I’ve recently had conversations with four of my friends about the lack of dates, mates or love in their lives. They are attractive, educated, active and fun. Three are well-traveled. They are heterosexual. They are Black. In each conversation, the idea of dating outside the race has come up. It is an idea they consider but most have not practiced.
I was looking browing Shelfari.com when I saw the title of a new book by Karyn Langhorn Foley, Don’t Bring Home a White Boy And Other Notions that Keep Black Women From Dating Out. Published by Simon & Schuster it came out in February 2010.
She addresses the cultural resistance of black women to dating outside the race despite the fact that many black men do so. Karyn Langhorn Foley herself married to a white man.
I haven’t yet read the book but plan to buy it soon. After viewing a video in which she talks about the book, I feel that her approach will be informative and nuanced. She is clearly thoughtful in discussing the challenges of being “unhappily single” and the need for women to go beyond their physical preferences and the messages they’ve received about not dating outside the race.
In the discussions I’ve had with my friends over many years about this topic, one of the reasons they’ve said they don’t date men of other races is because they aren’t asked. For every black woman I know who has dated or developed a long-term relationship with a white man, there are scores of others who have never been approached by someone outside the race. There are still more who don’t even get approached by black men. (Whoopi Goldberg discussed this on The View earlier this week. She said that she’d been criticized openly about dating white men and when one black guy challenged her about it she asked him, “Have you asked me out?”)
I have had two dates with white men in my life. The first was when I was in high school. The second was when I worked at Boston City Hospital and it was a lunch date with a colleague so I’m not sure it qualifies as a date…make that two, we also went out to the movies once.
I would have dated white men and other men of color but it just never happened. I am now happily married to a black man. Our relationship and subsequent marriage came as a surprise to me because I had basically decided to move from Boston and had given up on finding a mate in this town. Several people who knew both of us would have never thought the two of us would become a couple let alone husband and wife. This goes to show you that your friends and acquaintances don’t always know what will make you tick and, therefore, won’t introduce you to single, eligible people they know.
I wrote a short prose piece called, in the world today all of us have to be open to love – however it is packaged and to the wonderfulness in the world wherever it exists. No limits!
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Anyone who lets you see his soul, and I mean the place where his decisions are made and his treatment of other people is determined, is someone who a woman ought to consider. Choosing a mate is choosing a soul, not a face, or a pair of lips, or a dick or any other body part. What does that soul do when times are good? What does he do when the chips are down? What does his past look like? What future does he imagine for himself? Did he make the present? How does he deal with strength? How does he deal with weakness? Who does he love? What does he love? How does he treat the weakest, poorest, ugliest people in the world? Does he make beauty? If he satisfies your soul, his color makes no difference. It takes work to love any man. Some of the hardest to love are rich and handsome and black.
Beautiful post. I am a white woman who has dated two black men, one in high school, one in college. I never expected to fall in love, and when I did, it happened to be with a married white man with kids. (We’ve been together for more than 30 years.) Just goes to show that love is where you find it!
You are right. Love is where you find it. And the more open you are to it, the more places you may find it!
Thanks for leaving a comment.
I think for me I thought I was always okay with dating whoever until my brother started dating white women exclusively. It bothered me that he felt their were traits in a person that could be attributed to their color. But why was I so bothered obviously I had some issues, now that some time has past i wish my brother was still with his old girlfriend, she was good for him and yes she was white. Now i realize that it takes a lot to love whoever and who am i to say who should be with who and match people along color lines…all our hearts beat the same.
You are right, two hearts beat the same. Also, I know several men who have dated white women and then married a black woman so “all goodbye ain’t gone.” What matters most is that people find partnership and love. Thanks for commenting.
Very interesting topic and I agree with you. I am a 36 year old Black woman and I have never dated anyone outside of my race. I believe people should love the person, and not the color. I am open to dating someone outside of my race, but as Whoopi said, “I was never asked”. I think that people are more open to dating outside of their race than in my junior high and high school days. I was raised with black and white friends and we loved each other, but we never entertained and looked at each other as possible dating candidates; that is how it was, not being racist by any means. I feel that this generation is more open and embrace each other as people and not color. Love has no color in my eyes and I hope that others see and practice that.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I do hope that people will be open to accepting love where they find it and I also agree that younger people are more open.
This seems to be a hop topic in the news beggin the question, if Black women can’t find a good Black male mate, why not expand the search criteria. I mean if Macy’s doesn’t have the shoe you’re seeking, you wouldn’t hesitate to visit DSW? We live in an era where we comparison shop for everything, looking for the best offer. Why not apply this to dating as well? It’s funny because in 2010 many people believe that miscegenation is commonplace, but in reality it was crime 50 years ago and never publicly discussed.
I’m not adverse to dating a white man, but I haven’t had any enchanting offers. Many of the men who approach me aren’t my type, despite color. I am open to the idea of dating a white man, but many black women aren’t. I’ve heard some black women justify excluding white men because they want to have babies with “color”. Don’t confuse this with having “light skin” vs. “dark skin” children, it’s the desire to have melanated offspring- period similar to “Praying for Brown”. I also think, whether they admit it or not, there’s a certain stigma of “massa and concubine” that still resonates in our society and the social stigma of opposition. Someone has to be first (in the family, social circle, etc.) but in this case no one wants to be, especially if it means alienation and ridicule.
Many things go into this mentality, but the stigma of black women “holding” the black family together cause many of us to hold on the ideal of a “pure” black family and marrying the strong black man. In reality, any family you join is a black family, but it also can be a white one. Many equate dating white men with blandness and/or liken it to losing your blackness, which makes it difficult to move outside of that stigma even more. Gaining one doesn’t negate the other. Dating in Boston can be challenging but so is chess. But with a city so radically divided by racial lines, it’s an added challenge to meet people outside of your normal social circle to encourage miscegenation.
Thankfully, I am not at my wits end of dating- yet. But I’ve been reflecting on my most recent failed relationship (with a black man) and realized I’ve been limiting myself. Sometimes we get so focused on our dreams, that we never see how great our realities are and accept that things won’t go as we outline. As educated women who’ve outlined most of our lives since middle school creating “The Life and Career Map”, it’s hard to stray from “the plan”. But, I find straying from the course is when I have the most fun. Based on this realization, I’ve been browsing DSW AND Macy’s for options, exploring this untapped section as a serious competitor; it’s not like I don’t have offers. I don’t know where I’ll find my male complement, but I’m open to exploring all options- color blind. Great post!
Right-on, sister! Your comments are eloquent, direct and contain your trade-mark wit. Thanks for taking such thoughtful time to comment.
Hi, Candelaria. I remember when Karyn’s book came out. I think I suggested in email that someone at that other website write about it back then. No takers.
I’m kind of baffled that in 2010 this topic still causes so many people anxiety. I’m trying to figure out why it seems more black women have reservations about dating white men than black men seem to have about dating white women. Is it good girl syndrome, the inner-nagging that makes some women strive to please others more than themselves? Men don’t seem to be quite as concerned with what others think about their life choices.
At the same time, I know when I’ve dated white men, I was aware of how much my older family members would have been upset if I’d become serious. However, I was raised in the desegregation era and they were raised in segregation. so, my generation’s right next to the group that would be more wary about the mingling. I don’t think the generation finishing high school now would care so much.
It’s possible my younger brother would have freaked too, but he’s easily riled.
Thank you for commenting at the Books Examiner. Yes, that particular writer was known more for her big personality, self-reliance, resourcefulness, and confidence. Not so much for being gracious; however, she was exceptionally gifted and shrewd. She was also my great grandmother’s first cousin, which makes her my relative as well on her mother’s side, the Potts characters about whom she sometimes wrote.
Thanks for your comment.s I do think interracial dating causes consternation for some people but I think it is easing.
You’re related to Zora Neale! Wow. You are certainly an appropriate heir with your prodigious writing output on your blogs.
How’s the fiction coming?
I really love the line that say, they won’t introduce you to a single person. This is so true! I know a lot of people that say’ Dea you are a great person and a very strong Woman’ and they have lots of single male friends( I have never seen color) and still NOTHING, To funny!