The Dos and Don'ts of Interracial Dating

I am a Black woman who dates the "rainbow." If you put every guy I was involved with in the past 10 years into one room (that group includes random dates, relationships, situationships and that one time I got married), you’d have a fabulous, multi-hued bouquet of masculine beauty. A kind, smart man who moves me, might be able to rock with me, regardless of race or ethnicity. I'm not on that ridiculous color blind train, I'm just an equal-opportunity dater.

The vast majority of my Black girlfriends exclusively and purposely date Black men, so I get a lot of questions about my UN-friendly dating roster and most of those questions are about the white dudes. “Is it pink?” “Are you sure it’s not some jungle fever type thing?” “Has he seen Love Jones?”  The answers to those questions depends on the guy-- could be tan, pink or some combination. Only once was it a fetish thing on the guy’s end, and I deaded that as soon as I was aware. Seeing specific movies is not a dating requirement for me.  You better know and love Stevie Wonder though. That’s life right there.

Then there are two troubling statements that I often hear.  The first is “I’m so sick of these Black men. In a minute, I’m about to be like you and find a White boy.” Ugh.

I find this to be problematic because everything about it is wrong. You should never date someone of a certain race because you feel exhausted by the antics of men of another race. It’s not fair to the Black woman, the White dude or Black men. There are plenty of good Black men out there. For real.  Men in my family, my circle of friends and past loves attest to that. If you’re running into Black dudes who are not worth a quarter, their behavior is not some genetic issue related to their ethnic background, they just aren’t the guys for you, for any number of other reasons. 

The White guy gets the short end of the stick in that situation too because he’s a sucka-ass plan B and doesn’t even know it. The Black woman loses because she’s not addressing the real issues that contribute to her dating dilemmas.

The other troubling statement I get from my Black girlfriends regarding dating White dudes is “You’re the type of Black girl White guys like. White men aren’t attracted to me.” Chile, stop it. If there is one thing I know about heterosexual men, it is that regardless of their physical preferences, at the end of the day they just like women. I’ve seen White guys with a wide variety of Black women.

I am a thin, Harlem residing, Detroit born, master’s degree-having, 34-year old, divorced Black woman whose passport is on pimpin. When friends say that I’m the “type” White guys like, they are mostly referring to my small frame, education and breadth of travel. However, I am not a White boy whisperer. There is nothing about me that makes me a “safe” Black chick for White guys to holler at.  The reality is that I have a very active social life in a diverse city and I often find myself in rooms filled with men of various racial, ethnic and nationality backgrounds.  My dating roster reflects those social encounters.

Most of my girlfriends who talk about being sick of Black guys, are not being completely serious. They aren’t about to abandon Black men (I haven’t either). They are just considering dipping their toes into something new. However, stretching into interracial relationship territory is not something to do as an “I hate you so much right now” type of performance art experiment towards Black men. Also, despite the insane and very wrong chatter that only Black men are attracted to Black women, attention from non-Black men is not some kind of extra validation of a Black woman’s beauty.

Black women are beautiful, period. There is no need for outside validation. I have never felt special for the simple fact of having White guys attempt to court me.  Of course men want to date me. Why not? Pfft!

That said, interracial relationships aren’t for everybody and that’s fine. I date interracially, but I’m not spreading the gospel of United Colors of Benetton dating. Do that if it suits you. Don’t do it if you’re not inclined to. Simple. There’s nothing wrong with Black women sticking to Black men or vice versa. Just be clear with who you are and why you want who you want.

Demetria Irwin is a New York City-based (Detroit born) freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter at @Love_Is_Dope and connect with her on Facebook.