Pop Culture

Elizabeth the Intern asks: “Are African-American Females Truly Free to Pursue Lives of Happiness?”

OK ladies, my youth is about to show, so I need some words of wisdom.  A few days ago, another study popped up where it said that white men are still not pursuing black women. For some the study provided was yet another article, but to me every time I see these articles and studies its very disheartening.  Maybe because I’m a dating virgin.  Maybe because I haven’t learned to brush it off.  But all this negativity surrounding black American females is just daunting.

Every time I see a white woman with a black man, I must admit I get a little jealous. Not because I want her man, but because I wish it were just as easy for me to date interracially so my mind began to wonder: why is that?  Why is it easier for black males to pursue IR than their female counterparts?  Why or how are non-black females more easily able to pursue relationships with men outside their race than black women?  It’s got to be more than a European standard of beauty.

In America, remnants of slavery are still seen in our culture.  From the way we eat our food, to the OOW birth rate, to even how we raise those children.  JFK stated, “One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.”  I believe that wholeheartedly.  Though we have still come a long way since the Civil Rights movement, I feel we still have a long way to go.

Many African-Americans, especially women, have been given opportunities, especially in education.  However, it’s 2012, more than 200 years since slavery in America was abolished and so many of us are still in chains:  economically, academically, and most importantly psychologically.  You can say that is self-fulfilling prophecy or whatever (that is a debate for another day), but that is just the fact.  And its not just African-Americans… the majority of America is locked in this mindset of slavery.

I work in the entertainment industry as a PA in Film and TV.  I have an education from one of the best schools in the nation.  I’m absolutely driven, talented and all-around southern adorable (sorry no modesty here), but I have rarely seen anyone who looks like me behind the scenes or on camera.  I know the game but I bring it up in conversation to challenge people for more inclusion.  There is no affirmative action here and I’ve gotten called out for “pulling the race card.”  Hey, I just call it how I see it.  Everyone in this business has to fight tooth and nail to get their foot in the door and so many will see doors closed based on skin color.  I believe that solely lies with producers and writers, who have no friends of color and will not allow themselves to imagine their world with color.  So that brings me back to my question.

Most of the world leaders in any field are white men.  Period.  But white women have been interacting and dating interracially since before the time of slavery.  There was a time when black & whites not only fought together but also married each other (i.e. Bacons rebellion for you history buffs).  But how is interracial dating more accessible or obtainable for white women today?

When slavery was established, the law stated that it was passed through the mother.  So that meant a child born to a white mother was born free regardless of the race of the father and a child born to an enslaved black woman was born a slave regardless of the father’s race.  Does this legacy still linger in our hearts and minds on a subconscious level?  No, I do not believe everyone thinks that way, but think about it from a biological and cultural perspective.  Biologically, you want your genes to survive, so you naturally want to procreate.  First your biological instincts tell you only the strong will survive.  Men, first thing you’re looking for is a woman who appeals to your physical senses (which mostly culture dictates, not all the time, but mostly)  and one who can also produce children that will not only survive but thrive.  When culture dictates to you that black (or mixed race) children have this hard knock life and there are no visible examples of black (or Interracial) nuclear families (though there are numerous) who would you choose:  Gisele Bundchen or Shaniqua?

For smart men, beauty and strength lie in the eye of the beholder.  For most men, they will look to culture, social norms, and familial approval to dictate whom they choose leaving many black women, who fit the bill and then some, out in the cold.  Let me say that I’m specifically talking about American black women.  African and even Caribbean women have been able to date interracially around the globe, especially in America and the UK .  Why do you think that is?!   I see no stigma of slavery attached to their mindset and many African sisters, who are able to pursue lives and education within and outside of Africa, have it going on.

Maybe I’m going too deep on this, but I’m 24 and all these studies and articles are daunting enough without adding the prospect of psychological warfare into the mix.  Psychological Warfare is a dangerous game that few win, but we have to.   The negative imagery and stigmas attached to black women is unacceptable.  Too many beautiful, talented women and potential wives living life alone is not acceptable to me.  All these caricatures be damned to hell!  I declare war on it all (taking a cue from Bush and not seeking UN approval).  It’s Christmas and instead of spending it as the sister whose parents and family keep asking why don’t you have a man yet (I’m southern so that ish starts at 20), its time to bring an other brother home.

You know its ok, if I never find a man (actually its not, I’m just pulling that out of my arse), but knowing my potential and the dream of a family that I hope to have one day, I plan to prepare for it all now by being the best woman I can be.  It’s not mammy, its not Jezebel, or whoever, its ME!  This is not about BWE this is about each AA woman living their life to the fullest.  We deserve that not because of slavery or its legacy, but because we put in the time, work, and effort to continue to be a better person for ourselves and our health, wealth, and happiness.  So this is my call to arms ladies (PSYCHOLOGICAL ARMS, OK!;) I know I don’t have to tell most of you this, but for the youngins here:  Do not let culture dictate who you are or what you can have.  Be all that you can be.  You create your image and reputation, and you choose who you love.  Let no one tell you differently.

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