Something New Isn’t Always Something Good-thoughts in response to clare’s article…Part I

January 8, 2008

simon3.jpg Clare over at Ruminations of a Racial Realist (see link at right) just put up a thought provoking post on the subject of black women marrying white men.  She asks good questions, important questions.  Questions that a black woman shouldn’t be afraid to consider when pondering this option for herself.  I have excerpted her words and italicized them.  My response follows in plain text.

But in particular, I always wonder whether any of these women ever consider why – in a white supremacist society – would white men choose black women as partners.  Why would people who have historically enslaved another people now want to be in relationships with them?  Why would men who defiled and denigrated black women now consider marrying them? 

I will freely admit that the first question never entered my mind.  Nor the second.  I have, masha’allah, alot of good qualities and it didn’t occur to me to ask any such questions about my FH.  If I had detected something less than savory in his motivations, then certainly the situation would have merited such scrutiny.  As to the third, I don’t believe in assigning blame to people in the present for the actions of those in the past.  What they are doing now is at issue, as that is the only thing over which they have any control.

 I am sorry but I do not buy the “love is colorblind” nonsense.  We live in a color conscious society and the truth is that color does indeed drive interracial relationships – more than the “Something New” brigade are willing to admit.  Indeed, some of the worst racists out there are those who are in relationships with black people!  Take the case of “Janet” (pseudonym), my Black South African acquaintance, whose white English partner (of thirty years) disliked her bringing black friends to their home.  Even more shocking is the autobiographical essay of a mixed race woman who revealed that her white father referred to her mother and siblings as “niggers” when he was angry.  So no, no, no – having a black girlfriend or wife does not make someone a non-racist! 

I hear that.  I only remember “not noticing” someone’s color immediately once in my life.  It took a few months for it to occur to my conscious mind that she was white.  It has never happened again.  I corresponded with my husband via email for awhile before I ever knew what he looked like.  I knew he was american.  When I saw his picture I was like “Oh! He’s white!” (Forgive the surprise but there just aren’t that many white male muslims, and there were even less back then.) 

Why would a white muslim man in a racist society marry a black woman?  It’s an interesting question.  I can only speak, of course, for Mr. Foreverloyal (with apologies to the Outlines blogger for stealing her terminology).  Mr. Foreverloyal is an independent thinker, and an independent doer.  Mr. Foreverloyal will make the major decisions of his life and not care two flips what society or even his family and friends might think about it.  Mr. Foreverloyal does not have a preference for black women, as his previous marital prospects and current objects of his passing admiration indicate.  Mr. Foreverloyal is not looking to lord his whiteness over me nor did he expect me to kiss the ground in gratitude when he proposed.  This is also probably a good time to state that he has never referred to me or our children as the “n-word” in our 10-year plus relationship.

There are white men who choose black women for what I will politely term as “practical” reasons.  Back in the eighties I watched a talk show on interracial dating.  A white man on the show said he decided to date black women because he could get a better looking one than a white woman.  Now, a few comprehension-challenged sistas started whooping and hollering in approval.  I was thinking, “Listen to what he is saying.  He is not saying that black women are better looking.  Just that he can get a better looking woman by dating black.” He was middle-aged, and balding, although he was not overweight and had a perfectly acceptable face.  In the same way that men know they can get a better-looking woman by making more money, some white men figure that they can use their whiteness in much the same way.  Sad to say, they are not always wrong.  Just keeping it real.

Additionally, I imagine some white men figure they’ll marry someone non-white because the (asian, black, latina, whatever) wife will be in awe of their whiteness. Grateful to be married to them, they’ll be less demanding and easier to control.  It could happen.  Can’t say it’s been an issue over here though.  I will also add that color is also a factor in black intraracial relationships as well.  I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate further.  If you’re black color can matter no matter what.  No getting around that.

On to tokenism and being made to give-up a degree of blackness to be married to a white man:

My husband is well aware that he married a black american woman and is perfectly pleased about it.  Most of my friends and associates are black american women–no problem.  I sometimes braid and bead my daughter’s hair in a very black american way–no problem.  I take my children to black cultural events–no problem.  I buy them black books for children–no problem.  He comes with me to visit my family as I go with him to visit his.  He stays white, I stay black, the kids are raised with both of our cultures, and everybody’s happy.

Just as we note that there were white people enslaving black people, we must also admit that there were white people working to free them.  There were white men defiling and abusing black women, and white men who were fighting to marry them (Richard Loving comes to mind).  The past and present has never been completely black and white, if you’ll forgive the pun.

The present isn’t either.

Just as the D.L. Hughley’s and Damon Wayans, Snoop Dogg’s, etc. of the world are complicit or active in the sullying of the image of black womanhood, there are black men like Avery Brooks who portray black women positively in their work.  There are black men beating the hell out of black women and literally stomping on them (Weeks), even killing them.  And there are black men who marry black women and go on to love them and take good care of them.

In summation, Mr. Foreverloyal has never given me reason to question his sincerity.  I am the queen of our little castle, his confidante, the mother of his beloved heirs, his partner in all that this life brings, his best friend, his wife.  Masha’allah.

Part two to follow insha’allah.  In the meantime, you may be interested in some related posts:



8 Responses to “Something New Isn’t Always Something Good-thoughts in response to clare’s article…Part I”

  1. Salaam Alaikum,

    Something I wanted to add. CRR mentions “Why would men who defiled and denigrated black women now consider marrying them?”.

    This is interesting from an Islamic point of view, because we don’t believe in inherited sin. One can only be held accountable for their own misdeeds.

  2. foreverloyal Says:

    Exactly. I have enough of my own flaws to answer for without trying to carry those of others.

  3. LH Says:

    It seems to me that a great deal of cynicism informs most people’s views of interracial relationships, including people who are involved in such relationships.

    My father, who was Welsh (Welsh, Portugese and German) married my mum (black American) because he was smitten by her physical beauty and enamoured of her intellect, not because he wanted an indentured servant who’d be in awe of his whiteness. That isn’t to say that such relationships never occur, just that they sometimes don’t.

  4. CreoleInDC Says:

    I married my husband because I love him. He married me because he loves me. Any other thought regarding our choice is uncivilized, tacky, and rude and might get you slapped in the mouth with an ax handle.

  5. foreverloyal Says:

    *wondering how many axes Creole has, and what one would have to do to see the business end of the ax rather than the handle.* 😉

    Hmm. LH you mean your parents married for love and raised a functioning human and not a “tragic mulatto?” (gag) Shocking!

  6. LH Says:

    I know, right? I mean, what could they have been thinking?

  7. CreoleInDC Says:

    I only have one and it was given to me by my father with love. It’s not an ax…solely just an ax HANDLE. You can buy on at Home Depot for about $10. The slight curve it has balances the weight quite nicely and it’s slim design fits neatly in any trunk.

    Hope this helped. 🙂

  8. Anonymiss Says:

    Thank you. I really hate when Blk ppl purport that compatibility can only be found intraracially. Absolute nonsense. I can attest to that personally seeing how my closest friends are bicultural, non-WASP, working-class ppl who grew up in a 2-parent household where they felt forced to choose between America and their parents’ homeland.

    I’m as complex as the next person and I resent having my identity reduced to my skin color, hair texture, Nigerian features, and affinity for rich foods. It’s as if Blk ppl don’t see each other for anything more than what stupid White ppl see us as.

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