Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Black Women, White Men -- What's the Big Deal?

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Yesterday I was reading The and I saw the following headline, "Black Women and the White Men They Love." Of course I clicked on what turned out not to be a story but a slideshow of famous Black women -- from Josephine Baker to Iman -- who have married White men.

My first reaction to the piece was surprise because there were a few women included who I had no idea had married across the color line. Like the actress Alfre Woodward. In fact, I was kind of inspired by the longevity of many of these unions, but not because of the racial differences, but simply because I know it's hard in Hollywood to keep the vows of matrimony. And that's when the discomfort set in. Why are we still highlighting marriages between Black women and White men as if it's worthy of some kind of anthropological analysis? Doesn't it just make you feel squirmy? I kind of do. I mean I don't go through my life thinking about el esposo as my White husband or my Spanish husband. He's just my husband. Am I being naive? Does everybody else view my marriage as some sort of racial experiment?

What do you think Meltingpot Readers? Is it time for us to stop 'highlighting' the extraordinary marriages across color lines? Or should we be showcasing them to prove to the world that when it comes to love, everybody is fair game? I'm torn, so I'm totally listening.



iamatraveler said...

Good questions! I too enjoy seeing images of Black women with White men, and I long for one day where love across the color line won't be a big deal. That day is not here yet. What we are longing for is a colorblind society. And as long as there are Black, White, Mixed, Asian, and Latino folks who believe in the concept of race, then we have yet to achieve that.

Alida said...

I have not ever looked at our marriage as a political statement or some kind of anthropological experiment. We were two teens that fell in love and have been together for over 30 years. For us it was all about love.

lifeexplorerdiscovery said...

I'm glad its still being highlighted because I like white men and where I live (in a city no less) it is very rare to see white men and black women together.

You'll see many black men and white women which is why its not much of a controversy but as I read over at the blog Abagond, Black women-white men relations are still pretty rare.

For me, seeing these images reminds me that there are a few white men out there who do like black women because where I live, you'd think they hated them.

soy yo said...

It seems to be mostly an American thing. I mentioned this issue, the rarity of white men and black men getting together in the US to my teacher who is mixed, and British. He seemed to think that this was not the case in the UK at all.

I do wish mixed relationships were so normal that interracial relationships didn't draw special attention.

LT said...

I agree that day is not here yet.

Amen and congrats.

Point well taken.

Soy Yo,
Thanks for the British perspective. It's always good to hear from the other side of the pond.

Anonymous said...

New reader - love the blog and love the books. I am also in a BW-WM relationship but I live in continental Europe where this is the "normal" mixed race relationship from what I can see. Don't get me wrong, we still get the occasional stares, but in the US, it is amazing how much hassle we get --from black people!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree with LED - I love seeing white men loving black women because of the image/self-esteem thing that's so hard to overcome with all the white-defined crap on so-called beauty and desirability we get bombarded with by the media. I just found that one of my favorite articles on hair straightening and self-image and sexuality by bell hooks is online at and of course bell hooks can say anything better than I ever could so my REAL comment is her article! :--)

Ernessa T. Carter said...

Though I knew about all of these marriages, I still love seeing images and hearing stories about other black women in IRs, so I'm okay with this story. The fact is that we don't have the numbers here to be considered normal. For instance, you're probably not going to see a piece on famous AW-WM couples because it's fairly common. One day we might get there, though. Till then, I'm loving all the positive pieces on the "just like us" couples.