Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Black woman seeks white man for promotion of marriage among her race
An interracial fix for black marriage. It was forwarded to me by a friend who happens to be black and also happens to be married to a white man. She and I have had this discussion about black women dating outside their race a number of times in particular following advice from her older African-American aunt who pronounced to us, then single black women in our late 20s that when it comes to most black men "they either gay or they in jail".
Now I agree with the core argument made by author, i.e. 'black women should not just limit themselves to black men' but unlike the author I don't believe this will in some way promote marriage within the black community, it's simply put - a numbers game. There are more 'available' black women than there are black men so unless you're willing to share....there just wont be enough to go around. I confess I've never been great at maths but it seems like a no-brainer to me.
Admittedly I haven't always held this view but as I've gotten older and I'd like to think wiser, I changed my tack regarding the dating game in part because I realised that relationships really do not have to be that complicated. I know a number of couples who on paper would seem incompatible because of their different cultural backgrounds but in reality end up having more in common with each other than with their so-called ideal match. Also what makes couples click is far less tangible than a country, ethnicity or a language; if it were simply about finding someone from the same culture as you surely there would be fewer divorces within specific communities. We could all marry the son of our parents' friends and be done with - same educational background, same cultural values etc etc....but ofcourse marriage isn't science. This is where again I disagree with the article's suggestion that black women would do better marrying someone who is as educated and as accomplished as them; in my humble opinion two high powered professionals do not a long-lasting and happy marriage guarantee ....but let's leave that for another discussion.
Back to the whole lack of eligible black men debate that we've heard all too often, It's important to also put this article into context, the statistics cited by the author are particular to the USA though I would concede that they are no doubt similar to those in the UK, however in Africa and I suspect the Caribbean, a successful and eligible black man is far from becoming an endangered species. In countries where black people are not a minority, the question of finding successful black men rarely arises because all the lawyers, doctors, accountants, bankers, politicians are black and I would dare to add, they outnumber the women. So it is a given that if you're educated, you will find a black man who is as, if not more educated than you. Granted if you live in the UK or the USA, this fact doesn't really help you much which is why I agree that as successful black women we should think outside the box but not only to date men from other races but to also date men from other walks of life. Personally I don't see why Love should come with a degree or a six figure salary and I'm sure we can all attest to knowing high-powered couples who look fantastic on paper but are as miserable as hell in real life. The values we should be promoting are mutual respect and love not his and hers mercs and sizeable investment portfolios.
All this being said, I have to add that I do sympathise with black women who find it hard to date outside their race because I think sometimes it's as simple as who you find physically attractive and many simply feel they are not attracted to white men. However I still think we should be careful of convincing ourselves of such absolutes because even though we think we're not attracted to the white men we see everyday, how many of us will turn down an offer from George Clooney or Robin Thicke or Matthew McConaughey or the gorgeous Jason Lewis? My theory is, if we can drool at the fine white men on our screens then surely that means we don't find all white men unattractive.
Last night I watched Something New with Sanaa Lathan who stars opposite some fine white man whose name I forget, and thought it dealt with some interesting questions regarding interracial relationships. In one scene Sanaa Lathan's character complains to her white boyfriend (the hot one) about not being able to talk to him about the pressures she faces as a black woman in a professional environment on a daily basis. She makes reference to the African-American expression 'black tax' which refers to black people having to work twice as hard in order to achieve the same thing as their white counterpart. Something which her boyfriend understandably had never heard of. Although glossed over, for me this raised an interesting issue that could have been further explored, i.e. how do our partners from different cultures deal with similar problems that are real for us but that they will never experience. But while issues of racism and discrimination are real for a number of people from minority groups, it need not be our daily mantra. Yes it may happen, and yes we will find ways to deal with it. If our partner, be he white, black or green is compassionate enough, he will lend an ear while we rant about the boss who double-checked our work simply because...or was quick to point out how 'well' we speak as though this were not expected. I also think that a lack of empathy can happen even within our own race. I have friends who are often frustrated with their husbands (from the same race) because they feel they just need someone to listen while they complain about discrimination issues at work or the supermarket or the kids' school. Yet for many of these men, every problem has to have a solution, this business of just talking for the sake of it, airing your grievances just doesn't make sense to them. As a result they are no more sympathetic to stories of perceived or real discrimination that we just want to 'discuss', than they would be if they were white.
So Mr. Ralph Richard Banks while I agree with your core proposition, i.e. black women please be open to dating outside your race, I don't agree it should be done for the 'Greater Good' unless ofcourse that greater good is You + A loving partner + A happy life.