I’m writing this post because @Leona_LoveQuest made a good point that many black women do struggle with dating interracially, or we wouldn’t even have this blog.
I’m all for addressing the issues that some black women are facing, but I’d rather get into the actual issues.
“Black women are at the bottom” doesn’t actually do justice to what’s going on. I think we need a more detailed discussion.
I mean this could be a huge discussion, because there are many factors depending on who we’re talking to.
1. There’s social stigma involved.
Yes, there are men who can’t take being teased, or who don’t want to risk their social lives and careers. Or displeasing their parents. You also have your run-of-the-mill racists.
That’s on them, but I don’t bother with them.
2. You have the “it’s okay to date you in private, but you’ll never meet my family” types. I don’t even go near these men.
3. Or, occasionally, the “I’m dating you because you’re not a spoiled white woman” type. Now admittedly there are some men who might find the black woman they’re with a breath of fresh air after being put through the wringer with their ex, who may have an entitlement complex similar to a lot of black men in this country. So I wouldn’t blame those men for feeling this way. But there are also men who use this as an excuse to treat you like crap, or like a novelty item.
I almost dated one of these types. He pretty much wanted to stick it to his “dumpy” white ex and prove that he could pull a hotter, younger chick. And in this case, being black was a draw because you know we aren’t demanding and spoiled like those white women are. (/sarcasm)
I felt like a domestic mail-order bride. Thanks, but no thanks.
4. Or black women who are afraid to date out because of black community norms (this has been discussed a lot).
5. Not hanging around in the correct environments at an early enough age, not coming of age in the right time or place (for example, if you were 20 twenty years ago or if you are 20 now and are stuck in Mississippi…where about half of its inhabitants don’t even approve of IR dating, you might face challenges).
6. There are also issues like lack of savvy. I’ve seen a lot of young black women struggle with something that I call a kind of cluelessness. That is, they are not strategic enough in looking for a man. In college, everyone else was studying and dating. Whereas these women were just studying. Many of them also either held out for one of the few black men, or opted to remain single.
Some of them dealt with the church doctrine of waiting for a man to drop out of the sky. (Actually, I know this isn’t the actual doctrine, but that’s how some people seemed to interpret it.)
Many wouldn’t try activities that were outside of the black box. And then they leave college, and things get worse. They get into this routine of work, hanging out with friends, and church and their social life is not very conducive to meeting new men.
7. And then there are black women who grew up in the majority white suburbs, like me. Some of us are fortunate. We ‘get’ it and can mingle and date like anyone else.
Some of us didn’t. We were the ‘ugly’ chick in high school (because conformist non-black kids were too afraid to admit they had a crush on you until after you graduated college) and never quite recovered from that, so we stay on the sidelines while the white girls have their fun. We do the right activities but we never fully put ourselves out there, and it doesn’t really occur to us to highlight our best advantages physically. Yes, our physical appearance and how we present ourselves makes a first impression, as does body language. And when you don’t think you are an attractive or desirable woman, you present yourself in a particular way. A way that doesn’t come across as a desirable mate.
8. You have black women who are too black male identified, as @Vivaforever (I think it was) mentioned below. And you find these women at all socioeconomic strata. Women like these do not realize how alienating this mentality is.
9. Then there are some who just live in the plain wrong section of the country. Though I think this is like the “bottom of the totem” stuff in that it is an overused excuse. I’ve heard people use this excuse for places that are considered interracial dating havens for black women. So location is important, but it’s not as important as we think it is.
There are also other factors that work in concert that may lead to varying experiences for black women.
Note that many of the people on this blog who don’t have issues dating out are younger. Perhaps thinner. Often childless. (Have you noticed that even men with children seem to want to settle down with childless women? What’s that about?) They live in sections of the US that are a bit more conducive to IR dating. Have off the wall interests and don’t associate with the black construct.
Thanks to intersectionality, things like your age, your weight, how many children you do or don’t have, your education, and other factors also determine how you ‘show up’ in this world to other people. For example, a childless black woman may be advantaged compared to a single mother. A black single mother may see more challenges than white single mothers (oddly enough, I’ve seen white single mothers get married faster than I’ve seen black single mothers do this, but am not sure if this is just me). And a single mother who has one child may have it easier than someone who has multiple children.
All these things matter, and this is what we really want to discuss. Being a black woman with certain individual issues, and how those issues merge to become an ‘issue’ for black women in the dating marketplace. And how to navigate the dating scene with common issues that women are having.
Not just some blanket, “black women are at the bottom” nonsense.
P.S. Issa Rae is wrong about Asian men. They may be disadvantaged in the dating market compared to Asian women, but they still ‘date out’ more than other races and are the most married men in this country. The ‘bottom of the barrel’ thing is only a perception for them, rather than a reality. In many ways, Asian men are winning. Quietly*.
I suspect the same is true for black women–for although we are the least married women in the country and date out the least, there has been such a rapid shift in this** in the past five or so years that it is beginning to seem to me that we really were our own worst enemies in this.