Let’s begin the conversation with the clip by the chocolate enthusiast herself, Kyla. She starts this clip with an ode to chocolaty goodness. She says, “Hi, I like chocolate, and I am not talking about the candy, ok.” Kyla, goes on to say, “I love chocolate; I love chocolate men; I love them.” I think Kyla’s statements are somewhat problematic, but Kyla’s comments aren’t alien to my ears. I hear black women using the same metaphors and implicit implications. Regardless of the person’s race, there is a problem with the idea of a person being like a purchasable item for consumption.
RIcki Lake: 2001: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIyLlmV1iFw (since you can’t watch it embedded)
In the second clip, I hope we all can agree that it displays two very problematic (read: racists) black women (Valerie, the woman on the stage and Strawberry, the pop-up commentator). Valerie, the angry self-righteous black woman, proclaims (at minute 1) that “we’re being robbed of the best black men the world has to offer.” Then Valerie accuses her white friend and co-worker of “robbing some black sister of something that should be rightfully hers.” I wish a (you-know what) would say she (or preferably he) is entitled to me because I am black. GET THE HELL OUT HERE with that weak-ass mess.
We are in a new age and to harp-on about race-trading, selling-out or losing touch with your blackness garners an underwhelming amount of sympathy from some folks. Seriously all jokes aside, I think Ricki makes a valid point “who are you to set those limitations on somebody else.” I ask this because as we begin to talk about this subject of dating in(and out)side of one’s race there are complex realities that mold into this growing phenomena.
I have a lot of friends/mentors who are either in a Black – on – Black relationship (i.e., intra-racial black couples), or a Non-black – on – Black relationship (i.e., interracial couples). Honestly, there are very distinct differences in these relationships that I have seen. I have female friends, much like Valerie, who have this distinct desire to be with a black man and blame white women for the lack of dateable black men. I have friends that specifically date outside their race because they perceived certain aspects of “their” community as problematic. I have friends that are “equal opportunity daters” that enjoy cultural exploration (if you will) and date with an awareness of social, political and professional capital. This is not to say that the other two categories don’t share the need for their partner to have “curb-side” appeal, but I think for some folks race is a bigger selling point than what the prospective partner does or even the person’s interest.
Just like black women, I have gay male friends that are just as race conscious and insistent on “keep[ing] it black.” Unfortunately, such stringent race demands often times come with a price of settling for something that is chaotic. Like in the above clip, black gay men, black women (lesbian or heterosexual), and transgender, who are committed to keeping it black, experience “unequally yoked” relationships. The friends I have in intra-racial relationship tend to build/strengthen bonds (i.e., friendship, romantic and familial bonds) around their blackness (even when it is problematic). For instance, I have friends who in order to “keep it black” date (for lack of a better term) down. I have friends with multiple degrees dating brah-man from around the block, which is fine, but there are some real and heavy consequences to such actions. I have many black gay professional high powered male friends dating DL men because of their desire for a ‘real’ black man (a future post I promise).