READ PART 1 OF THIS INTERVIEW ON THE Huffington Post.
You wrote, “Although black men married to white women certainly face their problems with acceptance in our race-conscious society, black women and their white spouses seem to face even greater disapproval.” I know some black male relatives and friends who would strongly disagree with you. Sometimes brothas get dirty looks from black women and other races.
Some of the black women that I interviewed have had some really tough times with family reaction, stranger reaction. People seem to feel more comfortable saying stuff directly to black women than they do to black men. I think it’s harder always for the woman in an interracial relationship. I think our society does tends to be much more forgiving and more accepting of men doing whatever because it’s a patriarchal society still. When a man grows up, picks his mate and moves on, well he’s “ a man.” But women are…always protected, somewhat, by their family’s relationship. So…when they make a choice of a partner outside of the race in particular, there’s that sort of “Well, does she really know what she’s doing?” Or “That could be a bad choice for her.”
Do you feel there’s more disdain in the black community toward women dating interracially, than men?
I don’t know if there’s necessarily more disdain. You’re right, there are a lot of black women who are really mad at black men who marry outside of the race. But some of those are the same women who are not in relationships right now. I think when women are in relationships and are happy they don’t care as much about what black men are doing or what anybody else is doing. So it just points to many for the need for us to all be looking more at our own state and our own relationship, who we’re cutting out and why.
There is such a high interest in this topic. You were even interviewed on Russia Today. There’s international interest in this issue?
I correspond with some black women who live abroad, read my book and actually see it having a lot of relevance outside of the United States, which surprised me. A lot of this black/white dynamic in this country is unique to this country. The relevance it seems to have abroad is there a lot of Africans migrating all over Europe and all over the world. In the first generation of that migration, there’s an interest in staying in the community…an intermarry with each other. Second generation tend to rebel against that and because those are children growing up in this multicultural Europe. And there’s a generational tension between the parents’ old world values and the children who see themselves as Dutch or French, for example. The book presents that same tension of “Don’t bring home a European boy.”
So it’s more a cultural issue than a race issue?
Many black women are understandably frustrated with this topic. I've even seen women comment on blogs that they're tired of people trying to tell them who to date. Are you trying to tell black women who they should date?
I’m not telling anybody who they should date. I think certainly any woman should be free to date whomever she wants to date. I think some of these women saying, “Don’t tell me who to date” or who are angry about the book might be the same women who are complaining about how they don’t have anyone to date. You can’t have it both ways. Either you want to date and you’re lonely...And you’ve only looked at a certain type of men or a certain race of men. Then maybe it is time to think differently. If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always gotten. It’s just that simple.
This encouragement of black women to expand their dating options really took off on the internet with what are called “black female empowerment bloggers”. It’s growing. You have a book. I reported a story about one woman who organized a conference teaching black women to date interracially. Is this a movement?
Certainly I hope black women’s empowerment is a movement. I think interracial dating doesn’t have to have real empowerment beyond choice. But choice is powerful. If that’s an entree into greater attention on the issues that face black women and to our unique contributions to the race and to the struggle, then by all means call it a part of the movement. I do think there are big changes underway right now. I think what’s happening is that a lot of black women are getting tired of being defined by the lowest common denominator. And [they] really don’t see themselves and their concerns being reflected in what passes for the current black leadership politically and romantically, psychologically, in entertainment and all of these other venues. And we have to do better.
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