Saturday, June 20, 2009

Black Mothers, Black Sons, and Little White Girls

This week I got a frantic call from my wife. The way she was carrying on I thought something absolutely unthinkable had happened to one of the kids or some other family member. But when I finally got her calmed down enough to start making sense, I was completely taken aback by the nature of her call.

The problem?

It appears that in the last week or so, the young ladies have been ringing the phone off the hook looking for my teenage son who is away at a special academic program.

And the problem?

All but two of these young ladies are white. And when she did the unthinkable by going to his Facebook page, she became even more upset. With about two exceptions, about a dozen or so little white female faces stared out at her, all of whom expressed great affection for our son and wished for his speedy return.

This is what threw me for a loop. My wife is a very intelligent, very educated, very open-minded person. Furthermore, I would estimate that a full seventy-five to eighty percent of her close friends are white.

I am reminded of a similar situation with my mother. Again, my mother is a very intelligent, very educated, very open minded person with a wide and diverse group of friends, some of whom are white. In fact, her best friend when I was growing up, my uncle and her brother’s wife, was white.

But when my brother brought home a young white girl and introduced her as his girlfriend, my mom went slap off! There was some smoke in the city that night.

I consulted some of my close female friends, all of whom are black mothers, and invariably all of them expressed the same consternation at the thought of their sons dating white girls.

I do have some qualms about my son dating interracially, but my misgivings arise from

questions of his safety. Though interracial relationships have become more acceptable in our society and culture, there exists that old guard who are resistant to the idea and who, if provoked, may be prone to resort to violence. And if someone decides to raise a hand against my son, I promise you that I’m going to go all vigilante on them.

But when I asked these black mothers why they were against such relationships, I couldn’t seem to get one constructive answer.

Mostly I got that old, trite platitude, “If they can’t use your comb, don’t bring them home.” My mother claims that the young lady my brother brought home was simply poor white trash, and she had invested too much time and energy in raising us right to have it undone by her ilk. However, I don’t know how my mother could have discerned all that from one cursory meeting. My wife claims that it is not the idea of my son dating white girls that worries her, but that my son seems to be dating mostly white girls. To paraphrase her answer, she is worried about any questions of identity he might be having.

First and foremost, I see it as a question of proximity and common interests. The school my son attends and the programs and activities he is involved in are populated mostly by white kids. So, it is not surprising that most of his friends and acquaintances would be white.

And if we take a more romanticized view of it, and I do understand he is not going to be married anytime soon, do we really choose the persons we date, or fall in love with, or ultimately marry? The heart wants what the heart wants. Usually we come in contact with these persons and grow to get to know these persons through proximity and common interests. And before we know what happened, cupid has us in his dastardly grip.

My wife and I could not stand each other when we met; I would never have guessed then that one day we would be married. But because we were put in a position that we had to communicate with one another and soon found out how really similar we are, we fell in love.

As for my children, I just hope they find someone who they are compatible with and who they are happy with, regardless of their race.

My wife called me later to say that she over-reacted. The issue was not one that she had planned on dealing with so soon, and it took her by surprise. But after thinking about it, she found her reaction to be completely irrational, and she was a bit ashamed by it all.

She wanted to discuss it further, but I had to rush her off the phone. My son was on the other line excitedly telling me about the cute little Puerto Rican girl he had met at Summer Academy.

If you are a black mother, how do you feel about your son interracially dating? And for all others, what are your views?

22 comments:

Kim said...

I do have some unfavorable opinions about interracial dating and that's because it's usually black men who site everything but LOVE as their reason for dating/marrying outside their race. My sister's husband is white and an he's a great guy, the most excellent husband and father. They have been married for 17yrs and I could not have chosen a better husband for her myself. I'm not against interracial dating because black men DO NOT HONOR THEIR WOMEN WITH MARRIAGE AS DO OTHER RACES. If it were not for interracial dating black women would not have the opportunity to marry at all. I watched CNN Black in America last year and I'm always a little leary of statistics and special reports particularly regarding minorities, but when it was mentioned that marriage rates upon blacks were higher during the era of Jim Crow than today. I was floored. But back to today. It's a shame that black women feel this undying loyalty to black men but it's not reciprocated.

Lyn Marie said...

Interracial dating for my son, my opinion on this subject always confuses my friends and family and quite frankly me too. I would prefer my son's dating and marrying someone Black. The reason this is confusing is because I am a product of an interracial couple. That's right, I'm a half-breed! And yes I still want my son's dating Black. I know this is not going to happen with my eldest son. Despite growing up in a household that celebrated Blackness, in art, music and history(I'm often called Malcolm by my friends,)my son finds himself more at home with White girls. I have to tell you I took this very hard in the beginning. I felt I had not taught him enough about being proud of his culture or perhaps it was rebellion. I had to come to the realization that it was not about ME. Now my son will tell you he like's girls of all different backgrounds and I know that many different types of girls like him but thus far I have only met the White one's.

There are many reason's why I have a difficult time with interracial couple's from time to time. It usually has to do with the stance of the white girl. The most annoying thing to me is the language and attitude taken on by White girl's when they date Black, suddenly they're using slang and ebonics like it was their first language. I find it insulting,as if all Black folks have limited vocabularies.

The bottom line is it's difficult to find love in this day and age so if my son find's it with a White girl. I'll be okay. I just remember that I love my son more than my opinion about interracial dating.

Anonymous said...

No disrespect to Kim, but your statements are saddening. From the other end of the spectrum, I would contend that BLACK WOMEN DISRESPECT THE MOST DECENT OF THEIR MEN WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY ENABLING THE VERY WORST OF THEIR MEN (posterity pimpin preachers, deadbeat dads, career criminals, the shiftless, womanizers, drug abusers- you know,the pillars of the black community) UNLIKE WOMEN OF OTHER RACES. Dare you as a black male present yourself as being polite, halfway articulate and nice--youre setting yourself up for failure: ridicule, blatant disrespect and rejection.

I dont even try any more. I am genuinely polite and courteous toward black women in professional and (limited) social settings, but I just dont have it me any longer to deal with vitriol and the down right nastiness.

Shame, by virtue of my relationship with my mother and a handful of other black women as well as the physical beauty which is unrivaled by any other race of women, I sincerely love black women...from a distance.

Anonymous said...

As far as CNN and their slander directed at black men, those numbers are inflated and inaccurate. There exists a constellation of social maladies that discourage marriage in the black community that did not exist during Jim Crow.

I have found in my personal dealings, that black women are not married due to shallowness and obsession with media driven euro-centric values.

But of course those things wont support the media's campaign of emasculation and character assassination concerning black men, so they will never be broached.

Kim said...

@Anonymous.

The saddest part of my statements is that they are truth.

Rejection can be painful and I don't know how many times you have been rejected but it seems like a lot but what does that have to do with the next black woman you may meet? Maybe there are somethings at work that your'e not sharing.. At any rate, Apparently you and and I have a different perspective from similar experience so while I will respect that, however, your entire post support my thought. Just once, just once, just once I would like to hear a black man say, I date/ marry outside of my race because I fell in love with this woman/man. Instead of where the black woman is lacking, what the black woman did, how the black woman rejected you. I have had some failed relationships and not one time did I think it was because the men were black.

Anonymous said...

Your statements are your truths, as they are your unique experiences (i respect that) but in the broader sense of truth they cannot be applied universally and therefore are opinions. How convenient that you omit the indictments posed again black women in my posts and only focus on/address what you perceive to be personal short comings of mine.


Typical.

Kim said...

I don't care about your indictments of black women for they have nothing to do with me as an individual, but I hope you find some healing for your pain a that you've manifested as anger.

Anonymous said...

More argumentum ad hominem as it is very clear that your assertitions are baseless. The only thing you know about me is what i've told you (which is almost zero).

Max Reddick said...

Uhh. Okay. Let's be nice class.

Kim and Anon, I bet if you two got together and sat down for a nice chat you would really like one another. It seems that you are arguing the same thing from two different subject positions. In my humble opinion, you are both right based on your experiences. Now hug and let's put the hold thing behind us.

@ Lyn Marie

I feel you on that stance thing. I hate nothing more than when little white kids try to emulate blacks by talking and walking like them. Usually it ends up being just really bad, insulting caricatures.

Anonymous said...

I respect your attempt at diplomacy, but we certainly are not arguing the same point. The opinions and arguments put forth are consistent with someone who is an unwitting ambassador of white supremacy. Baseless conjecture that slanders and defames black men in such broad strokes is being underwritten by uninformed and myopic black women, is a serious impediment for our collective progress as a people.

Max Reddick said...

I've known Kim for a little while now, and from what evidence I've seen, she is someone who is genuinely concerned with the well-being of her people. But in the same instance, aren't we all somehow unwitting ambassadors of white supremacy. Especially those of us who have gone off and been educated at predominantly white institutions. By virtue of us being minorities in a hostile society and culture, it is perhaps not possible that we escape absorbing some of the same prejudices. You cannot swim underwater and not get wet.

This is what I mean by stating that you're arguing from the same subject position. It is evident that you are basing your comments on unfortunate incidents with members of the opposite sex. But there are some trifling black men and trifling black women. And if you are playing the game, you are going to run into some of these. Perhaps you'll run into a lot of these before you finally find the right one. But the trick is to stay in the game. You cannot win if you are not in.

Anonymous said...

I dont know how that is obvious, or how, more importantly, that refutes my many positions (certainly not all) which are based in verifiable facts, but I digress. You are right in any case, we're all wet, some are just more so than others.


As it concerns inner personal relationships, tricks and games are for children.

joe said...

"If they can't use your comb don't bring them home"... hahahah

Kim said...

LOL @ MAX

I do my best to play well with others.

RiPPa said...

LOL...I loved the way this ended. I say kudos to the young man. Ok, that may have came out wrong. Kudos for him being comfortable enough to call his dad and tell him about the object of his affection.

I don't know, but as level headed as I'd like to think I am, I may have reacted just like your wife. But then again, I don't have a son so mine may have been a little bit extra.

I would say that there is a legitimate concern if by choice he's selective as to who he dates. I say that about anybody who chooses to date out side of their race exclusively.

I've often found their reasoning or logic for such actions to be flawed.

Max Reddick said...

I think if he says I only date this race or that race, he has an identity problem. However, I am fine with whomever he brings home as long as they have good sense.

Citizen Ojo said...

I think when a black woman looks at her son with a white woman she feels it's a rejection of herself as a person. We live in a society where white woman are praised above and beyond so it's not a suprise that black women would feel this way.

Issa Rae said...

Wow, what an interesting discussion. Like Joe, I am again pleased/tickled with your family's use of expressions:

“If they can’t use your comb, don’t bring them home.”

You really ARE from the South.

Max Reddick said...

@ Citizen Ojo

Perhaps so. That makes a lot of sense. But Black women, and all women for that matter, seem to have a special connection with their sons. However, I can't talk. My daughter has me all wrapped around her finger.

@ Issa

That's right. Southern born and Southern bred. Country as an ear of corn.

JuJuBe said...

OK, I am writing this a year late, but I have some strong opinions about the topic of interracial dating which will probably seem very odd to some people. First of all, I have to say that I am a white woman who dates Black men. Now, here is the odd part.... for the most part I HATE seeing WW/BM couples, for several reasons.
First of all, I find that most of the white women who DO date Black men do it for all the wrong reasons. Either they think it is some exciting adventure, or they believe certain myths about Black male sexuality, or they are trying to rebel against their parents, or they want a "bad boy" and to them all Black men are "bad". It is not to often that I see white women with Black men simply because they love the person.
The second issue I have with BM/WW couples is that most of the time, the white female wants NOTHING to do with Black females, and in fact disrespects Black females every chance she gets. She insists that if a Black female disagrees with something she says or does it is because Black females are jealous of her. I have heard time and again white women saying they are not racist because they date Black men then enumerating the reasons why she is better than a Black woman.
The third issue I have with IR dating is with Black men who ONLY date white women. They give all sorts of reasons for why they prefer white women, and it usually has nothing to do with love, or even with attraction. To them, dating a white woman is "easier" than dating a Black woman. They have the impression that they can do whatever they want and not have to answer for it if they choose to be with a white woman. For this reason, I will not date a man who ONLY dates white women. A Black man who disrespects a Black woman and embraces a white woman is disrespecting women as a whole, because he is dating a woman based on a stereotyped assumption of behavior. Plus, these men often allow white women to disrespect Black woman, including his mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers. This is deplorable.
Personally, I see so much racism in the white community, including from people who are in interracial relationships, that when I have a child, I would not want my child to date a white man or woman. But of course, I cannot say I would feel that way if the situation actually presented itself. Maybe if I got to know the individual, they may show me something that makes me change my mind about them. I know, from my experience, friends and family members of men I date are often reluctant to accept me, for good reason. If 95% of white people ARE racists, which I believe to be true, then it is only natural for the friends and families of my boyfriends to be wary of me until I prove myself to them.

Max Reddick said...

@JuJuBee

You should write this one up, and let me post it as a guest post. I'll link back to your blog of course.

JuJuBe said...

Max, I have a list of ideas for blog posts I want to write, and this has been on it for several days, so I had to respond when I saw this post. I will definitely work on it over the next few days. I would love for you to post it as a guest post on your blog!! Thanks!

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