The other day, one of my homeboys swung by my office. We had a pretty interesting conversation about his relationship with his girlfriend. Apparently – despite the appearance that things were going swimmingly between the two of them – he discovered this young lady had no intention of going any further with him. In fact, as far as rejections go, she gave him the ULTIMATE slap in the face. She was secretly involved with someone else!

As we discussed his situation with this particular woman and with women in general, I pitched to him the idea of dating interracially. I don’t think I made a convincing enough argument, mostly evidenced by his look of skepticism. After all, when you consider that I’ve never even dated outside my race, the likelihood that I could sell the merits of doing so to someone else is pretty far-fetched.

But I had a chance to mull over it some after he left. And upon further review, I’m not entirely sure I would turn down the opportunity to date outside of my race. In fact, when I think about, I’ve had several opportunities to do so at several points during my dating career. But certain circumstances (including, but not limited to, my devotion to the sistas) prevented it.

Using my experiences as support, I have a few theories as to why brothas (and by “brothas”, I guess I’m parenthetically including me in the mix) do and do not succumb to jungle fever and date outside of their race. Here goes:

First off, why brothas do date interracially:

(1) Availability: This is an obvious one. Even though there are close to 6.7 billion people on the planet at this very moment, that number shrinks to about six for the bruhs when we’re single and looking for a mate. Even then, most of the women with whom we interact already “…got a man.” Case in point:

In the face of limited dating options within one’s own race, black men and black women [generally] address the situation much differently. Black women – far more loyal to the cause of black dating and having read one Zane book too many – will do virtually anything to avoid dating outside of the race. They will spend significant chunks of their life getting in/staying in long-distance relationships with brothas that are going nowhere, ‘settling’ for the Maury Povich bruh who has more children than he has teeth, traveling to different places with finding a man on their agenda, or simply not dating. Inversely, brothas will be on the hunt for a black woman for about a month. If by that time they haven’t found a special black someone with whom they are compatible, going to that Hee Haw square dance with Beth Ann or that foreign film with Sarah suddenly sounds much more plausible. 

Given the overwhelmingly imbalanced ratio of single black women to single black men (last I read, it was like 5:1), you would think this phenomenon would be reversed. You’d think black women would be the ones to quickly jump across the fence considering the vastly limited amount of black men (or so they claim). Negative. Why? I haven’t a clue. 

(2) Attraction: Sometimes, we need to face facts. People are attracted to whom they’re attacted to. While I think there are still the occassional racial and social implications associated with interracial dating (i.e. desiring something as close to whiteness as possible), I think that theory has been dramatically hyped over the years. Besides that, in many instances, the attraction may go beyond the physicality. Personalities, hobbies, jobs, and a litany of other things could play a role. I mean, if I had to choose between a white woman whom I’d consider an 8 or a black woman whom I’d only consider a 5.5, the highest score wins. I don’t think I’m the only one.

Now that I’ve provided reasons why the bruhs do date interracially, here are some reasons we don’t:

(1) The need for cultural commonalities: I’m sorry, but most bruhs don’t want to have to explain why red Kool-Aid is just as good with pasta as red wine; or how every black family in the country has a ‘Big Mama’ and an ‘Uncle Junebug’; or why we unconsciously clutch the steering wheel when a police car pulls up next to us; or what it means to hear an “A & B selection from the choir.” Bruhs appreciate not having to teach the kind of cultural context that is often akin to the sistahs.

(2) Limited or no mutual attraction: I’ll be perfectly frank. I know (or know of) several very attractive white women. The problem is: they’re not the ones attracted to me. There is one young lady who lives in my apartment building, for instance, who is an absolute stunner. If she showed even a modicum of interest in me, I would take myself off the market in a moment’s notice. But that’s simply just not the case.

(3) Fear of reprisal: Actually, maybe it’s not reprisal we fear as much. It’s the silent condemnation coming from our kinfolk which could potentially be of concern. In most cases, when I see an interracial couple (black man/white woman), the bruh will either avoid eye contact with me or have that momentary feeling of shame and/or ackwardness as if he’s reading my mind and hearing me call him a sell-out. I remember last summer I went to an outdoor concert with a close friend of mine, who happens to be a white female. I distinctly recall having a paranoid feeling that every sistah who saw me with her had some level of silent contempt toward me. Even if my fears were imaginary, they certainly lessened my viewing pleasure at the concert that night. I sincerely believe I would not have felt as ackward had my date been a black woman.

So there are my theories. Obviously, I’m speaking in very broad generalities here. But I think my observations are pretty precise on some levels. But what say you?

– ACL

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