Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Part 2 of Karyn Langhorne Folan Interview
Author of Don't Bring Home a White Boy


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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Photo Credit:
Simon & Schuster


  1. Hi Mocha Peach,
    There's more to come. I'm waiting for Part1 to be posted on another website in a day or so. I'll let you know when it's up and running.

  2. Please use the "Name/URL" option when commenting. I don't care if it's fake.

    YOU DO NOT have to type in a URL.


  3. Interesting read. I really enjoyed the interview. My friends call me a "White boy magnet!" I get approached quit a bit, but I always shy away from them. I have dated asian [Japanese and filipino].

    I love your blog. Keep up the good work!

  4. @Nicole--Glad you enjoyed the interview. If you haven't done so, you can see the first part here:

    Thanks for reading my blog and thanks for your interesting comments. Why do you shy away from white dudes?

  5. I loved this interview. So informative and enlightening. Great job Janee. Congrats to Mrs. Folan on her book. I am sure many women will be encouraged after reading it. Thanks for the interview.

  6. @ Lorraine--Thanks for reading! It's an interesting book. There are parts people will agree with. And there are parts they'll disagree with, but it's an interesting read.

  7. Great article. My husband and I have been together for 15 years. He's white, I'm black and while most of his family disowned him (yes, really) my family welcomed him.

    Yes, there were problems at first. My father was upset and worried but now they get along fine. Me and my mother used to joke that I didn't tell her before I brought him home, but I know I told her.

    He was very supportive when she passed in 1997 and they were close. We've been through so much together and the side looks and whatnot are things we've learned to over look or question depending on the intent.

    We joke around when we see other interracial couples (black men/white women, black women/white men). "Did you know there were going to be two other interracial couples in Wal-mart today?" "Oh yeah, they were in the newsletter."

    I'm so glad I gave this man a second look and we got from friends to lovers to best friends and husband and wife.

  8. @ Lea
    Thanks for sharing your story. That's unfortunate that you and your husband's relationship didn't go well with some of his family. Good for you and your hubby for sticking it through and staying together. Is there a section on single, available men in that Walmart newsletter? ;)

  9. Thanks for the interview, Jenee! You did a fabulous job and it was really great meeting you. Stay in touch! Karyn

  10. @ Karyn--Thanks for chatting with me! It was a very insightful conversation.


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