I recently read an article on Your Tango called, “My Boyfriends Was Ashamed of Me Because I’m Black.” I’ll admit, the first thought the writer was talking about a white guy whom she dated and once introduced to family, was unceremoniously dumped. After all, this does happen.
But surprisingly, I see this more often when black women are involved with interracial relationships with minority men–Asian, Hispanic, Arab comes to mind right off of my head. When the writer divulged that her ex was Egyptian and muslim, I unfortunately wasn’t surprised.
Here’s some excerpts: From the stories he shared with me, I knew that Harvey came from a small Egyptian family who practiced Islam. He confided in me that he didn’t really consider himself that religious and would often get frustrated pretending to be just to appease his mother. I loved hearing him speak about his family’s culture and the customs that they followed. Being of Haitian descent (with a tight knit Catholic family of my own), I couldn’t say that I shared the same struggle as him, but I understood what it meant to feel so disconnected from what was supposed to be your identity. Growing up, I was subject to a running joke among my friends that I would marry someone outside of my nationality and race because I always had crushes on guys who were not black. It eventually started to catch on to the point that my classmates teased me constantly, making comments like, “Cassandra probably wishes she was a white girl with the way she’s chasing after those white boys!” and “Why can’t you like someone in your own race for once?” I hated their bullying, and so stopped confiding in them (and really anyone else) about my romantic interests for years. Those days I felt like I was drowning.
What Harvey wasn’t open about was whether I’d ever fit into one of his stories. He never introduced me to his family or brought me to his house, and he refused to take any of my relationship questions seriously. When I would try to ask what he thought about interracial dating, he laughed and told me to “Relax. Stop thinking so hard.” I did not push back on him and demand that he answer me; in fact, I let myself fall even deeper into this relationship, which we never defined or named.
Take a close look at the quote above. He gave several indications that he could/would never take this relationship seriously.
But it wasn’t until the one year anniversary of my brother’s death that he was finally honest with me. That day on the sidewalk, he told me that he was never planning on telling his parents about us because of my race and that he would rather take his chances with a white woman than risk upsetting his family. In our three years together, he had never shared this concern with me.
In a way, hearing that my Christianity had nothing to do with his breaking up with me was almost worse. I could control my beliefs but I couldn’t change my race. I was so utterly ashamed that I hid the embarrassment from my face and – once again – said, “OK.”. Because of my dark skin, whatever this was between us had an expiration date that only he was aware of from the beginning.
While I dedicated an entire chapter to dating ethnic men in Swirling, I’ll break this down a bit. Ladies, no matter what the man’s ethnicity, you can not allow yourself to be strung along by noncommittal men who have chosen from the beginning that you will never be the wife. The only exception is a white woman to them, because they’re at the top of the racial hierarchy in America. It’s considered a come up not only for the man, but for the entire family. Dating ethnic men have more challenges, and shockingly, many black women have more in common culturally with white men than first-generation ethnic men, who heavily rely and depend on the family approval of a perspective wife. That in and of itself isn’t necessary wrong, but I have a BIG problem with ethnic men stringing black women along until they can “upgrade.” Here’s a rule of thumb:
Don’t waste your precious, irreplaceable ovary eggs, youth and beauty on a man who only wants to hide you while he’s using you as a bedwarmer until he’s ready to marry the girl that is not you.