Is Interracial Dating Still Considered to be a "Taboo" ?

Jennifer Brown Banks

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“Black women who date White men are a sell out.” He said to me.

As if afflicted with a bout of amnesia, he felt compelled to remind me of the oppressive and painful role he perceived these “opportunists” to have historically played in “keeping us down” for centuries.

That was his take on things.

Then there was silence over the phone.

“Anyway, (he took my slow response to mean that I wasn’t convinced)…the only reason that White men date Black Women is to explore stereotypes, flirt with taboos and to feel powerful in their conquest.” In his mind, it was a case of “forbidden fruit” having great appeal.

No matter how hard I tried to enlighten him and drag him into 21st century thinking, he wouldn’t budge; almost like a Black, modern-day version of Archie Bunker. My friend “Harold“, known to many as an “intellectual,“ couldn’t seem to even entertain another way of thinking. He could not fathom the fact that people of different colors could find grounds of commonality, worth and attraction. There was always a “hidden agenda” from Harold’s perspective.

A FRIENDSHIP OF POLAR OPPOSITES

Harold and I met over a decade ago, at a book signing at a popular gathering hole and became fast friends. Though we often find ourselves maintaining opposing views on relationships, religion, politics and what actor played the best Batman, our love of the arts and literature continues to bind us.

Our differences also make for some pretty interesting conversations, that provide fodder for my freelance writing projects. (Think Carrie Bradshaw of Sex in the City minus the active dating/physical life.)

“So, just out of curiosity, why would you ever even consider dating outside of your race?” He asks. “When it comes to dating and friendships, I just like to consider myself color blind, I respond. Love is where you find it.”

“Besides, (I say to him) just because a Black woman dates a White man doesn’t mean that the situation will be “consummated“. Do you sleep with every single woman you take out?”

“It’s certainly my goal!” He states laughing.

Determined to not be defeated, I bring up the fact that White men marched beside us in our fight for equality during the Civil Rights, decades ago. A White man freed the slaves. And “What about Obama?” I hit him with.

“There’s no way he would have advanced as the first Black president without the White vote.”

“That still doesn’t make up for hundreds of years of slavery,” he loudly counters. By this time, we’ve been debating for over an hour, and my bedtime draws near.

“Dude, you really need to come out of the dark ages! I have had enough of your foolishness for this evening. Let’s just agree to disagree on this one. I’m going to bed.”

“Peace out!” I sign off with.

Always needing to have the last word, he asks, “So should I come over and tuck you in?”

“In your dreams!” I shout, as I finally close out our conversation.

A PARADIGM SHIFT FOR CURRENT TIMES…

Truth is, Harold’s position is one that is echoed by people of different races and religions across the country. The belief that we should have a “one-size- fits- all” approach to relationships. And that race mixing is simply out of the question for singles in search of quality connections.

Which leaves quite a few women of color with mixed emotions, due to the disproportionate number of Black men available.

INTERRACIAL MARRIAGES ARE ON THE RISE

Even amid contradictions and resistance, many are still taking the plunge.

According to Pew Social Trends: " In 2015, 17% of all U.S. newlyweds had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, marking more than a fivefold increase since 1967, when 3% of newlyweds were intermarried, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.2 In that year, the U.S. Supreme Court in the Loving v. Virginia case ruled that marriage across racial lines was legal throughout the country. Until this ruling, interracial marriages were forbidden in many states.

More broadly, one-in-ten married people in 2015 – not just those who recently married – had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. This translates into 11 million people who were intermarried. The growth in intermarriage has coincided with shifting societal norms as Americans have become more accepting of marriages involving spouses of different races and ethnicities, even within their own families."

SUMMING THINGS UP HERE

Love is complex. It’s not a simple Black and White issue. And what has become ever so clear is the need for a paradigm shift in our way of thinking. What happens between two consenting adults is their own business. After all, this is America.

If any woman of color (or other race) wants to cross over and broaden her prospects, they should be respectfully allowed to expand their horizons, free of judgment, intervention and ridicule.

HERE’S WHY…

If there was a happy ending to their love story, there‘s future hope for those who dare to have the courage to change the narrative of what true love looks like.

Image credit: Pixabay.com

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Veteran freelance writer, award-winning blogger, thought leader, herbal tea enthusiast. My mission is to entertain, engage and inform readers with articles that are interesting, enriching and diverse.

Chicago, IL
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