Saturday I got the kick-ass pleasure of attending the Atlanta premier of My Last Day Without You, starring Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow, anyone?) and Ken Duken (“Niklas”) a HAWT German who plays Beharie’s (Leticia) love interest. The movie goes like this: German guy has chance encounter with beautiful black, up-and-coming part-time singer and so-to-be-fired Wall Street secretary at a coffee shop. They end up spending the day together and buds of love bloom between them.
So I’m sitting on my comfy, reclining man-chair (thank you, AMC Theatres) with my brother and blog-bestie, Jenee Darden. It’s Atlanta so it’s a theatre full of black folks who act like the actors in the movie can HEAR THEM when they give unsolicited, real (reel?) time critiques. There was much shock, audible sighs and pearl-clutching when “Niklas”, overcome with attraction for “Leticia,” leans down from his awesome tallness to kiss her. More shock when they make out. EVEN MORE shock when it gets hot and heavy and starts to look like they might fornicate. Audible RELIEF when “Leticia” stops the proceeds of the carnal lust. Jenee and I, both seasoned swirlers, totally MORE than okay with taking in such a scene, find this both hilarious that these ladies were soooo scandalized by the hot, tall, hot, tall, and hot European man ravishing a very attractive black woman. I’m sure they were thinking, “Stop! You’re sleeping with the slave master!! That’s Mr. Charlie in disguise! He’s 150 years old under that mask he’s wearing! Never mind he’s 100% German, his family MUST have benefited somehow from the slave trade!! Nooooo!!!”
Fast forward to a scene where “Leticia’s” father, a widow, proposes to a Latina parishioner. She agrees and they share a kiss. These same women whoop and cheer for the lonely black man finding love with a….Latina.
I’ll wait while you digest the implications of this.
Here’s a question. Why were these black women so quick to sneer at the black woman getting her love on, and so quick to cheer the black man doing the same thing? I’ll answer: These lapdogs have had good training. Give those ladies some kibble. Black women have been so conditioned to believe that interracial dating is only for black men while they must keep their hearts and wombs true to black men, whether they marry them or not, dog them or not, ignore them or not, debase them or not. This notion is so ingrained in some of us that we are willing to sabotage ourselves and our sisters in order to preserve and protect this one-sided loyalty.
I posted a discussion on our Facebook page and got a slurry of responses. This one I loved: “To me, that thinking(of the black women) in the audience is a form of self-abuse.
You’ll stay w/a man who disrespects/degrades you bc of the color of his skin, but you wouldn’t give the time of day to a man who may treat you like a queen & give you respect bc of the color of his skin?….o_O?” And, “Black American women have been conditioned to be Black first, feminine/women second. It brings to mind the subtitle of a Black feminism textbook from the 90s: All the Blacks are Men, All the Women are White.”
Another said that the black man kissing the Latina woman was more acceptable because as a fellow minority, she gets the “we’re in this together pass,” and if the male lead were some shade of brown or yellow it might not have been such a shock. That might very well be true. But here’s the thing, chicas: The truth of the matter is, Asians, Latinos, Indians, Native Americans, Middle Easterners etc are not checking for us in the same numbers as…white men. There’s a couple reasons for this: There’s more of them. They are more individualistic, thus less likely to take the bait if Mommy threatens suicide if she has to face the thought of a black daughter-in-law. And finally, TODAY’S average white guy is not a shadist—colorism does not enter into his consideration of dating you like it does with Latinos and Indians (of course individual results may vary). Numero Uno of PURPOSEFUL SWIRLING is to include ALL men in your dating mix so you can maximize your opportunity to date, mate and marry well. Those black women begrudging [character] for doing tongue gymnastics with a white guy, instead of anyone but a white guy with a STRONG preference for a black guy is one other sorry-ass reason black women who swirl have the least amount of support. If we’re ever gonna be happy, we need to get out of our own (and each other’s) way, and learn to support and celebrate black women finding love across the spectrum.