If you’ve been reading my writing on the internet for any amount of time you know that I try and stay away from topics around Interracial Dating. I have never really seen a productive conversation about the topic take place and it all depends on where you are how the conversation will play itself out. For example, I really could never expect to have a real and honest conversation about interracial dating on SBM. It’s not a knock at the readers, although some of the readers here are deserving, but it’s because we know the demographics of the readers here and very few of you are dating interracially. With that low number of readers who actually engage in interracial dating, any conversation about the topic would prove unproductive unless it was only at an observational level.
I must confess, I’ve been sitting on this article for a long time. It wasn’t until recently that I was able to finally flesh out all the thoughts that I wanted to share (albeit in a 1500 words or less format). I’ll tell you what actually sparked my interest and fueled my motivation to finish this post in a few but first I want to tell you something about people of all walks of life.
In college we learned about the difference between embracement, acceptance and tolerance. Most people only tolerate things they don’t agree with, they’ll never accept or embrace those things. A good example of tolerance is the way people treat homosexuality. If there’s no foreseen way of changing a circumstance people will sometimes accept things they don’t agree with. A good example of acceptance is gender dynamics. What we really learned was that tolerance and acceptance were always cop outs to the larger goal. The larger goal, the one targeted at really changing the world we live in was embracement. A good example of this would be my attendance at the 2012 Gay Parade in NYC.
It’s a rather interesting story how I ended up at the Gay Parade last year; it’s funny too. To make a long story short, my best friend suggested we try this new bar out to play beer pong. She told me that she should warn me that it’s in the middle of Greenwich Village. (A pretty popular homosexual neighborhood in NYC) I told her that I really didn’t care because I just wanted to get a good game of beer pong. We went and after playing beer pong for about 3 hours against a bunch of girls who looked like Justin Bieber we left and the parade had already begun. As we were trying to find a way to get around the parade, I finally just stopped and said, “This is pointless, let’s go check it out. I actually want to see what it’s all about.” That was me putting myself in a position to embrace that culture.
OK, fast forward.
I didn’t bring this up when it happened because I didn’t want to cause a stir and I know that there’s nothing that triggers the female defense mechanism more quickly than any mention of a certain young lady. According to public opinion, nobody has a problem with this woman, but on the low, we all know that “she doesn’t have any real talent” and “she’s completely fake” is really how you feel. I guess the best way to put it is, nobody will admit to hating this woman, but you’ll never hear them pay her a single compliment. I guess mama was right, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
That lady is, Temptress of the Land of Krypton, Kim Kardashian.
Let’s be honest, not many of us care that Kanye and Kim are dating. It’s not like too many women are sitting in with their friends at happy hour pontificating over why Kanye West would be best served with a sister. It’s also not surprising to anyone that Kim is dating yet another popular Black man in sports or entertainment, that’s just what she does. At best, we tolerate Kim and Kanye. We don’t accept their relationship as being real, we certainly don’t embrace it. If you juxtapose the public opinion of Jay-Z & Beyonce vs. Kanye & Kim, it’s painfully obvious how everyone really feels about them.
“Yeah, they make a good fit; they’re both in love with themselves.”
But it’s all well and good as long as we don’t have to see it. If we see a TMZ article about KimYe we change the channel or skip over it on the site. If someone is talking about it, we try our hardest to avoid the subject. And regardless of whether we’d like to admit it or not, the only people who raise the point that Kim is not white but “Armenian” are Black guys, not Black women. Deep down, we know that it bothers some women that she’s dating Kanye and race plays a part in that. That’s not just Black women who are bothered, that’s white men and white women too. But again, it’s all well and good as long as we don’t have to see it and that’s what makes the Hommes cover and pictorial a little uncomfortable for people.
Setting Kanye and Kim aside, let’s think about how this plays out in “you know… like real life.” Black folks, man or woman are semi the same way when it comes to interracial dating. If you’re a Black woman and you tell a Black man you are dating a white man or considering it, we all react the same way, “Fine, you should. Why do I care?” That’s what we say right? However, when you see a “sister” (you know, she don’t become a sister until you might lose her, lol) walking down the street with a white man or all over Facebook with pictures with her new white man, you get uncomfortable.
When you’re uncomfortable, you may not get angry or sad, you may just be uncomfortable. I’ll be honest, these are my top five reactions when I see a Black woman with a white man:
1) She just doing that to piss me off.
2) I could still beat if I tried.
3) Something must be wrong with her.
4) She probably only with that dude because he don’t know she crazy, he just think she troubled.
5) She grew up around all white people. If she let me beat, watch what happens.
Here’s the thing, that’s only when I see it. One of my good friends is dating a white man right now and I rarely ever see her, which means I’ve never met her boyfriend, and she’s super private on Facebook. I’m really happy for her, but I bet it has a lot to do with the fact that I never have to have it shoved in my face. I’m personalizing this experience, but I don’t regulate this feeling to only myself. Black women have the same experiences. Everytime one of your white friends posts a picture with her and her Black boyfriend, or she tweets something in reference to her affinity for Black men, you cringe a little. You know your white friends that date Black men, but it’s not until it’s up close and personal that it gets under your skin.
So here we are in the 21st Century, more importantly 2013, the year of our Lord and Biracial President and we still can’t fully stomach interracial dating. Like I said before, we’ve gotten to the point where we tolerate it, we’ve gotten to the point where we accept it, but there’s still a lot of work to be done to get to a point where we embrace it. I’m almost positive it’s not until more people have the experience and realize that it’s not much different than dating someone in their own race. It’s going to be at that point that we stop having a laundry list of reasons why we don’t interracial date or think it would be different that we’ll get to that point of embracement. While I doubt it will happen for my generation, I’m hoping this isn’t a torch we pass to the next.