March 02, 2012

Date Like A Dummy, Think Like a Foolio, REDUX

Foreword: Overcoming Interracial Dating Myopia

I realize this is the second time I've re-posted an essay but I've been a bit lazy busy working on a few other things and I've got a few topic ideas I need to mentally sift through before blogging them. Additionally, I've been reading some rather… disappointing things across the Black Blogosphere and feel that certain posts apply. Rather than blogging the same thing in some other written variation, I figured I'd offer a brief foreword as a prelude to the re-post. I've been reading some interesting articles (none of which I care to link) and some equally as interesting-- (if not downright disturbing) -- commentary from readers... many of whom are Black women. It seems as if a certain sub-group of my sistren has the dating game all twisted and are vigilant about 'White Knighting' other ill-informed forum commentators… throwing other Black women under the bus in the process.
The concept of agreeing to disagree, respectfully, seems to get lost in translation whenever the issue of interracial dating comes up.

Living and letting live, would be the ideal way for one to date however, those of my sistren (mostly) and brethren who are emphatic about dating other don't seem to be genuine in their dating intentions, as they almost seem to be political. In pushing their agenda(s); climbing on a soapbox and using their respective relationships to antagonize others for who they're attracted to-- (even going so far as to resort name-calling). In being completely frank in my assessment, much of the vitriol I read, came (and comes) from a collective of Black women who are seemingly still hurt by prior relationships and harbor feelings of resentment (despite proclamations of feeling empowered and free). I actually just learned about terms like "DBR" (Damaged Beyond Repair) - Black men and have read pointed attack-words like "stupid, weak, (fat) Black women" and my favorite, "DBR enablers".  Language like this is counterproductive and sanctimonious, as the people at the helm of the hate, demand to have the right to love who they want to love yet, can't seem to do so in earnest.

I never understood why the topic of interracial dating has us (the Black community) at such odds with one another; or why some folks are supposedly so happy with the opportunity to explore their options, yet are so pressed by who someone else is sleeping with or dating and seem bent on projecting their personal aesthetic on others… and will lash out when all their prodding is rejected.
What the hell is wrong with us? Why can't folks just genuinely like who they like, date and marry who they want to date and marry, without there needing to be a motive or agenda behind it; and leave other folks to their own dating devices? Do we really need a How-to manual written by a few self-righteous proselytizers with an axe to grind on something as superficial as "how to attract a White man", belittling other Black women for not trying "something new" and demanding that they mold themselves to fit a beauty mold, dictated by societal norms? Additionally, do we need to be subjected to rap songs ridiculing Black women for not having the right complexion or hair? People who are genuinely empowered, free, and secure with their dating choices, don’t need to indulge in extraneous foolery. Folks have got the game all twisted and need to succumb to the four G’s (Good Goddess Get a Grip!) Just... stop.

Anyway, without further ado...




Think Like a Foolio, Date Like a Dummy: The Myth of the Great White Hope
crossposted at Intersection of Madness & Reality



In the wake of all of the media attention aimed at Black women, which included but wasn’t limited to; ill-advised dating advice from comedians turned quasi-relationship experts, speculation about why we’re single and unmarried, No Wedding No Womb baby-mama campaign, why we are supposedly threatened by Kim Kardashian's elegance, grace, and beauty, and play-play scientific charts documenting why we’re unattractive, many of us were flustered by the Tragic Angry, Single Black Woman meme and exasperated with defending ourselves. The Black woman’s sensibilities definitely took a bit of a hit in the press and in popular culture. At Ariana Proehl’s (of Know This! TV) urging, I also resolved to put the tired trope to rest.  I didn’t want to lend the insanity any more credence.

That promise notwithstanding, no agenda (geared toward Black women) is equally as annoying as the Black Women MUST Date White Men or Else You’ll melt Into a Sticky Puddle of Nothingness and Despair propaganda, pushed by certain ones of my sistren is. This year, there’ve been a few (more than usual) videos and articles featuring groups of giddy Black women outlining bulleted lists of reasons why dating White men is somehow essential to our survival and livelihood. And it has to absolutely be White men... and none other, or else we're doomed!

Author Niki McElroy has been making the social media rounds, promoting her book A Black Girl’s Guide to Dating White Men and espousing the attributes that will allegedly get Black women picked by a trophy husband (let’s cut the double-standard and call it what it so obviously is). In a video clip from a show called Everyway Woman, McElroy suggests that her dating choice is relegated to predominantly White men and she wrote the book to placate her curious girlfriends’ queries. While I have no issue with interracial dating, believe in dating with an open mind, and have done so several times for no particular reason or sans any ulterior motives other than shared interests/attraction/ because I just wanted to make-out with a willing partner,  I do have a problem with people who date other, purely for opportunistic and superficial reasons.  

When one of the women in the video thirstily eagerly lauded the book’s helpful hints on behaviors such as, how to order wine because it makes Black women “look so much more classier” [sic] to affluent White men, to which the author agreed and posited that such learned behaviors present Black women in a more "knowledgeable" light when it comes to the finer things in life, since most of us were apparently ignorant about Moscato, prior to rappers coming on the scene guzzling the Italian dessert wine in music videos (insert major side-eye here); I couldn’t help but wince and shake my head with embarrassment... I honestly thought it was a parody video- (and "No comment" regarding another of the book’s endorsers, gleefully delighting in the guide being “easy to read” and not having "a lot of big words”).

While I understand McElroy’s intentions are probably paved with good intentions (like the ubiquitous road to Hell), I can attest to the fact that there’s no rhyme or reason to dating interracially (no more-so than dating among your own race). If you’re dating someone based on mutual and genuine attraction, there’s no need to adopt affected dating behaviors, beyond the norm (unless you're in an inter-cultural relationship, which presents a different set of circumstances, regardless of race).  

I’ve been on dates with White men considered to be at the top of the economic chain (as it were), and can assure McElroy and women like those featured in the video clip that much of the time; I was the one making wine suggestions (even imploring one date not to ask for ice cubes with his Cabernet. And no it didn't end well).  I’ve also been on dates with insightful and charming Black and Latino men who may not have had six-figure incomes, but were equally as epicurean as I am and fun to be around. So the wine advice was asinine. 

As illustrated in the video, McElroy and other bamboozled Black women like her who promote interracial dating the WRONG WAY for all the WRONG REASONS (just like some of our brethren), tend to deify and fetishize White men while encouraging wayward (but curious) Black women who’ve never dated outside the box, to act disingenuously in order to be rescued by this elusive idea of a White Knight. 
This type of interracial dating advice also insults our intelligence and in essence, suggests that Black women need to dumb themselves down, because our Black selves (intellect and good conversationalist be damned) simply isn't acceptable enough. Not to mention it fails to recognize that interracial dating can be enjoyable in many other combinations besides Black Women/White men couplings. 

Black women, if you are interested in learning about different wines, do so out of your own curiosity. Hit up your local wine and spirit shop’s free wine tastings (most tend to be on a Thursday, Friday, and/or Saturday) and chop it up with the employees there… just because; not because you're trying to buy into some tired, interracial dating cliche or because you think it'll make you appear less intellectually inferior to your White, male dating prospect. More importantly, if you’re a Black woman who’s interested in dating beyond the scope of 'Black Love', reject interracial dating generalizations and do so with genuine intentions. 
This would require that you not go seeking men out simply because they’re White, you're looking to sate a racial/ethnic fetishand you want to be saved and civilized (I’m still agitated by that wine thing) lest you come across looking like a needy, parched duck, with no ideas of your own to bring to the table; And as far as Niki McElroy’s book goes, skip it and don't believe the hype as she has an obvious agenda to push, has admitted in her clumsily written book that she dates based on stereotypes -- she went through a fiery, temperamental Latin Lover phase apparently, had "yellow fever" and eventually dated South East Asian men, because she saw the movie Monsoon Wedding and wanted to have one of her very own -- and also writes (perhaps to be tongue-in-cheek, but still annoying nonetheless) at the beginning of the first chapter...
"Whether you laugh in glee, groan in despair or take offense, at the end of the day this is my story…  And hell, now I can say I'm a published author an [sic] that's a resume builder to get me more quality white dates!"
Plus it just sounds like more myopic, mythological dating drivel. Dating as a Black woman with an open-mind does not include pandering to trite racial stereotypes. 


1 comment:

Ishmael Rose-Thompson said...

I read all of this on accident looking for something completely different....as in way way different lol. But saying that, I'm glad I tripped and fell on this beauty of a post (*lifts hands to God)

So much I want to say on reflection but I feel that the beauty of this post should be left without any direct reply