Because I live in a nation that has created races and classes, I had to learn how to navigate living, breathing, working, dating, and marrying in the race and class they (Whites) assigned me to right out of my mother’s vagina. My birth certificate says I’m Black, so I live with the cards they have dealt me. Being from the Deep South and the Bible Belt, the one thing I learned early on was that there were lines, some visible, and others — not so much. My father strongly advised not to cross was dating interracially. In very explicit terms he told me it’s always problematic when you’re not the default races, White.
I was taught by my parents you date your own kind, even if you were attracted to another race other than your own. I never understood why there were such strict rules in the Black community on dating until I became an adult. I learned the history of White folks not wanting to mix-up with Blacks and other races because it would taint the White bloodline and lead to what we have today, a barrage of angry White men pissed at Blacks and People of Color for stealing their White women, therefore reducing the number of pure White people there are in the nation/world. Practicing population control isn’t enough, our dating habits must also be controlled too.
Growing up in the 80s and 90s my parts of the Carolina, Blacks, and Whites didn’t mix much — only when we absolutely had to, like at school, and playing of watching sports. We still had lots of segregation in the South with few opportunities to live among Whites unless you had lots of money and the stamina to move where lots of Whites were, and few Black families I knew were signing up for that hell.
My Reasons For Interracial Dating Discomfort
As a mother of Black sons, I prepped my sons for the real world. They were student-athletes, which made them prey for girls and young women hoping these young men go to college, go pro and then marry them. Some cultures raise their daughters to find a man to take care of them, no matter how smart they are or how much potential they have. Male student-athletes are often prey for young ladies looking for a come up because with the great skills come ego issues, often they have little oversight.
These young men have lots of access to women who are ready to sacrifice their souls and vaginas hoping to be “the” one, not realizing how few slots there are annually for these young men to make it big. Girls come out of the woodwork and will do almost anything for boys with Division I football, basketball, NBA or NFL prospects.
My biggest reason for opposing interracial dating was accidental, but life-changing. My fear stemmed from events I witnessed when interracial dating/sex goes wrong. I served as the Executive Director of a rural rape crisis center in a college town. I got a first-hand experience of how a false allegation of rape from a White woman could literally ruin a young Black man’s life.
During my time at the sexual assault center, I oversaw two separate high-profile rape allegations where White women were “allegedly” raped by two separate Black male student-athletes. The young men bragged about their conquests in secret Facebook groups, causing the young women embarrassment on campus. My staff wasted countless hours accompanying the fake victims and providing rape crisis services that could have gone to real victims.
The police spent countless hours interviewing potential witnesses only to find both women lied. It was my first experience with White women, White tears and how the criminal justice system rewards White women for lying on Black men by giving them slaps on the wrist for screwing up a Black man’s life. Neither of the women were charged with crimes for lying to the police.
One woman lied because she was embarrassed about being a trophy take down by a popular Black athlete. The other young lady was wealthy, had flunked out of school the current semester, and needed a reason to give to her parents for wasting their money. Blaming a naïve, sexually active Black man on scholarship trying to get a college education, seemed to be the right lie to come up with. Each time the truth was revealed shocked me. I couldn’t believe some White women just go around sleeping with Black men and then accusing them of rape. Being a previous victim of rape, I would never think of lying on another human being about a crime to save me from some trouble that I got my own ass into.
White women have done this enough to Black men and boys where it’s also included in the informal Black parents’ guide to dating White women. Young Black men are taught early nothing can get a Black man in more trouble than being accused of harming a White woman or girl. Case in point, Emmett Till, George Stinney Jr., and more recently the Central Park 5. Emmett Till and George Stinney Jr. were killed in the deep South, falsely accused by White people. The Central Park Five were falsely accused of raping a White woman by the NYPD and sentenced to prison based on coerced confessions.
Most Black men learn early from their parents to beware of White women and girls. Those choosing to cross the invisible line often deal with unforeseen consequences. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Years later, I’d see firsthand how easily young White women can ruin Black lives with their words. I warned my sons about the potential pitfalls of interracial dating. Two heeded a mother’s warning. One did not. He’d learn a different lesson about White women.
With interracial dating, love isn’t love, love isn’t so patient, love isn’t kind, and love definitely isn’t blind.
When Your Children Don’t Listen
In high school, my problem son dated a White young lady from his high school whose father was one of the wealthiest people in our town. He was also a staunch racist. I had to gird my loins and grit my teeth every single day. I was so disappointed in his choice because I knew his decision would come with consequences that would impact me in some indirect way. When I asked him why he had chosen a White girl instead of a Black one, he gave me an extremely racist blanket excuse that started with “all the Black girls at school.” I preceded to dig into his ass like a miner looking for coal about his choice of words, his denigration of Black women and girls, and what I considered to be racist views about Black women. Somewhere, somehow, he’s learned to hate Black girls.
Sports helped to create this monster. Suddenly, White girls were interested in him, and all Black girls were trash. After seeing nothing but hard working Black women in his maternal and paternal families, how could this be his final view of Black females. I was devastated. I have never forgotten those words.
Sex with a White girl is a hell of a drug, apparently enough to make him forget about all the strong, hard-working, nice Black girls and women in our universe. I felt like a failure. My son hated his own kind. I was going to have to make the best of it.
I had two things to say to about dating a White girl. One was that she would be a huge problem for him because interracial dating was a huge problem in our area as late as 2009. While all the kids were “doing it,” their parents weren’t approving of it. If the parents don’t like you, you have a hard row to hoe in a relationship. I told him he could go it alone, but it would always be a struggle. I’m all for love and all, but that’s a struggle I don’t think young people attempting interracial relationships are ready for. I’ve had struggle love. It’s only cute in the movies. It’s hard, and not for immature teenagers with their whole lives ahead of them.
Secondly, I told my son that if her family didn’t approve of them as a couple, he’d always have problems and they’d never be happy, especially if their future didn’t include her weening her financial dependency from her parents.
The young lady’s father didn’t believe in interracial dating because of his belief in White Supremacy and his local reputation. He didn’t believe in mixing his White bloodline with my Black one. My son told me he threatened to cut his daughter off from her inheritance. I just nodded and listened. I knew this was the beginning of the end or the beginning of me being drawn into their drama. Eventually, I would have to watch my son go through many dramas, including jail, because he chose an interracial relationship.
Sometimes your mama knows best. Try listening to her.
The Gist of My Hesitation Isn’t Racism
It’s not that I have a problem with interracial dating. Love who you love, date who you want to date, sleep with whom you want to sleep with, but for interracial relationships when the races and cultures of the parties involved in the interracial relationship are different, sometimes there are issues.
When the men are Black, it seems there are serious issues. Interracial dating can be dangerous to a Black man’s mental health, physical health, and freedom. Understanding how race in America and specifically in the South works, my advice to my sons is and always will be a matter of family safety and a mother’s sanity. Interracial dating is hard, and it comes with a lot of baggage. It’s not just about sex and chemistry.
No parent wants their child to be hurt, especially because of something they can’t help like the color of their skin or ethnicity. The bruise from racist blows sting like a bee, but the scars from those stings last a lifetime. After watching my son sneak around with his White girlfriend, I expressed my feelings about the relationship and made it clear I couldn’t support it. I thought my son was good enough to sit on anyone’s sofa. If he had to sneak to date his White girlfriend, she’s probably not the one right one for him. I was so glad when they broke up. My son’s White high school girlfriend turned out to be the typical White woman at the tail end of their relationship, White tears, police calls and all.
Interracial Dating Round Two
After my son’s initial flirtation with interracial dating, he dated only Black women. Removing race from relationship issues made his life less difficult and took my stress levels down to the floor. I can’t tell you how many nights I went to bed worried that I would find my son dead, burned out in a car, or be in prison for some trumped-up rape or domestic violence charge. I know the power of a White woman’s words, and I know justice is swift when it believes one of its angels was harmed.
As my problem son got older, he continued to date only Black women. I thought he had learned his invaluable life lessons. Turns out, he hadn’t.
Soon, a new bi-racial girl friend would come into the picture, along with a new bi-racial grandbaby. My son’s new girlfriend had a Black father and a White mother who had younger children who were White. She also has an older brother who is also biracial. Her White mother raised her bi-racial daughter as White. My son’s girlfriend has struggled all her life figuring out who she was. She seemed to be uncomfortable in her skin. My son’s girlfriend has only dated Black men, but all of her female friends were White, the kind of Southern Whites who would only deal with her in the workplace when you’re biracial. Her children were by a Black man, but she didn’t have any real connections to Blackness outside of my son.
And now me.
Her mother wants nothing to do with her because she dates Black men and raises her grandchildren as Black. She tried to date White men she said, but they don’t treat her child right. The love stops with her. That was her experience as a child, and she doesn’t want her child to experience maltreatment because of her race.
I don’t have any daughters or daughters-in-law, so I really struggled in being nice to the girlfriends for a season (sorry). I was polite, but I gave nothing extra. I told my sons to bring me their wives; I need not know everyone they date or sleep with, so it took a little while to get acclimated to my extended family.
Now, I cook Thanksgiving dinner for them to eat in their home and I babysit my grandson sometimes. I even taught him to walk. The more time I spend around my son’s girlfriend, the more I began to notice she doesn’t have the support of her White family. She also has no clue what it’s like to be a Black woman, which makes us connecting more difficult. I learned from my son his girlfriend’s mother is racist. She had a love/hate relationship with Black people. The mom apparently loved Black men at some point, but now she hates them, likely because of whatever happened in her relationships with Black men. My son tells me how she berates him and says stereotypical things to him like he’s a thug and makes racist assumptions about me and my family because she’s never met me.
She’s displayed the typical vindictiveness just like some White women do when they think no one is looking. She called the police and child welfare services on her daughter and my son several times when they won’t allow her to visit my grandson because of her racist views. My son said if she doesn’t like him, she can’t possibly love her Black grandson. He won’t allow his girlfriend’s mother to poison his son or cause confusion about who he is the same way she did with her daughter. He’s making the best of this situation. I’m proud of his for that. It’s been six years and counting.
In the end, my son got what he wanted. He chose to date White girls in the South, and he got what many Black men get when they cross that invisible line — push back, resistance, and overt expressions of racism. He was warned. It hurts to see my child disparaged because of the color of his skin, but it’s a consequence for the choice he made. I try not to talk about it too much with him, because it just ends up being a bunch of “I told you so,” and no one wants to hear that from their mother.
I can recall being a little hard-headed myself. We live, and we learn. Sometimes the best teacher is life itself. He’s raising his biracial son as a Black man. It’s going to be interesting to see how his experiences with White women influences his teaching his Black son on race.
Interracial dating is hard, and my thoughts about it have changed very little. It’s probably even harder today with the rise in White Nationalism and the overt White Supremacy philosophies being spewed. Interracial dating doesn’t just impact the two people involved in the relationship, it impacts the entire family. It can be beautiful, but sometimes it leaves lots of scars. I don’t want to discourage anyone from dating interracially. I just wanted to share the experience of a mother and a tertiary victim of the racism impacted when her son chose to cross the invisible line.
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