Ebony and Ivory – thoughts on interracial relationships.

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So according to national government statistics, or some sort of group masquerading as some sort of official type conglomerate, 50% of black men in this country and 35% of black women are in relationships or married to people who aren’t black. ETA – people have mentioned that I need to provide links to studies , statistic etc so here they are..(http://www.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/socialchange/research/social-change/summer-workshops/documents/unionsbetweenblacksandwhites.pdf) (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1120963/Ten-cent-UK-children-mixed-race-family.html)

Now I know this is a controversial topic, so I’m gonna start out by apologising to those people who are going to be offended by my opinion. Opinions are like university degrees nowadays – pretty much everyone’s got one, they’re all important in their own right, but some are more useful than others. Mine might be useless to you, that’s cool.

I have to put the same disclaimer at the beginning as I initially put at the end of this piece. I am not against interracial relationships. I am simply discounting the popular narrative that interracial relationships are automatically positive for racial progress. Please re-read that.  Please, please actually read the entirety of what I’ve written instead of jumping on certain things that might rub you the wrong way. Thanks :-).

Looking at the statistics, it’s clear that black people are far and away the only group that dates interracially in such high numbers, especially black men. Most Asian men marry Asian women, most White men marry White women etc. (http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/local-news/one-in-five-wont-marry-white-1002413http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/local-news/one-in-five-wont-marry-white-1002413)

There’s no doubt that it’s becoming increasingly more popular and according to many people, a sign that the people who date interracially are not racist – therefore we are as a society are becoming less racist, that love is colour blind etc. To which I say nonsense, doo-doo, and complete twaddle-wrap.

Firstly, it’s quite obvious that the vast numbers of black men especially dating and marrying outside their race is pathological. The fact that 50% (48% to be exact) of a group of men date or marry outside their race (primarily white women) is a clear sign of some sort of problem within that community, especially when this is not replicated by the vast majority of the male populations of other races. We can bury our heads in the sand and sing Kumbaya choruses and pretend that this is all wonderful and part of Martin Luther King’s dream, but frankly, it’s not, because the reasons why it is occurring in such high numbers are not positive.

1) Black people as a general group have deep seated psychological issues when it comes to self image.

You only have to look at a hip hop video, or a black rom com to see that black people in general idolise beauty standards that are not ‘black’.  A large proportion of  hip hop artists are dark skinned black men. A large proportion of hip hop video models are racially ambiguous. Looking at them, they could be black, they could be Latina or they could be a white brunette with some good fake tan. I know black guys who are as black as a pot of burnt rice who have only dated girls Beyonce’s shade or lighter, and then have the nerve to talk some excrement about ‘preferences’ and how everyone’s entitled to them. Of course you’re entitled to them, but if I’d been systematically brainwashed to believe that beauty was at it’s highest point when it was 5 shades lighter than me, then I think I’d try to revisit my preferences.

How many times have you heard a black person say that they want children with ‘good hair’ or ‘green eyes’? I’ve actually heard black women say they wouldn’t date someone because their hair was too ‘nappy’ (basically too African). This isn’t a small segment of the black population who talks like this, a sizeable amount of us have said or heard someone else make these ridiculous statements at some point.  I’m not sure how the majority of black men or women can be confident that their dating choices aren’t somewhat influenced by the negative images we have of black beauty around us. Little black boys internalise ideals of beauty that tell them the only acceptable form of black is Halle Berry, Beyonce and Rihanna. When they grow up, it doesn’t magically go away. The unhealthy veneration of mixed race people by black people is nothing new, and interracial marriage is only serving to feed this.

2) Many black men and women  who date interracially state that their reasons for doing so are because of issues they have with black men or women, or things that they believe other races of men and women do ‘better’.

If you primarily date black women and happen to fall in love with a white woman, it is entirely different to you spouting generalisations about black women or men as your reason for dating outside your race. “Black men don’t know how to treat a woman”. “Black women have too much attitude”. “Black men can’t handle a successful woman”. “White women are more easy going”. “Asian women know how to treat a man” “Black women don’t wear their real hair”. (Ever considered that black women are just trying to imitate the type of women that black men clearly find more attractive? i.e. Long hair, straight hair or wavy hair?) “Black men are dogs and they all cheat”.

I’ve said this once, and I’ll say it a million times. I know plenty of white girls with attitude. I know plenty of white men who are serial cheaters and treat women like crud. I’m not denying that there aren’t particular attitudes and behaviours that are more common amongst the black community, but a lot of these are to do with class and not race. Black men talk about black women’s apparent attitude, when they only date a particular type of women. I’m sorry that Shaniqua wasn’t wifey material, but have you ever considered that her life circumstances caused her to develop a certain type of attitude to cope? And that if you dated a woman with different circumstances, her attitude would be different? I’m sorry that Tyrone didn’t turn out to be the model boyfriend, but really, you were the one who wanted a Rick Ross lookalike. And you pretty much got a look alike and an act-a-like.

3) Some white women fetishise black men. Some white men fetishise black women.

We (black folk) are a race who seem to suffer from general amnesia. When has the ability of white people to have sex or procreate with us meant that they were no longer racist? Um. Where do you think all the racial mixing in the Caribbean comes from? There a sizeable number of white people who still describe black people as ‘exotic’ ‘exciting’, and rave about ‘chocolate skin’, how good black men are in bed, how black women are more spicy and passionate, how black men are more manly, and how ‘mixed race babies are so cute’.

All these statements are highly problematic and objectifying. What’s even more problematic is that some black men  and women are stupid enough to be flattered by these unhelpful stereotypes, and will go on to date and have children with these people. The offspring of these unfortunate unions often then grow up with defective racial identities and internalised stereotypes about themselves.

I’ve heard the most ignorant and ridiculous nonsense come out of the mouths of white mothers who have mixed race children. I know of people who have had their white wives turn around and call them nigger in the middle of an argument. I know of black women who have married white men only to be disturbed by their deep seated racial prejudices that were not apparent while they were dating them. Just because someone marries someone of another race does not mean they are not racist.

Black people often require very little from the white people they enter into relationships with – ignoring the fact that they have a shallow understanding of black history, white privilege and racial identity. I’ve heard many white mothers being offended when their children are called ‘black’. This shows a woeful ignorance of the politics of race in society and also the shocking lack of care the black man who impregnated these women took in being certain that the mother of their children was going to adequately equip their child to manoeuvre through society.

Many white people are socialised to be racist. They don’t choose to be, they are socialised into it, and many of them have prejudices and stereotypes that cannot simply be erased by having a mixed race child or dating a black person. It takes a significant amount for someone to change thought pattens that have been reinforced from a young age they don’t just disappear because you fancy Tinie Tempah.

4) Mixed race people are being used in popular media to perpetuate erasure of dark skinned black wowen n particular.

It’s quite obvious that presently there is a move for ‘black’ representation to be confined to ‘mixed race’ representation. Most adverts or television shows will have  a mixed race person, or a black person who looks mixed as opposed to a non-mixed looking black person. ( I say looking because phenotype doesn’t have a direct correlation with genotype, and there are any people who identify as black who look ‘mixed’/ or who are technically mixed and vice versa). It is a more palatable and attractive version of black to the general population and to black people. Mixed race black people are a way for companies, magazines, and governments to fulfil a quota of black people whist stating clearly that only a specific type of black is good. The type of black that is mixed with white.  The result is a marginalisation of non-mixed black people, especially women, which is only fuelling a divide between these two groups. I want to clarify, this is not the fault of mixed race people, or of people who marry interracially per se. This is the fault of a system of pigmentocracy that has been present in our community for hundreds of years. What the high levels of interracial marriage does do, is send a direct message to society at large as to how we perceive ourselves, how the relationship between black men and black women is fractured, and perpetuates the hierarchy that has already been created.Ultimately, advertisers, music video directors etc, present what they think will be attractive to the demographic they are targeting. Naturally, if a particular demographic has made it clear about their preferences in terms of attractiveness, they’ll cater to that. If the high levels interracial marriage were occurring outside the context of the historical colorism in the black community and the legacy of slavery, it wouldn’t be at all an issue it would be progress, but because it’s not, it IS an issue. These are cold, hard, unpopular truths.

What I’m not saying:

1)That no one should date or marry interracially.

2)That I will never marry or date interracially. (Although I openly admit that I’m wary, for the reasons I stated above)

3) That mixed race people’s ‘issues’ are any more than other people’s.

4) That mixed race children don’t have the right to self define.

What I am saying:

1) The high levels of interracial marriage are indicative of a deeper community problem.

3)Mixed race identity IS complex and IS something that needs to be discussed more.

4) We cannot love other people positively when we don’t love ourselves.

I hope I’ve generated more light than heat, and I also want to end this piece by saying that in an ideal word, interracial dating would not be a big deal. But in an ideal word there wouldn’t be a system of white, male supremacy. I can’t talk about this issue idealistically because that is not the world we live in.

Peace guys x

26 Comments

  1. September 27, 2013 / 6:32 pm

    I honestly don’t think i agree with any of this… I’m half black/white, and my wife is 100% Domincan. Our children are black/white/dominican and I’m attracted to her because she’s a good person. Race has nothing to do with it and mixed couples are not a problem. People refusing to change are the problem in my book. Just for the record i’m not offended, it’s very hard to offend me, I just have a different opinion.

  2. September 27, 2013 / 9:56 pm

    I feel that I need to comment on this as a “mixed-race kid” 🙂

    Firstly, brilliant piece of writing. I love your passion & enthusiasm, academic rigour & candidness. Keep it up!

    I want to say 4 things.

    1. Everyone is racist. This is a fact. I think it is inconsistent for you to say that “white people are socialised to be racist”. Black people are 100% equally as racist; as are Phillipino people, as are Polynesian people. We all think we’re the bees knees & think others just don’t get it/are weird/are just different. I define racism as looking down/misunderstanding/segregating oneself from another human being because of his skin colour & ethnic background. I am not negating the existence of “white male supremacy”, but that has its roots in slavery & is more about history, economics, and social development than skin colour.

    2. I think you have made some dangerous sweeping over-generalisations about how people behave & on the homogeneity of people within a “race”. Black/white/yellow. Like, look at London. I’m assuming you live in London. Nowadays, how would you describe a “black” person? Is it someone of African descent, or Caribbean descent. Or someone from Brazil? Hmmm.. but then technically, aren’t the Caribbean people of African descent too? Or how about a person with black skin who was born in Paris, France to Congolese parents but moved to the UK for uni. Are they black? or French? or Congolese? or White? (they’d certainly speak like a “white” French person).

    3. Everyone has their struggle. America is struggling with Iran, Syria is struggling with rebels. You are struggling with the idea that white people rule everything & mixed race people are taking over your turf. Mixed race people also have their struggle. Let me describe it. As a mixed race person, I have experienced ostracisation by both my white & black family and compatriots. I am half Romanian and half Nigerian, born in Romania, grew up in Malawi, frequently travel to Nigeria & now live in London. Whenever I’m in Romania, I’m black & not included. Whenever I’m in Nigeria, I’m just that white kid. Now that I’m in London, I’m considered “ethnic” & some of my EDL/BNP people would call me an immigrant. You describe a situation where black people have had to suffer from white supremacists & from dissent within their own race as people look to white people for relationships. Mate! At least you have buddies with whom you can share your dissatisfaction!! I’m going to argue that the mixed race life is lonely, mis-jointed, rapidly changing & difficult. Your struggle is nothing compared to ours.

    Now I’m playing devils advocate there. But I’m trying to make the point that focussing on our differences as opposed to our similarities & emphasising them is taking four steps backwards. Yes I think it is important for us to value the diversity of cultures & heritages that we have developed as human beings, but of what value are they when we look at the things that really matter to us as human beings: suffering, war, death, love, justice, equity, peace. How does the colour of my skin & where I was born & socialised affect those things. It doesn’t at all. Because there are certain values that we all in some shape or form, without being socialised, share as human beings (talk less of the fact that black semen & white eggs and vice versa are compatible *wink* *wink*).

    4. I appreciate your distaste with the marginalisation of “fully-black people”. The last time I checked, the African continent was the fastest growing, population-wise & economically in the world. I think things are changing rapidly. I think that the world we’ll live in in 50 years time will be less focussed on the differences of the colour of our skin & backgrounds and more on the differences in ethical & moral standpoints, on approaches to social justice, on economic policy & standards of living.

    But then again, I also think the world in 50 years time will have more mixed race people. Since you’re not mixed race, better get yourself in there quick & marry a white/arab/asian/chinese/latino person – maybe your child will let you survive when we take over the world.

    *mwuahahahahahaha*

    (I’d definitely go for Chinese though!)

    • September 28, 2013 / 12:06 am

      LOL. You’re hilarious. I’ll do a full reply to this on Sunday because I think it deserves a thoughtful response. Happy Sabbath, and nice to see a fellow medic commenting 🙂

    • September 28, 2013 / 6:31 pm

      Ok, so I’m going to address your points one by one.
      1) “Everyone’s racist”.
      This is a nice idea, but unfortunately it’s just not true, I think your definition of racism is extremely unique, the classical definition is when someone thinks they are superior to someone because of their race. In sociology, the definition is prejudice plus power. Regardless of the definition, most sociological research into implicit and explicit bias show that white people demonstrate higher levels of bias than other communities. That’s just the way it is. It needs to be addressed not ignored, and white people shouldn’t be appeased by being told that everyone’s a little bit racist. Every race has their downfalls and white people seem to have high levels if racial prejudice as their one. In the real world, black people don’t have enough power to make their racial prejudice affect white people as a mass group politically, socially or economically. The power imbalance makes that impossible.

      2) ‘Everyone has their struggles, we need to focus on our commonalities’
      I agree with this to an extent, but if my struggle is directly connected to you opressing me, then it seems a bit of a cop out to focus on our similarities. “yes, you’re statistically 3 times more likely to be stopped and searched, and 17 out of the 19 men who died in police custody were black or mixed race , but let’s focus on our commonalities’. We all share in suffering but if part of my suffering is caused by another human being, I think it’s only fair to ask them to stop whatever behaviour that’s contributing to my suffering…right?
      I completely hear you on the difficulties of being mixed race. I guess being from the Caribbean it’s different because although we are all racially mixed to some degree, lighter skinned people aren’t necessarily excluded from being black. I’m not stating that mixed race people have less of a struggle, or that they’re ‘stealing my turf’. I am one of those people who considers mixed race people to be black although some may choose not to identify as such, which is their right to self identify. Primarily because race is a social and political construct as opposed to a purely biological one. All I’m saying is that all shades of black should be represented, not just one shade. It’s problematic for young dark skinned girls to be continually fed messages that they are not as attractive as their lightskinned counterparts.

      • September 28, 2013 / 6:46 pm

        3) “you’ve made sweeping generalisations about race”. Of course I have, I can’t do anything but that when talking about race. Yes, I could give specific disclaimers about how a minirity of white people are completely non racist and have no prejudices, or how a minority of black people do not place light skin snd loosely coiled skin on a pedestal, but I’m not writing about exceptions to the rule, I ‘m talking about the general rule. As I said begire, racd is primarily a socio-political construct. Every sociological study on race and prejudice finds patterns in groups of people that identify themselves as black, white, asuan, mixed race, etc. To deny these patterns would be to deny humsn experience. We have thinking patterns and behaviours based on the groups we form ourselves into/ belong to. It’s not surprising that a group that has 400 years of slavery, colonialism and prejuduce behind it will still exhibit many prejudices. Apartheid only ended when I was 4 . It would be abnormal human psychology for there not to be residual racism. Likewise it would be strange for those who had been colonialised or enslaved to have residual issues with self perception.

      • October 2, 2013 / 10:33 pm

        I love a bit of sparring – its good for the brain cells.

        So you yourself said:”Race is a social and political construct as opposed to purely a biological one”. However, all your subsequent arguments in point 1 & 2 treat it as such. I completely agree with you about the presence of inequality as evidenced by multiple things we as people with darker skin experience (everybody has got one!). However, I think all of your statements and arguments “white people shouldn’t be appeased by telling them everyone is a bit racist” & the other lines of thought you construct for me are symptomatic of trying to address the problem(s) from a purely biological perspective. What is necessary to break the racial divide from my perspective is pouring energy into addressing & turning around the socio-economic factors that lead to inequality- as opposed to picket fencing the white people to tell them we don’t appreciate their racism.

        & I think as a mixes race person, I’ve learnt how to make myself agreeable to both black & white – so if you consider me to be black then thats great! more rice & peas for me!!

        • October 2, 2013 / 10:42 pm

          Aaarrgh. I so disagree. For sooo many reasons. But I could literally continue this for days. So I will just agree to disagree lol. Keep commenting, it ‘s fun 🙂

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          • October 2, 2013 / 10:46 pm

            get at me, I think we have many a fruitful conversation to enjoy #DebatingClubGeekLife

          • October 2, 2013 / 10:55 pm

            lol ok will do. Debate captain mate , whatchu know bout’ me? lol

            >

          • October 2, 2013 / 10:56 pm

            haha, lets. I’m getting tired of writing incomplete replies on my phone lol.

      • October 2, 2013 / 10:42 pm

        re: point 3- I again agree with you that after all the things that happenedt to black people, there would be and are self perception issues & hence its important to know & understand the history & how that affects where we are today. 100% agreed. But I am a solutions person. My challenge with continuing to focus on the disparity, inequality & divide is that in some ways it can be a self-perpetuating situation & ones energies I feel are better spent in addressing & working on turning around those socio-economic, political& demographic (also often geographic) barriers that cause the inequity. I’m not saying that an appreciation of the past is not important- it is vital – but living in it & facing backwards, still complaining & crying about the hurtthat has been caused is counterproductive & hinders progress.

        • October 2, 2013 / 10:54 pm

          Ok sorry, can’t leave that one alone. Nnoo, noooo…it’s not about complaining about past wrongs. It’s current ones. Forget slavery, forget colonialism, yes those have left residusl issues, but even if you want to ignore those two things, there are plenty if pressing issues right now. Also, I completely agree that we should focus on socio-ecomonic disparities etc, but I disagree with you in the sense that these are so inextricably linked to race in the black community. For example, education is imperative for social equality. If schools are institutionally racist that places a specific social and economic barrier in front of you h black people. That means lower expectations, fractured parent teacher relationships etc. If you focus solely on the economic disparity without it being linked to race, you will be continually frustrated when despite your efforts for economic reform, black children still underachieve. Aaallssoo, sometimes you just need to vent. And I think we’ve developed a culture where black people are told to stop whining and get on with stuff. It’s more comfortable, less awkward, but not necessarily more healthy. I agree that sometimes one can over-complain, but black people tend to pretty much accept whatever rubbish is thrown at them or risk being told they’re playing the ‘race card’.

          >

    • October 2, 2013 / 10:08 pm

      Oh man so I had so many typos sorry. I’m re reading your comment cos I feel like I didn ‘t reply to everything I wanted to. You probably won’t even see this but I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to friendly (i hope) debate.Ok, so one really interesting point you made was that in 50 years time we will be so mixed that skin colour won’t matter so much. I’m super skeptical of this – only because it’s clear that in countries where everyone is mixed to some degree i.e. Brazil, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, there are still significant colour issues . The nature of genetics in such that people will always have differences in appearance that they can use to classify each other. If it’s not black vs white it’s light skinned vs dark. Either way, as long as there is a mindset that places one type of beauty on a pedestal or one race as superior culturally, we will always stratify ourselves according to that criteria.

      Also wanted to add that although your point about being mixed race was tongue in cheek, when we silence people who focus on something that is different about them, we sometimes stop them from expressing something that has being painful. Which is why when people say focus on our similarities, it irritates me a little. It’s almost a wat of not hearing people’s pain because it makes us uncomfortable.I actually almost did it in my comments above when I said I see mixed people as black. It’s almost dismissive in that it denies a unique experience that might make me uneasy because it is complex, and ot is not as simple ad ‘choosing’ one or the other.If I said ‘being mixed doesn’t matter as long as you’re black’ or ‘as long as you ‘re human ‘ it makes you hesitant to articulate an experience that is very different to mine and that has somewhat shaped who you are. No, you are not defined by being mixed race but it is a defining factor in your life experience I’m sure. It’s the same as being a woman, an Italian etc. Ok, that’s my last comment, promise. Hope you weren’t too offended.

  3. October 2, 2013 / 10:13 pm

    Oh man so I had do many typos sorry. I’m re reading your comment cos I feel like I didn ‘t reply to everything I wanted to. You probably won’t even see this but I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to friendly (i hope) debate.Ok, so one really interesting point you made was that in 50 years time we will be so mixed that skin colour won’t matter so much. I’m super skeptical of this – only because it’s clear that in countries where everyone is mixed to some degree i.e. Brazil, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, there are still significant colour issues . The nature of genetics in such that people will always have differences in appearance that they can use to classify each other. If it’s not black vs white it’s light skinned vs dark. Either way, as long as there is a mindset that places one type of beauty on a pedestal or one race as superior culturally, we will always stratify ourselves according to that criteria.

    Also wanted to add that although your point about being mixed race was tongue in cheek, when we silence people who focus on something that is different about them, we sometimes stop them from expressing something that has being painful. If I said ‘being mixed doesn’t matter as long as you’re black’ or ‘as long as you ‘re human ‘ it makes you hesitant to articulate an experience that is very different to mine and that has somewhat shaped who you are. No, you are not defined by being mixed race but it is a defining factor in your life experience I’m sure. It’s the same as being a woman, an Italian etc. Ok, that’s my last comment, promise. Hope you weren’t too offended.

  4. November 16, 2013 / 12:43 am

    I feel that whilst a lot of the points you have made have some element of truth, the conclusions you have drawn are imperfect.
    I disagree with the sweeping generalisations you have made, but understand that you have done so to make a point, so I won’t comment on them too much.
    Point 1: If black people have deep rooted psychological issues, how is being loved by a white person going to be affected by that? If a black person believes that they are less beautiful because they are darker than Beyonce, and they then go on to marry Ryan Gosling, are you insinuating that they only chose to marry Ryan Gosling because by marrying a white person they hope to feel better about themselves? If so, the psychological issue is still that person’s issue and the love of her white husband is not to blame. If she married a black person, would those issues disappear?
    Points 2 and 3: Imagine a black man was unable to date a white woman for whatever reason. If this black man believes that black women have too much attitude and so he would rather remain single, how has the stereotype been dealt with? Is it not by dating white women that he will realise, as you say, that “there are plenty of white women that also have attitude”?
    Your comment about black people demanding little from their white partners I feel is misplaced, as there are many many black people who also know extremely little about their own history and racial identity.
    Point 4: I 100% agree with the fact that given the choice, the media will hire a mixed race person instead of a darker skinned equivalent. This is something that I talk about a lot. But again, I feel that you have diagnosed the wrong cause – the issue is not the popularity of interracial relationships and the fact that these light skinned people exist, it’s the fact that the media is deliberately ignoring those who are darker skinned. I don’t see how or why interracial marriage should be blamed for this “divide in the community” that you were talking about.

    My point is, that whilst I agree with some (actually the majority) of the points you made, I think to attribute interracial relationships as the cause of the problems you list is backwards. If anything, I would argue that by blurring the racial lines, interracial relationships are progressive. I think to say that “interracial relationships are causing problems within the black community” neglects the bigger issues and frankly, can be perceived as offensive to a lot of mixed race families. It’s an exaggeration, but it almost seems like you are using black and white people who have simply fallen for their choice of person (whether based on stereotypes or not) and the children that they have produced as scape goats.

    • November 16, 2013 / 11:24 pm

      Hi fridayborn, thanks for commenting, you made some great points. “If a black person believes that they are less beautiful because they are darker than Beyonce, and they then go on to marry Ryan Gosling, are you insinuating that they only chose to marry Ryan Gosling because by marrying a white person they hope to feel better about themselves?”. No, what I’m suggesting is that the overlap between what is genuine love for Ryan Gosling vs a dislike of their ‘blackness’ or a desire to pro create outside of that ‘blackness’ is problematic.. In a relationship, that creates a power imbalance if the image of your partner is an image that you feel is superior. It would be the same if they married a mixed race/light skinned man because they disliked their nappy hair/dark skin etc. If they married someone ‘like them’ the issues wouldn’t necessarily disappear, but I think the dynamics of the relationship wouldn’t be as negative. I’m not suggesting this problem can only happen when black people date outside their race by any means. Our issues with colorism remain, but personally feel it’s amplified when someone (who has those issues) dates outside their race.

      “Your comment about black people demanding little from their white partners I feel is misplaced, as there are many many black people who also know extremely little about their own history and racial identity.”.
      The reason why I feel this is not misplaced is because mixed race identity is different from the identity of someone who is generally classified as non mixed. For example, we can even see that the identity of African Americans, West Indians, and Africans directly from the continent are all slightly different, in part due to racial mixing. What I’m talking about specifically, is the understanding a mixed race person should have (I believe) of how they will be perceived in society, and how to relate to their ‘mixed’ identity. Although two black parents who know little about their history is also deplorable, their offspring will not likely face any type of ‘shock’ in terms of being forced to ‘choose’ one race, or realising that although their white/mother or father is their primary parent, society may we classify them to the side of their family racially that they have little contact with. If for example. I ended up in an interracial relationship, I would be doing a disservice to my children if I didn’t teach them about how society will perceive them. From what I’ve encountered, some mixed race children who grow up i single parents households especially, with a white parent seem either averse to their black side (sometimes because they associate that with the absent parent, understandably, or simply due to ac of exposure to that culture), or play up to black stereotypes because their white parent doesn’t have the necessary tools to give them an accurate conception of their culture. The person at fault is the white parent, but also the black parent. I know for myself that if I ended up with a white man, it would be the type of white man I could be comfortable knowing that my kids father has a decent understanding of the factors shaping their identity.I should have been more clear about what I meant in the blog.

      Imagine a black man was unable to date a white woman for whatever reason. If this black man believes that black women have too much attitude and so he would rather remain single, how has the stereotype been dealt with? Is it not by dating white women that he will realise, as you say, that “there are plenty of white women that also have attitude”?
      I can’t conceive any situation where a black man would be ‘unable to date a white woman’. Seems like quite a far fetched hypothetical situation to me, but I’l track with ya anyway..If the stereotype that black women have attitude is false, by simply dating enough black women he is bound to some across a black woman that doesn’t have attitude. If it does happen that all black women he does meet have attitude, then I perfectly understand why he would want to date outside his race. Not sure why he’d have to date a white women to find out they have attitude though? Surely friendship and normal human interaction would give him enough information to see that women come in all shapes and sizes. My point was simply that these ideas are stereotypes, and therefore don’t ring true for everyone. The idea of most white women being ‘easy’ sexually, is another stereotype that is untrue. I’m open to the idea that black women may have in general cultural norms that differ from white women,( same with black men and white men), but my point was that most of the stereotypes people state in regards to this may be based on some life experience, but are generally due to the type and class of people they date, not their race.

      “But again, I feel that you have diagnosed the wrong cause – the issue is not the popularity of interracial relationships and the fact that these light skinned people exist, it’s the fact that the media is deliberately ignoring those who are darker skinned. I don’t see how or why interracial marriage should be blamed for this “divide in the community” that you were talking about.”

      I agree with you on this point a lot, and I might actually go back and clarify what I’ve said in that last bit because I’m aware of how it came across. I was definitely not saying that interracial marriage is solely to blame for this phenomenon, but I think when black men en masse date interracially or date a certain type of women , they are projecting a definite message to society and even the media about what black people appreciate in terms of attractiveness and beauty standards. If black men in general placed darker skin on a pedestal then naturally advertisers, T.V programs etc catering to that demographic would use darker skin (i.e. hip hop vids, sitcoms etc). Black men have clearly shown by their dating habits that they do not, so a cycle forms where the media gives precedence to light/mixed black women (in particular), which then goes on to further influence young black men’s perceptions of attractiveness .

      The divide in the community is because interracial marriage is occurring in a context of a white supremacy that has created a pigmentocracy within the black community. I.e., if these marriages were taking place in a context where there was not a hierarchy based on race with white being at the top, then it wouldn’t matter. But because it is, it will naturally be divisive. If black men are in increasing numbers dating/ marrying white women, and the also insinuating that the most acceptable form of black female is mixed, how can their not be a divide?Additionally, the fluctuating definitions of what it means to be black means that there is uncertainty about how people of mixed race relate to the black community. That in itself is divisive. If white mothers or fathers tell their mixed race children ‘you are not black, you are mixed race’, when 30 years ago black people generally included mixed race people as black, there is bound to be an element of confusion and divide.

  5. James
    February 20, 2014 / 5:04 pm

    I am a white man who has more or less forgotten what it’s like NOT to be in an interracial relationship. A couple of things stand out to me on this..

    First, that white people are socuialised to be racist, but some manage to overcome this. I grew up in the west of Ireland at a time when we only had Irish TV channels. I had more or less no exposure to black people till I came to London at age 11. There was no socialisation because there was no exposure. At all. But.. I came from a family with socialist values, and the basic principle that all people are equal was drummed into me from the beginning.

    I don’t think I am, or have ever been, racist. I guess it’s possible that I’m wrong, but I’ve dug pretty deep into myself from time to time to check myself (usually when someone says something like the above). I’m not denying that many, most, or even the overwhelming majority of white people are conditioned to be racist in some way, but I am saying that there are some who aren’t, and never were.

    Second, something about fetishism. As someone in England who (after 20 years living in Brixton) no longer feels at home in Ireland, but doesn’t feel English either, I guess I’ve been drawn to the black community (not that there is such a thing, but bear with it for brevity’s sake) because of a mixture of shared history here and an empathy in feeling both British and not-British. Whilst my teen relationships were mixed, all my adult relationships have been with black women. Not because I’ve been looking for ‘exotic’, but for the opposite reason, familiarity. I’m certainly not fetishising anyone.

    I’ve seen mixed relationships such as you describe, where once you get under the surface latent racism starts to reveal itself. But they aren’t all like that. And not all white people have a shallow understanding of black history, white privilege or racial identity. Some of us even share some of that history (the recent bit anyway).

    Thirdly, my two children are going to grow up, will choose their own paths and identify however they choose to. But they won’t do that without knowing exactly who they are, where they come from, what the histories are that have made them them. And life is hard enough without having to battle against a sense that somehow their existence is a problem. I’m not qualified to talk about ‘pigmentocracy’ and it’s obviously divisive history, but I am certain that it will be important that they are accepted and embraced on the basis of who they are, and for what the can contribute.

    Interracial dating is obviously not going to go away, .. so surely the best way forward is to take the issues you’ve raised and find positive solutions which address the needs of the wider community.

    Anyway, sorry to jump on this late, came across it after a convo with a friend about white men fetishising black women 😉 I should probably read some more recent ones…

    James

    • February 24, 2014 / 12:02 pm

      I agree with some of what you said, but I would note that you are the exception rather than the rule. Also, not to deny your claim that you are not racist, but not having being exposed to black people or overt racism doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t have picked up certain biases. Black people themselves internalise societies bias, so I think pretty much everyone is a white supremacist by nature of the society we live in. Even the language we speak is imbued with racial bias.From your comment, what I hear you saying in ‘not all white people are like this’. And I agree with that- but I would say that most, or at least a significant proportion of them are. “Interracial dating is obviously not going to go away, .. so surely the best way forward is to take the issues you’ve raised and find positive solutions which address the needs of the wider community.” Totally. I’m still mulling over what those solutions are! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  6. February 24, 2014 / 1:00 am

    Although, you have raised many of the points people raise, about interracial marriages.

    People often forget to mention the statistically obvious; there are simply more white women/men in the west than there are black women/men. If we take the dating world to be as it usually is i.e. ‘men chasing women’. Then if the ‘chase’ is a game of options 9 out of 10 of your options are going to be white, whereby only 1 out of 10 are going to be black. That low statistic, may decrease further, when you enter University or the Work place. You could argue the same statistics would work for black women. But, seeing as men theoretically do the chasing, a black woman would have both white guys and black guys ‘chasing her’.

    Celebrities and not loving ourselves…

    This again can be excused in part by statistics. If you assume their are levels of beauty and/or levels of social status for the sake of this point. Ie super model Jordan Dunn is highly beautiful/ Beyonce is the pinnacle of the celebrity social ladder. Now if you are a man of similar celebrity culture social status and you seek someone on your ‘level’ or at least the social circles you move in. However, you would soon find that the Beyonce’s and the Jordan Dunns are already taken. You find they are a minority within a minority, much like yourself. Maybe out of laziness/desperation you turn to the majority i.e. white women; which is the statistically easier option.

    Now, you could reply with why don’t asian men follow the same static then? Again people forget the obvious facts about the asian community. Unlike the black community they have been able to hold on to their key cultural binding attributes, namely language and religion. Language plays a big role in keeping a community united and to a large extent separated. When, the community is united, there are more chances of meeting or being introduced to someone of the same culture and race as yourself. When you speak your own language you will more likely seek people to converse with in your native tongue or find it as a common ground, to start a conversation etc etc. Plus, there are barely any asian celebrities in western culture so that point isn’t really worth debating.

    Your psychological point…

    Although eloquent, it is largely circumstantial. To base your point on the women in hip hop videos, pretty much marginalises black culture to just hip hop… I have had to say this point to people before “rappers aren’t the spokes people for black people or black culture”. Nor are the “Video Vixens’ the epicentre of black female beauty. Guys watching the videos or the guys casting the models are looking for big bums/boobs and willingness to shake them on camera. Pretty much anyone with those attributes can be a video vixen. In terms of what social deems beautiful, you won’t find a face that fits that description shaking in a music video. Black supermodels come in all shades. Even for men; for every Shamar More there is a Tyson Beckford. However, to answer your point, black is black. light skinned or dark skin. That division although mostly comical, has become a pointless divide leading to deep seeded jealous much like the roots of the Rwanda Genocide conflict.

    Anyway… in short, if there was a stronger black community there would be less interracial relationships. Black women, like most women hold the cards. There just isn’t enough black women to within the radius of a lot of black men, but there are statistically a lot of white women… hence why some guys choose the easier option. Boils down to men being ‘lazy’/opportunists.

    • February 24, 2014 / 11:57 am

      This is a very interesting comment, good thought! I’ll reply properly when I have more time. Cheers for reading x

  7. March 20, 2014 / 5:16 pm

    So i am only half way through this and i am damn near standing on my seat about to start clapping. Many valid points raised. Your line on socialisation made me think of this message i sent a friend with links a while back. She’d argued with an ex of hers. He’s Irish and white. They were talking about race and class. And this guy had a dense view and refused to see her points. Even as far as telling her it was simply case of hard work.
    http://sunnydrake.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/racism-is-to-white-people-as-wind-is-to-the-sky/
    Part two
    http://sunnydrake.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/racism-is-to-white-people-as-wind-is-to-the-sky-part-2-we-built-the-sky-and-we-can-tear-it-down/
    But, if these are too hard, then start with baby steps
    http://amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html
    Or or http://thoughtcatalog.com/anonymous/2013/04/a-definitive-guide-to-white-privilege/
    If it is still soooo hard to process – ok,
    http://yoisthisracist.com/

    #goesbacktoreadtherest

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