Once, I was at a bar with friends when two white men approached me. One was a guy who was interested in talking to me, and the other was acting as his wingman. The guy did, in fact, have some kind of black girl fetish. While white men are not the only group to hold racial biases and stereotypes against black women, they tend to be the least informed on the racialized and gendered issues that black women endure.
White men navigate society with relative ease while black women are teetering on the precarious margins of race and gender that they do not have the privilege to ignore. This is not a game to us, nor is it something we can ignore. Our race and gender affects the way we carry ourselves, and this uncomfortable mindfulness is something that white men simply cannot relate to. A white man must be willing to work toward a better understanding of how race and gender intersect differently for everyone, and he must also be prepared to speak out against the injustices that their partners will endure.
And while of course the topic of race should be an ongoing conversation with your significant other, things would go a lot smoother if men — and in this case, white men — were able to identify and prevent racial tension from the very beginning. White guys, you often approach black women in a harmful way.
Most white men are unaware of the microaggressions towards their black partner that make their chances for a second date slim to none. Microaggressions are comments or actions that unintentionally alienate or demean a marginalized person or group. In other words, you should be looking at the whole person, and not a one-dimensional archetype of a black woman. But before you can even get there, you need to do some self-reflection to work out why, exactly, you want to date black women or a particular black woman.
Here are some questions to think about: Do you think of dating a black woman as a new or exotic experience? Do you have a fascination with how biracial children look? Are you seeking out black women for the sole purpose of having mixed kids? Do you expect all or most black women to behave the same?
If you answer yes to any of these, then you should take a step back to reevaluate. These are harmful stereotypes that will not only make your black partner uncomfortable, they will further marginalize them. If you answered no to these questions and you think those assumptions on black womanhood are downright absurd hint: When you compliment a black woman in this way, you are implying that we are exceptions to the rule — the rule being that that black women are not attractive, intelligent, or posses any other positive attributes.
And when these stereotypes are internalized and then manifested in society, it could have severe consequences. More often than not we are looked over for jobs, we do not receive adequate education or medical care, and we are imprisoned at much higher rates than our white counterparts all because blackness is rarely associated with positivity.
So in order to combat the harmful stereotypying of our people, try to compliment us without the caveat! Instead, remember that black women, like all people, have varying interests, backgrounds, and obstacles that they face daily. Try to think of a black woman as an individual, and not as the chosen speaker for a whole diverse group.
Black lovers should not be collected and bragged about like trophies. This further marginalizes us by making it seem like we are something exotic, elusive, and mysterious. Instead, treat each and every black woman you crush on like an individual. But black women are fully fleshed, three dimensional human beings with varying thoughts, abilities, values, and passions.
Please treat us as such. Talk to black women like you would anyone else and get to know them for who they really are. Appreciate us for our versatility and the little quirks that make each one of us so special. Found this article helpful? Help us keep publishing more like it by becoming a member!
This AmeriCorps alumna is passionate about community service and strives for a better understanding of how to mobilize marginalized populations through service and activism.
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