what the other posts were trying to say, about how it’s not really a big deal, but you have to see that we put more pressure on our own race when it comes to mating. As France mentioned, with all the stereotypes of being "hood" and a "ghetto chick", it’s very hard to find someone who compliments on you. France is obviously on her way to the top, so for her to find a BLACK man who is not only on his way as well, but is also madly in love with her, then who are we to judge? She has the RIGHT to be celebrating her relationship. France, it was a great article and I wish you both the best! BLACK LOVE REIGNS!!!!

  7. Dean says:

    I like that she wrote this article and wish someone with the limelight like Oprah would address the issue. I too sometimes see professional African American women and the first thing I say is,’she’s dating some white dude.’ There are so many factors but I agree with everything written in this article.I have dated some of these professional African American women and they were great dates. They always offer to pay on a date (see financial independence) and that is a plus on any first date. I see that as displaying her independence and thoughtfulness. I dated a variety of women for the experience but my heart belongs to the African woman. I’m looking for Queen to marry, so give me a shout out…

  8. Justin says:

    I think France hits the nail on the head. Her honest feelings about her relationship helps to paint a vivid picture of what other black women face when dating…well…my kind. I agree that dating us is not the easiest thing. At least she is approaching her relationship with said black man with honesty and integrity. She is not in it to change who he is or push him to forget his past, but she serves as a constant support, listening ear, and critique to the things that they intimately explore with each other. It is normal to begin asking questions, making assumptions, and walking, at times, on egg shells, the fact of the matter is that they do it together. Communication is key France. Don’t look at him as a test run, or a victim, or a flawed experience, look at him as the man he is. Our pride is heavy, our backs are sore, and our logic is always questioned. Keep your black man and don’t allow the upset, disgruntled, "gotta change my man" black woman syndrome end what could possibly be a match made in heaven. Love us, don’t mother us.

  9. Crucial Vibe says:

    I have to say "Wow" too. I think some of you missed the true meaning of the article by over simplifying what was said. This was not about the likelyhood of someone dating inside their race. It was about promoting understanding. It sounds like your issue has more with an article on relationships, than what was actually said in the article. This article is about taking into account the enviornment that shapes the Black man, in it’s totality (and in the context of reality). A lot of what motivates us (either positive or negative) is fed to us through our enviornment, our family, our friends, our parents, our neighborhood. They shape our perception, and are the soles/souls of the shoes we will wear, as we walk our personal path through of life. Understanding is always best achieved by putting yourself in someone elses shoes. Understanding is key to communication. Personally, I’ve only been to this site a few times. And most of the times were "WTF?" moments. I am as happy, as I am surprised to see this article here on the BS (no pun intended on the initials). So, me being the man that I am, let me be the 1st to say "big up" to the one called Black Snob for presenting this article. And a special "Big Up" to the one called FRANCE for caring enough to plant righteous seeds.Some times the soil is sand, sometime the soil is fertile. Sometimes it’s hard to tell through the nappy heads of Black women. Just keep planting Righteous Seeds, Righteous Fruit is bound to grow!Love brings Peace.I wish you both,Crucial Vibe

  10. Annabele says:

    I don’t see the point. Im with politicallyincorrect, let a black man speak up for once about the so called black love.lol. As far as I am concerned black love is a seperatist attempt at keeping black women in their place, while black men date freely. I could care less about being in a black relationship at this point-i want a good relationship. I swear this is why white people seem to think that blacks are the most racist group in America, because we put black in front of everythin—-even LOVE. Love is a human thing and I refuse to limit myself to only black love. Nice try and very well written, but the topic is suspicious and more and more propaganda.

  11. Annabele says:

    Justin please. Gotta change what man? Who said that a black woman was supposed to be with a black man only and no other man in the first place. Ladies, please understand this—the black leaders who are supposed to be fighting for us are failing us and doing it in a major way. We are becoming a laughing stock, stickin to our black man and discriminating against all others. I am tired of these expectations that a black woman must always put the black man as their first option in a husband; we are FREE and no longer in captivity. Danielle often speaks about black women being treated as less than women back in slavery and Jim Crow, well the message of black love only for black women only continues that! What other race of women are held under this much ridicule if they "trespass" into another race for love?

  12. France says:

    There is no stipulation in the note that a black woman’s love should be limited to only a black man. Crucial Vibe and Justin summed it all up pretty well

  13. BluTopaz says:

    To France:you noted: As his girlfriend, it has been important to offer an understanding ear, support, and criticism and advice when needed- and to laugh.Interesting, and it may have just been an oversight: but I didn’t really detect where this level of support is mutual in your relationship. Your article is not exactly a ringing endorsement for dating a Black man (not that that was your intention). The gist of what you’re saying is that you are there primarily to be his rock. Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun if he doesn’t provide the same for you, but that’s your business.

  14. France says:

    This was solely about my perspective on dating a black MAN, what I have learned, and the factors that shape black interactions and discussions. Standing solidly next to every successful man is a woman. One of the roles a woman must play is being "his rock", as BluTopaz said, or, as Justin put it "Love us, don’t mother us". In my relationship and in any healthy relationship, that support is reciprocated. However, you did not detect any focus on the black woman in the relationship because I’m not dating a black woman. I will leave that POV for a black man,or another man, to write.

  15. Saudia says:

    Sadly this article is a reflection of "being a black american" – MOST west indians raised outside of these shores do not have this hang up! My brothers & sisters from the caribbean cannot relate. We and MANY among us are happily involved with other black people (who happen to be of our culture) & until we read this article & the comments, never once gave any significance to the ‘color’ of our relationships.ps: Most of us are married to the same person for more than 30 years.

  16. SupernoVa says:

    France, Happy One Year!! I think your article was great, and I got your message. Take Care and continue to write in peace.Love, Peace, and Hair Grease, The SupernoVa

  17. France says:

    @ Saudia. I’m also from the Carribbean which is why I specified that this was about "dating an African American man in the U.S.". I made sure to include "inter-ethnic" dating as one of the dynamics we’ve faced b/c as you’ve made it clear, all black people arent the same. We dont all share the same history and we don’t view each other, or ourselves, the same way. The African American experience is not one to be dismissed or demonized though, instead I choose to share my own culture with my partner and take the time to understand his. Besides, to the majority, we are all the same.1804.

  18. Sabrina says:

    I was shocked that the author would be questioned about whether she was dating a black man. It must be the new question. Before I got married and was still out there dating the first question I would be asked by black men was "How many kids do you have?" Not "Do you have any kids?" but "How many?" So I guess the new question has progressed to whether "You can find a datable black man?" It is relevant and if more women read this weighed in you’d find that this is actually relevant. It is relevant because networks like BET continue to broadcast step and fetchit’ rappin’ stereotypes when it can create more uplifting images. But that is a dead horse. Sigh!!Anyway, anyone thinking that because they were black and born in a different geographical area and do not have the same dating issues as black americans is delusional!!! Seriously. I’ve seen more white-man chasing by west indian women than any other sub-black group or whatever the hell you want to call. I find it quite laughable that Caribbean blacks swear up and down that they are above these issues. I’m sorry you have lost all credibility on that. Growing up in NYC and being exposed to every aspect of the diaspora has taught me one thing….no matter where the slave ship dropped us off we are the same with the same issues. IF you want to claim Caribbean then also claim all the multiple families your men seem so fond of establishing. Still on your high horse Saudia???!

  19. Justin says:

    Annabele you missed the point entirely. You are just as bad as some people going to the these health care town halls. Inciting rhetoric that either does not exist or is sensationalized by your own shortcomings. You should reassess your relationship with black men, as you do not paint yourself as a women who sees love beyond the black experience but one bitter black woman seeking to avenge her hurtful past by projecting your whimsical thoughts upon an article that calls for better understanding, not exclusion. You not only confuse what the article is saying, you put words in France’s mouth, and you make assumptions that are both unrelated and grossly disingenuous.

  20. Nona says:

    I get where you are coming from France. The world of dating can be very complicated, and is definitely made more so when the socio-political realities of race in America are added to the mix. So Happy Anniversary to you!!! Ain’t love grand???

  21. Kitty K says:

    France,I absolutley looooved this article. I got divorced recenlty and just moved to a predominatley white state. I am definitely feeling where you are coming from. In this country we are all trained (through endless subtle and contstant images, words and messages)how to think (from birth). When you reach a certain level of maturity (which can come at any age – young or old) you begin to finally question things and learn to think for yourself. What you article addresses is stereotypes – the ones that ruin all of our relationships – regardless of the race that we are dating. I WANT to date a black man! Because that is who I am attracted to. Not just becuase I am a black woman – because Asian, Latina and White women are attracted to black men too (and no one criticizes them for their preferences). And it is true that black relationships have a lot of challenges that are different from inter-racial relationships. Mainly because of how we have been trained to feel about ourselves and one another. I commend you on your willingness to share your personal story. It really doesn’t matter if people are not enlightened or developed enough mentally to get it. Love, peace and lblessings 🙂

  22. Annabele says:

    Justin, you missed the point entirely. I guess you cannot handle what I am saying and what I am saying is that black love isn’t the only love for black women to have.

  23. Blair says:

    Black women needs to be more open to dating outside our race.Black men are dating abroad which narrows our chances for finding eligible bachelors. Black love is admired but as black women, we need to keep up with what’s contemporary, accept that change in our culture, and stop limiting ourselves.

  24. joe says:

    glad black men are finally getting what the had their eyes since the days of slaving on the plantation – the prized white woman. they hold them to more high esteem than any white man could ever. they can now date or do whatever to them without fear of being hung up a tree or worse. congratulations black males, you’ve finally arrived in heaven with yo white woman at your side, congrats!

  25. HowDar3Yu. says:

    Has it Really come to this?! Interracial Dating seems to be a problem for most people. People should "try" to date whom they could see a future with. Race should have the least bit to do with it. Nowadays you"ll see a black man with a white woman and if you’re a black woman you think " I know she didn’t." Me, I’m a black woman, and when i see such I say at least they’re happy and if they’re not they will soon find out. Leave relationships alone and get a hold of your own life.

  26. This was a GREAT article, Miss Francois. The level of understanding and kinship that you have with your man is nothing SHORT of inspirational. When you mentioned that, "Statistically, our relationship should have failed a long time ago" …that’s such a poignant line considering the fact that you’re both Black. There’s also something very hopeful about this piece as well. I enjoyed reading this. It was relaxing, yet though provoking. Thank you, and thank YOU Black Snob for sharing her with us… instead of keeping it all to yourself. That was quite generous of you.

  27. pepe cadena says:

    Many black people only like the black people, I think thta it is so interesting because the black people do not need a lot of things such as Generic Viagra and I think that it is the reason why they do not have relationship with white people!!22dd

  28. pepe cadena says:

    Many black people only like the black people, I think thta it is so interesting because the black people do not need a lot of things such as Generic Viagra and I think that it is the reason why they do not have relationship with white people!!22dd

  29. pepe cadena says:

    Many black people only like the black people, I think thta it is so interesting because the black people do not need a lot of things such as Generic Viagra and I think that it is the reason why they do not have relationship with white people!!22dd

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