Disclaimer: It is obvious this story departs from my normal crying out, but I believe this story closes the book on the subject and could be applied across the board to all interracial relationships and relationships in general.
So let’s begin:
Yep. After nine years of blogging, I’m finally going to go there.
As most of you know, my husband Al is black. Actually I hate that word, but I’m going to use it this one time so just in case you’re new here, you’ll understand exactly what I mean. But Al’s actually just a human being, like me, who happens to have brown skin. We have two human children who happen to have skin closer to the color of mine. Around here, on the rare occasion that our skin comes up at all, which probably isn’t any more often than it does in your family, we talk about pink skin and brown skin. I’d toss out the currently-trendy, “In my family, we don’t see color,” but I just think that’s dumb. Of course we see color. We see color for exactly what it is: The qualities of light reflected off of things, or in this case, people.Boom, done.
And that’s how it’s always been between Al and me. The day I met him, I noticed he had brown skin. After that, he was just Al. And I’ve already written our love story(<— A word of caution: Some of the writing in these love story posts makes me want to burn down the internet), but I’ll nutshell it for purposes of this post: We worked together for years and then we became good friends and then much, much later, we fell in love and got married. I’ll never forget the day I emailed a close friend in the very early stages of our romantic relationship. “I think I’m going to date Al, do you think that’s a bad idea?” I typed. I was asking her the question because Al and I still worked for the same firm, but she thought I meant because he’s brown, and she answered, “I couldn’t do it, but if you can, I think it’ll be great.” That floored me. Honestly, and I am seriously telling you truth here, the brown thing hadn’t been any sort of road block for me. But it was the first thing my friend considered when she contemplated Al and me as a couple.
I realize now that I’m happily and visibly ensconced in an interracial marriage I’m naturally insulated and pretty much the last soul on earth to whom any polite person would ever feel comfortable making observations about why people with different skin end up together. So I can’t pretend to know anyone else’s current mind on this topic. (Thankfully, Al and I have only ever heard one overt expression of disapproval of our relationship, and that one was hurled at us from the back of a motorcycle as its rider flew past us at 65 miles an hour. As you can imagine, we were terribly disappointed to miss out on the opportunity buy that guy a cup of coffee and listen, enraptured, as he thoughtfully explained his own personal opinions and feelings about our marriage.) But before I met and married my husband, I’d heard many theories on why white women marry black men. So I thought, now that I’ve been married to Al for almost ten years, it might be interesting to share my own personal perspective and experiences as they pertain to the most common of those theories.
1. White women marry black men because they can’t get a white man to marry them.Gosh. Aside from pointing out that this theory implies a white woman somehow settles for less by marrying a black man and is overtly racist and wrong and doesn’t even deserve consideration, I’ll just say this: My first marriage and all of my other dating relationships, from mere flirtations to serious commitments/engagements (which I broke off) were with white men. Al is the first black man I ever dated, and not because I wouldn’t have dated black men — just because no other black men ever asked me out. I wasn’t out to find a white man and couldn’t. I was out to find the best man for me, and did.
2. White women marry black men because they know a black man will be grateful to a white woman who will marry him, and thus she’ll have most of the control in the relationship. Again, racism much? But that aside, if Al is any more grateful to me for marrying him than I am to him for marrying me and all of my messed-up crazy, he’s delusional. I know both of us well, and believe me, I got the far better end of this deal. I was keenly aware of that going into our marriage. (I’m a pretty shrewd negotiator.) And actually, one of the reasons that I married Al was because I knew he’d never let me get away with any of the ridiculous stuff other men had. I wanted an equal partner I could trust to neither try to dominate me nor let me dominate him. It’s not that I’ve been a controlling monster in any of my relationships, it’s just that I’d never been with a man who had Al’s quiet strength or instinct and ability to lead. His leadership lets me relax a bit, and I like relaxing.
3. White women marry black men because they’re more romantic than white men. I can’t say it’s because he’s black, but honestly, Al is the most romantic man I ever dated. I think it’s more likely because he was older and more mature than any of the men I’d dated prior to him and thus knew more and had a greater comfort level with expressing his feelings in words and actions. But also I think Al’s just always been genuinely interested and good at in making other people feel special and important. I’d seen this quality in him, one that made him stand out among everyone I knew, male or female, black, white or otherwise, long before romance entered the picture. I love Al’s romantic side, but I’d guess it’s a natural extension of that quality vs. linked to his ethnicity.
4. White women marry black men because black men have – ahem – certain anatomical advantages over white men in the bedroom. I suppose it’d be inappropriate to just shout “BOLOGNA!” and let that be it, huh? (Giggle.) I probably don’t have enough data points on my grid, so to speak, to either confirm or deny this theory, but I can assure you that I wouldn’tmarry a man solely because he had a great big data point. I’m much more into Al’s ginormous brain and heart. He also has a freakishly large smile, and that thing? Makes my toes curl with pleasure.
5. White women marry black men because they’re more attracted to black men/think black men are better looking than white men. Okay. Have you seen Al? He’s gorgeous. I love his dark eyes and his amazing smooth, velvety brown skin and even his perfectly round, sleek, nearly-clean-shaven head (yes!). The guy is smokin’. And for purposes of illustration only, I also think Denzel is very easy on the eyes, and Blair Underwood makes my teeth sweat a little, as does Will Smith (especially in Hitch). But dude. George Clooney? Adam Levine? SHERLOCK (the Benedict Cumberbatch one)? Yeah, white guys are nice, too. (Not that I’m looking, and if Al asks you, I think Bruno Mars is hideous, okay?)
6. White women marry black men to rebel and/or make a social statement. I can’t deny that I value the message my family sends to people who see us and know us about progress and equality, love and acceptance. And I pray that Al and I and other couples like us just showing up, bold and together, in this generation, will bring more and more freedom to our kids and their kids to espouse wide-open views of what love and commitment can look like for them. But true social change activists, we are not. In the truest sense of the phrase, we’re lovers, not fighters. And at 41 and 36, we’d both wrapped up the rebellious phases of our lives a decade before we said our vows. We got married in a quest for peace, not conflict.
People get married because they love each other. That is the only valid point. I married a woman I met through the post office. Read my blog on love with a stamp. If I can get married anyone could. Love is in the air. It is feeling comfortable with another person. People should envy you because you found someone that compliments you and makes you feel special and vica versa. The very best, Barry
I’m also in an interracial marriage. We have had numerous struggles. My parents finally accepted him. Friends finally don’t care. We have the same struggles as any other couple. But in the end, it is our love that has kept our marriage together. Blessings to you.
Thank you for sharing.
I ENJOYED THIS READING…IT WAS WONDERFUL…AND GOD BLESS THIS COUPLE AND EVERY COUPLE THAT IS IN UNITY, NO MATTER WHAT OUR RACE…UNCONDITIONAL LOVE…THANK YOU FOR SHARING ROGER…AMEN!! AGAPE!
So what I married a Russian woman. Just kidding. I’ve been married several times and race for myself has never been an issue. In my book it’s all brown paper wrapping, it’s not what’s on the outside but what’s on the inside. Interestingly enough I’ve gotten more heat for marrying cross-culturally then i ever did for marrying my second wife who was Hispanic. Now that I live outside the US my world view has expanded even more in this area. I guess my thoughts are this – if they don’t like it, it’s their problem. I have a motto in life, Life is to short and so am I. Blessings.
Thank you for sharing. So sad there are people who’s thinking can be rather twisted on this subject. Nice picture of the two of you, so happy. I see beautiful smiles and kind eyes. My husband and I are raising a brown grandchild for fifteen years now. We are both white. You would not believe some looks and even comments, but there is so much love between the 3 of us, we do not notice any more. God Bless You and your family.
While I can see you and your husband are clearly in love you still will get the bigots who stereotype interracial relationships that will never stop. White women who date black men are immoral these kind of labels are so global that it is hard to love in that kind of condition unless you are strongly in love and don’t give a damn what people think. My wife who is white still finds white guys handsome she loves dog the bounty hunter and Gok Wan she happened to just find me her soul mate someone she could grow old with but people assume she is loose I met her and she was a virgin at 30 years old hardly meets the immoral criteria!!
Thanks for giving me a ‘heads up’ on this topic. I understand a little better now.
Cheers to two people in love!
Thank you for this!
One thing that I always find as a young half-black half-white woman is that people forget that the amount of pigment your skin produces doesn’t determine your personality. I am educated and my own person. My skin colour doesn’t define who I am. I’m always written off as negligible or used as a token/statement piece in friendships and relationships.
It’s sometimes hard to remember that there are people who love people of other races outside of fetishism or prejudice.
So thank you.
What a refreshing post, glad that you have found happiness on the ‘other’ side. My only wish is that this could be everyone’s attitude on the matter of relationships. The fact that we have different levels of pigmentation does not mean that we are different levels of human so to speak.
All the best moving forward. 🙂
This is pretty good, Enjoyed reading this! I think society needs to cut the broundries when it comes to communication with other people. We are all human after all, we were born on the same planet, eat the same food, listen to the same music and all progress in our personal ways. No colour, race, age, gender, sexual orientation should matter when it comes to communication and becoming a family. Youre sending out a good message. Afterall, you shouldnt justify yourself to people if there are people who are stupid and brave enough to ask about ‘why you married a black guy’