Thursday, October 25, 2012

It can be difficult for black women to accept that some men just find our brand of femininity intoxicating

I was sitting in a coffee shop the other day and across from me was an Asian (Hindu looking) woman and a black man (possibly African), being affectionate. I used the descriptive terms above to draw a picture and illustrate that you wouldn’t necessarily put these two together under usual circumstances, but there they were, a couple.

A 'fly' black woman!

It got me thinking about how black women discount themselves from certain mixed relationships and discount other people from being interested in them, and how this mindset might actually (more than anything else) be the reason why they don’t get to be in these partnerships and with diverse types of men and not- as they believe- the world-wide conspiracy against black womanhood. Contrary to popular opinion and given our eclectic society where people brush up against each other and are compelled in dozen ways each day, to eschew small mindedness and instead join the mainstream of life, most people are not automatons programmed fully by the prejudices of their communities, such that they cannot respond favourably and positively to other people, no matter how maligned these are by their in-group.

There are a hundred different reasons why a 'Hindu' woman would not date a black man, but maybe it is the knowledge of these reasons in the mind of the black man that would be the barrier and not the reasons themselves. In the case of black women I am beginning to think this is the critical issue.

One of the reasons why I am beginning to lean in this direction is that in a multiracial community as most of us live in, we mostly interact with others outside the charged imperative of finding a mate or getting into a relationship. We meet as work of school colleagues, just getting on with work or school tasks, not looking to get into 'relationships' with any of these. This can mean we can find ourselves falling for another before we remember to put up barriers of prejudices and apply the 'he/she is not suitable' type parameters.

Richard has a lovely smile and he is passionate about the environment. I deeply admire these attributes and respond positively -but unconsciously- to Richard and way before I even realize I am thinking along lines that should trigger or make me trigger my reservations about romance with him, and the process is happening vice versa. This is a scenario that plays out, a hundred thousand times a day around our multiracial communities. By the time we think of triggering our romantic reservations, the impression formed of an individual might simply be too overwhelmingly positive to override. Nature is a master at manipulating the situation in favour of optimising reproduction and the diversity that improves an offspring's chances of persisting into the future.

There are other realities of a modern society that can also strengthen our resolve against retreating back into old insular ways, for one, more and more interracial couples out there proclaim loudly -without saying a single word- that it can be done and it's no longer a big deal. Many of us also have come to understand that our communities are not bastions of peace and self-sufficiency but can be places of pain and stifling, so why not open to good wherever it comes. Many of us also know there are higher values to live up to, of openness, tolerance, the brotherhood of all humans and despite religious and cultural arguments, many of us would love to live up to these ideals.

And to leave the domain of theory, there are men who have developed a taste for black woman that is beyond social re-engineering – strange as it might be for black women to believe and accept this to be the case, which is a sad commentary on our sense of self worth.

I know some people experienced a little discomfort at the word 'taste', but guess what, I bet they would still experience discomfort if I used the words preference, 'are stuck on' or 'fixated', which is a commentary on how any sort of attraction to us, good or otherwise, on the part of white men has been 'sordidized' (yes this is a made up word). I remember a couple of years ago, one perceptive commenter on a web discussion on interracial dating, asking the question, 'how does a white man then show his legitimate/valid attraction to a black woman?' She then went on to answer her own question, that it appears there is no provision given for such an occurrence.

Guess what, when a white man's attraction is made sordid under any and all circumstances, this is how black women's womanly confidence suffers; she may start off frowning at white men for their ugly attraction to her but she later starts to (with the help of black commentary on the issue) believe something about her encourages this abnormal and inordinate response in him, and then she begins to nurse major doubts about her own femininity and feminine attraction.

As an addendum, a good deal of us feel that men are conditionally attracted to us (i.e. because of what we did right). This is the way media/current culture shapes the discourse (women need to do A, B, and C to be attractive). There is no denying that appearance and presentation etc go a long way, however it is essential to consider that some of the times, it is more about who that person is (internally), that makes for his attraction to us.

How does a black woman deal with gnawing self-doubt as she interacts with the world?

One way is to ignore it or act despite it.

Actors and performers often deal with crippling stage fright/fears, they still get through their performances without mishap. Sometime the answer is, 'Just do it'- just like Nike says. You don’t have to necessarily, resolve your disquiets before you accept the attention of a man or mingle in a group like you are the belle of the ball. Step forward even with the butterflies- the butterflies often are gone by act 1 scene 2!

Sometimes you fake it, nod and accept he thinks you are this magical thing, and soon you will grow into the confidence.

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maria cummings said...

This is a very interesting topic. I never get why so many black women believe that non black men wouldn't or couldn't find them attractive. This whole lack of self esteem and self worth is baffling to me.
I remember the first time I saw bw/wm interracial couple. The reason why they caught my attention was because I thought that the woman was exceptionally beautiful and that the guy was different because there were no white people in the village in which I grew up. So he kinda was like the first white person I've seen. Mind you that day I was in the big city with my grandmother because it was the annual carnival celebrations in my country and it was my first time seeing it and my first time in the city. It was more common to see white people in the city.
When I grew up I moved out of the village and got an apartment in the city because I wanted to hang out with the hip crowd, and staying in the village just wasn't cutting it. Of course I was already dating at that time but I never dated interracially. This is when I noticed that white men were looking at me, but unlike some black women, I didn't treat their obvious interest in me with suspicion. I was just being my fun self and the white guys just kept on coming at me and I have been dating interracially ever since.

These women would never think negatively if a black guy shows interest in them, despite the fact that most black men do not have good intentions when it comes to black women. They are only interested in sex and so many black women fail to see this. I'm not saying that white men aren't interested in sex, but let's face it, everyone knows that black men are the worse men for dating and relationship and they have proven this by their own actions. White men have proven time and time again that they are more stable and more open to marriage and having an active role in the lives of their children, so I don't see why these men are made to look evil, perverted and untrustworthy just because they show interest in black women. These women need to lighten up and open their selves up to new possibilities. I'm just saying...

Soul Alive said...

Once you start living your life worried about what every random fool is thinking, you are no longer living. Trust in your beauty. Understand that the beauty industry is evil and changes whats beautiful, hip and new tp keep women off balanced and insecure.

If you were comfortable and happy with where you are, you wouldnt need the latest bag, eyeshadow or aging cream. Its designed to keep us on a perpetual ugly hamster wheel with no way off. Everytime we are close to achieving the "ideal" it changes.

Beauty is subjective and the person doesnt HAVE to be Black also to find Black women beautiful and appealing.