Yesterday when I read an article on Vogue.com called, The Truth About Interracial Relationships, and saw that it was written by a black woman, I admit I started to bristle. I thought it was going to be another hit piece against the interracial relationship community, full of fear-mongering and half truths.
The article opens with this:
Half of my mother’s four sisters are married to white men. My cousins can be split into two groups: Ones who grew up with weaves and skin lighteners and ones who needed sunscreen and haircuts. Our family is a classic case of women and the black men who left them versus the white men who stayed. I remember being 6 and slapping my white uncle in the face to figure out why his face turned bloodred. I wondered how men with such delicate bodies seemed to be the only ones who could endure the storm.
When my cousin on the all-black side birthed a baby girl whose father had become abusive, we took a long ride to a shopping mall. She was looking to me for advice on raising a fatherless child, considering my firsthand experience. We rolled down the windows in her beat-up car and took in as much air as we could. There is nothing to worry about. She will be fine. At least she will have a great uncle. I turned out okay. We bought crop tops, tight jeans, and earrings so big that they touched our shoulders. On the ride home we were quiet and I decided I would never date a black man as long as my feet touched this earth.
My first thought was, “this woman has said a whole hell of a lot without actually SAYING what we all know. Statistically, the out-of-wedlock rates, high divorce, and low marriage rates are staggering in the black community. We also know that as a collective, we make is EXTREMELY easy for “baby daddies” to skip out on their moms and kids. This might appear a “wimpy” was of doing things, but she may be a bit more savvy than we think, because many of us need the soft, flowery language because we simply can’t handle the truth.
Then the story took a turn. The author underwent a transformation, and defected from the “git-chu-a-white-man” crew to a race woman.
I started dating my first official black boyfriend, a neuroscientist, shortly after. He was gentle in a very straightforward way, pulling out chairs for me at restaurants and picking me up after work to take me to exhibition openings, where he would look at me instead of looking at the art. He supported my work and called me Butterfly; our relationship was nauseatingly blissful. I was so content in who I was with him. I posted photos of black love on every social media account and considered myself as part of a larger revolution. I had hushed conversations in the corners of cafés about how important it was to keep feeding the black community with positive affirmations and how it began with loving black men. I wore Black Lives Matter buttons, attended marches, sported hoodies, vowed to date only black men, and prepared myself to raise a son who might be faced with a death in the same vein as Trayvon, a name I had spoken so often that it felt like that of a brother. Our portrait was perfectly hung and constantly dusted for shine. But whenever he would call, I would let my phone ring until the screen went black. He would text: “When will I see you?” “Soon,“ I would say, as though there was more urgency in believing it to be true.
But then he left her, and she was devastated. She focused on herself for a couple years, and decided to try online dating again. Then she met a man who’s family was El Salvador. Both of them had been warned by friends and family to stay away from their respective racial groups, but attraction was attraction, and all that race stuff eventually went out of the window. They now live together.
What I found most profound (and cleaver) is what the article suggests is the “truth” about interracial relationships. In that a dogged determination to date another race exclusively because you think that particular race holds the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is extreme and leaves you vulnerable to disappointment, heart-break, or exploitation to those who can smell your desperation. Conversely, having a dogged, “race first, racial loyalty first” leads you to the IDENTICAL pitfalls.
And so the “truth” is simply this: Be open to love finding you, regardless of the level (or lack) of melanin. Love who you vibe with, and as always, choose character about color, always.
Feeling inspired? Check out InterracialDatingCentral.com, the official dating website for Beyond Black & White.