Last month in an interview with Vibe magazine actress Regina King (Boyz N The Hood, Jerry Maguire, Empire of the State) said she believed that more black women should date outside of their race and it got me thinking. It got me thinking about how I’m one of the women she’s talking about. I’ve always been one of the “I want me a brother” types but different to the majority of her friends that she’s referring to, I’m actually trying dating outside of my race right now. Since starting this blog I’ve dated an English guy, an Italian guy and I’ve tried dating an Irish guy too (emphasis on the word tried!). So yes, I’m being more open than I’ve been in the past. Does that change the fact that, deep down, I still hope that my Mr Good Enough/Mr Right turns out to be black? Hmmm, probably not.
However, I accept the fact that in this day and age black men don’t seem to feel the same way. Just last week the New York Times reported a new study that shows more and more black men are marrying women of other races. In fact, in the US, more than 1 in 5 black men married a non black woman in 2008. The article also says that sociologists said the rate of black men marrying women of other races further reduces the already shrunken pool of potential partners for black women seeking a black husband – well, no shit Sherlock!
To me, these figures are eye-opening, but then I happen to think black women are rather fabulous (but then again, I am extremely biased!). A month or so ago, via Twitter, I come across a TV programme that was broadcast on American News network ABC News. A ‘special’ entitled “Why Can’t A Successful Black Woman Find A Man” (the issue I have with the title of the show is immense, mammoth, colossal even). The show quotes a recent Yale study, which says 42 percent of African-American women have yet to be married, compared to only 23 percent of white women. That’s double the amount! Here is a YouTube clip from the TV special, featuring a bunch of intelligent, beautiful black women talking about how hard their search to find a man is. Ya just gotta love Steve Harvey. He always makes me laugh, “All y’all are fine. Hell, who don’t wanna go out with y’all?” So damn true, they’re all gorgeous! Check out the clip.
One of the women in the YouTube clip talks about black women not being as coveted as women of other races and I think she has a valid point. In mainstream society, when you look at the famous women men lust over black doesn’t seem to be seen as beautiful. In recent years with the success of black music artists such as Beyonce and Rihanna and actresses such as Halle Berry and Zoe Saldana it’s better than it was say, 10 years ago, but still we’ve got a long way to go. For example, this years FHM top 100 sexiest women list voted for by men all over the UK contains just five black women. Yes just FIVE black women out of 100! Are we really considered that undesirable?
The five black women included in FHM’s Top 100 Sexiest Women list 2010
#24 – Zoe Saldana
#43 – Rihanna
#64 – Beyonce
#75 – Alexandra Burke
#98 – Rochelle Wiseman (from The Saturdays)
(Honourable shout out goes to Indian beauty Frieda Pinto who was listed at #97)
Most of the statistics mentioned in this post so far come from the US, but even so, here in the UK I can totally relate to what the women in the video clip are saying. The Sunday Times reported that Britain has the highest rate of interracial relationships in the world and it’s been reported elsewhere that by 2020 the mixed race population is expected to become Britain’s largest ethnic minority group with the highest growth rate. According to the 2001 UK census black British males were around 50% more likely than black females to marry outside of their race, so where exactly does that leave us?
Ultimately, I LOVE love. I’m a big fan of love in all of its shapes and sizes. I love that falling love happens with whoever you fall in love with, regardless of skin colour. Who I tend to be more weary of, are people who point blank refuse to date within their own race. I know plenty of black guys who specifically avoid black women, my Uncle is one of them. My whole life my Uncle has only dated white women. The woman he has settled down with is part of our family, I love her to bits and my beautiful cousins too. Do I wonder what exactly my Uncle has had against black women all of his life? Yes, of course I do. My Uncle grew up looking up to my Grandma, my Aunties so why did he never consider a black woman to be a suitable soulmate? Maybe one day I’ll pluck up enough courage to ask. On the other side, I have numerous white girlfriends who only date black men. They won’t even give a white guy the time of day. What is up with that? How can you exclude a whole race of men? Especially when its the same race that you belong to?? Just doesn’t make sense to me. Personally, yes I tend to be attracted to black and mixed race men first and foremost but if I happen to fall in love, physically and mentally, with a white man, an Indian man or whoever… then hoo-bloody-ray for me!
This is a controversial subject to write about but one that I think is worth bringing up. It’s definitely relevant to what I’m going through at the moment, if I had been more open to dating outside of my race earlier in my life, maybe I wouldn’t still be single at 33? Who knows eh? One thing I do know is that the recent spate of articles such as Vibe and the New York Times has got me thinking about black women and how we are being perceived out there, by the media, by our own black men and by the world at large. I wonder if these views are played out on dating websites. It would be interesting to know the percentage of replies a black woman gets compared to the amount of replies a white woman gets on these sites. All of the recent coverage seems to be aimed at black women specifically, which just doesn’t seem fair to me.