while walking with a white man: my (accidental) experience with interracial dating.

none of this allowed.

“that’s your woman? that is NOT your woman. you know that ain’t your woman, man.”

the man was around 35, smooth brown face featuring a neatly lined goatee, cap to the back, pepsi in his right hand resting on his denim shorts. before inviting himself into our lives, he was just another black man at the park that day.

it took us a moment to realize he was indeed directing his doubting statements at us. and although he was correct in his assumption, i turned my head, stared at his audacity. i could only give a bewildered laugh. the man walking next to me, around the same age, slightly spiky brown hair, affable blue eyes, and clad in a “Detroit Soul” t-shirt, turned towards the man with a straight face.

“no, this is my wife.” he took my hand casually and we kept walking.

this response was met with hushed laughter from the men sitting with our new friend, along with his words trailing us: “i don’t see a ring. that ain’t your woman man.”

i shook my head, laughed it off, still in awe.

this would prove to be only one of the many instances in which a day at an outdoor summer festival with a friend turned into a social experiment for the writer in me. i noticed all the stares, the shoulder taps on friends sitting next to them, and the not-so-subtle pointing. i was amused and amazed by the random and startling honking by cars containing black men as they drove past us, their voices carrying things like “whiiiiite boyyyy! go white boy!” over the music blasting from their stereos.

i was downright shocked and offended by the three black men who stopped us and plainly asked in so many words what i was doing here with him and why i wasn’t with someone of a brown hue, eyes connecting solely with mine, completely disregarding the white man next to me. i was too much of a “beautiful sista” as one man stated, to be with him. to not be with a black man. i looked around, had to keep reminding myself that it was 2011. it was as if we’d walked into neighborhood full of crips wearing all red.

slowly i realized that the general consensus of the men who’d expressed confusion for our assumed pairing was that i was too attractive, fine, beautiful, and other selected synonyms, to date a white man. even when i told a guy friend about my experience, his first statement was “they only said something because you’re attractive. they wouldn’t have otherwise.” i don’t understand. i know more than a few black women who date white men. they’re all gorgeous women in their own right. that couldn’t be it, could it?

Eric, my friend, a man who is not of the Eminem variety at all, but primarily dates black women, was baffled himself. “Lisa and i used to come down here all the time, and this has never happened. i guess you are so flyy.” he joked about the title of my personal blog, but i could tell he was genuinely  confused as to why so many black men felt the need to speak their opinion one way or the other. i was too.

the day was interesting to say the least. from a redheaded little boy pointing out my blackness to his parents, to the unexpected running-into Eric’s ex (black) and her man (white) and the confrontation that followed between the two men, it was a day of firsts for me.

i found it surprising as a person heavily immersed in the online world. having read many, many articles and comments surrounding the supposed stigma of black men dating outside of their race, white women specifically, and reading complaint after complaint, opinion after opinion from men on how black women have an enormous problem with this, i can’t say i’ve ever heard of the issue conversely.

i also can’t say i’ve ever witnessed a black woman blatantly confront a black man walking with his blonde-haired, blue-eyed companion, and impose her opinion of their coupledom on them, whether positive or negative. i’ve never seen a black woman say “oh you got you some soul alright” to them as they walked past, minding their own business.

i’ve never dated a white man seriously. i’ve gotten approached by my fair share, as the natural hair seems to be a magnet (lol but no, it really is), and had a few dates, but a relationship has just never happened. i love black men and i always have, but i can’t say i’d be opposed to dating outside of that if my feelings led me that way. i for one would not be here if not for  a lovely chocolate-vanilla pairing being my father’s parents, and my family consists of quite a few delightful mixtures of love, so interracial coupling is quite normal to me.

if i decided to do so tomorrow though, i am now overwhelmingly aware of the fact that black men will not mind letting me (and my date) know how they feel about it. and this, saddens me.

has this ever happened to anyone else or was i in some kind of twilight zone? black men, if you saw a woman walking with a white man, would you say anything? i really need to understand. lol.

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41 comments

  1. OMG I love this and its happened to me a few times. I was out with a group of co-workers at a bar all white men and 2 black men came up to me and asked if I was ok. It was so funny and one of my co-workers grabbed me and said she’s good. They stared me down the rest of the night. Oh well……

    1. LOL @ asking were you okay like you’d been kidnapped. that’s crazy.

      i thought the entire experience was funny and interesting, but i don’t live that in reality. i can’t imagine how annoying it must be to have that be a part of daily life.

  2. This is the story of my life…seriously. My fiance is white, I’m black, and sorry to say, but black men give us the worst time. This doesn’t happen much out west (i.e. California, Arizona), but in cities such as Atlanta or anywhere else there is a large black population, black men seem to have a problem with it. By now, I don’t care…I’m immune to it.

    1. yeah we weren’t even in detroit either. i was in chicago! lol. we’re just both from detroit.

      i don’t understand what the big deal is. i’ve never once thought to confront a black man walking with a white woman. for one, i don’t care who people date. two, it’s none of my business! i don’t understand. lol

  3. I’m a black woman in a small college town in the midwest who enjoys comic books, Charles Bukowski’s poetry, and fast cars. So, I hang out with quite a few white males just due to common interest and availability. The few times we do encounter black males they usually give me they eye like “Really? Him?” but the funny thing is, not ONE black man has ever asked me out on a date since I’ve been here. It makes me angry that men who normally wouldn’t give me the time of day, get downright hostile when I’m walking to dinner with a white man. It seems that when it comes to black female/white male relationships, everyone feels the need to let you know you’re trippin’ or they’re proud of you for being so open. Meanwhile, I’m just doing me!

    1. see. i find that baffling too. like, we wouldn’t be dating if i wasn’t with him, so … why worry yourself? crazy.

      i learned of Charles Bukowski from reading an article about James Franco making a movie of one of his novels. i’m going to have to read some of his work.

      about the being proud of you for being so open… i did start to add that i’ve never had so many black women speak and smile at me while walking past, either. it was like i was in upside down land. lol

  4. I’ve dated interracial before, particularly during high school, and it wasn’t that big of an issue. Some of the black guys at school would ask ” whatchu doing with a white boy and all these brothers are here?” Nothing wrong with our brothers, but if a man has it together, he has it together. Whether he is black, white, pink, or purple shouldn’t matter. At the end of the day, he is a man and we such respect.

    And everyone always asked “is it strange kissing a white boy? Is it strange asking a Filipino? (one of my ex’s was Filipino). Absolutely not! LOL

    Even now if I’m sitting and laughing with a white guy, someone black always cut their eyes and shake their head. It’s a shame really.

    1. “And everyone always asked “is it strange kissing a white boy? Is it strange asking a Filipino? (one of my ex’s was Filipino). Absolutely not! LOL”

      LOL so i hear.

  5. Apparently, this happens to dudeguy and I sometimes. I don’t notice it because I’ve developed a sort of auto-tune-out feature over the years. He catches it though. Although there are those select few times where someone will stare me (or us) down for hella long without saying a word. Shit’s insulting and hilarious.

    1. girl. i started to call you and ask if this happens. i was that amazed.

      my friend said he doesn’t notice anymore either. he has just kind of tuned it out as well. i was fascinated and noticed ERRYTHANG. lol. and it is both insulting and hilarious.

  6. I was engaged to be married to my longtime best friend who happens to be white. We’ve been best friends since 96, dating since 2006 and got engaged last October. At first, *I* was the one constantly on edge about us; waiting for someone to say something or look at us funny. It never happened. (We live in South Florida). According to ALLLLLL my friends and people who didn’t really know D, it’s cause he could pass. He looked like a light skin black guy (more like DJ Khaled if you ask me) but he was as Jewish as they come. And not Jewish with the coarse Jew fro but Jewish with pale skin and dark straight hair

    Unfortunately, I ended the engagement this past March b/c even though it seemed the world was ok with our interracial and interfaith relationship, his family, (after allllll these years) was not.

    1. oh wow. that’s interesting. and sad.

      i know that it is hard dealing with a significant other’s family not accepting you for whatever reason. i don’t know if i could call of my engagement because of that though. i know that was tough. do you feel you made the right decision? do you still talk to him? i’m really fascinated by this. can’t believe such archaic views still exist so strongly.

      1. I do think i made the right decision. we are both family people. When he and I were just friends, family was a major part of his life. He spent time with them constantly. In 2006, they noticeably disappeared. To this day, even though he never came out and told me, I think they disowned him. I couldn’t live with that. Especially knowing how tight-knit they used to be. I pushed it aside for 4 years and I couldn’t anymore. Him being the only son, I know there will be no support for anyone other than a jewish girl. Plus, what dynamic will the family be like when the grandchildren come around? Will the jewish side take to their mixed-race, gentile family? I couldn’t and wouldn’t take that chance.

        And of course there was some other issues but family was the BIGGEST one.

        We don’t talk. It didn’t end well. I am definitely sadder at the fact I lost my best friend over something like race. It’s easy to say, “Well, you guys have each other, no-one else matters” but we weren’t raised like that. I’m Ghanian, he’s South African; born in the States but raised in African households. It takes a village, no man is an island in an African family, you know? *pouting*

        1. wow.

          i understand more now. that’s so unfortunate. i hope you all can reach a place where you can speak again. i’m sure he’s just as sad… i wonder is his family satisfied now that two hearts were sacrificed. and yeah, i know how it is to lose your bestfriend in the process of a breakup. doubly sucks.

  7. This has never happened to me, but it’s because the last white man I dated was buying me Chip Burgers in middle school..

    I will admit though, my jaw kind of dropped at the fact that people felt they could say whatever they wanted to you.. My eyebrows are STILL furrowed as I try to formulate my comment.. I just don’t believe it…
    Like, “who the eff are YOU!?”

    1. LOL @ chip burgers. i used to love those things!

      … i was too in awe to respond harshly, honestly. only when i was directly addressed did i give a ‘why is it any of your business’ reply. it was all just wow. can’t imagine going through that every time i went out.

  8. As I’ve said before, I was married to a white guy (as white as they come, I’m sure). We got these kind of reactions all the damn time, even in open-minded Portland. Til this day, every time I mention that my husband was white to a white man, I get comments. Even one of my closest male friends gives me sh*t about it constantly. It didn’t bother me at the time (irritates me now), but it apparently was a big issue for him. He was approached by a couple black men about it outside the store when he went back in for something, and he will still bring it up to this day. On the other hand, a lot of those comments were giving him “props” for landing me and he had no issues with those. *rolls eyes*

  9. You know people feel the need to say something and get all up in someone else’s beeswax. It’s unfortunate that it happens, but I also think it’s good for you to witness it first hand. Racism is very alive and present every day. I went on A DATE with a white guy when I was 19 and my grandmother felt the need to tell me about being sprayed with the hoses in the 60s. All we diid was go to the movies…

  10. I’ve never seen this before. I do know Black women talk about Black men dating White women but never like this. Idk. There is a lot of bad recent history with between Black and White folks so to act like this is so unbelievable is quite naive. Look at what they say about the President. I’ve never dated outside my race but if I chose to do it I would expect some people to look at it negatively.

    1. Actually I think that the black men that feel the need to say something or “stare a sistah down while she’s out with a white boy” are doing this because they still feel discriminated against in this american society. I think when they see a black woman out with a white guy it reminds them of the job they got turned down for, or the white male police officer that did a stop and frisk on them last night.. And when they see a black woman out holding hands and enjoying her life with a white guy it subconsciously brings that up & the brother feels betrayed..
      Also, there have been instances where black women have stared at black guys with white women, I for one can attest to that. It happened in a mall on Long Island NY. I was with a blonde haired blue eyes irish woman I was dating back in 2000 and these two black women stared at us, they didn’t say anything just gave the thousand yard stare. lol.. It does go both ways but I do agree black men do this more and are vocal about it.
      Most sistahs I suspect have no problem with black men dating out especially when many sistahs are better educated make more money live in nicer homes and drive better cars then many black men today.

  11. I read this over at Integrated Memoirs. I can give you the perspective from the white mans point of view. This is definitely a regional thing, in Florida and Georgia I ran into this issue all the time. Typically it would be older black guys who would never stand an actual chance if my wife were actually single. Like previously mentioned, out west this isn’t an issue (not in Denver either). When we were in the Bahamas it was relentless.

    It is funny how you mentioned that they practically didn’t even acknowledge the guys presence, this is something that happens pretty much every time. The first few times this happened I tried to play it off with humor “I don’t know she see’s in me either, but I aint gonna question it”… Yeah, no reaction. Part of this is more about a masculinity, trying to intimidate the the girls man. I am very lucky because my wife isn’t a giggler, she can put a full grown man in his place very quickly, and she will if he is being rude.

    This story is humorous, but the reality can be trying and frustrating at times, ya’ know like when you just want to have dinner with your wife. Thanks for writing this story.

    1. thank you for your comment derek.

      yeah, as i stated up in the comments, it was funny and interesting to me but only because that isn’t my everyday reality. i’d have responded much more irately if i had to deal with that daily. i can’t even imagine how annoying it is.

  12. i live in nashville. you’d be surprised at how many black women you’d see walking around with white men in this city. it happens a lot more than you would think. it doesn’t bother me in the least bit. it also doesn’t bother me when i see black men with white women. people like what they like. the only way it would bother me is if i really wanted the black woman in question. even then i wouldn’t have been as rude as the black men you came across that day.

  13. Good Post. I’m actually a little suprised that you were “surpised” though. Not to justify it at all, but more so because it happens ( I see it) all the time and (in my observation) even more so with black women blatantly expressing their dislike for a white (or any race other than black, for that matter) woman/black man couple when they are out in public. So, it was interesting to read that your strong reaction was because it’s 2011 and you weren’t aware that this still happens rather than because it was actually happening to YOU. I think sometimes it takes for us to experience things first-hand rather than just observe them going on around us before we can recognize them for what they are, and so I’m wondering if maybe THAT was the case with your experience?

    1. you’ve actually seen black women confront a black man/white woman couple while they were out?? i suppose you’re right, i don’t pay attention to it because i have no problem with it either way. my grandmother is German so if not for interracial couples, i’d not be here today. lol. experiencing it first hand was definitely eye-opening and i’m amazed at all the stories even on this post. i didn’t know this was so commonplace.

      1. Right. My mother and her whole side of the family are a big melting pot of races so, like you said, it doesn’t phase me, nor do I have a problem with it….but unfortunately, yes, I’ve definitely seen black women make fools of themselves and embarass the interracial couple they approached more times than I care to admit. I will say, though, that in most of the cases, the black dude wasn’t having it and was quick to put the woman in her place….which sometimes worked….and other times, not so much…lol.

  14. I enjoyed your post, because not much is usually written about the bw/wm perspective. I’ve experienced this, though not in the States. I was living in Korea when I dated a Caucasian man. The social experiment that ensued was mind baffling. The first reactions we received were from older Korean men. I usually can’t tell if they’re asleep or awake, but when out with my “friend” holding hands, they’re eyes were definitely about to jump out their sockets. It was quite hilarious actually, because neither the black nor the white concerned them. I would understand if it was korean and black! But, their mindset is that interracial is no bueno! Even more interesting was the fact that a year later when I was with my Black boyfriend, they started smiling at us, and literally giving us thumbs up! Black love IS beautiful!
    However, although we were in Korea, when we went out, there were a bunch of American military brothers that did approach the white guy and said some words. He never told me what they said, but he handled it quite well. I was flabbergasted, as this was the 1st time I’ve experienced this. These same military bros had Korean women on their arms ALL the time.
    And the recent story of the military interracial bw/wm couple who were raped, beaten and killed by 4 young black men sent chills down my spine! Seriously…they deserve the death penalty.

  15. Whenever a black male asks you why you’re with a white man, look him straight in the eye and tell him you’re with a white man for the great sex!!! Shuts them up every time ;-P

    1. Becareful with that one because if you come across a black guy that is quick on his feet with a response they will say “ahh so you’re the white mans bed wench.. Way to go white boy!” And may even give him a high five.

  16. I have had nearly the same thing happen to me. I was walking with an acquaintance, not even a friend, who happened to be white and I remember get rolled eyes, a kissing of teeth and something like “another one” from an older disgruntled black guy. I was taken aback not only by his reaction, but also because this was NYC.

  17. Well the card can be flipped both ways. I’ve seen black men with white women & the looks they recieve…Lord have mercy! If looks can kill let’s just say they’d be dead. Some black women shouldn’t get so worked up over ‘jealous’ black men. And some black men shouldn’t worry about a ‘jealous’ black girl. Who gives a flying f*** what someone think or says?! My life is good. I won’t say perfect but good. So good that im nonchalant of the bull**** that goes on around me.

  18. This is way late but I had this happen to me my first year of college. I was at a hospital with my boyfriend (at the time who is black) and I ended up running into my white classmate. We hugged and I wanted to get something to eat & since he was going out as well he & his cousin decided to go with me. We pass by a few black men, mind you its night time, and sadly you could still see disdain in their faces. But I come back in to sit with my boyfriend and he tells me about the comments the black guys made about some black girl and these white men. He quotes “I can’t believe she was with them”, “her booty is too big for that”. I mean really? It was quite interesting yet hilarious all at once.

  19. I feel the that many black men today feel like many white males aren’t for black love or care about black people being together as a family. Of course they will say that when it comes to single motherhood and how “the working white middle class” are getting taxed to death due to single black mothers on welfare. Only when it affects the white males pocketbook do they want “us” to be together. Another thing is black males have to go before and beg a white man for a job and even for the rift to go to college with so much power in western society already now we have to beg them not to be with black women and dare I say the best educated and attractive black women too.
    There’s also the police departments across this country that are ready to shoot an un-armed black male reaching for his ID yet gets shot 41 times. Yes there have been shootings that have black officers involved in the killing of Blacks but always at the behest and mindset of the white police officers that say “all black males are criminals shoot first and ask questions later” this came out in the nytimes look it up if you think I am exaggerating. With all these things combined it can make a black male say to himself “with all this racist crap going on against us how could she??!” Maybe that’s what that look is all about.
    One other thing when it comes to white women and black men, black guys give them a pass but don’t have the proper words to explain why. The thing is its always been a male dominated society white males have set the tone of racism all over the planet naturally white women were misled in this and more and more of them are seeing who the real culprit is when it comes to racism, white men. And no not all white men are racist but there are many of them that are and are in the most powerful places in society and government. Just because Obama is president doesn’t mean the white males running this unequal world aren’t pulling his strings..

    1. Original poster here!
      Please excuse the many typos and wrong words used in this post I typed it up from my iPhone and didnt proofread it before clicking send I do hope I made some kind of sense.

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