Black Women's Empowerment

That Awkward Beige: The Unbearable Whiteness of “Plan B”-ing

Chris Karazin is interrupting this blog post for a VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: I know I promised Patti Wood part deux today, but frankly, writing the press release for No Wedding No Womb has my eyes bleeding. I know you’re all waiting with bated breath on the continuation of the elusive art of smiling, but I don’t have any brain cells left for today. In the meantime, I’ll bring back Aaby — since you like him so much. *stomps off like a petulant child, or Kanye West*

I’ll get to the smiling post eventually, or I may post it on the fan page. Otherwise, NOT TO WORRY! I have a fool-proof cure for a straight face:

jack terrier

Take it away, Aaby!

Aaby Aabaakawad

This is a post about whom this blog is for, and how inclusive we want to be about those issues with which Black women, who date the rainbow with intent to marry, may struggle.

Individuals embrace IR through a wide variety of paths, and from many different starting points. It is a process. Like any process, it takes time, and involves several steps. Those steps may not occur in the same order for everybody, and not everyone will complete every possible step.

One axis that any rainbow dater may be located on, I will call the “affinity spectrum”. Some will shift along this axis over time. At one end are what I’ll call preference rainbow daters, who are attracted to other races or ethnicities more than their own. At the other end are what I’ll call refugee rainbow daters, who are attracted more to their own, but believe that their life would be empowered if they pursued other races or ethnicities as a plan B. Somewhere in between are democratic rainbow daters who are attracted similarly to all races or ethnicities, including their own, and select mates based on other factors.

Me? I am a White male who is a preference (for Black women) dater, but I think more often White male rainbow daters are actually democratic daters. Black women? It seems to me that Black female rainbow daters are well represented everywhere along the affinity spectrum. Preference daters are sometimes labeled as “fetishists” or “self-haters”, but not here at BB&W. Democratic daters are sometimes labeled as naïve “idealists” or “disloyal”, but not here at BB&W.

But the one group that some IR enthusiasts, even at BB&W, criticize are the refugee daters. Refugee daters may be characterized as “dishonest” or “disrespectful” in the way they deal with their plan B romantic targets, or “pitiful” for holding an attraction to those whom they have decided to distance themselves. Their prospects for happiness are severely doubted by their critics. I remember comments on IR blogs, or IR sites, similar to these:

“That’s so sad that [she] looks at White men as Plan B. How would they feel if they knew that. I have never looked at White men as anything less attractive. That’s just racist.”


“It’s looks bad to non-BM when BW hate on their own men or feel BM are inferior. Not a good look to outsiders.”


“It’s sick not to look at all races of men as if they weren’t simply men. If you can’t do that, then just stick with your own, I would never tolerate being looked at as second choice.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Let me present a more empathetic view of those romantic refugees. Especially Black women, who are the only group with a strong rationale for being in this situation.

As a practical matter, we have little direct control over what or whom we are attracted to, although we can pick places and behavior that over time might help us acquire a taste. Mostly we like what we are familiar with; this is simply a natural situation. While our mind might discern a better direction, our heart is entwined in habit and memory. Typically, it lags rational thought, for weeks, years, or even indefinitely.

In the real world, switching to, or even settling for, a “Plan B” or “C” strategy is actually a common occurrence, and unremarkable. Most of us are not pursuing our original (and perhaps still most desired) career. Did you compromise on where you are currently living; choosing practicality over a preferred location? Do you conform to a dress code? Do you vote your pocketbook over your ideals? How many of your friends were originally pursued for enhancing your career or other goals? Have financial concerns influenced how many children you might have, or how exciting a mate you might marry? Do you feel fabulous in that minivan?

Those black women who most need IR to empower themselves, are usually the same women most deeply imprinted unconsciously, intuitively, with the familiar archetypes they grew up with. It is a brave and impressive feat to go against your instincts, and quite rare. Please, let’s not further burden these strivers by implying some measure of defect in them because they have succeeded in pursuing men contrary to where the lightening strikes.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In my limited dating experience with AA women (not Caribbean, African, or integrated Black Americans), every one of them confessed eventually to an attraction primarily to Black men. I never resented this. I mean, what else can you reasonably expect from most AA women who grew up in Black environments?

Let me finish by reposting a comment by me back in June in response to Christelyn’s post My Story: Jumping the Broom with a White Boy. The inner quote at the start is from Christelyn’s post.

“If black women — regardless of class and education — were really honest, many will tell you that their ideal mate was/is a black man.”

This constantly denied fact (denied by more than a few BWIR bloggers) is a real stumbling block in IR relationships — not because of the fact, but because of the denial. These feelings are natural, should be expected, and not in any important way anti-race. There a few natural cosmopolitans, but most of us create our romantic target out of instinct mixed with what we are familiar with, at least initially.

It is assumed by many BW interested in IR that this simple fact will cause their suitor such pause that they may evaporate. Yet the little “white” lie (pun intended) isn’t really believed. So both parties pretend.

The truth is not awful, for mature people anyway. Yes, most BW open to IR grew up dreaming of a Black prince, and may still prefer such if all else is similar. BlackGirlInMaine has been honest about this in her blogging. She is in a stable marriage w/ a WM.

Sometimes this (non-BM as plan B) is denied with anger. But I have been in a few IR relationships, and, perhaps because I am easy to be honest with, every BW I have dated *so far* has admitted this preference. Sometimes the preference disappears, sometimes it doesn’t, but it was always there at her coming of age.

Despite all the angst, this really isn’t a big deal. Most of us don’t end up pursuing our first choice in career, romance, or location, but don’t consider that a tragedy. Human beings fall in love with human beings. Their partners either grow on them, or not. Familiarity eventually creates comfort, then ease.

I hate to tell you women yet another thing to be brave about, when you have been dealt far more than your share, but it is much better that he understand what your life has been about, what you have faced, and how you have evolved and why — than to try to have him think you live colorlessly. Do you really want him to be oblivious to your stressors?

If this level of complexity is overwhelming to him, he wasn’t worthy of you anyway.

Wish you all progress …

— Aaby

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