The Young and Disenchanted

“May date another race or colour/That don’t mean I don’t like my strong black brothers” – The Swirl, from a woman’s perspective

Posted on: 8 December, 2009

To my strong, beautiful black brothers:

A few months ago, I met up with a few of my ignorant favourite African male friends for dinner, and our conversation wound its way from Kelis’ “golddigging” ways and Kenyan music to an ever-contentious subject: interracial dating. All except for one of them expressed the following sentiment: “I don’t see anything wrong with an African man dating a non-African woman, but I don’t like it when I see an African woman walking with a man who isn’t black.” Now I have heard countless claims about the saltiness of the average black woman and her feelings about seeing one of “OUR men” holding hands with a Becky, but the black man who takes a black woman dating a Dale personally  is a new phenomenon for me. Puzzled, I asked to clarify: “So, you guys see nothing wrong with a black man dating outside of his race, but you do see a problem with a black woman doing so?” Their response? “Yes.”

Now, my dear black brothers: you know that I love you more than anything else in this world except chocolate. Y’all raised me, taught me, love me and challenge me to do better all day, every day. But PAUSE: really though? You somehow think you’re justified in restricting my dating choices because you feel threatened? You know you’re fucked up for that. And that will lead to you someone getting cut.

 I asked a fellow Nigerian this question straight up and he simply shrugged and said, “I know it’s wrong, but life isn’t fair.” To him, it is a serious affront to black male pride to see a black woman walking with a man of a different race. But black female pride? Psssh. Irrelevant. I got the same sense of a lack of regard for black women’s feelings on the part of black men again when talking to a couple (again, Nigerian) male friends of mine. One of them was explaining that he broke up with his last girlfriend because he was tired of being in a long-distance relationship. Upon hearing this, the other one remarked, “Oh yeah I feel you – you know men have needs.” Again, PAUSE. Because women don’t??? What in the hell is going on, my African men?

Now, I understand that our life experiences may be very different. Many of you were raised in homes where your father’s word was bond, as the man of the house. Many of you grew up with women who allowed men to get away with some trifling ass behaviour because if society condoned it, who were they to argue back? And many of you are now enjoying life in the first world as students and workers with all of these golden opportunities open to you, including the option of dating outside of your race. And you know what? I’m totally cool with that being the context in which you came up and your embracing of that developed world freedom. Actually, just the last part. The first part is hella fucked up, did not fly when I was growing up and will NOT fly in my house when I’m married. But besides the point: I too, have had the opportunity to move abroad and be educated at an American university and meet people from all different backgrounds. And maybe back home you can feel like society gives you one up on me. But this is the land of the motherfucking free: I too, can date whomever, whenever and however I please. You have no kind of right or obligation to dictate to me who can take me out to dinner. You cannot get annoyed when you see me walking with Ahmed, Ravi or Lee Kwok. And you absolutely cannot expect me to treat you one way, yet treat me in a completely different manner.

Regarding my actual stance towards the phenomenon known as “the swirl”: the only real qualification I have regarding the men I date is that they feel me on that minority/third world/AK-47 toting militant tip. It’s not that I don’t find “Western” men attractive – it’s just when you start zoning out as I talk about pidgin English/oil money/my mother’s propensity to randomly cuss people out which I have definitely inherited, it’s pretty unlikely that it’s going to work out between us. Plus what if he makes some awkward comment about my “exotic” name or going on safari? This is why I love y’all, my African men – I know you feel me on that fresh banga soup with starch on the side, on my Wafi craze and my third-world politics. So how are you gonna get mad at me for wanting to be with someone I can relate to on that cous cous/Indian nationalism/tropical heat joint? As much as I love you guys, you’re not always checking for me. There’ve been too many times you’ve told me, “Oh, you’re so beautiful” yet left me hanging waiting for the “Do you want to have dinner sometime?” There’ve been too many times you’ve just wanted me for my body and none of the other wonders I have to offer. There’ve been too many times when you’ve straight up broken my heart and left me crushed. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up on you – but it does mean I want to diversify my bonds and shit, same as you. I’m not holding you back from dating whichever Hannah, Arusha or Ming Su you want to be with, so why won’t you let me be?

Signed,

A loving but heated confused African woman

P.S. Title is from the flyest girl group of all time, En Vogue. 15 years later and they’re still fabulous.  Free your minds fellas, free your minds.

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7 Responses to "“May date another race or colour/That don’t mean I don’t like my strong black brothers” – The Swirl, from a woman’s perspective"

interesting.. by the way we african men love u…. but we are just voicing our deep feelings of resentment when we see u with other non africans. We are not saying u cant.. but just saying we do feel it.. by the way i feel u on that banga soup. like seriously.. lol

thank u, recently my crushes have been on non-african men. african men have failed to pick up preferable signals, and i’m in the land of an exotic buffet of men. so?

Don’t know what African men you talking to, lol. Personally I d care less what race an African or black woman date primarily because I know if she sticks around for us few good black men, she might get disappointed. To all Black women, we are in the 21st century date whatever race you like and don’t let some reverse racist mofos stop you.

Alright, lets break this baby down. Agreed, there are some who honestly feel that a black woman dating a white guy is unacceptable and they’ll appeal to the history between these two groups as justification enough; however, we, your ignorant (sic) favourite African male friends are not coming from that angle. When we question one of our beautiful sisters’ dating from among us, what we really are saying is that “we really wanna be in that guy’s shoes” but all our suggestive entreaties, though subtle, has met a brick wall. Instinctively, we figure the only way possible to still become “the chosen one” is to attack whatever you have with the other dude. In short, we are over-checking for you is the entire reason we feel threatened by your dating Ahmed.
To remedy this unforgivable ill we have meted out to you, I say, “You are incredibly beautiful and smart– and yes, opinionated 😉 You mind doing dinner next week?

Not to call you out on that one bro but sometimes it takes a black woman dating another race to get noticed by other black men. And that my friend is the gospel truth. If she is single she sometimes gets no serious approach from some of my brothers, they just wanna hit and when she Aint gonna go easily they resort to where they have the advantage of being exotic and that’s with women of other races. I d like the future to be a shade of beige, no races and ish.

Hmm, there might be some truth to your gospel truth but I don’t think its an absolute truth. In any case, i’m with you on the no race, beige ish but if that means imma have to let go of my pounded yam and egusi soup, FORGET IT 🙂

I don’t get the basic idea that I can feel so possessive over women from my race/ culture/ background that I can try to influence them not to date outside of their race/ culture/ background. I also don’t get the basic idea that I feel justified controlling women of my race/ culture/ background to the extent that I choose their dating partners. Possessiveness and controlling women….two VERY unattractive traits! Whatever happened to influencing others by our upstanding character and drawing others by the cords of human kindness?

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