by Aja Dorsey Jackson
Actress Regina King sparked controversy recently with an essay she wrote for Vibe Magazine encouraging Black women to consider dating men of other races. King writes:
“Of all groups of people, Black women are the least likely group of women that will date outside of their race. When you have everyone else who is willing to explore but a Black woman is like, “˜I want me a brother.’ Well, if the brothers are out and they’re open to date everybody and the majority of Black women aren’t willing to look twice when a man outside of their race is sending them messages, then that makes our percentage rate lower and the chances of finding love, because we’re only looking in one specific place for finding love””with Black men”...I think Black women need to open up. A lot of Black women still carry a lot of pain when they see Black men with women who aren’t Black and that’s really unfortunate that that could make us so upset.“
On the other hand, Jill Scott sparked even more controversy in a March essay for Essence Magazine about the “wince”; the feeling that Black women get when seeing a Black man with a White woman.
“In the midst of this, Black women and Black men struggled together, mourned together, starved together, braved the hoses and vicious police dogs and died untimely on southern back roads together. These harsh truths lead to what we really feel when we see a seemingly together brother with a Caucasian woman and their children. That feeling is betrayed. While we exert efforts to raise our sons and daughters to appreciate themselves and respect others, most of us end up doing this important work alone, with no fathers or like representatives, limited financial support (often court-enforced) and, on top of everything else, an empty bed. It’s frustrating and it hurts!
Our minds do understand that people of all races find genuine love in many places. We dig that the world is full of amazing options. But underneath, there is a bite, no matter the ointment, that has yet to stop burning.”
I found both of these articles interesting because it brings to light the fact that although we often claim to live in a post-racial society, the issue of interracial dating and marriage is obviously still carries a lot of baggage for Black women.
I have never dated a man who was not Black. Looking back, I honestly don’t think that I had real reasons behind it; it was just never a thought. Despite the fact that I always went to predominately White schools and worked with White people most of the time, when I envisioned my future husband, he was always Black. Because I never felt that I had a problem finding a Black man, I never felt that I was limiting my options with that preference.
Even so, I will admit that I have felt the wince a time or two. I have grown to realize that you find love where you happen to find it. However, when I see a Black man with a non-Black woman, I do occasionally think about the statistics that Black women are less than half as likely to be married than other groups of women and think that he may be one of those good men that so many Black women seem to be unable to find.
Does King have a point? Statistically, Black men are twice as likely as Black women to date outside of their race, in fact the husband was Black in 73% of Black/White marriages. If Black men are willing to consider all of the options when it comes to finding love and Black women are not, just based on numbers doesn’t this leave some of those with hopes of finding a Black man hopeless?
Could Black women let go of the “wince” if we were open to dating men of other races or does exploring the options mean giving up on the idea of finding a good Black man?
Aja Dorsey Jackson is a freelance writer and public relations consultant in Baltimore, Maryland. Find out more about her at www.ajadorseyjackson.com or follow her at www.twitter.com/ajajackson.
like what you're reading?