If you’re just joining me here in part 2 I encourage you to check out part 1 to understand my point of view as I continue this series. In the last post we talked about some normal reasons why a black man might love a white woman in this post we will look at history and some problematic reasons why a black man might love a white woman.
How it started
During and after slavery there were laws that prevented black men and white women from coming together. Black men could have been killed for looking at white women the wrong way. These women were imagined as untouchable and coveted. White laws did their best to keep white women as the epitome of beauty and class in society. White women were held in honour, esteemed and protected while many black women had no rights over their own bodies and were often raped by white slave owners. This sexual abuse created many mixed race children that would be considered black by the law unless they were to hide their identity and pretend to be white by “passing.”
During slavery the black family was at a loss. Men might be sold away from their families and women sold away from their husbands and children. Black families weren’t in control of staying together. They were at the mercy of slave owners. After slavery, many families would have tried to reunite and rebuild their lives. So much of the future depended on the strength and protection of the black family and community.
After all of the racial tension some black people might have seen pursuing a romantic relationship with those outside of the black community as a form of betrayal or feared the dangerous repercussions. Also some white people would have done their best to prevent interracial relationships from emerging. When slavery ended people wanted to make sure that the races didn’t reconcile and come together. Laws against interracial marriages continued to flourish even after the end of slavery. Racist groups clung to the idea of keeping the colours from mixing. But in all of this chaos love fought back as interracial relationships budded and struggled to stay together.
It’s easy to see why some people would still see these types of interracial relationships as some kind of betrayal even though time has passed. The end of slavery did not magically see the end of centuries of racism. The venom of racism is still passed heartily through the generations.
When I was growing up it was normal to see interracial couples of any colour. However in the media a lot of attention was given to successful black men that married white women. Popular T.V shows and movies made it a point of concern. They wanted to show both perspectives- those that were for and those that were against. Most of the time it showed black women as the ones against such relationships. Sometimes black women were portrayed as angry because the “good black men” were going elsewhere. Then this became a thing. Movies, T.V shows, books all chimed in on why black men loved white women.
It makes sense that some black men might want to be with a white woman as a sign of status because of the effects of the past.There are accounts of families in different parts of the world interracially marrying to lighten their family line as much as possible to ensure the future success of the generations because they really believed that was better. This is assumption is made about black men in the media whether it’s true or not and is part of the reason why there is so much attention given to this one type of interracial relationship.
Some black men love white women because of normal healthy reasons like attraction, respect and love.
But some black men, for the problematic reason that she is only seen as the epitome of beauty because of the effects of slavery, colonization and racism that have reached far back into the psyche of black people teaching that white is right and black is wrong. I’m not saying if a black man thinks a white woman is beautiful that he automatically thinks this way but I do want to show that self hatred can “blind” a man to other types of beauty. But again this mentality wouldn’t be true for every black man. Let’s look at why this mentality is negative.
Many black people in North America are constantly bombarded with negative images of ourselves and positive images of other colours. Growing up black I felt largely ignored by mainstream media. All white commercials, movies and T.V. shows can have one feeling like something is wrong with them. Yes, there were black shows and movies, but in the regular day to day you couldn’t help feeling like you didn’t exist when you turned on the television set. I had mostly white dolls and barbies that did not mirror what I looked like.
Whether you want to believe it or not, this seeps into your thinking and morphs what you believe about yourself. If you are not surrounded by people that teach you that you are beautiful, you will look only outward to things to make yourself beautiful and acceptable. If you do not witness the beauty within your own colour and culture then there is a void. If you are told that you are pretty for a dark skinned girl, like it’s an exception, then you will believe there is something wrong with your skin. Imagine being told in subtle ways everyday that you are just not good enough. As much as women go through this type of brain washing about ideal beauty black men absorb more of it then they realize.
Brainwashing and self-hate a problem for children
I think because of the brainwashing that some men can not date black women. They only see white beauty and might not be able to recognize black beauty. (For the sake of not making this article too broad I’m only going to focus on white and black women) They don’t desire a woman that looks similar to them in colour because of self-hate or they can only see black women in the midst of black stereotypes that are not present when they look at white women. They have heard for so long that being black is negative and ghetto and they make a decision, unconscious or known, to date white women to distance themselves from that.
Self-hatred is not intentional and it’s usually below the surface. Jokes about the darkness of ones own skin, or the curly texture of your hair is more telling then wearing a sign that says “I hate myself.” Negative comments about a black person’s hair and skin colour are so normalized. It completely demonstrates the levels of brainwashing at any age. Many dark skin black men grow up with the same insecurities that dark skinned black women grow up with. The feeling that they are too dark to be considered attractive is a real problem. It would be impossible to date a woman the same colour as you if you felt that somehow you were inferior because of your colour. So at whatever level of consciousness this would be a negative reason to date a person. However some people do it and it may not have visible negative effects right away. The sad thing is that sometimes the children of these relationships are left to deal with the damaging effects to their self-esteem as they battle through a parents insecurities.
A white woman may love a black man and think he is amazing, offer support and encouragement about his blackness and she will love and defend the blackness of her children. Some white women happily adopt the backgrounds of their husbands and promote blackness to their children. So if children are picking up on self-hate cues it could come from parents but more likely be coming from extended family black or white and the media.
A great example of this happened a few years ago when Sheryl Underwood a comedian made jokes about Heidi Klum’s revelation that she saved her biracial son’s hair. Sheryl made comments about the hair being nappy and nasty while saying that caucasian hair was okay to save because it was probably long and silky. She was joking and decided that making a joke about black hair was okay. Usually making fun of black people’s hair and skin is not off limits within the black community. That day however her joke was not well received. She ended up apologizing for her hurtful comments. But imagine if a child is hearing comments like this behind the scenes at family gatherings and events. The repercussions to this type of self-hate can be endless. In the next post I will talk about some negative emotional reasons why a black man might love only a white woman. (To be continued)