I began writing this piece with the intention to understand why some Black men purposely choose not to date Black women. I whole-heartedly believe many interracial relationships are founded in love (my father is Black and my mother is of Hispanic and Palestinian decent), but as I spoke to more and more Black men, I realized many of their reasoning behind their choice to date outside their race was rooted in passed down stereotypes and beauty biases that are not only untrue, but hurtful.
“Who wants to deal with a bunch of eye-rolling and neck snapping?” said one man during a transparent conversation. I appreciated his honesty, but it led me to think of him as weak-minded. I thought of a phrase my grandmother would say: “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” A fiery woman isn’t for everyone and we should be thankful when the weak separate themselves.
“My mother told me that if a woman can’t grow her hair, it’s because she’s not healthy,” revealed another misinformed Black man. Sadly, it became a running theme throughout these interviews that the men I questioned were taught certain beauty biases from none other than their own mothers. This was an ugly reminder how self-hatred is so deeply engrained in our psyche.
“I was 15 and talking to my friend about this brown-skinned girl I really liked. My friend told me that I couldn’t date a dark-skinned girl cause it wasn’t cool and they weren’t pretty. Then he told me that their ‘vagina looked like roast beef.’ I’ve never seen one so I believed him.” My conversation with this 29-year-old New Yorker was the first time I ever realized that peer pressure could very well be a major reason many men suppress their natural attraction to the dark-skinned woman. Young Black men see their favorite musicians and athletes date only date a certain type of woman, which subconsciously sends a message that it’s the “cool” thing to do. When I asked if he ever ended up exploring the darker skinned woman in later years, he told me that he has two children. One by a Hispanic woman and one by a light-skinned black woman; however, he still finds dark skin women to be beautiful and has dated plenty brown-skinned women in his adult life.
I asked my own father the question of beauty biases he was taught as a young man. I have two half-brothers, both of their mothers are brown-skinned. In his late 20s he married my mother, who is of Hispanic and Palestinian decent. Given his relationship history, he finds all women to be beautiful and he spends much of his time speaking on issues concerning black women on his podcast that is dedicated to Black positivity. When I asked him his thoughts on beauty biases he mentioned many things, but the one that stuck out to me most was the idea that there once was a time when a Black man could be killed for even looking at a white woman. In some ways it was the ultimate revenge to covet her and in other ways it was the forbidden fruit.
“White girls are just easier, one 22-year old Philadelphian blatantly told me. “I don’t know. They’re just chill.” Escapism.
“I think that Black women respect their men less than any other race and they put too much pressure on what they think a man is supposed to do for you rather than just the love he can give you,” a 37-year old Brooklyn NY native added to the conversation. “My experience with Black women was always negative because I felt like there was an expectation I couldn’t meet.” When I asked this particular question to the other men, the pretty much agreed. “I don’t know. It’s just different with black women.” Bullsh*t.
Only an insecure man would push a woman away because of her strength, which is obviously a great characteristic. In fact, many Black men see a woman’s strength as the very reason that they are attracted to her to begin with. A common thread among these men were that they seemed to value physical traits more that character traits. They’ve conveniently abandoned the Black woman without taking accountability for what they may or may not bring to the table; the long-standing social establishments that have contribute to Black women having to overcompensate financially and emotionally.
Until Black men are ready to go deeper about their choices, I’m done having this conversation. No more social experiments for me.