I love getting letters like this…makes it all worth it!
Good evening, Christelyn. My name is Dee and I found out about you from previously dating on afroromance.com. I was moved to write to you when I read one of your articles on BBW dealing with Willie Pete and his misogynistic hate speech against you and your daughter. This letter is a little long, but I hope it will be of value to you. I want, more than anything, to comfort and encourage you to keep doing the work you do because 1) it is your passion, 2)it is (one of) your callings 3) it is needed to inspire, encourage and educate black women about our broader and better possibilities for healthy, loving romantic relationships. I am currently in a loving, positive relationship with a beautiful white man (I am a black woman). We met online and have been dating about 9 months. This is my 2nd IR relationship, the first also being with a white man. Being a quality, highly educated (PhD) professional black woman, I have always encountered great difficulty finding quality black men on par with me. Further, many that I decided to date felt intimidated by me based on my accomplishments. I just finished Karyn Langhorne Folan’s awesome book ‘Don”t Bring Home a White Boy: And Other Notions that Keep Black Women from Dating Out’. She aptly addresses many of the issues I had dating black men. It is a must-read. At any rate, I have always been the one in my family to branch out, reach beyond “proscribed” boundaries (set by others). I am the only woman in my family that has chosen to go natural (wearing locs for 15+ years). I eat a semi-vegetarian diet (no meat except occasional seafood); my spiritual beliefs have evolved from the constricting ones I was raised with; I’ve gone the farthest in my family educationally and…the white man thing. My mother was a child of the 60s/Civil Rights era and absolutely disagrees with IR dating—especially my IR dating. It has taken courage for me to date out when the BC at large, as well as others, has a problem seeing a black woman with a white man—particularly, as in the case of Randy and I, there is an 18 year age difference. This is why your work is so important.
I remember 10 years ago, I didn’t even realize dating a non-black man was an option.It was just a “given” that I would be with a black man. Your work helps women realize they have that option and encourages and supports those of us who have already made that transition. I remember when Randy and I first started dating, when we went to restaurants, museums and other places, I would scan the room to see how people ”took” us. Were they ignoring us? Were there disapproving looks? Did people seem to accept us? By our 3rd date, I vowed to myself to stop this foolishness because it was making me crazy. I recalled the title of one of my favorite books by Terri Cole-Whitaker: What You Think of Me is None of My Business. Amen. From that date on, when we go places, I no longer scan the room for approval/disapproval because I know I don’t need either. We have chosen to love each other and that’s what matters. I remember on our 1st date, during a conversation about IR dating, Randy said, “I wouldn’t care if she (his mate/partner) was purple, just as long as I could find the right one.”
I want to let you know I have absolutely devoured your BBW website for the past 72 hours (since finding out about it). There have been times when I’m like, “Dee, now you know you need to put this down and make dinner.” I’ll say to myself, “Ok, just one more article…”(Which really means 10 more ☺!) This is such a rich resource and I would hate to see you give it up due to some cowards on Youtube, some of which can’t even show their faces. These people (Willie Pete, Tommie Sotomayor, etc.) are cyber-bullies and ignorant to boot. A few years back I sat through one of Tommie Sotomayor’s videos and listened to him, a black man with a black daughter, disparage black women. My predominant thought was, “Man, you have a black female child who will grow up to be a black woman, and, news-flash, a black woman’s womb brought you into this world.” I couldn’t get beyond the self-hate I perceived and the irony of all of his comments. I was done because I couldn’t fathom how anyone could be so obviously ignorant. I won’t even listen to Willie Pete because I am diligent about protecting my ear and eye gates (what I watch and listen to), so some stuff I can’t even give my attention. I know that because BBW and your comments are part of your work you may sometimes have to listen to some of this stuff, but my encouragement to you is to do what you need to legally (writing to Youtube, obtaining legal counsel, taking screenshots and recordings of the hate speech as proof, etc.), but try not to give an overt amount of time even entertaining and answering these fools. There’s a saying about don’t fight with a pig because you get dirty and the pig loves the mud bath (has fun while you suffer). Beyond taking legal and safety precautions to end the cyber-bullying, don’t let these people rent space in your head. A gentleman on Youtube by the name of Lenon Honor has a good video on how to deal with some of this called Dealing with Negative People on the Internet. You can also find the article on his website here.
I am reminded of an incident I had recently on Youtube. I’d commented on a video about black women’s attractiveness, saying, in my experience, men of all races find black women attractive and if black women were meeting black men who did not find them attractive, maybe black women needed to expand their dating options. Someone, with no identifying picture wrote to me “You ugly.” My 1st reaction was anger. Say whaaaat? Who you think you talking to? And in my head I formulated different things I could say to this nameless, faceless person to put them in check. Then I stopped. Dee. What do you know about yourself? When you look in the mirror, do you see ugly? No. Don’t you have a wonderful man who affirms your beauty, sexuality, and sensuality 100%? Yes. Has anyone, in person, ever called you ugly to your face? No. In reality, the only question that mattered was that 1st one. So why would I give a “ghost person,” who won’t even show his/her face, power to incite and affect my emotions in that way? I was able to move on with my day—in peace. I know what you experience from these fools is much more attacking, but the principle is the same. Someone who you don’t know, who doesn’t pay your bills, who, in the case of Willie Pete, won’t even show his face, has no right to affect and incite your emotions. Similarly, I was telling Randy about what I was getting out of Don’t Bring Home a White Boy regarding the topic of other people’s negative opinions on IR and black women choosing non-black men. In his true no-bullshit fashion, he said, “They’re not paying my bills, so I don’t give a shit.” Ok, then ☺. I know we as women can be more emotional, so some of this kind of thing may hurt us more than a man would ever let it affect him—though the men who love us hurt with us when we hurt regarding these things.
In my 36 years, what I’ve come to know for sure is that people who are busy tending other people’s business (the Willie Pete’s of this world) don’t usually have the appropriate time or energy left to make sure their own houses are in order. There’s an old gospel song that says, “Sweep around your own front door before you try to sweep around mine.” Clean up your house 1st before you get into someone else’s business. If you and I could take a sneak peek, an up close and personal look, into the lives of those attacking you, attacking us as black women for not dating black men, we would very likely see them living—as Thoreau said—“lives of quiet desperation,” lives that may look normal enough on the outside, but are bitter, dark, hard and small on the inside. A secret I learned from the movie The Secret is to not be “against” but to be “pro.” For example, Mother Teresa said she would never go to an anti-war rally, but she would gladly attend a pro-peace rally. The strongest position is to be “pro” you and your truth and your mission (versus “against” anyone who opposes you). Where attention goes, energy flows and these non-men do not deserve our precious energy being diverted to them. I bless your work, your beauty, your strength. They say living well is the best “revenge” and you are doing that. I feel that, by a large degree, is what has these angry black men in such an uproar. Think about it: If you were not doing anything impactful and meaningful, you wouldn’t even be on their radar. If your life, your story were not so beautiful, if your life was already ugly and low, they would not feel so threatened.
People like this love to hide behind computer screens and spew things to and about people they would never dare say to a person’s face. It is the epitome of cowardice, whereas you and your work shine and operate in boldness and courage in the full light of day. You speak your truth (the truth, as I see it) and don’t hide. Can you see why these cowards are intimidated? To revamp a Marianne Williamson quote, “It is your light, not your darkness that most frightens them. Their deepest fear is not that you are inadequate. Their deepest fear is that you are powerful beyond measure.” This is truth. This is why the opposition is so strong. These weak black men—along with weak black women—see our light better than WE do! Your life, your beauty, your marriage, your children, your brand, your business, your voice, your health and vitality, the very fact that you breathe reminds them oh, so starkly, of what they lack and secretly desire. People at the bottom of a barrel, like crabs, are interested in pulling those ascending down. Our job is to ascend anyway. You are doing that. You are helping other women do that. Thank you.
To quote a Bible scripture, “Don’t grow weary in doing the right thing, for you will reap in due season, if you do not faint (Galatians 6:9).” Please take heart and do not give up. I hope this letter has given you some of what you need to, as my grandmother used to say, “push on.” Your work and business is a form of ministry. It is a sacred work and a unique high calling of great worth and value in this world. You are a trailblazer and history changer. How could you NOT be? I am not sure you realize how wonderfully and powerfully you are helping, healing, inspiring and changing people’s lives. I want to thank you for your tenacity, bravery, commitment and service. You are doing a great work. Peace, deepest blessings and sincere love to you and your family, Dee.