Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Color-struck love?

Coulda, shoulda, woulda, went ahead and made this response a blog post, but I wanted to share my most honest thoughts with a woman who I felt needed it, and hopefully it helps:

This letter is, like last week’s, about something that transcends IR dating: This isn’t about a bad IR relationship, it’s about bad decision making and not listening to your instincts when they try and warn you about DBR persons.

Ladies, you need to stop suspending reality when you go into or try to go into an interracial relationship. What I mean to say is assuming that bad behavior patterns that you are used to seeing in DBR BM either don’t exist outside of the BC or ignoring the warning signs because it’s more important for you to hold onto your non-BM than to recognize that something’s wrong and that you need to back away from this person.

I sincerely do wonder whether or not the fact that the significant other isn’t black is playing a role in why some women put up with bad behavior. Is it something that they would not put up with if the person were black?

The letter writer was concerned about the fact that this man was cheating on her with another black woman. It’s not the first time I’ve heard of BW trying to snag someone else’s non-BM. Maybe it’s petty competitive womanly instincts, or it may be a direct symptom of the encouraged “man-sharing mentality” in the BC. In those situations, where and when a man comes onto a BW’s radar (even if he’s taken) and she thinks she has a half decent chance with him, she feels she has to go for him immediately, because God only knows when another man will come along. And his DBRness is rendered irrelevant by their desperation. (Note for the letter writer: Before you get too distraught over the other woman, odds are he’s already cheating on her, and was likely cheating on the both of you with a BW neither one of you knew about).

But for some reason, it’s easier to make this about “IR confusion”, than addressing the problem for what it is: An inability to accept the fact that race is neither a determiner of bad behavior, nor will it shield you from it.

MLK Jr. brought up “content of one’s character” over “color of their skin” in terms of how a person is judged. For a lot of black women who date out, it’s new territory to be sure, but I feel like so much emphasis is placed on the skin tone, that these people forget that it’s the most irrelevant part of the relationship. You are making a connection, for better or worse, with another human being.

If you decide to make such a connection, the most important thing you can do is be honest with yourself and that other person. Also be certain that there is mutual respect AND self-respect.

One thing I am proud of you for is not caving to this person sexually, because I do sense very strongly that it would have backfired on you badly. This person was NEVER with you for sex. He was with you so that he could leech off of your love and kindness (and money). He knew he could get sex from anyone; it’s not an exclusive commodity. Besides, there are a number of women who have financially and sexually supported men, only to be cast aside at the first available opportunity.

Your body is your own, and only you can decide when you are ready to physically commit to another person. Too often, that decision is taken out of the hands of black women, either by the expectation that she be physically active before she’s really ready, or by being violated by predators. Sexuality for black women is a tricky issue, often heated due to differing philosophies regarding religion, society, etc. BUT, you only need to be concerned with your own body and life decisions.

At the same time, understand that because you choose to be abstinent, you do not need to compensate financially or emotionally (through forgiving behavior that is inherently hurtful and disrespectful) in order to “make up” for it. This is what I suspect happened with you agreeing to buy cars for this male and continuing to be connected to him after finding out about the other woman.

If you’re going to wait to be intimate until after you’re married, be certain that you are on the same page with any future man you are seeing and that he understands what this means, and fully respects it (and that doesn’t mean being on the lookout for outside booty). If a man is really looking to be with and marry you, then they’d be looking to expedite the trip down the aisle anyway.

And as everyone else has said, do not financially support any man that’s not your husband and if at all possible, avoid going near men who are so financially unstable that they are reliant on you. The truth is many men resent the idea of needing a woman financially in the first place. Losers will take your money gladly, but they’ll just as gladly secretly despise you for making them feel emasculated. So don’t even go there.

In any case, best wishes for the future, and definitely take the time to reflect and do so carefully before trying to get with anyone new, regardless of their racial make-up. DBRs are rarely hidden personalities; their words and actions give them away. So when those red flags pop up one after the other, DON’T IGNORE THEM OR MAKE EXCUSES! Get the heck out of there!

The above was an attempt to reach out to a black woman who decided to date interracially for love and marriage and the man turned out to be bad news.

But there is something else that really bothered me, about this letter and about other similar scenarios I've seen and read about involving black women who seem to be going into IR dating absolutely color-struck.

It's worrying because it's not the exact same color-struck that some BM who date and marry out experience, but I wouldn't shy away from calling it a close cousin.

To understand what I mean, let's look at all the reasons black men who date lighter-and-brighter use to justify their preference. They see these women as beautiful, passive, supportive, feminine, lovely, non-emasculating, worthy of their money and respect, etc. And at the same time may see black women, especially the darker and less "mixed" she appears to be, as a slew of other things that culminate with her not being worth a damn. They may sleep with black women, but they will not give them the deferential treatment they afford to non-black women. They also will not give black women even the most remote chance of "slipping up". Heck, in the minds of a number of sorry black men, a woman wanting child support for a baby he helped create is the equivalent of being a gold-digging skank. It's not much of a stretch to assume they would not willingly abide any truly awful behavior in a black woman. However, have you noticed how many would abide the same behavior (and worse) with a light-skinned BW and non-BW?

Well, before you crow too loudly at their stupidity, I suspect that there are a number of BW who are unfortunately inclined to behave the same way. That is to say, abide DBR behavior in a non-BM that they would not abide in a BM. This is not the same as failing to understand DBR behavior in any man, I mean black women who either consciously or unconsciously ignore warning signs of DBR behavior in men because of their skintone. Nothing against the persons, but even questioning the possibility that stories of textbook damaged behavior were made up to "scare" IR-interested females. Now, this isn't unreasonable, because some black males are so out of their minds this isn't beyond them. However, is it really so unbelievable that damaged males of various ethnic groups act in a similar way?

This selective understanding of male behavior based on race is something that some black women need to address.

And I'll try to address this in a future blog, because I don't want this one to be too long. Stay tuned, please!


Flaming_star said...

The one thing I knew b/c I've only dated wm in my life is that, they could be just as low down and dirty and users and abusive as any other man if you let them. Some of them have those tendencies. And you're right he wasn't with her for sex, he was getting sex from somebody else and getting money from her so he had all his bases covered. When I first started to get into the BWE/BWIR thing I was very surprised when I hear women heap praise on wm as if they were the 2nd coming. I always thought that's a bad idea b/c when bw decide to date out of the bc and met a wm that is a jerk, they're going to be devastated. And that what I'm seeing. The expectations for wm are way too high, they are men. And if you don't know how to vet a man all you'll end up with is a man who is DBR just white. How is that helping bw? I praise my husband b/c he's my husband not white but I'm here to tell you my ex-husband who was also white was a jerk. So the color part don't matter. I think when bw do this 'praising' of wm on blogs, they do b/c either they've only date one wm and he was fabu and they got married or they haven't dated any wm at all. This whole letter was about vetting men, that's it not about anything else.

Toni said...

"When I first started to get into the BWE/BWIR thing I was very surprised when I hear women heap praise on wm as if they were the 2nd coming."

This squicks me as well, I must confess. It's as if it never occurred to these women that character is something other than skin color, and skin color is never an indicator of the character of the person; that's the whole point of not using one to decide the other.

Awake. Aware. Alive. said...

Oh! I have GOT to give you major respecto-brownie points for this. We NEED more BW keeping others accountable for their expectations, judgements and choices. To be honest, I have only eve heard a few BW go on about the magical qualities of WM/AM but for the most part sistahs seem to be pretty level-headed. If they are truly not about color in the love department then they must also not be about color in the vetting department.