As an author whose work overlaps the Women’s Fiction category, I’m aware that the Interracial Romance genre has been a quite popular one for some time now, and interest is growing. If Barnes & Noble hadn’t changed its Fiction display so that you can no longer see Women’s Fiction, Afro American Fiction, Romance, etc., grouped separately, you’d more easily notice all those virile young black American women swirling with white/Latino men on many of those covers. (Not so many depictions of black women with, say, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, or African men—‘sup with that?) The idea has become quite public. And while I wouldn’t say that it’s mainstream, advertisers are all over the black girl white guy pair now in commercials and print ads.
What bothers me is all the statistics and negative labels that complement this steady flow of images, and the scarcity mentality that insists that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a black woman to find a suitable mate. I’m one of those weird mind-over-matter types who believes in the idea that what you think and expect are what you get. And I’m not convinced that Black Women are in dire straits or that we should allow a barrage of that kind of information to make us believe that. Why the heck would I, of all people, want to buy into that?
I recently checked out that movie Frustrated: Black American Men in Brazil (I know I was late to discover it, but it was insightful nonetheless.) It told the stories of dissatisfied black American men traveling to Brazil to escape “drama” with black American women and find love and/or sex. I immediately caught on to the sense of scarcity, doom and gloom conveyed by the elements of the film, even down to the relentless, pathetic piano music.
In a resulting blog post, I responded with this:
“Maybe with one more push we’ll just evaporate into thin air. We’re already so much more likely to be uneducated, uncultured, unemployed, poor, obese, sick, diseased and without good healthcare, imprisoned, financially illiterate, just generally illiterate, divorced or never married to begin with, the product of single parenthood, parenting single, or likely to become single parents eventually, on drugs, raised by somebody on drugs, robbed by somebody on drugs, shot by somebody selling drugs… Whatever the atrocity or misfortune, we are most likely to suffer it.
“We get a steady diet of statistics that prove our inferiority. And it’s not some grandstanding Klansman or Fox News anchor giving them to us. It’s CNN. It’s NPR. It’s W-something-something-something, your local news station. It’s our community leaders and folks who are on the front lines daily trying to help others get ahead. It’s our own brown-faced beauties, in whom we take so much pride, shoveling the Pitiful Black Folk statistics down our throats every day.”
And it’s all such B.S. As noted in that Clutch Mag Online article entitled “Is Europe the Single Black Woman’s Promised Land”
“For the past few years, the media has seemed to be on a campaign to convince African-American women we are the unhealthiest, least educated, most undesirable, and least likely to get married women on the planet. And while the numbers don’t bear this out (we are kicking ass in college, and by 35, 75 percent of sistas are married), the media keeps harping on our supposed crisis… To be clear, marriage rates are down for everyone.”
Need I also mention the recently populararticle
debunking the myth of the absentee black father? Says the writer,
“In fact, in its coverage of the study, the Los Angeles Times noted that the results ‘defy stereotypes about black fatherhood’ because the CDC found that black dads are more involved with their kids on a daily basis than dads from other racial groups.”
I’m a thirty-four-year-old, college-educated, black woman married to a brilliant and hard-working, black man. Other men that I dated in the past included, black Americans, West Africans, Caribbeans, and one white guy. I studied abroad in Tanzania during college, and while I did not date a Tanzanian man, there was plenty of romantic interest to go around among us all.
I’ve played the dating game. I’ve had bad experiences, from dishonesty to cheating to physical assault. But I’ve also had many experiences that I can only describe as blissful. An Individual’s dating life can contain myriad experiences. And Kimberly truly hit the nail on the head when she said in a February 2013 post: “Sometimes the reason you are single is your issue, not the men.” The same is sometimes true when you continually have problems with a partner.
I’ve come to learn that love has to be approached from a mindset of abundance and with a certain degree of detachment from our highly tailored (and sometimes petty) expectations, not from a scarcity mentality and a fear of being left without. I had to ask myself why I was choosing to believe that I was at the bottom of some proverbial dating barrel, as some vehemently claim black women are. I had to leave generalizations behind—the belief that “Italian men loooove them some black women” or that “all West Africans are hung”, for example.
My conclusion: If a lasting, loving relationship is what anyone wants, it will serve them well to be open to it wherever they might find it. Travel? Hell yeah—it’s one of the most enriching experiences you’ll ever have. But, be leery of any advice that paints with a broad brush, even if it comes with a sobering statistic or a promise of love-at-first-sight.
Joy Outlaw is an author and blogger at www.joyoutlaw.com
. Her debut novel, Pretty Little Mess: A Jane Luck Adventure can be found here.