There are all kinds of Black men who walk around with vanilla arm candy. There’s the one with a sambo-wide smile, proud as a peacock to have a flaxen-haired, porcelain-skinned goddess by his side for the singular fact that she is just that.
Clearly his upgrade from the Tanishas, Shaquanas and LaToyas he crushed on in elementary school, took to dances and proms as a teenager and maybe even smashed in his college dorm room, this fair maiden is a personification of every piece of social conditioning he’s internalized since he was old enough to watch a MTV music video. You know about this guy already (cough, cough Ochofreakin’cinco).
He’s on the red carpet all the time, beaming his veneered athlete/actor/rapper/singer/politician/preacher/high-ranking successful professional guy smile, hand-in-hand with his prized possession. This dude wants the world to see how much he’s come up since he switched from Essence to Cosmopolitan. Much as we like to analyze, demonize and verbally firebomb him, that’s not who we’re talking about this time.
As bold as the aforementioned group is in their devotion, there are other brothers who seem a little uncertain about their decision to swap Godiva Chocolate for Twinkie filling. You may have seen them: they wear their internal struggle on their faces when they have Becky in tow, averting and avoiding eye contact with any sister within a 200 foot radius, opting to count the number of pebbles in the cobblestone sidewalk rather than exchange glances with a homegirl. They seem almost apologetic about their decision to hop the border, which is both intriguing and baffling to me.
For some reason, nowhere—NOwhere—is this phenomenon on more of a display than Wal-mart. I don’t know what it is about that hotbed of super savings that attracts these on-the-fence brothers but sure as I have a set of soup coolers, there is always a man scuffling down the aisles, 10 to 20 steps ahead of his Snow White. She plods along, totally unhip to the grappling that’s clearly going on in her man’s head. Chalk it up to yet another thing she’ll never quite understand, like driving while Black. Meanwhile he’s nervous, tentative, cagey, like he may be slapped in the back of the head with a handful of enlightenment if he doesn’t keep his guard up. But the question is: why do it if you’re going to be ashamed about it?
We go through adolescence chomping at the bit to take the reigns from our parents so that we can make our own choices for our own lives. That includes who we want to date, who we want to lay down with at night, who want to cuddle up with, hit on and lay up under. Now, if these brothers find themselves questioning their relationships, they might need to examine why. Did they think dating a white woman would be easier? Were they scorned by a sister and swore them off like Hoodoo curses? Was there some ulterior motive for their coupledom that’s somehow haunting them?
I’ve never really written about interracial dating before. It’s a subject so sensitive to so many people that it’s a dangerous can of worms to open, even in general conversation. Sisters are cocked and loaded with resentment and bitterness, brothers are drunk off of generalizations and insensitivity and the conversation—whenever, wherever—gets ugly. Fast. As for me and myself, I love the look of Black love. I smile whenever I see my boyfriend’s milk chocolate fingers intertwined with mine. But trust and believe if I was ever to jump ship and get me an Adam or a Brock, there would be no hangdoggin’ about the decision I made to try something new.