It Gets Real
I have been watching episodes of The Real for quite some time. I started watching shortly after Tamar left, and, occasionally, I will go back and watch episodes with the original cast. It is one of the few television shows that I continue to keep up with, as they also share their content on Facebook and YouTube. Recently, the show has been getting a lot of attention for some of their commentary. (I would like to thank some of our fans for bringing these videos to our attention as well. You all rock! This commentary will mainly focus on Loni Love and Tamera Mowry-Housley insights, as their stories relate more to black and biracial women’s experiences.)
Last week, Tisha Campbell joined the panel. One of their topics of the week was interracial dating, and why black women were so hesitant to swirl. As she was the only one in the group would had not dated interracially, she had a lot to say on the subject. In part one of the video clip, the panel referenced a 2010 Pew Research study which stated, “Black women are the least likely to marry, particularly outside of their own race.” Christelyn wrote about this topic back then and an update since. They also mentioned Cheryl Judice, who suggested black women should date outside of their race. (Christelyn did an interview with her as well. It is great to be on the cutting edge!)
Why are You Hesitant to Swirl?
The group noted that historical tensions could be a factor. Loni mentioned a feeling of disloyalty to the black race. Tisha mentioned fear of the unknown, and being attracted to features common in her own race, like big lips. Jeannie Mai, another host, asked some pretty poignant questions: What thoughts and stigmas might hold you back? Do you think language could be a factor?
Loni really dropped a lot of pearls of wisdom throughout this segment. She noticed that many women in their 40s and 50s find themselves alone. They may have a good job, degrees and have raised their children, but there is no man in sight. While Loni did mention that women should date a black man, if that is what they truly want, they should also consider opening up their dating pool, because life is short.
Loni got real teary-eyed speaking about it. She met James later in life. He is Irish, and she is African American. They met on a dating app, with their first date at a premiere. I love the difference in her, now that she is in a relationship. I remember how she used to make raunchy jokes about how single, fat and horny she was. I found it really off-putting, as she was, and is, a beautiful and smart woman. Now, I can definitely see those comments for what they were: a front for how lonely she was. I also remember the days when The Real co-hosts would try to sniff out her relationship and make her share about her new love on the show. As things have progressed over the months, Loni has announced that she and James were exclusive and that James is starting to get a lot of attention as they are out and about. Loni is just glowing with happiness, and I cannot get enough of it.
Back in the day, Loni used to teased Tamera endlessly about her relationship with Adam, but I always felt like she wanted a similar happy story. As the product of an interracial relationship, Tamera did not have race holding her back. She dated everyone. Adam and Tamera have since been married for 14 years. Her professor introduced them and they connected via email.
When she brought him as her date to the Billboard Awards, she was shocked at the amount of hate she received for her love. During their relationship, Tamera has also faced huge negativity and backlash, even being called a white man’s whore and other slurs. Even up to a year ago, she had to fight accusations of her husband being a racist due to his journalistic career at Fox News (where he covered natural disasters and war correspondence, not politics). She has been told that she is less than for marrying a white man, and that her twin,Tia, was more black than she was, due to her marrying a black man.
Why is this Necessary?
I believe that this dialogue on The Real are bringing a much needed conversation to the forefront. People love to ask Christelyn (and me, now that I am sharing my blog posts on social media) why we even need to talk about swirling. Why could we not just find our rainbeaus and live happily (and QUIETLY) ever after? Why are we still trying to speak to women who still have not (or will not) grasp the message? To me, this situation is deeper than that. There are leagues of women out there who could still benefit from the information we are sharing. If us sharing one more article can help one more lady, that is more than enough. In addition, what of the girls that are coming up behind us? They will need guidance, information and mentorship too.
I cannot tell you the amount of black women I see in religious circles who are single, alone and bitter, particularly the older ones. They come to church every time the doors are open, pay their tithes, ask for prayers, but still can not find a man. These women are told from the pulpit that they should not chase a man, they should not be unequally yoked, and they should not date, as God will bring them their husband. They wonder, “Why have I done everything right, and I haven’t met the one?” Even women who have left their faith (or had none to begin with, no shade) still struggle with finding someone. Yet and still, the majority of black women would never deign to date outside of their race. Why is that?
Let us get Personal
(Gentlemen out there, feel free to skip over to the end. This section is for the ladies.)
I actually wrote a blog post outlining my relationship journey (namely, the lack thereof) and how the Pink Pill benefitted me, but I took it down, as I thought that it would be too personal, and would take the focus away from Beyond Black and White. The reality of the matter is that personal could be good in this article. I saw myself in Loni’s story. As a teenager, I used to watch wedding reality shows like nobody’s business – Four Weddings; Four Weddings Canada; Rich Bride, Poor Bride; Say Yes to the Dress, Say Yes to the Dress Bridesmaids, My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, Bulging Brides… I could go on for days. I always assumed that I would be married at age 25, get it on like Donkey Kong (baby-wise) by 27, finish popping out kids by 30, and enjoy balancing work, wife and mommy life for the next 20 years. I never expected at age 27 to be single and still living with my folks. Do not get me wrong, I have had a fairly good life, but I would be lying if I said I was not lonely at times. I tend to be a lone wolf. Any more than five friends, it is musical chairs or Highlander, but relationship-wise, I can see a gap there. While I definitely appreciate the values that I learn in church, and the life I have now, that doesn’t erase the innate desire for a partner.
I am that person who is single, lonely, who talks to their mom and their girlfriends, but what they are really looking for is someone to share life with. I am that black woman who will but up a strong front, but, internally, really wants to belong to somebody (…and have that somebody belong to them too). In the past, I have literally had one person close to me say that I was bitter. It hurt to hear, but it was what I needed to hear. I have even taken a look at the women in my family. Aside from my parents and grandparents, one side of the family is full of spinsters, and the other side of the family is full of baby mamas. I knew that I did not want to repeat the cycle and I desperately needed a change. Since then, I have been diving into Pink Pill content, joining fitness activities outside of my home, investing in my spiritual growth, and working on me, inside and out, to be better prepared for marriage, if that comes my way. While I haven’t dated yet, I do see other benefits in my life. (That is a post for another time.)
A Whole World Out There
We do not have to sit down and wallow in the situation of black women and love. We are all deserving of love. There is nothing wrong with wanting marriage and a relationship. I love that Adrienne mentioned that it does not make you weak to want a man. It is important for us to remember that. The panel also mentioned that white men are not necessarily the solution (something that Christelyn has said as well). The important thing is being the best YOU that you can be, being open to what is out there, positioning yourself for the best opportunities, and being strategic in how you seize the day. There are many different men out there (Asian, Middle Eastern, Latino, South Asian, etc.). If you truly want a black man, again, nothing is wrong with that. Do what works for you. That said, Loni did mention that the pool of black men is narrow, and gets smaller with age. I don’t want anyone to pursue people they do not want, just to be in a relationship and have children. However, if this is something you are open to, I would encourage you to take that chance. Life is short. Make the most of it.
Note: I have more to say on this topic, so there will be a continuation to this article. Christelyn also made a video on this topic. I would encourage you to check it out.