I put this post on hold for most of the day because the %$&#@(&#^@ with Matthew had my fingers too greasy from all the butter popcorn I was eating. And all I got to say is, THANKS A LOT FOR MAKING ME CONSUME 12,000 calories right before I fly off to New York City!
And apparently, that post has become notorious, and rainbeaus all over have read it. Some men have gotten back to me with some pretty negative impressions of some of the peeps on here. Way to close the racial chasm, Miss YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. We blew it BIG TIME with the Black Woman’s Improvement Project. I’m gonna touch on some of the issues about double-standards next week. I was going to do it today, but I need to digest a few things first. Other than popcorn.
Now to the question:
Got this email last week from Charlene, a college-educated, dark-skinned, pretty Londoner who’s ready to settle down, but doesn’t have a clue where the rainbeau prime cuts hang out. And since I neither live nor have ever visited the other side of the pond, perhaps some of the international ladies in the crew can give her some advice:
“Firstly, let me say that I absolutely love your blog and that it is really refreshing as well as encouraging to read ideas and opinions that I myself have been formulating and applying to my life for the last couple of years. My question really is whether I am restricting myself too much at such a young age. I am now 20 years old (21 next month) and I will have completed my degree next month. Just before I turned 18 I made the conscious decision that I did not want to date black men. It appeared as if every black male I had a crush on bypassed me for a light skinned girl – at the time I was not as informed as I am now about the complicated nature of some black men’s attraction and preference for light skinned women but I had nonetheless decided that I refused to be anybody’s second choice because of the darker tone of my skin.”
ME: Streeeechhh–halt. People STILL want to deny that both BW and BM are activly practicing coloracism, but this girl is 18. And to all the light-skinned ladies on the BB&W crew, not trying to put you on the spot, but let’s not be ostriches about this.
“It saddens me every time I see a black girl/woman who hasthe potential to rise above the working class conditions of her birth just to see her settle for a good for nothing, gangster wannabe, thug-life embracing black man. I see too many of those. From a very young age many people told me that I would end up with a white man. What they meant, I think, is that they couldn’t see me with a thuggish man since I think that subconsciously people associate a thuggish lifestyle with blackness. My decision to date white men was one that came from within and I am glad that I made it. However, as I come to the end of my degree, I feel that I have let myself down because I’ve been unable to find anyone.”
ME:I shake my head at that too. Of course, not all black men are thugs, but in too many circles in the “black community” a thug is the new “trophy man.” Swagger, six pack, good in the sack. No job? Beats you? Has eight baby mamas? He’s breathing, so, WHO CARES?!
“I know that I’m relatively young but I do feel that I am ready for a relationship. During the last few years I have been able to learn more about myself and the kind of person that I am, and this has enabled me to figure out the kind of person I would like to be with. I just don’t want to get to the point where I feel like I’m getting older and still don’t have someone in my life. I’m quite content with the way I am at the moment. I am taking a year out to intern and I will then continue with my studies. I am very proud of all that I have been able to achieve thus far, but I really feel like although I’m ready for a relationship, I’m really not meeting anyone. A couple of months ago I met my absolute dream man but unfortunately he is already taken (by a black woman nontheless!), and after talking to him over a drink I felt that I should no longer pursue a relationship with a man who was already in a relationship. It’s not a case of me being desparate for a relationship, but I’m a marriage-oriented woman and I feel that unless I start looking, this dream of mine may happen a lot later that I would like it to. The worse thing is that I live in London and have been since I was a child, so when people are constantly referrring to London as a great place for interracial dating I always feel like I must be doing something wrong.”
ME:What the Hades? So, not only to black women in London wants thugs who butcher The King’s English, swirling is hard there, too? Somebody’s gotta ‘splain this to me.
“Interracial dating is very noticeable here and people would hardly give an interracial couple a second look (especially a young couple), so it’s not even a case of trying to find like minded white men who are open to interracial dating, it’s just a case of me really being unable to find one for me. I have many men (especially white men) commenting on the fact that I’m very pretty and some of my close male friends (white also) tell me that tis fact alone may be the reason why men may feel intimidated when trying to approach me and hence decide not to. Call me naive, but I think that’s absolutely nonsensical – I have always believed that a man who was attracted to a woman would make an attempt to approach her. It’s bad enough that I’m a rather traditional person and as such I would not chase a man.
I guess I’m just at a loss. When I was younger I really just judged men by their appearance but since I was 18 I look for so much more than just physical appearances. (ME: FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES!!!!!) I try to remain positive because I think the worse thing is when you begin to doubt your own choices in life, even when you know they’re the right ones for you and I honestly believe that there are times when I do let some of the things people say influence my own thinking. But I now realise this kind of negative talk is poisonous!! Please understand that I do not hate black men – unlike many black men who seem to find it acceptable to insult all black women or specifically all dark skinned black women, I do not involve myself in such petty retaliations because I acknowledge that I have a wonderful black father and black brothers whom I could not dream of associating with the ranks of ignorant black men I hear of everyday. In that respect I think I’m moderately fair. The thing is that I am honestly not attracted to black men on the whole. I can definitely acknowledge when one is good looking but that does nothing for me beyond the fact that I can acknowledge he’s good looking. Besides the kind of men I am attracted to (smart, ambitious etc) are not exactly a majority of the black community where I live – (There isn’t a sinlge black male my university course by the way – just myself and another black girl) The black men that do fit my expectations of an ideal partner tend to feel that their status as successful black men (a rare species) entitles them to the best life has to offer, and most of the time that means a wife who is either not black, and if she is, she’s at least light skinned. I feel that my lack of luck with my preferred type may be a result of restricting myself exclusively to that group. What do you think?”
Looks like the “black love” dating scene mirrors that of the U.S. And how shameful is it that no black men go to her university? Has the new generation of black boys developed allergies to books?
Here’s how I responded to Charlene:
First, I know this sounds patronizing, but you indeed are young. However, you are very goal-oriented and so I can see that you like to have all your ducks lined in a row.
So with that said, I think that you have a good seven years of dating that you should do, so you can really take hold of what it is you really want in a man. And if you are good-looking, you need to exploit that to get your benefit. But I usually recommend people don’t start to date for marriage until their late 20’s, so that they are REALLY sure about what they want.
Here’s what you should do, especially if you are degreed and beautiful: Find out where the kinds of men you think you want to date and be there. I’m not talking bars–I mean mixers that are related in your line of work or career direction–you might be more likely to find someone who is compatible with you.
Second, join wine clubs or other organizations of interest where there may be men of the type you like to date.