Those of us in the know, know that love knows no color, no income minimum, height requirement, or educational background. However, for those of us who choose to date outside of our race, we are often the subject of intrigue and ridicule by our friends, family and general bystanders who feel the need to remark as loudly as possible, “You wouldn’t never catch me dating and kissing no white man!” To borrow a few of the words of our greatest national treasure, Miss Aretha Franklin, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”
That’s a good segue into my story, because never in a million years could I have honestly imagined I’d end up with a white man. A lover of all things black men, and a childhood spent ogling the sexiest of the sexy on Video Soul, including Donnie himself — I saw my beautiful Black family fall victim to a drawn out divorce as a kid, and became vigilant to one day have a resilient and unfaltering Black family of my own. As I got older, I clung to this even more, realizing white boys served only two functions in life, face and cake. Beyond that, I was insistent no white man could ever really understand me for the intelligent yet, complex woman who existed at my core. More importantly, they could never relate to my struggles, for self love, acceptance and identity in a Eurocentric society. My narrow view of white men limited them to a good time and nothing more, certainly nothing worth taking seriously. I knew it was a strong brotha who would be the missing half, that would make us together a whole.
Yet, as I began to seriously consider leaving the playing field to settle down with my brown sugar boo, I found it was the brothers who were missing something. For every woman it’s different — the one component we are not willing to compromise on, a fatal flaw if you will. For some it’s a job, a self-esteem, a degree, but for me it was simple willingness to want to settle down, to commit. During this time I dated some of the most fabulous Black men the city of Atlanta had to offer: successful, sexy, charming, well-endowed. But sometimes, indulging in the honey pot makes you wake up and realize you want maple syrup. It seemed, for one reason or another, that they all had an explanation for why they were just not yet ready to settle down. I’m willing to admit, maybe it was me. Perhaps a fearless ambitious woman who knows what she wants, including a family, was too much for the new millennium Black man to handle.
So by chance I accepted a dinner invitation from a long time friend, we’ll call him Steve. Steve and I had gone out on a date before, but I was so uncomfortable and worried who might see me with this white man, I couldn’t enjoy myself. Steve had even tried on previous occasions to tell me that he liked me, but I was so busy chasing some Black boy who wanted nothing to do with me I couldn’t even feign interest. Plus, Steve was my honest-to-God friend. I just wasn’t sure how the “I can’t date you because your white” rationale would have went over. So I stopped returning his emails and went into hiding for two years.
However, I digress.
A chance meeting at a night club led to our first official date. Since then, I’ve been living on cloud nine. I had found my Dr. Feelgood.
Yet, the cadre of brothers, who back then didn’t want me, now had a lot to say. Most of it to the tune of, “how come you and I never worked out?” Meanwhile a good portion of my girlfriends (while also taking a left down hater avenue) had questions like, “whats it like with a white dude?“, “I’ve never seen you so happy, what has this guy done to you?”, and my personal favorite, “he’s cute, does he have any friends?“
As expected, my biggest concern was the reaction of my family, seeing as my father forbade us to attend my cousin’s wedding when she chose to marry a white man. Then there was my mother who had admonished me on more than one occasion as a kid growing up to stop thinking that I could act like those “white folks”. In a startling surprise twist of fate my family loved him from day one. Steve is now my Dad’s favorite drinking buddy. My mother, grandmother and aunts all took to him immediately. They were duly impressed by the way he treated me and ironically enough, were each still nursing their own bitter wounds left from Black men who left them with a house full of children to raise and no emotional or financial support in the wake of their departure.
Let me be clear. By no means am I attacking brothers. If you want to play the field until you are 40, that’s your prerogative. In fact, this is an all-out attack on my sista-friends and our ridiculous refusal to look for love outside the realm of our own race. It doesn’t have to be a white guy; I am imploring you to cross the cultural barrier and date an African, a Mexican man, yes, even an Asian man! So many of us are looking for love, yet if it ain’t Boris, Idris or Will Smith, we are not interested. There are men of all colors and backgrounds who have something to offer. If you know in your heart that you are a passionate, loving woman who brings some strong credentials to the table, why not try reaching out to the other side?