DARE TO ASK: He's white, she's black: A problem?
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
I've noted curious reactions to white male/black female relationships. What
are opinions about this?
K.N., 26, black female, Washington
My husband-to-be is white. In public we get looks of surprise or dismay from
white women or black men. Yet it's fine for a black man to date a white woman.
DeeDee, black, Louisville, Ky.
I do not understand any black person getting involved with a white person
romantically . . . especially as it pertains to black men, many of whom lost
their lives messing with a white woman.
R.O., 42, black female, Laurelton, N.Y.
If you are a white woman and see a white man you are attracted to hooked up
with a black woman, you will spark a reaction, because the white woman will feel
the white guy has low standards. Keep in mind ... if they are not good-looking,
trust me, [the white woman] would pay it little mind.
Desmond, black, Alexandria, Va.
In France, I dated a woman of African descent. Most negative vibes came from
white people. When she came to the United States with me, the rude comments came
above all from African-American males. She went back with a negative opinion of
African-Americans, because many had judged her negatively based on cultural
K.R., 25, white, Chicago
Nearly 80 percent of Americans now think interracial dating is OK, up from 50
percent in the late '80s, according to a Pew Research Center survey. And
interracial unions now make up 3 percent of U.S. marriages, double the rate of
1980, U.S. Census figures show.
Black/white marriages have risen with that tide, but who's marrying whom
hasn't changed: only three in 10 black/white unions are white husband/black
wife, the same as 25 years ago. It's widely held that the disparity is even
greater in black/white dating.
Theories on this -- street and academic -- can be grouped bluntly like so: A)
white women are seen as trophies by black men, who were denied access for, well,
half a thousand years; B) white men devalue black women as a lingering effect of
the masterslave relationship; and C) black men think some black women have "too
Regarding white man/black woman pairings, James Landrith, publisher of The
Multiracial Activist Web site, said scornful reaction most often comes from
"older white males in the South and younger black males in the North."
The first group "has trouble coming to grips with the fact the world has
moved on," said Landrith, who is white and American Indian and married to a
black woman. The latter group often thinks "What's he got that I don't have, and
why am I not good enough?"
"But usually two people are together because of similar interests. Or a black
woman works in an area surrounded by white males ... she might think, 'Why can't
I go out with a guy from my office?' As more people see it, it's more accepted."
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers, or mail to
Phillip Milano, c/o The Florida Times-Union, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL
32231. Include contact information.