So, if black men aren’t even looking at sisters in Australia based on these stats, the chances of dating within one’s race (by preference) take a significant hit. I discovered that in Australia, the odds are stacked against you in the dating world if you are a black woman. I’m accustomed to friends sharing their ‘WTF’ moments, and generally I love living vicariously through their dating experiences. “The most important thing is that the conversation happens,” she says, but agrees that starting with your perspective on current events is a smart in. “Talk about Amy Cooper, the woman in Central Park who tried to weaponized her whiteness against an innocent Black man,” she said. You can also talk about the George Floyd protests, the killing of Breonna Taylor, or any of the Black lives lost due to police brutality.
Although I no longer harbor the fear I had when I was growing up, my early black-on-black experiences still affect me on some level. Today, I feel as much an outsider among black people as I do among white people. I’ve been loudly critical of people who adopt hierarchies of skin color and those who banish entire races and ethnicities from their dating and sexing pool. But that’s different from telling people what color their boyfriends should be. I write about sexual racism from the point of view of someone who is regularly pursued because of my skin color (sigh… here it comes again – more objectification and the dreaded big black fantasy) and has never been outright rejected because of it. Like people of every color, I have no control over who pursues me.
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Curtis says she relates to that idea because she has had to come to terms with her own biases. After growing up in the mostly white town of Fort Collins, Colo., she says she exclusively dated white men until she moved to New York. “My goal,” Curtis wrote on her blog, “is to share stories of what it means to be a minority not in the abstract, but in the awkward, exhilarating, exhausting, devastating and occasionally amusing reality that is the pursuit of love.”
Black women in the LGBTQ community also face structural barriers to finding a partner. They still face the “person-of-color outsider” status in LGBTQ communities, meaning that they are still othered for being a POC, despite being a part of or identifying with the larger queer group. And that othering makes it harder to date people outside of their race. What’s more, research published by Fordham University found that LGBTQ people of color have historically been pushed out of “gayborhoods” in the U.S.
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My anecdotal observations of the dating and marriage patterns of middle class black children who grew up in Chicago’s predominantly white North Shore suburbs thirty years ago are not unique. Succinctly, middle class African Americans often experience different dating and marriage patterns, leaving black females with fewer dating and marriage options if they only seek partners within their racial/ethnic group. Black women are the only group of women in America who cannot take for granted that if they seek marriage to a black man that there will be an ample supply of available men from which to choose.
Rather, I was surprised that people would be willing to openly state that they had strong same-race preferences. One assumes that many people who do have such preferences would either choose not to disclose them publicly, or choose to skip the question entirely. Yes, there are black people who fetishize their white partners, who use their white partners to put down other black people and SALT app cement their own internalized racism, but this is not a rule. There’s something incredibly reductive and heteronormative about basing a black woman’s worth on what kind of man she chooses to sleep with, as if a woman’s blackness or her dedication to black issues can only be validated by a “black king” (or vice versa). Or, at the very least, how can we fix racism on these dating apps?
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That, in turn, creates a kind of segregation that further hinders the establishment of meaningful and equitable connections. “People always feel it necessary to say that they’re not racist, you know, to us!” Tonya laughed. “And that they don’t teach their children to notice color or anything. But in the same 30-minute conversation, the man says, ‘But if my daughter came home saying that she was dating a Black man, I wouldn’t approve of it.’ Unfortunately, it’s just still so normal.” It’s important to note that Dataclysm focused on data uncovered by OKCupid, but it’s not unreasonable to think human beings seeking sexual and romantic partners won’t behave differently just because of the platform they’re using. According to this account, few Black women marry White men, so Black men shouldn’t be threatened by this kind of interracial relationship. However, many more Black men marry White women, so Black women should perceive a reduced pool of potential mates, and thus they should disapprove of Black male-White female unions.
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This system ensured that white male slave owners who had children with the black women they enslaved contributed to their own wealth. As long as colorism has existed in our communities, there has been a vested interest in denying its existence. It is widely credited to Alice Walker, in her classic womanist text In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens. Before that, black Americans used other terms, like “colorstruck” or “colorphobia”.
These statistics underscore a sobering reality that set the parameters for this book. If you feel like being different races hasn’t impacted your relationship negatively, Jackson says you should still be talking about it. “A white partner doesn’t know or understand what it’s like to move through the world as a Black person (or any other minority),” she says. Interactions like these hearken back to the “Jezebel,” the controlling image of the sexually aggressive Black woman that served as a powerful rationale to exclude Black women from meaningful relationships. Alicia and other Black women daters’ words are stark reminders that their online dating experiences are segmented by race and gender, and the difficulties that Black women face when utilizing dating apps is, indeed, a collective struggle. The primary purpose of this book is to tell the stories of black women who are dating, married to, or divorced from white males.
Second, this book gives voice to white men who are dating, married to, or divorced from black women. Their stories and perspectives provide balance to those of the women. And, she said, at this moment in history many interracial couples in the U.S. are feeling increased anxiety, with heated public debate on issues involving racial justice, immigration, and even direct attacks on minority groups. Unable to live with my “strong automatic preference,” I took the test a few more times. Through repeated attempts, I trained myself to react evenly to the black, white, positive, and negative pairings. In a sense, through acknowledgement of the bias and a concerted effort to modify my behavior, I suppressed the implicit bias.