She Said, He Said is a new Racy Girl column featuring commentary on various race and gender issues from the perspective of both a black woman (Neesha) and a black man (Bobby Vegas).
As I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed a few months ago, I was greeted with a status that angered and saddened me at the same darn time. No, it wasn’t a conservative spewing a message of hate or a self-important person praising the deliciousness of his homemade vegan meal. It was my own little brother, age 19, who had posted the emotion-provoking status suggesting that he planned to only pursue white girls in his future.
In my head, the noise of a halted record player resounded. Hold. The. Front. Door. My brother, a young man raised by a village that was almost solely comprised of black women, was denying the potential love of all black women in a public forum? For shame! I have absolutely nothing against interracial relationships, and I have even been a part of one in the past. Seeing people engaged in any loving relationship is typically bound to put a smile on my face. However, I have always been wary of people who limit themselves in love according to race and highly skeptical of those who refuse to date within their own race. Had my mother, my sisters, and I done something that led him to believe that our kind was unworthy of taking as a lifetime partner? My mind raced trying to pinpoint where we went wrong. The women of my family are attractive and educated with an incomparable sense of humor. Was our hair too kinky? Our lips too plump? Our voices too loud?
While my brother later revealed to me that his status was intended as an inside joke with his friends, it still left me feeling rather unsettled, probably because my brother’s joke is the reality of a considerable number of black men. Do black men have a valid reason for choosing to exclusively date white women? And what makes white women uniquely different from black women, if anything?
(In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve dated a myriad of women – all shapes, sizes, and races.)
Do black men have a valid reason for choosing to exclusively date white women? Nope. It’s a copout. The moment you exclude anyone from your dating pool because of a bad experience with a few of the group is where your “valid reasoning” sounds a lot like prejudice.
And what makes white women uniquely different from black women, if anything? In my opinion? Nothing. Every woman is different at base level – body type, voice, thinking – the only concrete difference is melanin.
I have a buddy of mine that exclusively dates white women. We met for drinks one night, and we got to talking about the topic of why he doesn’t date the sistas. He started in with the usual stereotypes – better sex, less talking back/questioning, et al – and all I could think about in the back of my mind was Bruh, who hurt you? Was it Serena? Halle? Oprah? Oprah just gives stuff away!
But then I thought about it – you really don’t see many famous black men dating black women. It’s just not publicized hard enough. You have a small sample of black power couples with both halves that are famous (Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Will and Jada, Barack and Michelle, and that’s essentially it). Everywhere else you turn in the media, as my mother would say, is a brother and one of them white girls. The white girl on your arm as a black man is almost like a perverse status symbol now, almost like the new Jordans or the biggest flat screen TV. Bruh, you seen Ray Ray? He got him a Becky –he comin up! It almost seems like a mandatory step for black men to be successful – get money, buy house/car, find white girl, PROFIT! – and many black men willfully buy into that fallacy. Like bringing a white woman gives you some sort of pass within society. It doesn’t. Trust me on that.
Having said that – it is really hard for an intelligent, cultured, straight black male to date in his early/mid 20s today. I know, the sound I hear is the maw of angry black women, but hear me out. You’ve got Bad Girls Club, Love and Hip Hop Wherever, and the Basketball Wives/Mistresses/Jumpoffs strongly influencing the way some women think. No sane man wants to deal with that. At all. From any race of woman. Then you’ve got the “Where Are All The Good Black Men At?” group. There will always be someone saying the white girls got all the good black men! They don’t want us anymore! And they came from a black mother! The shame! We’re here, black women. For real. We’re not unicorns. We’d love to date you. But without the whole unrealistic expectations thing. Don’t count us out because we listen to certain artists and we do certain stuff that may not be black enough.
Then again, coming from a family who has gone unofficially on the record with the if she can’t use your comb, don’t bring her home stance, what do I know?
While we’re here, let’s advance a few questions: What exactly do black women want from black men? Why do some of you feel some kind of way when you see a black man and a white woman together?
Neesha is the creator of Racy Girl.
Bobby Vegas is a mid 20s black guy, college junior (International Affairs/Public Affairs double), rugby player, and holder of small children. The rest you’ll figure out through his writing. He has a Tumblr vegaslacesup and a Twitter @BobbyMacVegas.