Monday, September 24, 2007

Branding Colorblind Love:
New Frontiers in Interracial Dating?


"I Heart White Men."

You probably won't see that T-shirt hanging from a kiosk in the Crenshaw District or on 125th Street in Harlem, but merchandise marketing black women’s interracial relationships may be coming to a cyber store near you.

Earlier this year, I joked about creating a line of
“Looking for Mr. White” tees for black women. My idea was a tongue-in-cheek response to the proliferation of black male/white female couplings, and also a nod to what I called the “Something New Movement” — an increased number of sisters choosing to date outside the race.

The
blog Black Female Interracial Marriage appears to be on the verge of a similar movement – branding colorblind love. Created by Evia, a black woman married to a white man, the site recently posted information on this campaign: “Sistas, what words would scream IR interest yet be subtle enough for you as a bw to wear or have on your totebag?” Evia asks. “I will be selling gear (tote bags, caps, shirts, etc.) here that will signal to others in a subtle way that you are receptive to the possibility of an IR relationship of varied types.”

I must confess, reading Evia’s blog has become a guilty pleasure for me. The sidebar of her site features photos of famous and not-so-famous sisters happily embracing their white partners. Evia often pontificates on the beauty and desirability of black women, and encourages her readers not to limit their dating options to black men. She comes across as the Harriet Tubman of outmarriage, leading her charges to the Promised Land of Interracial Love.

In this world, black chicks rule. Her site celebrates black women – in all their hues – and provides balance to IR mainstays Heidi and Seal, Tiger and Elin that saturate the pages of US Weekly and People. Her space offers kinship and community to interracially involved black women who feel ostracized by society, or who simply want to see a loving representation of their relationships.

I get Evia’s message. I really do. But I’m uncomfortable with the idea of preference as product. Do sisters really need a discreet logo or badge to signify that they’re open-minded about relationships? And why does the insignia have to be “subtle”? Is there an unspoken fear that black women will catch a beat-down from black men for flaunting their interracial desires on designer totes, mugs and key chains? If this trend takes off, what’s next? A secret society complete with handshakes and passwords?

Just as I have issues with brothers who exclusively date non-black women, I am also suspicious of sisters who omit the color black from their kaleidoscopic courtships. People should be free to love whomever they please. But is interracial love still colorblind when you actively seek out mates based on skin tone? I would have a problem if Hakeem passed me on the sidewalk wearing an “I Heart Becky” hat. Although Evia often says black women should be open to potential suitors in a variety of races, not too long ago, she featured an “I Love Vanilla” button campaign on her site.

Here’s a suggestion: For those sisters who want to alert others that they’re open to dating out, why not purchase an orange awareness ribbon? The ribbon not only promotes cultural diversity, but also symbolizes solidarity with those fighting world hunger, lupus and Multiple Sclerosis. You can be an activist and get your interracial flirt on at the same time. Doesn’t that sound better than endorsing walking product placement?

7 comments:

coloredgyrl said...

I akin dating out of your race to having a guilty pleasure -- you are embarrassed and ashamed the first time you do it but it gets easier and easier as you continue.

I think in today's society one should be able to express themself however they see proper, as long as the message or manner is not threatening or such. The 1st Amendment gives us all that right.

I think a ribbon, while subtle, still doesn't give the "in your face" approach that one would want when letting it be known that they are no longer a part of the same-race-dating group.

As black women, we have been told by black men that dating Mr. Charlie is wrong because he raped our ancestors and he enslaved our race. And all the while they sitting with Becky on their lap espousing the evils of the devil while loving his woman.

So when we find a man that treats us the way we feel we should be treated, why shouldn't we shout it from the roof tops? And if this "good" man happens to be a white man, so what!

You know where I stand -- date whomever wants to date you. Don't limit yourself cause you are afraid of what others will think. Screw them -- cause they aren't worried about what you do.

So, as always, I encourage the t-shirts and would wear one -- even if I was dating a black man. Don't let the "other" man keep his foot on your dating neck.

Vida said...

Thanks for your comments on my blog, but I have to respectfully disagree. I know we joked about creating our "Looking for Biff" and "Searching for my White King" tee shirts, but weren't we being reactionary about it? Wasn't it just a response to all the Heidi and Hakeem hook-ups we saw on the daily? How would you feel if white men started a movement to date black chicks just because they felt neglected by white women? You would feel objectified and also that the relationship wasn’t real.

I also believe people should love whomever they want. I know black woman often feel marginalized in relationships, and statistics tell us that we are some of the most unwed women on the planet, if not the most. I definitely don’t advocate staying in an unproductive intraracial relationship just to say you have a brother on your arm, or because you feel disloyal to the race for dating out. In fact, I’ve written before that black women should keep their relationship options open and I have dated outside my race.

I guess what makes me feel uncomfortable about this “movement” is its agenda. Will these logos and merchandise signify unity with other interracially involved women, or are they just gleeful symbols to announce, “See black men. I can pull a non-black person too!” Is this a form of IR nationalism or propaganda for sisters who have been hurt by black men?

Again, why the subtlety? If you are interracially involved – or want to be – and proud, why not broadcast it like gays do with the rainbow flag or black folks do with green-black-and-red medallions and “Black power” shirts?

Let me know if you get your hat or tote.

S'Akhu said...

coloredgyrl said...enough! Enough of that self-hatred, loving others above ourselves, and disregarding the cues of racialized history. Unequivocal and uncompromisied ignorance! Trust, she's taking applications for the neo-N-word-bitch movement. Remember, Halle Berry is the icon!

The 1st Amend. gives you the right to what? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of what? That was designated and defined for aristocratic White men, dumbass. Read your history!

What the hell is "same-race-dating"? Sounds like a "Kizzy" got a hold of massa's vocabulary book and don't know the meaning. "Race" doesn't exist, except in the eurocentric mindset. And guess what? White people created the word race! I means: Stock, type, eluding to species. Are there any other type of species of human beings other than Homo sapien sapiens? Well maybe the hybrid type that descended from the Caucasus region. Remember, they dwelled with those Neanderthals for quite some time. Hmmmm? Don't you just love to listen to and read from individuals who don't know what they are talking about?
Some black "girls" you just have to let white boys have...no?

Why is this important? B/c there are some of us "black folks" who have forgotten, have ignored, or are imbecilic to knowing the history of white men's desires towards black women. I guess they think that these contemporary white men don't think the same way? The last time you talked to a white man about being honest regarding his desires for black women was when...?

So, you find a white man or open up yourself to a white man to be "treated the way you should be treated." And what or how is that? To be treated I'm asking? Like their mythological "put on a pedestal" white women? You want to be put on a pedestal? Or you want to be a white woman? Idiot!

Until and/or unless you truly know white culture, you have no idea what the hell you are wanting, let alone what you are doing. So, go to your white knights in that "shining amour". Remember, when you give up your cultural "ghetto pass", you'll never get is back! You think you might want it back? Wait until he demands of you what he expects from his white female conquests. Dumbasses!

Leave the victims to their victimizers! For they have sought after their consequences before we could ever recognize them!

S'Akhu

PrettyBlack said...

In my opinion love is NOT at all colorblind if you go out seeking a man because of color.

The t-shirts and the something new movement is just, in my opinion, an angry retort to the BM/WW hook-ups. It's totally reactionary.

A woman should simply make herself open to new things, and if love comes in the form of of a white man, a hispanic man and so on then so be it. But to go out and look for that is just tacky.

People should realize there is more to falling in love than just skin color, marriage is hard, I'm sure interracial marriage is even harder.

To walk around with a t-shirt saying I heart white men is a put down to a whole race of men and women, it's ugly and prejudicial.

Why not wear a t-shirt that says "love has no color?" Wouldn't that also show that you are open to try new things?

soulbrotha said...

There is so much to say that I will just cut to the chase:

There are interracial couples who are together because of genuine mutual attraction and/or love. I applaud them. That is how it SHOULD be.

Then there are those who use skin color to "fix" things or "change" their personal status. They use it as a form of validation. Anyone who says "I date White men so that I will be treated right" more than likely has some self-image issues. Next time you hear someone say that, ask them would they date redneck trailer trash. And when they say no, ask them "so what's really going on here?". Get to the truth, because the "skin thing" is the fruit of a deeper root.

Anonymous said...

RE:
As black women, we have been told by black men that dating Mr. Charlie is wrong because he raped our ancestors and he enslaved our race.

My 2 Cents!:

And those are the same people who gave you your hand me down religion. FOR FREE! And
( "you") still believe in it.

But does anyone really question how this is an intelligent choice?
So What ! Just be careful how you use parts of the truth.
Respect yourself and enjoy your life.
I do like your style.
Keep up the good work.

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