My best friend forwarded an email to me today with the subject line "A Shame...What's Happening With Our Brothers?" I opened the email expecting to see something compelling. Perhaps the email would discuss the alarming rate of new HIV/AIDS cases amongst black men, or the increasing number of black male youth in prisons. Instead, the body of the email read:
"To see just how many of our brothers date outside their race, click on the link below. Some will be shockers because you would never think they would but others you won’t be as shocked. It’s a shame regardless that it’s come to this. Makes you kind of mad. http://afieldnegro.com/photos.html"
So, I clicked on the link. And I saw the pictures of many black professional athletes, musicians, actors, and other public figures with non-black women. I also saw pictures of Kimora Lee, Derek Jeter, Shemar Moore, Tony Parker, August Wilson, Lewis Hamilton, Boris Diaw, Adam Clayton Powell, Tiger Woods, Lenny Kravitz, Ben Harper, Vin Diesel, Damian Marley, Gary Dourdan, David Justice, & Barack's parents (not sure why they were there, but I’m very thankful for their union!) The aforementioned are all multi-racial. Shemar's mother is white. So are the mothers of Tony, Boris, Adam, Ben, Damian, Vin, Gary and David. So…if any of these men decide to date or marry white women, are they NOT allowed to without being persecuted by black women? Is Shemar NOT allowed to date a woman who looks like his own mother? Same question applies to Derek, Lewis & Tiger. None of these men have black mothers. How can we play the "self-hatred" card ONLY when these men date or marry non-black women? (How convenient.) Is it also considered self-hate if they exclusively date black women? Why not? That’s not denouncing their whiteness? Tiger's wife isn't Thai...and I don't see the Thai's up in arms about it. But I have seen black women (and men) up in arms about who Tiger has chosen to have his “transgressions” with. “Why couldn’t he throw a sistah or an Asian chick in the mix?” In the grand scheme of things, what difference does that make? Would that make Tiger blacker if he cheated on his wife with a black woman? Would it make any of these men blacker if they ONLY dated black women? Then what? Do they get to be grand marshal in some black history parade or sumshit? I mean, really!
As I continued to read, a few more questions came to mind. Like why are Pele (the Brazilian soccer star) and Alex Rodriguez (he’s of Dominican descent) considered black on this site but the Panamanian women at the end of the page aren’t? Just because they speak Spanish, doesn't make them devoid of African heritage. Have you heard of the Cimarron people??? Several of the 'offenders' on this site have been linked to black women in the past. Are these men not allowed to date non-black women ever? What right does anyone have to dictate who someone should date or marry? And more importantly, who has this much time on their hands to scour the internet looking for pictures of black public figures and their non-black women to put on a website? SN: When was 50 Cent w/Paris Hilton, Ray J w/Tila, Ann Coulter w/JJ Walker (WTF! Mr. Field Negro obviously has no idea who Ann Coulter is!) & Raphael w/Joss? I must’ve missed those memos. I know I’m all over the place but I’d also like to point out that Dr. J’s wife is black, Adam Clayton Powell’s 1st wife Isabel (pictured) was black (so was his 2nd & his 3rd was Puerto Rican) and lastly the woman pictured with Richard Jefferson’s name is “Kesha Ni’Cole Nichols.” But I digress…
There was also a photograph shown of Booker T. Washington's second wife. No name or details were given. When I looked at her picture I didn’t see a white woman. I saw a woman who looked a lot like my own grandmother. So, I looked her up and discovered that the woman in the photo was Olivia A. Davidson. Davidson's father was a slave and her mother was freeborn. She began teaching when she was 16 years old and was the co-founder of the Tuskegee Institute. Her brother was murdered by the KKK. Her life was incredible. And this information could’ve easily been found in the midst of Googling pictures of NBA players w/white women.
I’m from Orange County, CA born and raised. There aren’t a lot of black people where I live. So I’ve dated everything. And not by choice. There’s just a shortage of brothas here so until I was able to travel to meet black men I had to date what was convenient. (Growing up in OC was very difficult dating & image wise. That’s a blog for another day.) My 1st love was of Columbian/Dominican heritage. I’ve dated Filipino, Persian, Indian, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Italian...I don’t discriminate. There are beautiful men in every race. And I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to date different people. I’ve learned a lot from those experiences. And the one thing I learned about myself is that my preference is black men. I love my brothas! For me there’s nothing like being with a black man. I love seeing his brown skin next to mine. And when I have to press my hair he doesn’t walk in & ask what that smell is in the kitchen, nor does he ask why I sleep with a scarf on my head! He understands me culturally. I’m like his sisters and his aunts and his mother and his future daughter. For me, there’s something very comforting about being with someone who comes from where I come from. And that is MY choice. Doesn’t make it right or wrong. This is just what works for me.
When I was 18 I got engaged…to a white man. (His father was Portuguese and his mother was and Afrikaner.) I’d known him throughout junior high and high school. I’d had a crush on him since 7th grade & vice versa. I figured that we were socialized the same so the difference in color shouldn’t impact our relationship too severely. We had the same friends. We listened to the same music. We participated in the same activities. After we moved in together I saw that there were in fact vast differences. We meshed well on a social level but we were definitely not raised the same. For example, our views on how to raise/discipline children were different. I can’t put it into words but I felt like there was something missing (culturally). I’ll never forget the day we were having a conversation about music & I referenced something and he asked me “who’s DeBarge?” In that moment I knew that I didn’t want to spend my life with someone that I’d have to explain things like this to. (Plus he was nuttier than squirrel shit. But that’s also a story for another day.)
My point is that for me, I knew that we were just too different and it was easier for me to be with someone who understood my blackness. For some people this isn’t a deterrent. I dealt with the looks & commentary from people when we were out in public. I wasn’t with him because I hated myself. I wasn’t with him because of bad experiences with black men. I was with him because I loved him. We had a lot in common (in hindsight that was all surface.) I wasn’t with him for any reasons related to self-hatred. But I’m sure to some looking in it may have appeared that way. Couldn’t have been further from the truth.
You can’t give a blanket explanation for why every black man dates a non-black woman. If you don’t have any vested interest in someone’s relationship it shouldn’t matter to you any damn way. How is Tiki Barber being married to an Asian woman going to effect your mortgage? Get some hobbies that don’t involve who strangers choose to marry and spend their lives with. I’m sure there are many black men who date outside of their race because of bad experiences with black women (I saw Lionel Richie's picture on this site. I'd date 'other' too if I got busted upside the head with a skillet! Kidding...) There are also black men who date what’s around them. And there are also black men who believe like I do that variety is the spice of life. There are beautiful women in every color. Why are black women the only ones so upset about our men dating other women? The white women aren’t pitching a fit about their men dating Asian or Latina women. We need to stop putting so much negative energy into what other people are doing. There’s someone for everyone. I can’t believe that people are actually passing this link to this half-baked website around chalk full of grammatical errors & facts that were pulled out of the air and getting themselves all worked up. “Some will be shockers because you’d never think they would”. Serioulsy? Do YOU want Don Cornelius' old ass? I sure the hell don’t! The man who only dates blondes won’t be interested in you anyway so don’t waste another moment of your life thinking about him.