“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.