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Heckled by a Black Man: Thoughts on Interracial Dating

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I am leaving the movie theater with one of my friends. He’s a tall man from Middle America with stark blue eyes and brown hair. He wears skinny jeans, plays the drums, and longs to flee The States (again). We’re writing partners, grad school comrades, oyster-addicts, and Brooklyn neighbors. We’re different, but we’re kinda the same.

I am his visual opposite – I have unruly Marley twists that need to be taken out. I am lanky and significantly shorter.  I wear thick plastic frames like a black Tiny Fey, and I’m a dark-skinned black woman – a very lovely shade of brown. I dream of relocating to Brazil to study Afro-Brazilian religions.

I’m originally from Long Island, New York.

The two of us are standing on a Brooklyn street corner chatting about the movie, when a man turns around to stare at us. He’s a short black man wearing a white suit with red lapels, which in itself is a little funny.

The man starts yelling. At first I think he’s on the phone, but then his words get very clear:

“This b*tch is bringing it back to Django days. A black woman with a white man is an abomination.”

He is screaming, and I’m uncomfortable, so I start doing what I do when get nervous: laughing and making snide-remarks.

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“A black man in that white suit is an abomination.”

“Wait,” my friend says, furrowing his brow. “Is he narrating us?”

“Whisper all you want,” the stranger yells in our direction. “You runnin’ around with natural hair, but you ain’t real. You sound white. You act white. You ain’t real.”

If I’m not real, what am I?

I link arms with my friend to antagonize the stranger, and together we walk toward the subway. The man continues to scream behind us, and we laugh. We both agree the man is crazy, and by the time we board our train, we’ve changed the subject.

But my thoughts linger. All my energy is drained. I feel tired and maybe even a little sad.

On the train ride home, my eyes are heavy and I lean on my friend’s shoulder. None of the passengers bat an eye, but now I notice. How does this appear? I’m ashamed of myself for caring. My friend has no idea I’m still upset.

I assume he wouldn’t understand.

What does it mean to be ‘real’? Who makes the markers of authenticity upon which we place our faith?  What if this white guy was my boyfriend? What if I fall in love with and marry a white man? Will my unborn children be heckled on the street?

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Why do I even give a sh*t what some random guy thinks?

He hit a nerve I didn’t even know was there.

“It’s one thing for a black man to date a white woman,” he yelled before we were out of ear-shot. “But for a black woman to date a white man? That’s different! You are taking it back to the slave days.”

I’m not super clear on the exact difference. I don’t understand why it’s okay for black men, but shameful for me. Today, I have no answers: only questions that go unanswered.

In the meantime, I flip my fake-ass twists over my  shoulder and thicken my beautiful black skin. After all, I probably need to toughen up. I’m open to dating men outside of my race.

SBM Family, Have you ever had an experience like this happen to you? Is there a double-standard between black women and black men?

I’m so confused…lol

Patia Braithwaite is a relationship writer, life coach and reluctant Brooklyn hipster. Her work has appeared on The Huffington Post, Clutch Magazine and Yahoo Shine! Check out her blog at www.menmyselfandgod.com

Comment(45)

  1. I’m probably ain’t sh t for this but white suit and red lapels I quickly envisioned a Haitian man…..anyway, it’s annoying the stigmas attached to black people who date outside their race. i’ve been out with white women and suddenly it’s assumed that I will never date a woman of my race again, I’ve dished assists to white guy friends and they’ve told stories of sideeyes and “you can come home” remarks. I can’t say which side gets it’s worse but it’s sad that in general black people see someone they don’t know dating outside their race and they take it as “my own race wasn’t good enough”

  2. I am quite certain that that same man screaming about your interracial relationship in anger is the same man that will be screaming about racial injustice and being mistreated or cheated out of some opportunity due to the color of his skin. Its the ultimate hypocricy. When it comes to "his women" segragation/separation is desired. When it comes to education, career and finances he wants equality.
    People need to pick a side of the fence and stay on it. If people truly want equality then that covers ALL areas….including relationships.

  3. As far as I'm concerned he is the one living in the slavery days. I'm not so sure who gets it most but from stories I hear, it seems black women dating white men gets more heat. You don't have to worry about that dude though and if you marry a white guy and you love each other, to hell with what anyone else thinks. Just be sure to educate your children on it

  4. No there is no double standard about this. I've mostly dated non-Black women and gotten plenty of salt and shade thrown my way from them.

    More importantly, why is this even here? Years ago I wanted to connect with Black women more so I started reading Cluth magazine. There was so much anti-Black man bullshit there it is unbelievable. (They even recently ran a story about how much they hate Black men going to the site and commenting.) I really got tired of it. So I started to look for an antidote and SBM seemed like a good prospect. Nope. Black women are all over this site complaining about Black men too. I'm tired of this BULLSHIT! I guarantee you will never see an article on Clutch by a Black man whining about Black women.Can someone please tell me a site where I can find the same for Black men? In the old days, it seems everybody outside the community was down on Black people but at least Black women and men had each others back. These days Black women are as bad if not worse is tearing down Black men.

    Damn it, now I'm late for work typing this shit.

    1. I don't know, there are a lot of black men down on black women as well. We are both giving each other the middle finger and not realizing what it's doing each other as a whole. Black people are not united and some of us are dating outside of our race, not because we like the core being of someone, but because we think they are better than the black man/women, that we date. It's the kinda of conversation equivalent to which came first, the chicken or the egg? Who started downing each other first? The black man or the black woman?
      My recent post When I’m gone:The importance of after life planning

    2. What ???? Why do you even need to connect with black women through INTERNET?? Are you serious? NO, you can't be serious. Just go to a place where you see plenty of black folks and start a conversation.
      Did you grow up in a black family?
      Don't you know that there are a lot of gangster keyboards on the internet who lash out at everybody.

  5. I have heard men say that they get turned off when they see a black women with a white man. It just doesn't seem right. These are normally your more old fashioned men, or men who have those old fashioned values from my experience. It's like that part in Spike Lee's movie where the italian guys where talking about how they love black women, but if a black man dates one of their own, it's curtains for him. (What movie was that???) Frankly, that guy was out of line in what he was saying, he way probably jealous that he aint have you.
    My recent post When I’m gone:The importance of after life planning

  6. My only issue with black women is that they always seem to date or go after a certain type of black man and if it doesn't work out, obviously black men are not ish, then she tries and date a white man. If a black woman has dated a regular guy, goon, pretty boy, wall street brotha and it still doesn't work out and if she decides to go white then more power to her. I do think its a catch 22 because the first time he drops the n-word or lays a hand on you, your going to get a black man to handle that issue anyways. Just my opinion lol

    1. Why does she have to go through all these different types of black men before she gives the white man who shows a genuine interest in her a chance? So I'm suppose to say Sorry, I know we get a long great, your handsome, caring, truly find me amazing, and would like to start a relationship with me with clear intentions of commitment, but I can't because I haven't gone through all the different types black men to see if there is one that's is possibly ready to put down all the ladies he's playing around with to build a future with me? I'll take the white man that shares the same spiritual convictions as me, over the black man that doesn't any day. Vocation and Skin color doesn't matter to me if the foundation is sound!

      1. I think you may have misread it. Its not that you HAVE to go through all the different black males out there, by all means date whatever race you want. His stance(in my opinion) is that you just cant use the "aint no good brothas out here" mantra after you continuously dated one type then jumped to a whipe boy.

      2. @MsFlo

        Missed the point.

        Black women hold black men & white men to different standards.

        You are more open to dating a nice white guy while when you date negroes you like a ruff neck. Word to MC Lyte

  7. For me personally, as a man who watches Scandal, I actually look forward to the BW/WM love jones.

    The union in it of itself has no issue. And those women & men who join together need not to apologize to anybody.

    What will always rub black men like myself the wrong way in this country is the DEPRAVED RACIST mindset of white men & the black women who date these white men & take on that black male hating ideologies.

    The Negro Bed Wench.

    As for that black male who gave you trouble Patty, he needs to go play in traffic.

    He is focusing on the wrong things. Word to Kanye.

  8. The judgment happens regarldess of the scenario, from both sides and I am just so over it…why is another person so worried about who someone else dates/marries in the 4th quarter of 2013? How does it affect your life…seriously? Regardless of the reason a person dates outside of their race, be it love or otherwise, why does it matter to anyone other than those 2 people? The shyt just irritates the heck out of me and is so backwards. If it truly bothers you then you need to take a long hard look at yourself and figure out what is going on within you that how other people living their lives has so much effect on yours…it's not them, it's you boo boo!

    1. Cosign completely! I figure people stay worried about other people so they don't have to look at themselves. *sings "Man in the Mirror"* Most likely because they are unhappy or inadequate themselves in some fashion.

      Don't even worry about it.

  9. I have, and I've said before, I'll trade all the internet shade and passing "hmphs!" in the world to not have my actual safety feel threatened by the response I have gotten from some Black men while walking down the street with my White male friends.
    The core difference is the type of man that would comment or react usually has some deep patriarchy issues and is firmly rooted in his male privilege, so he sees nothing wrong with going past a simple "you can come back anytime" to passing 'GO' without collecting and "taking" me back by FORCE. It is the standard reaction for men like these to any instance of a woman choosing to exercise her autonomy, to "teach her a lesson". Those type of men don't affect me past basic offensiveness. They are not the authors on the black experience, ant they CERTAINLY do not define MY blackness.
    My recent post StyleWatch; Evelyn Lozada Launches Vida Lux Cosmetics!

  10. It’s the liberties taken based on a racial obligation none of us asked for and clearly doesn’t benefit anyone that needs to be expanded on. That ish is for the birds. Then this idea that only Black Men can retain their individuality after numerous negative experiences with them while other demos of men should be judged by and avoided due to the actions of one or two. Contradiction at best, hypocrisy at worst. Any Black Women placing a premium on an inconsequential opinion (Seriously what are they gonna do? Not be your friend?) should ask why the “community” has jurisdiction her bedroom to begin with. No one is going to fire her, take the car, foreclose the house, or kill the dog because she dated out. Black women have cousins, uncles, dads, brothers, etc. No need to entertain a stranger’s perspective that really doesn’t affect her. Boy that could be applied to all kinds of decoy issues Black women have with Black Men couldn’t it?

  11. Its defintely heat on both sides. I have never dipped in the vanilla but plenty of friends male and female have. Women who are on this stop the hate, there are plenty of black men out here for you(that may or may not be exactly what you're looking for). Fellas, we just gotta give props where props are do. Yes she is bad and that white boy got her lol let it go. Stop feeling entitled like you deserve a chance at every black woman you see before any other race, the world dont work like that. I am all for black love on every level, but chill.

  12. I had a brief but genuine involvement with one great guy who happened to be white. And that's how I look at my dating history. I fall in love with men, not races. Regardless of whatever social implications of interracial dating, abusive language is never okay.

  13. Yeah, I think it's totally different than a Black man dating an "other". Black women don't have nearly as many good options as Black men do. I see no problem with a Black women dating a White man. I have & I'd do it all over again

    1. @Chocolate Vent

      Negative

      Black women who are

      Young (30 and under) Slim, childless, & cultured have ALL the options in the world. Even racist white men will at least sleep with a black woman who is above average.

      The bigger issue is, how many high quality black women in America are there to choose from, if I was an Asian, Indian and/or white male?

      And to ask the question is to answer it.

      Good Day

  14. You are bolder than me antagonizing a clearly crazy stranger on the street. You sure you don't like this white boy and that's why you were affected by it? If some stranger is yelling wild stuff at me in the street, especially in the city, then they just have mental health issues and I'm not taking that to heart at all…

  15. It is no double standard; people complain about what is seemingly unfavorable to them, and support what seemingly favors them. There's a difference between being against interracial dating and being against interracial dating by others when you don't necessarily have the same options yourself, and even if you do have those options, you're against certain others because if you have it and they don't, it makes you special and superior. I see much more of the latter around these parts and social media. It really is a product of insecurity.

    I'm not sure it's even about black people being unified (which we never were to begin with) anymore, but folks are just out for themselves, point blank.
    My recent post New friends

  16. i already know whats going on here. This the type of woman that will talk about her problems dealing with black men and once she gets to a certain social level she will abandon the black community and jump to the white community so she will have it easier in life and dating (at least thats what she thinks) u got the natural hair to distance yourself away from things that people do to make themselves appear white because your interior is strongly connected to white people so there is no need to connect to white people on the outside. when black men date white women they still maintain their connection to blackness unless they get alot of money in which case they become more connected to white people through the money that they are able to give back unto the white establishment that may or may not come back to them through their wives.
    My recent post THE CONUNDRUM OF BLACK BUSINESS: OPEN YOUR EYES!

    1. What the F????

      You sure know a lot about this woman without actually REALLY knowing her. A hotbed of assumptions have been made. A lot of bad assumptions.

    2. r u high ?? I have never read so many non-sense in my whole life. BTW, I am not trying to start a debate but those days BM seem to give up on their blackness more than BW.

  17. <div id="idc-comment-msg-div-732841139" class="idc-message"><a class="idc-close" title="Click to Close Message" href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(732841139)"><span>Close Message</span> Comment posted. <p class="idc-nomargin"><a class="idc-share-facebook" onclick="IDC.ui.fb_wrapper(732841139)" href="javascript: void(null)" style="text-decoration: none;"><span class="idc-share-inner"><span>Share on Facebook</span></span> or <a href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(732841139)">Close MessageThat was that one black guys opinion , I couldn't careless . We as black folks got way bigger concerns than who a sister chooses to date . Don't let it bother you

  18. My bf and I were having a conversation along these lines recently. We were saying we can often tell whether someone of our race (Black) is open to dating outside their race. It's possibly the way they wear their hair, their manner of dress, their speech, but it's often something that, though unnameable, is easy to spot.

    It was brought on by him noticing a woman who appeared to be Afro-centric, but was dating a White guy. This annoyed him, because he felt like it was hypocritical to be Afro-centric about yourself in dress and manner, but not in your romantic relationships. He didn't say anything to the couple, because what business is it of ours, but it bothered him enough to spawn the conversation.

    During it, I noticed a Black woman on the train who, in my opinion, appeared to be the type not only OPEN to dating White men, but STRIVING to date White men. She had relaxed hair, was hanging with a hipster White chick, their outfits and makeup were practically identical and she sounded like a valley girl. Plus she had that "something". It tells Black men "this is not for you", and Black women "I don't relate to you".

    Now, this was probably a strange conversation for the two of us to be having, because we have BOTH been described as Oreos by our fellow Black people. Just recently, some White girl in a bar called us "fake Black people" for using proper English and being from places like Connecticut, among other things.

    My bf HAS dated outside his race, and I have not, and have only grown more militant about dating WITHIN my race as I've aged. The fact that he's dated outside of his race isn't something I LOVE about him, just one of those things that happened in the past. In his words, he dated outside his race, but when it came to long-term relationships, he was only interested in Black women. I dealt with this in school, as all the Black men wanted to date "exotic", non-Black women, but only for "fun", not for anything real. It was problematic for me then and I do wish my bf hadn't been one of those men at one point, but what are you gonna do.

    I say all this to say that race and dating are tricky subjects. Everyone's going to have an opinion, and it's perhaps going to be complex and not altogether PC. But, unless you're crazy or bitter and trying to bring everyone down to your level, you'll keep it to yourself and carry on about your day. To each their own.

  19. I was the woman in this story during my undergrad years. I am an African-American woman who attended a HBCU & dated the kicker on our football team who was Caucasian. The same brothers who appalled him dating me would throw me shade. What they failed to realize was that I didn’t care about race. The kicker was the only guy who approached me with wanting to be in an actual relationship while my other college male peers just wanted to _______ ( you fill in the blank). I find beauty in every race.

  20. Black men get an attitude when they see a Black woman with a dude who isn't Black….Black women get an attitude when they see a Black man with somebody who isn't Black…nothing new here. And the point to this article was……? Yaaawwwwwn. Its nothing that will ever change.

  21. From a brown sista's experience: I've gotten the "you don't like choclate?" from the Blk men and the "oh you only like chocolate?" from the non-Blk man. I do not discriminate who are my friends nor my men; and people are going to think what they want to anyway! Do whatever the f*** you want that makes you happy people!

  22. I’m a white woman married to a black man and I’ve heard more than my share of snide remarks and glares namely from black women. “Always pushin up on OUR men”, “takin the few good black men we got left” and so on but i hear it from white folk too because apparently I’m doing something unthinkable. But i hold my head very high. I do this because I kind of get where they might be coming from. I mean, i grew up in a home where interracial dating was just not acceptable but I decided for myself. I love all races. It doesn’t matter to me what race you are because you’re still human, you still have a heart and you still have feelings that i don’t care to trample on. I’ve dated many black men and I’ve heard many stories of why their families get upset with them dating a white women. But i think it’s time to grow up and mesh as one. Its tragic to think that we will always have to deal with some sort of racial ignorance but sadly, it’s a reality. I could get hurt over the things that have been said to me but i don’t because their ignorance doesn’t have to be my demise. I won’t let what someone else thinks of my marriage to a black man dictate my way of thinking. I am independent and will always decide for myself. Lucky for me, i married into a beautiful and accepting family. My children and i are loved and blessed immensely. Just because someone dates outside their race doesn’t mean anything is wrong with their race. I think it boils down to personal preference. I’ve dated white men and black men and a few other races. I just happened to fall in love and marry a black man. People need to grow up and accept that love isn’t black or white. I suppose some people see it that way but i guess i live in a fairy tale because i see it as if you love someone, the color of their skin shouldn’t be a dictating factor as to whether u continue seeing that person or not. Race shouldn’t even be an issue in this day and age.

  23. My brother, who is Eastern Cherokee, but looks Caucasian, is married to a Black woman. They've been together for over 30 years and have a grown daughter, but they still occasionally receive comments from ignorant people, and yes, unfortunately, many of these are directed at "Sis." Some of the folks who make comments are (unfortunately) Black. She's pretty good at letting it "run off her back," but I know it bothers her.

    If you find someone who loves, respects and cares for you, and whose values match your own, it really shouldn't matter what they look like on the outside. We're all God's children, and He made us each different because He loves variety – rather like planting flowers in a garden. Indeed, if I were not already married to a wonderful man (who is White, by the way), I would have no problem whatsoever marrying with a Black man, a Hispanic man, a green man from outer space, or anyone else, so long as he met the criteria above.

    People really need to start minding their own business before minding that of other people.

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