20120515

White man - "status" symbol for the status-seeking black woman?

Is a white man the new accessory for status-conscious black women? Some outright brag about dating/marrying white men, as though it is an achievement, not just a matter of happenstance and love. No rational person would care about race in matters of love. That goes for the person in the relationship and those outside of it.

So, why does it seem to be such an issue with some? Well, perhaps there was/is some emotional effect of being accepted by the person who represents power within society. It could be the ultimate validation for a group that feels itself victimized and under-appreciated. "I'm beautiful too, even white men want me."

Okay, so you don't know what I'm talking about? Well, see "Toni Braxton On Dating White Men."  Now, in this interview, why did Ms. Braxton feel the need to share the race of her lover? What if a black man conducted an interview and then volunteered "Look everybody, I'm dating a white lady!!!" I've seen this "I got a white man" information volunteered in online discussions, and I've heard it on talk radio, even though it is barely relevant to the discussion.

For years, black women attacked black men who just happened to date or marry white women. Some Black women even accused black men for "marrying down" and "settling," suggesting that black men would accept a white woman with less physical attractiveness or fewer other desirable traits when they would not tolerate the same in a black woman. That, again, ignores the fact that black men accept black women of every size, shape and socio-economic level.

Now that some black women are openly celebrating the acceptance of white men, will the "stay with your own race" standard they have used on black men remain the same? Will the "I need a man on my level" argument remain? Not quite.

Not only do some black women shout from the rooftops about it. They are celebrated by other black women for "getting" a white man. Some black women almost high-five each other over it.

Example? I heard a conversation on the Tom Joyner Morning Show where one of the co-hosts lambasted track star Usain Bolt for dating a white woman from Canada: "What, he can't find a beautiful Jamaican woman to love?"

I missed this same person's criticism of the the black woman married to singer Robin Thicke. In fact, Thicke is even more popular for his being with a black woman. Essence magazine even did a profile and photo gallery of the couple "A love Story."  I missed the profile of Seal and Heidi Klum in black publications.

Did anyone else hear the excitement among black women when Kevin Costner spoke at Whitney Houston's funeral: "You could tell he loved her!" So what if he did? Bobby Brown loved her too, but Bobby is just...brown Bobby.

Double standard?
Will the women who have said things to black men like: "Why would you be with a white woman when you know the history of the struggle?" or "Why would you when they used to lynch black men for that?" question their sisters with: "You know white men used to rape black women on a regular basis, why would you go there?" Of course not. Now that white men are more comfortable with bringing home a black woman to meet mom. All bets are offs.

A double standard remains among black women when it comes to the actions of black men. Some of the high-fivers are the same women who look down on black men with white women. Many of the high-fivers even oppose their black male family members dating or marrying white women. This is part of the pathology.

Odd things happen when you are a part of a group that has been denigrated and made to feel less than beautiful. What better acceptance than to be embraced by the group that holds most of the power in society? It also might tie into the need to ensure offspring that won't be viewed as "just another n-word," a bit like the propensity toward men with "good hair."

Mainstream Movies and Media
At the risk of conflating the issue and making this far too long (too late, I know), I have to add something, since I'm on the topic of what is and is not acceptable when it comes to "interracial" dating. Some are free to love whomever, some are not.

For white men it's not as much of a big deal. They control the media and hence have always had a pick of any woman of any race. Note how Hollywood, when they want to get controversial over the issue of race and dating, they almost always put a white man with a black woman. From the first lip lock between Kirk and Uhura on "Star Trek" in the 1960s, to the recent show "Scandal," it's wm/bw. The closest thing to a bm/ww relationship in a network TV show was Ally McBeal and that was the relationship that never happened, not even real kiss.

In the movies they've put every black woman with a white man, Halle Berry (Pierce Brosnan, David Duchovny, even Billy Bob Thornton - gack), Angela Bassett, ZoĆ« Saldana, etc. Hell, they even remade the classic "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and put a white guy in it (unemployed), while the original Sidney Poitier was a doctor. Go figure. See a list of the movies with white men and black women.

The most bankable, attractive black man in movies Denzel Washington, has rarely even held a white woman's hand in a film, even when romance would have made sense to the story (and romance would have been put in had the actors both been white or wm/bw).

I imagine someone will find an instance that goes counter to my point, but that would be the exception, not the rule. Oh, Jungle Fever does not count. That movie was made by a black man, Spike Lee. Movies about pimps and prostitutes don't count either. Yes, I said it.

Okay Okay
There I go meddling again. Stirring the pudding. Raising cain.

Hey, it's what I do. I'm exploring an issue, a bit more than I had intended. I could write a chapter on this(I think I will). I suppose it came to mind because I'm a bit tired of the double standard. One day none of this will matter. We can only hope.