I recently read a popular article commenting on Serena’s selection of the man she has chosen to be the father of her first child and to be her husband. The writer was disappointed in the selection based on race and the potential appearance of the child. She was coming from a real place given the history of the exploitation of black women by white slave owners and concern that perhaps some of these celebrities who make such choices may have issues with self love or love of their own race. While such exploitation is a very real and painful part of the history of any woman who is a descendant of a slave, I know all too well that the exploitation of black women is not limited to white slave owners and today the culprits are often black men. Black men who actively pursue black women only to make a hasty retreat when the women start falling for them or make the deadly mistake of sleeping with them because they believed or hoped that their intentions were real; or black men who are married who pursue vulnerable single women often lying about the marriage or insisting that the marital relationship is over. However, when the lie is exposed and it is time for him to act he returns to his wife who he never had any intention of leaving and the other woman is left broken and alone and her only crime being naiveté. Then there is the black man who tries to appear to take the high road by openly acknowledging that he does not want to be in an exclusive relationship, so take it or leave it, and to avoid loneliness she unwittingly becomes a part of his harem.
For some women who feel compelled to stay within their race the consequences are remaining single throughout their childbearing years and losing the opportunity to have a biological child, mixed or otherwise. Conversely, others may enter in a union that looks perfect on paper but is filled with emotional and sometimes physical abuse. Years ago a friend who had decided to marry interracially candidly admitted to me that her decision was not based on lack of interest or lack of attempts to marry black men but essentially the relationships failed because the men failed to take the relationship to the level of marriage. I was again reminded of this when I was watching the Bachelorette, when the first African American bachelorette was speaking with a very handsome African American prospect. He openly discussed how he wanted her to fall in love with him but I saw no evidence of him actually falling for her and she had to make the difficult decision to let him go.
I am not suggesting for one minute that black men are any worse than men of any other race or that they aren’t many amazing eligible black men out there, I am just suggesting that as black women, in this day and age, we are likely most vulnerable to, and most likely to be hurt and exploited by men of our own race.
I recently watched a thought provoking Tedx talk by Anthony Peterson where he reminded us that anthropologically skin color does not determine our race. So as black women are we using societally imposed restrictions on race and race relationships to limit our choices of where we seek love? Do we really want to limit ourselves knowing that in the US, it wasn’t even fully legal to marry interracially until 1967? Are we forfeiting a right that some of our ancestors struggled and died for?
So my advice to women who are genuinely seeking love, while I don’t recommend putting on blinders to the potential issues that can occur with an interracial relationship, don’t let that category cheat you of the love of your life because at the end of the day love does not have a color and as a mother of two I know you can fall in love with that baby whether or not he or she looks like you.