When I first started dating my boyfriend, he took me to a wharf alongside the Belt Parkway of New York City. It was the middle of the night and the city wore an unfamiliar silence as we walked alongside one another under the night sky. Our bubble of new love was abruptly popped when our eyes strayed from one another onto a dead animal frozen in it’s last position. It was not the animal or its death that ended our bliss but the symbolism it bore. Namely, what seemed a formidable place to spend time, proved a potential deathbed to those as dark as the sky above– our potential fate mirrored in the slain animal forgotten in city’s silence.
I share this anecdote to illustrate that choosing to date or marry black is sign on to a lifetime of these moments. If I decided to do as many women my age have done and date a white man, I would alleviate a general concern regarding his well being due to the laws that work consistently in his favor. In America, the white man is not only allowed the height of masculinity but nurtured to do so. On this same soil, the black male may be killed for anything that seems excessively masculine, or a threat to European masculinity.
The black woman is under attack, but she has always been under attack. In the last three years I have seen an influx of black female/white male relationships and even witnessed older white men aggressively pursuing black female bodies who are a fraction of their age. In this same pattern, traditionally black areas have been invaded by white bodies in a similar aggression. Thus, it is not just our neighborhoods who are under attack, but our bodies as well. It is not a coincidence that this invasion occurs at the same time that black men murdered by police surges in record numbers. This mirrors the plantation dynamic where white man sexually violated the black woman as a means to produce more slaves and capitalize on the black familial environment damaged by their systemic advantage.
By systemically crippling the black man, predisposing him to trivial arrests, un or underemployment, limiting his educational opportunities, the white man paints himself as desirable in contrast. The systemic disadvantage incurred by the black male body predisposes the black man to stereotypes, stereotypes that often frustrate the black female and complicate black love. Some of these most common stereotypes are:
- Black men have multiple babies and baby mothers
- Black men do not have a job
- Black men lack a high-paying job
- Black men lack a college education
It is only through failing to understand racism that prompts any black woman to cite any of the previously listed attributes as deal-breakers. While these attributes may not be ideal, the systemic deprivation of power from the black male body predisposes him to gauche and trivial actions that function to grant him what the western world has denied him for centuries. No black woman should desire a black man who has acquired the white man’s education and has a pocket full of the white man’s money. Now, I’m not suggesting starvation or homelessness, but I do think glamour and even comfort should come second to a black man who understands racism and has a high opinion of his collective self. Dr. King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton and Huey Newton were not monetarily wealthy, but they bore the wealth of black pride, an attribute that has lived on years after their deaths. All black queens should want a black man like that and not a man who happens to have black skin but no understanding of the black experience or the unabridged version of our American tragedy.
The black female who does not understand racism, and has grown tired of her blackness is perhaps most susceptible to the attack the white man has launched onto the black female body. The black woman weakened by systemic pressures, and seduced by the bliss of veiled escapism. Furthermore, this black female body overlooks predatory white male pursuits deeming them complimentary and ultimately surrendering as his prey. This black female body typically settles for an unattractive white male racist, who veils his racist stature in his proposed interest in the black female body. She finds pride in the illusion that she has found an exception to white racism and he finds someone who will overlook his deficiencies magnified in the eyes of the majority. Simultaneously, this correspondence depicts the white man as capitalizing on the fruits of systemic misfortune that consumes the black male body.
While some may feel that the black female intellectual and academic is not susceptible to the white male attack as her less educated counterparts, this black female body is also a common victim. This article separates the black female intellectual from the black female professional because the two are necessarily intertwined. The black female professional is typically trained but may not posses the elevated consciousness attributed to the black female intellectual.
The black female intellectual, unlike professional or working class black females typically understands racism. This understanding has acquainted her with the travesty of the black female experience and may have subconsciously developed a fear. A fear that makes them inclined to see Claude Neal’s mutilated body in every black man. A fear that makes them see Emmit Till in every black child, and seduces them to take action to avoid these fates. This avoidance is also an illusion, as blackness is irreversible.
The western world hands the black body cowardice at various angles. Whether informed of racism or ignorant, the black female body is nurtured to abandon the black male body in hopes of advancing or avoiding the perilous journey of blackness.
So when I say that I refuse to date a white man, or any non-black man for that matter, what I am saying is that I refuse to acquiesce to cowardice. This is not to say that there is not ignorance in those who opt to date black. We all know black people who date other blacks only if they pass the paper bag test or make six figures. We are collectively acquainted or have even been that member of the diaspora who evaluates blacks by western standards and deem them failures if they deviate from master’s plan. These people may have black skin, but do not possess true blackness, or a deep understanding of our experience and systemic disadvantage. It is one thing to have black skin, this is not a choice. But to have a black soul and black mind is an elevated state only nurtured through acknowledging and studying our ancestors. It is this state that places the melanated body on the path to blackness, where cowardice is not an option.
The white man has penetrated the black collective’s finances, our businesses and even our blood line. Dusky skin tones, 2c or 3a curl patterns reflect the white man’s coerced entry into our bloodline. Thus, my firm choice to deny white male penetration is a personal and political decision. Simply, put my collective self bears the crippled state induced by white male political penetration. Thus, in order for us to overcome we must literally and figuratively deflate his white male ego. As a collective, we deflate this ego by choosing courage over cowardice, because as indigenous Africans we were not born to be cowards
Furthermore, it is not enough to embrace your natural hair, to own your own business, or to even know your history, if all it takes is white male interest or compliment to derail collective dedication. We must not only reject western standards, education and material, we must also reject their pseudo love—a virus that solely inhabits hearts hollowed by lack of self love.
Moreover my refusal to not date white men is more so a commitment to the black collective. A commitment that prompts me to find a worthy mate to ensure that blackness survives perhaps the most veiled and lethal form of erasure. I never got an opportunity to meet my paternal grandmother and barely remember my paternal grandfather. However, by maintaining the integrity of our bloodline, I know that their passing is not in vain and that every child and grand-child in my future grants an opportunity to see their faces again.
The opportunity to see their faces makes nights at the wharf merely oversights in a larger portrait of black love. Black women who marry and mate with black men reject cowardice. Therefore, they are queens. The only appropriate mate for a queen is a king, thus the only relevant mate for a black woman is a black man.
I may not ever make it to the mountaintop. But irregardless, there is no one I’d rather be beside than a black man.