“If you’re thinkin’ about my baby it don’t matter if you’re black or white”

The new Samuel L. Jackson movie “Lakeview Terrace” opens tonight. I was able to catch a free sneak preview of the movie Tuesday night. (Yes, it was an official sneak preview and not a bootleg DVD from a barbershop). In the movie Jackson stars as a hyper-aggressive police officer who’s pissed off because his new neighbors are an interracial couple of a black woman (Kerry Washington) and a white man (Patrick Wilson).

Though the movie felt a bit “made-for-TV,” it was still good — entertaining from start to finish with great acting. The most interesting thing about the movie, of course, is the issue of interracial relationships. While I’m sure not every interracial couple has a crazy, racist cop terrorizing them, even in 2008 being in an interracial relationship will still get you dirty looks and, at times, even harassment.

I have a confession. Though I’ve always been cool with the idea of interracial dating, when I was in college I always felt very uncomfortable when I saw black men with white women. But not because I was a racist. I was uncomfortable because every black man I knew personally who was dating a white woman would say they were doing so because black women didn’t know how to treat their men. And that hurt like hell. So I stupidly assumed that every black man in an interracial relationship felt the same way.

But I was young and dumb. You live and you learn. Now I celebrate all happy and healthy relationships regardless of color or anything else. In fact, I now often find myself encouraging my friends who are considering dating someone outside of their race to just go for it because, as Washington says in “Lakeview Terrace,” you like who you like.

There is a notion, however, that black women are resistant to the idea of dating outside of their race. Comedian Chris Rock has joked about it and Soledad O’Brien explored the topic in her CNN Special Report: Black in America, The Black Woman & Family. While I do have black gal pals who date outside of their race, I have plenty who refuse to do so.

Magazines for black women like Essence often feature stories reassuring black women that there are still plenty of black men out there looking for a beautiful black woman to make his wife. And that’s great. Really. But what if Mr. Right is white? Or Indian? Or Hispanic? Or Asian? Or Middle Eastern?

Yeah, I know I’ve found “the one” and he happens to be black, but trust me, if Edd happened to look like Justin Timberlake or Robin Thicke instead I would have just as happily accepted that ring.

But what are your thoughts on and experiences with interracial dating and marriage?

11 Comments

  1. I personally have always been more attracted to black men and never wanted to date outside my race, but that’s just my preference. And maybe I’m still in the young, dumb phase in relation to some of my male friends, because I still hear the “white women treat me better” excuse. so lame. in fact, one of my closest male friends jokes that if he dated a white woman, it’d be the American Dream. That hurts a lot as a black woman. I admit it still makes me cringe a bit to see black men and white women together, but it’s more because of the feedback I’ve gotten from the black men I know. But for any interracial couple, If they’re together because they truly love one another, minus all the taboo bullcrap that surrounds interracial dating, then I’m all for it. God has no respect of person, so be happy, who am I to judge. But if you’re together just to prove a point or have some sorry excuse that doesn’t have the other person’s best interest at heart, that’s what bothers me.

  2. Miss Jungle, I hear you. And I’m not saying that I no longer hear black men say the “white women treat me better” thing because I do. I just no longer believe that all black men who date white women feel that way.

    When black men say those things it still stings a bit, but I decided, even before I got hitched, that any man who would say something like that is a man I don’t want to date anyway.

  3. I’m attracted to both white and black men. I don’t think I’ve ever really found an Asian, Middle Eastern, or Hispanic man attractive enough that I’d actually consider dating him, but I haven’t seen them all.

    I went out with a white man in college (the school only had 5 black men), and it was really weird. I know people were looking, but I think I felt weird already – which didn’t help. However, maybe I wouldn’t have cared as much if he was hotter. That’ll be one of my goals next year – to date a really H-O-T white man! I’ll come back and tell you if it made a difference. :)

  4. Oh, and let me add that I’m in no way saying it’s ok to date someone simply because of their race. Dating a white woman because you think it’s the “American Dream” is lame and disrespectful to women of all races, including white women. I said I celebrate happy and healthy relationships. Dating someone for a reason like that is not healthy. But I know I’m preaching to the choir here.

    Chantay, girl live in California for two years and you’ll see HOT men of every race, color and creed.

  5. I was going to tell Chantay the same thing, I’ve been in L.A. for only a little over one month and have seen attractive men of every shade! … but it still bothers me that in a day and age in which our next president may be of mixed race, an interracial couple walking down the street can still turn heads …

  6. this is gonna sound kind of funny, but i’ve had several crushes on half-asians. i landed one and we’ve been together for six years. we’ve always joked about what our kids would look like, considering that i’m hispanic and he is part vietnamese, part wasp.

    i never gave thought to being a “mixed race” couple until my mom brought it up. as an ultra religious traditional colombian woman, she said, “You should be with someone of equal yolk. He doesn’t even speak Spanish. How is your family supposed to become part of his family.”

    she’s right about the Spanish and the family issue. but we ARE equals.

    i tried not to take offense to it and years later, she’s grown fond of him.

    more than anything, this isn’t about skin color. it seems to be about culture and tradition.

    there have been many times i wished i could whisper something in Spanish to him. or understand his mother’s heavy Vietnamese accent.

    aside from that, there are few differences– such as our political beliefs, tho we are both Obamers.

    and one advantage to this tangle of cultures is, we get to have two weddings. a western and eastern-style one.

  7. True love is color blind. However, it’s important to note that social class is a major factor for some interracial dating.

    I’m a black woman, who is attracted to white, black, and asian men. I’ve never dated outside my race, but if asked by the “right” guy, I’d gladly date him. I don’t worry too much about what others might think… the funny thing is when I mention my attraction to white men, most black men offer “jealous”/ “sell out” comments; however, I have to remind them…when you’re dealing with a professional black woman, with advanced education, the pool for potential black mates who are “similar” is shallow. Dating outside of one’s race increases the pool. I like that there are different fish in the sea ;)

  8. well i can honestly say that i have NEVER gotten upset when i see a black man with a white woman. probably because i figure if anyone is with someone for the wrong reason they will eventually get what’s coming to them.

    in saying that i have absolutely no problem with interracial dating. although i’ve never done it myself but then i haven’t dated much period.

    i just hope that one day this topic is no longer an issue.

  9. Javacia, just so you know–my comment was in no way saying I didn’t agree with your p.o.v., I’m so sorry if it was interpreted that way! =/

    I wish that even my family members weren’t so old-fashioned in their thinking, because no doubt, it’s where I got a lot of my opinions on topics like interracial dating. But as I grow and mature into my own woman, I’ve learned it’s okay not to agree with everything my mother told me.

    I think I just get so upset sometimes by the close-mindedness of those that I know. So once again, sorry if I came off a lil harsh!!

  10. I’ve never really looked twice at interracial relationships, but in the Northwest, where I grew up, most people were pretty easy going about that kind of thing.
    I’ve always been an equal opportunity dater… if I lined up pictures of the men I’ve dated, it’d probably look like a Benetton ad. (What can I say? I love all boys. :))
    But anyone who thinks women (or men) of one race will treat you better than another is just ignorant and ill-informed. There are nice guys and asshats in all races.
    Of course, I (half white, half Hispanic) married Kyle (black) and when I discovered we’d be moving to Kentucky (eek!) for Kyle’s job, I was nervous.
    But the bottom line is this: I feel very lucky to live in the world we do today. It’s not perfect by any means, but if Kyle and I had fallen in love 50 years ago, we may not have ended up together. It’s been more than 8 years with Kyle now, and can’t imagine my life turning out any other way.

  11. Oh no! Miss Jungle, your comments weren’t harsh at all. I just wanted to make sure no one thought that I was saying I was OK with black dudes saying that dating a white woman is the American dream. That mess is for the birds. Thank you so much for kicking off this discussion.

    xoxo,
    j.

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