As pro-Black, afro-puffin’ and fist-pumpin’ as I am, I’ve often wondered if people would deem me as a fraud if I ever dated a man outside my race. Would people see me as a hypocrite or someone who really doesn’t value the Black race like I say I do if I were seen flaunting a man with skin whiter than a hockey team? There’s a certain pressure for Black people to think and behave a particular way when it comes to how we interact with other races, especially in relation to dating. Take Kendrick Lamar, for instance.
In case you haven’t heard, a few weeks ago, a Black activist who advocates for the empowerment of “dark-skinned women” slammed Kendrick for getting engaged to his girlfriend of nearly 10 years, Whitney Alford, who happens to be a fair-complexioned woman. Likewise, Romeo Miller was recently forced to defend himself after being attacked for sporting a White girl on his arm. Although K. Dot’s fiancé appears to be of African descent, the angry activist’s condemnation of his decision to marry a light-skinned woman is rooted in the same criticism handed out to Black men like Romeo who find companionship in women outside of the Black race.
But let’s pretend that Whitney is White. Would that in turn eliminate Kendrick’s authenticity as a pro-Black leader? Does the fact that Romeo is courting a full-blown blonde make him a sell-out? Let’s think about that, because if our measurement of “blackness” is based on what race we date, then it’s time we reevaluate the quality of the fabric that constitutes who and what we are.
Why, in 2015, are we still upset about interracial dating? Why, in 2015, do we associate a Black man (or woman’s) decision to date outside their race with a lack of self-esteem or pride for people whose skin rivals the soil of the Earth or the darkness of the night? It happens all too often, especially with our Black men. Every time one of our stars, or even the Average Joe walking down the street, is seen with a non-Black woman, the “he don’t like his momma’s,” “he don’t like himself’s” and the “sad, sellout” jabs start rolling in.
Why can’t a brotha like Romeo, who mentioned that he’s dated all types of women, including ones “as black as Akon,” be with a non-Black woman without scrutiny and backlash? Isn’t it possible that a Black person could bleed love beyond skin color? If a person who prides themselves on their African roots and Black culture finds their soul mate in an individual as pale as a block of ivory, they shouldn’t feel like they can’t pursue happiness without someone questioning their character. (But oh, wait. God wouldn’t possibly create mate compatibility between people who fall into different human-constructed racial lines because our higher being is just at prejudice as we are. I almost forgot.)
We have to be pretty shallow to expect a person to confine to dating in a racially-defined box based on a general history of Black oppression at the hands of White supremacists. And we have to be even more audacious in thinking we have the power to revoke a person’s “Black pass” simply because they’ve found love in someone whose skin tone is opposite theirs. I personally feel like it’s absurd to refute a person as pro-Black or deem them a disgrace simply because they step beyond color lines. But I know everyone holds different views, for their own reasons.
So let’s talk about it: is a person’s pro-Blackness, or Blackness in general, comprised when they date outside of their race? Leave your thoughts below.