Editorial Staff

That Awkward Beige, Part II: The Drama of the Indecisive Swirler

PREMATURE E-PUBLICATION: Christelyn and I keep having this communication problem when dealing with her back-end. O well, here’s what I wanted to add:

Throughout the comment section I hope we make distinctions amongst the various situations that might be thought of as Plan B IR. Besides the malignant psychology Cassandra had to deal with, there are many variations on this theme. BW who know they should open their options, but just aren’t that into WM. BW who are attracted to non-BM, but not as much as BM. BW who attracted to non-BM personalities, yet prefer BM bodies. BW who are open to MOC. Various conflicted states. My ultimate aim with the post is to encourage perception of the these distinctions so IR supporters can protect themselves from the damaged but still reach out to the struggling.

— A

I have a good Black female friend who is an IR practitioner and supporter that takes some exception to my recent post “That Awkward Beige: The Unbearable Whiteness of ‘Plan B’-ing“. She is not African-American, but she did grow up here. I’ll call her “Cassandra” since I have no friends with that name. This is most of her message to me:

I support black women, including AA women, who have interracial attractions. As for the other AA women you discussed in the article you sent to me, the ones who make it clear they’re ONLY attracted to AA men, I am firm in my decision not to support or ally with them and so are other black women I associate with (some are AAs). Those who want to are free to, though.

In the past, I actively supported even those AA women who have no desire for any man who isn’t AA. I saw the way AA men were trashing them on the internet and found it so disgusting and unnatural for any men to do that to women, and wanted to see it end. The main thing AA men were holding over AA women’s head was their single rate, so I thought it would make things better if AA women were married. That was a huge mistake.

Many of them stabbed me in the back. They were involved in “gender wars” online, and used interracial relationships, interracial couples and black women in interracial relationships like me as weapons in their battles with AA men. They’d hold up pictures and videos of us to say, “See, these black women have white men – we can get one, too.” We naïvely thought they genuinely supported us and our relationships, and were seriously considering interracial relationships, too. Some went so far as to claim they were “starting” to feel attracted to white men or to fake relationships online. One invited me to her “wedding” with a white man, vanished from the internet for months, didn’t know what I was talking about months after the supposed date when she reappeared with a story of a “Latino boyfriend”…and vanished again. They used us to help them and gave lip service to us and to AA men about how they’d “go get a white man” – but as soon as a handful of AA men said a few pretty words, they ran “home.” The “good” men claimed interracial relationships were “anti-community” and would stalk and harass black women (never black men) who were in them, calling us evil “feminists.” AA women would publicly reassure them that black men are “the best and sexiest,” and they’d never look at a white man if AA men would do better.

As poorly as AA men treat them, and as much as the AA women who prefer them carry on as if they loathe AA men and want nothing to do with them, AA men have their heart and loyalty. The ugly things they say in response to AA men’s attacks stem from hurt and anger, but they still want AA men. I’m not even sure this is really “preference,” because no one in their right mind could prefer a pool of men they say are mistreating them, don’t want them, are underachievers, and every other negative thing in the book. They say so many do it they can’t find a decent one in the bunch. Well, I’m attracted to some white men, but if I never or very rarely came across a white man who wasn’t a deadbeat or abusive scumbag, I could never prefer white men. Anyway, they’ve shown they’ll turn on allies in interracial relationships who stood by them when some AA men pull their puppet strings. One of my “friends” like this started secretly conspiring against and openly attacking me when I wouldn’t unite with the “good black men” she thought she’d found and forget about interracial relationships. When I told her I had no intention of dealing with anyone who trashed me for being in a relationship with someone of a different color, she thought I was making trouble and trying to destroy the “community” as those “good” men warned. Maybe she thought I should break my engagement and run to AA men. At some point, she realized those men weren’t good. She’d hoped and expected they’d defend AA women against the bashers and set an example so they’d change – but every one of them were friends and supporters of other AA men who were attacking AA women. They played the role of good cops to the bad cops. She tried to come back to me. I didn’t allow it.

Point two…most are wishy-washy. One day they seek me out and ask for help finding white men. I go to a lot of trouble helping and advising them, and they never follow through. There’s always some excuse: they met an AA man who gave them hope that AA men can be “fixed up,” they should be “fixing the community,” “still thinking about it,” etc.

Third, they’re always ranting about black men. I try to be supportive of their experiences, but it gets irritating when I simply show a loving interracial couple and a lot of the responses are angry rants against black men. I’m trying to show something positive and loving. That ruins the vibe. I feel more and more offended each time I hear some AA women talking as if men like my husband are chopped liver and inherently second choice for us all, assuming we all share these views. These things make AA males who are arrogant feel all black women’s lives revolve around them, since apparently we can’t even look at non-black men or date or marry interracially without thinking about them. These arrogant males come to annoy me with remarks about me being with “a corny white boy” because I “couldn’t get” one of them or because I’m “angry” at them. They never imagine that I’m attracted to my white husband, and that most black women of other cultures have zero interest in AA men whether or not we’re attracted to black men.

In sum, my mind is made up that I don’t have the patience to deal with these women. They got me involved in gender wars that have nothing to do with me, then left me hanging. They hurt us with repeated betrayals. They brought me nothing but frustration, problems and grief. Other black women who are ready and willing to date interracially are held back by those whose hearts or minds have serious issues holding them back. Those who relate to and want to help those women can do it. I have nothing to gain from that alliance. They hurt the image of black women in interracial relationships and make things more difficult for us. I only work with those AA women who have an attraction to at least one group of nonblack men AND open to overcoming their conditioning or grew up in diverse environments and were never conditioned. I can’t do anything for the rest.

That’s different from a person simply settling for less than their preference. Most go around trumpeting from the winds that they want only black men and that have or will settle for a white man if they “have no choice.” That’s emasculating to a partner, and gives AA males ammunition when they attack the woman’s non-black partner. “Oh your woman really wants me deep down. I could get her if I wanted her.” What man wants that? There’s already a stereotype that white men are sexually inferior to black men. Men generally want to be made to feel like men. You attract and keep your man by making him feel he’s the most masculine, the one who can best satisfy and protect you. You DON’T publicly undermine his manhood. If my husband went around announcing that he preferred white women but “had no choice” but to settle for me because he couldn’t get one, I’d feel offended. I wouldn’t even be with him if I suspected such a thing. I feel I’m top-notch and deserve a man who sees me the same. Those women would feel offended, too, especially because of stereotypes that black women are less desirable.

My reply, which might just show that I misunderstood her:

Obviously anyone who doing the behavior you are talking about is not worth investing in. I am thinking more about people who are sincere, but still carry an attraction against their interests. People can’t *think* themselves into changing attraction. Time and familiarity are needed, and usually works.

In your way of thinking, virtually all BW who grew up in a non-integrated environment are beyond reach and should not be encouraged despite what they may claim. Do you actually want to go THAT far?

My friend then concluded:

… I know AA women who’ve grown up in black neighborhoods, been conditioned, yet followed their interracial attractions. Their attractions were their motivator. … I don’t believe attraction to only black men is a liability. If I were only attracted to black men, I’d date black men or stay single. I’ve known perfectly decent black men who came from other countries (or the children of) and just want to get educated and make something of their lives. Some were friends. But that’s me. You and others are free to help those you have a desire and inclination to.

How do you all feel about her points? I grew up in suburban and rural all-white environments, and went to college in integrated schools. I really don’t have any direct insight into these types of Black-on-Black interactions.

Wishing you all progress …

— Aaby

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