The following post was contributed by Darryl James and does not necessarily reflect the views of 18 Karat Reggae.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with dating outside of the race if that is your personal preference. However, it is shameful when people of color date outside of the race based on stereotypes and poor personal experiences.
The popular stereotypes are perpetuated about Black men as well as white women. The stereotypes about white women dictate that white women are easier to deal with because they have brighter dispositions and are more supportive. Of course, there are also stereotypes about white men held by Black women who date them, but I won’t discuss that here because single Black men don’t present those relationships as a leading reason for their unmarried status, or for their difficulty in finding single Black women.
And what must the white woman think upon hearing from her male counterpart as well as from Black women that she is the object of every Black man’s sexual desires? It is also important to note that white women are becoming more aggressive in their pursuit of Black men. This may be due in part to the MTV and Hip Hop era, which has added to the mystique of Black men, but I believe that it is also due to the misinformation they are garnering from some of our very own sisters.
They are repeating to us what some Black women are telling them-that we are lazy, abusive, worthless, oversexed and that they don’t need us. Just as some of our sisters have no problem saying that to white women, those same white women have no problem saying that to us, using that in efforts to win us over.
In my own experience, I have had a number of white women approach me. My preference is Black women, and in two separate situations, I have had the white women explain that they don’t understand why I want to date Black women when Black women are so open about their disdain for Black men.
Now, arguments can ensue about the number of white women who say that, and about whether they are just using it as ammunition, but the bottom line is that some Black women are very open about the low esteem in which they hold Black men.
When we disparage each other, everyone is listening and we all lose.
In addition to the stereotypes and outright myths, social programming comes into play, which may help explain why some Black men choose white women and why some Black women think most of us do.
In Soul on Ice, Eldridge Cleaver, himself an admitted rapist and owner of lust for white women, placed that lust in proper perspective, asserting that Black men who prefer white women as the standard of beauty are suffering from no less than the same malady which grips the nation under the seduction of modern media.
“A Black growing up in America is indoctrinated with the white race’s standard of beauty,” wrote Cleaver. “Not that the whites made a conscious, calculated effort to do this, but (they) brainwashed Blacks by the very processes the whites employed to indoctrinate themselves with their own group standards.”
We can see this indoctrination in the expensive weaves and the silly wigs that some Black women insist on wearing, looking foolish while blaming Black men for subjugating them into oppressive styles of beauty. We can also see the indoctrination in the articles in any given issue of Essence and the topics chosen by the nameless, impromptu sisterfriends social clubs, as they discuss reasons why Black men prefer white women, frequently neglecting to ask Black men if they have such a desire.
We can see that indoctrination when sisters we date ask us why we prefer white women without asking if we actually do. Some of us do not.
White men have long been obsessed with the notion that Black men desire white women. Many Black women are now obsessed with the same notion.
The simple truth is that there are throngs of Black men who are dedicated to Black women. There are Black men who, every day, are dating, loving and marrying Black women and others still, who are waiting and searching, just as many Black women wait and search for Black men to love.
Black love is still alive and neither the lies of white men, nor the promulgation of those lies in our own psyches can kill it.
I’ve been in love with Black women since I first took notice of the different shades and shapes, the different lips and the different hips possessed by the variety of beautiful women in my race.
My standard of beauty as a child was Lola Falana as opposed to Bo Derek, and it was an infatuation with the first Black Miss America, Vanessa Williams and not any other before her. My standard of beauty can be seen in the chocolate skin, ample lips and broad nose of my first love as well as the light skin, small mouth and slim nose of my greatest love. My standard of beauty was defined most succinctly in the words of Method Man from the Wu Tang Clan in “Ice Cream,” a Rap ode to the range of the rainbow in Ebony hues: “French Vanilla, Butter Pecan, Chocolate Deluxe,” from light-bright and damned near white, to blue-black and as dark as midnight, including everything in between.
So, I feel comfortable speaking for a great number of Black men when I exclaim that the Black woman is and will be, my only choice. The white woman is not this Black man’s Kryptonite, because it takes a version of chocolate to make me weak in the knees. It takes a special blend of the knowledge of oppression and unrequited freedom; social dissonance and a natural rhythm of living, walking and talking to capture my attention. And it takes an indefinable combination of sweetness and strength; love and hope; joy and pain to create the true object of my desire in today’s America.
The object of my desire owns an ageless shape, a timeless style and shades that have become the de facto standard of beauty around the globe, as surgery, chemicals, aerobics and a death wish in the sun alter what genetics has delivered in an attempt to be what we all truly love underneath the thin veneer of social conditioning.
I have stepped out of the matrix to resist this society’s programming. I am committed to loving Black women and I know that I am not alone.
I have nothing against white women. I just don’t have anything for them.
Darryl James is a syndicated columnist and the author of three books, including “Bridging The Black Gender Gap,” a mini-book series on relationships, which is also the basis of his lectures and seminars. James was awarded the 2004 Non-fiction Award for his book on the Los Angeles Riots at the Seventh Annual Black History Month Book Fair and Conference in Chicago. Darryl can be reached at djames@TheBlackGenderGap.com., and back editions of this column can now be viewed at www.bridgecolumn.com