Warning: I am about to enter into dangerous territory and pray that I come out unscathed and alive.
After all, there is so much that I have to live for and am passionate about accomplishing that I questioned the relevance or importance in even addressing the infinitely trending, and highly debatable, topic of interracial dating and marriage.
Cover me, I’m going in…
As short as 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that interracial marriages were legal. However, the occurrence of interracial couples, intimacy, and procreation in America stretches far beyond 50 years ago with a bull’s eye landing right onto the plantations that served as residence to the approximately 10.5 million Africans that were shipped to the “New World” during the Middle Passage. We are the descendants of those survivors. Therefore, before we can address the current state of interracial dating and marriage in America, it is imperative that we understand the history that has propelled us forward into the 21st century.
It is not uncommon to often focus on interracial relations stemming from the forceful intimacy between the white plantation owner and the African female slave; however, we must not ignore that more often than not, the African male slave was just as much a victim of a free white woman as it pertains to intimacy and the birth of children during these times. After all, it was the freedom of the mother that determined the freedom of the child. Hence, if a biracial child was born to a white woman – it was immediately considered free, while the biracial child born to an enslaved black mother was inevitably born into slavery.
Knowing this small nuance within the history of American slavery, I cannot help but to question how these experiences over centuries shaped the perception, acceptance, desire, and even rejection of interracial dating and marriage. It is obvious that within the African American community so many opinions regarding this commonality, or even “epidemic”, reside from one end of the spectrum to the other. Many question how something that was considered to be criminally, brutally, and fatally punishable has evolved into a coveted way of life, or merely a display that you have “arrived”. Growing up in California, known to be one of the most liberal states in America, has exposed me to the common appearance of interracial couples, yet as the mother of two black sons (one a few months shy of the age our beloved Emmett Till was when he was gruesomely murdered) I cannot imagine them having suffered just because of an accusation of making eye contact with a white woman.
So how has our community gone from such horrific, atrocious encounters to witnessing some of the most prolific, educated, inherently wealthy (in mind, body, and spirit) black men and women lead lives fighting for black freedom, prosperity, equality, and standing as some of the biggest proponents of “wokeness” on the front lines, screens, boardrooms, and courtrooms, yet, have made the choice to cleave to a partner of another race?
I’m sure at this point, there is no ambiguity in my position. I am emphatically pro black marriage, pro black family, and pro black community. This does not mean that I am limited in life to the black community, but it does mean that I undeniably possess an extreme amount of pride, and hope in the very essence of the black man and woman and wholeheartedly believe that the unification of the two create a natural byproduct that resembles the royalty, resilience, and ingenuity of our ancestors.
Personally, to choose anything else would serve as a disregard for the dynamic nature of our community. Some would argue that love is color blind (does that include green? – sorry had to throw some ounce of pettiness into this to lighten the weight of this topic), but I would argue that with the multifaceted nature of black men and women: short/tall, slim/thick (or both), natural hair/weaves, caramel all the way to dark chocolate, entrepreneurial/career driven, politically correct/raw, and the list could go on and on – because we are just that AMAZING, that there is something deeper that causes our beloveds to venture into the interracial dating space.
Of course, we have heard the same excuses repeatedly: the attitude of a black woman is intolerable, that black women are too strong, that black women are not supportive, that black men are dogs, are not consistent providers, or loyal. There are two ways to address these stereotypes. First, the stigmas that have been placed on the 46.8 million black men and women in America, by black men and women, are simply character flaws and devoid of race. I’ve always wondered how the attitude of one black woman (or 2 or 20 – how many ever encounters you have had) speaks for the entire black female population. Or Sis, do you really think that the disloyal dogs that you’ve had the misfortune of being involved with really represent the 21.5 million brothas in America? Seriously girl, now come on.
We also ignore the root of why our community tends to turn on itself. The very essence of divisiveness (Willie Lynch letter and the destruction of black unity – another history lesson for you) has seeped its way into the black family – and unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon. According to Pew Research Center, newlywed black men are twice as likely as newlywed black women to have intermarried, and while there are other nationalities that supersede some of the black statistics, 1 in 7 U.S. infants are now multiracial or multiethnic. Between 1990 and 2016 the percentage of blacks that say they would be opposed to a close relative marrying someone of another race has decreased from 63% to 14% – that’s 49% in just as little as 26 years.
Huh? now, I’m going to need the Pew Research Center to run me some numbers, because with the huge popularity of “black love” and the “black marriage movement” – I mean come on it’s a segment on OWN; we all know if Oprah touches it that means its golden right? – and #blacklove has 2,691,466 posts as of today, I am not for certain that the vast majority of our community has become apathetic to the preservation of the black family. Or are we still just complying with the Jim Crow “one-drop rule”?
Having never considered marrying anything other than a black man, I would like to hear from you on this issue. The pros and cons, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Keepers, what do you think about interracial dating and marriage?