In continuing with our early question about black men and the relationships they choose I’ll again reiterate that whoever a man chooses to love and be with is his business. Hopefully, he has chosen his relationship-based out of deep love and admiration for the woman that he is with. For the purposes of this article, I’m looking at potential negative reasons that a black man might pursue a relationship with a white woman.
Normalization of European beauty standards.
In part 2, I spoke about the normalization of European beauty standards in the media and the effect it can have on ones self-image. Deep-seated self-hate blinds many men to the reasons behind their decisions. I have an example of this from my youth. When I was a teen I knew a few black boys that pretended to have a disdain for white women. They said they would never want to date a white woman. They may have been exposed to the media’s attention on black men and their supposed preference for white women. They may have wanted to distance themselves from that to appear more loyal and affirm their blackness. Perhaps they feared ridicule or wanted to be known as guys that wouldn’t sell out.
However, those young men would then strive to find and date black women that fit a European standard of beauty. They only saw a certain type of black woman as pretty and datable. They made the same dark-skinned jokes while glorifying a specific type of black girl. The woman had to have features, skin and hair that showed she was mixed with something other than just black. If she was, then she was considered to be a supreme beauty. She could have long soft hair that was straight or fell in loose big curls. Unfortunately, you can still see the prevalence of this type of beauty standard in the popularity and normalcy of using light-skinned or mixed women as leading ladies in black television shows and movies.
In mainstream media darker skin women not “mixed” with anything may not be celebrated for their beauty. So in places like North America, it’s easy to see how this can affect people.
Even in Tyrese Gibson’s book “How to get out of your own way” He randomly mentions that some black guys want to date or have kids with a woman that has a certain type of hair texture-one that is considered “good hair” which is hair that is mixed with European or Indian. He said that some men want to make sure they have children with a woman that looks a certain way so that their kids will look a certain way. I wasn’t surprised when Tyrese wrote that. I’ve heard men and women of all ages say things like this all my life. For those of you who have never heard of this phenomenon in the black community and want to know more, you can do research on colourism or watch the documentary “Good hair” by comedian Chris Rock.
So it’s clear that some men are interested in a type of woman because that type of beauty has been normalized to them. Is that wrong in and of itself? I don’t think so. It might be the reason that any ethnicity falls in love with itself. But it can be negative if the normalization of another race’s beauty and features causes you to feel that your ethnicity or race is ugly.
Stereotypes and past
Some men have had bad experiences with black women whether it be their mother or someone they have previously dated that can blanket their perceptions of other black women. Some men associate a certain type of lifestyle and problems with black women.
One guy I know had to acknowledge his judgments and stereotypes about black women that were rooted in his past hurts before he was able to see the beauty of his future black wife. Before that, by his own admission, he didn’t really want a dark skinned black woman and was mostly pursuing white or mixed light-skinned women.
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. It’s not wrong that a black man wants to be with a white woman or light-skinned woman. The problem comes in when he can’t see the beauty in black women because of his past experiences or even worse- he hates black women. I would be suspicious of someone that told me that they didn’t like the race of people they came from. If a man can recognize the beauty of all cultures and then still choose you then that’s a good sign. A black man can still have a preference for a white woman and still appreciate the beauty of black women.
Choose what you will
Some people might be wondering about people that are mixed with different ethnicities. I think the same holds true. If you are mixed and you don’t like or are ashamed of half of your ethnic background that can affect you in a negative way. Maybe there was some trauma or other bad experience associated with one side of your family. Bringing attention to your feelings and getting emotional healing is needed.
If you can honestly appreciate both sides to your background and you choose to be with one, you shouldn’t be made to feel guilty because you chose one or the other. Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Tamera Mowry-Housley both shared that as biracial women there had been negative attention on them when it came to who they married. Tia married a black man and received comments that she had done the right thing and also comments that she had done the wrong thing. Her sister Tamera had the same problem because she had chosen to marry a white man.
Loving and dating is a complicated thing. Who knows why we really fall for someone. I read somewhere that we go for what is familiar. Some people want what is different. Growing up, I personally have been through wanting what is familiar and different as I also battled with self-hate and wanting to be accepted as beautiful by those around me.
If the reason you date someone is specifically about race then you’ve already made a big mistake.
There are real historical repercussions that affect us in the here and now but only some black men are ignorant of the reasons for their behaviour. I think it’s unfair to categorize all black men together. There are those that have made a real authentic decision about their relationships and don’t deserve to be seen as just another stereotypical black man with a white woman. Black men with negative motives for dating a white woman might be easier to spot as their thoughts would clearly come to the forefront during any conversation. Self-hate is almost impossible to hide and is often directed toward black women. But that is for the next and last part of this series…(To be continued)