Recently, one of my single friends was contemplating what city to move to next because in her own words she didn’t feel her husband was living in our city. Our city has a population of over 1 million, and it only takes one acceptable person to dedicate their future to you in order to bless them with the “husband” title, but I let her make it for the sake of conversation. Are we all so unique that we can’t find one person in a sea of a million? Don’t answer that…
We talked about many of the men she’s dated or come across during her 2 years in Austin, TX. She said the common thread between most of them had to do with money issues, job issues, child issues, ex-issues, car issues, or some combination of these. Or, the other party simply wasn’t interested.
My friend made it a point to clarify that she knew exactly what she was looking for in a life partner, and her father has drilled it into her for years to never settle for less than what she wants or what she’s worth. I couldn’t agree more with her or her wise father. Her father’s comments also reminded me why it’s so important for fathers to be active in their children’s lives.
A few weeks after that conversation, and after a few interviews she set up in different cities, she informs me that she met someone nice and they’ve had a few really great dates. Genuinely happy for her, I inquire what makes this guy different from the rest of the pack she’s crossed off her list so far? She replies with the usual “great-until-they’re-not-attributes.”
“He’s really smart. And just a nice and thoughtful guy. He kept me talking even when I didn’t want to discuss something. Just being so eager to really hear what I have to say was refreshing. I really like him, and I’m afraid I like him too much, because I think I can be exclusive with him.”
“Great!” I exclaimed. “So he must fit all your other criteria for a future husband, right? That’s awesome!”
“Welllll, not exactly.”
“Welllll, he really doesn’t make as much as I hoped.”
“You discussed his salary already?”
“No, but he’s still in school, and he wants to help people his whole life. He’s not really into the whole money thing, so I know he doesn’t make much from his current part-time gig. And he was also recently engaged to be married less than a year ago, so that’s kinda fresh too.”
One of my personal philosophies has always been –You can’t make a grown person do anything they don’t want to. It’s a simple reminder to myself to not engage grown people in judging their life decisions even when they are directly contrary to the information they gave me just a few weeks or days ago.
“Ummmmmmm, okay, that sounds like at least a few red flags, but if you’re truly happy, then all the best to you two and just remember not to force a round peg in a square hole.” I replied to her.
“What does that mean?” she asked.
“Just exactly what I said. A few weeks ago you were abundantly clear about what you would and would not accept in your future boo boo, and this doesn’t seem to be close at all; and, while we all grow and learn about what our true wants vs. needs are, things do change, so I’m not trippin’.
But do have a good understanding of why you needed those things in the first place, and what makes this guy so different that he doesn’t have to fit those characteristics? Just know for yourself.”
Wellllllllll, there’s one more thing I haven’t told you about him……….he’s white.
At this point, I’m definitely not trippin’. For her as a black woman, the black man dating pool can be slim at times – especially in Austin, TX. And myself, a product of interracial global love, am the last to hate on the swirl.
BUT – I can’t act like I didn’t immediately think that his whiteness allowed her to bypass every single one of her recent pre-qualification requirements she so eagerly bestowed upon her brethren. She admitted that this was the first time she would be “trying something new” and it did kind of excite her. She also admitted she wanted to make sure she didn’t do anything to potentially ruin this new budding romance of hers.
“Would you still be so eager to date him if his life circumstances were exactly the same, but he was black?”
Long silence. “Yeaaaaaah. I think so. I believe so.”
I mentally called BS on her unconvincing answer and ended the convo there. It made me wonder about:
- White privilege
- Male privilege
- White validation in the minority community
- The emergence of American black women finally seeking romance outside of the traditional black man en masse
- The underlying need for companionship for almost all people on the planet
- All those poor other brothers who got their hopes dashed once she realized his day job wasn’t going to be enough to fund her regular trips to Chicago and occasional trips to Italy and China.
In Austin, whose official city motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” to see a white man with a beautiful black woman on his arm is no more surprising than actually seeing another black person walking around in Austin.
What I have noticed is there is a standard, wide, ear to ear grin these women wear while holding hands with their progressive boo thang. The #blacklivesmatter movement has already proven there is a longstanding history in this country with devaluing black lives in general. Black women generally have it even worse when placed on an imaginary American Value Demographic Race Continuum.
For black women open to dating men outside their race, do they view their white men as trophies to show off?
It made me think about other single black women looking for a person to share their lives with and how many of them would overlook their “Acceptable Man Criteria List” if a white man made it clear he was genuinely interested in bringing her home for Christmas every year?
Let’s be clear, there are terrible people everywhere. White, black and otherwise. Just like there are great people everywhere – no matter which city, state, or country we happen to be in. My questions are not meant to be accusatory but their basis is rather more immediately reactionary.
For someone who was so sure about what she needed in her life to be happy and fulfilled, did being desired and publicly claimed by a white grad student rationally eliminate her listed needs in a man? Is white male validation still that strong in America?
Whatever the answer, I wish them many years of struggles and triumphs as they deal with people like me who can’t help but to ask themselves these questions when we witness kool-aid grins by the dozens around the streets of Austin.
BMWK, is she interested in ‘the man’ or ‘the white man’?