Think back to 1999 when FUBU, goose down jackets, toques with brims and ICQ were all in style. That was also the year that my friends and I became old enough to get a drivers license. Once we all got ours, our collective dating lives changed.
No longer were we confined to meeting up with women who lived on our block or just a short bus ride away. We now had access to women from all over. That increased access led me and my boys, a pack of tall, young basketball playing, DMX loving kids, to the city right next to us where the big area mall was.
Every Tuesday, when the theater in the mall had half-price movie night—which ensured the young folks would be there—we would drive there to meet girls. And we were most definitely introduced to a scene that was very unfamiliar to us in many ways.
The mall was absolutely flooded with a lot of Black boys and a ton of White girls who wore Baby Phat jackets, long dangling earrings and combed down their baby hair. Initially, it was jarring as hell for me because growing up in the town that we lived in, I had become accustomed to hanging out with suburban White girls who looked like cast members on Full House, while being romantically interested in Black girls.
When we approached the scene, my boys dived in head first and completely lost themselves in the non-stop admiration they received from these White girls. Yet, for some reason, I was frozen. Not only was I disinterested in courting their attention (which there was a surplus of for any Black boy), but there was a deep reticence I had for the entire scene that I simply could not put my finger on at the time.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve momentarily recalled those days and wondered to myself what was the barrier that kept me from immersing myself in a scene where I could’ve had just as much “fun” as my boys. That thought danced through my mind Tuesday night as I sat in front of my TV, watching Donald Trump amass electoral college votes and at once, it all came to me.
I don’t really trust White people.
That’s not to say that I don’t trust any White people, because there’s White people in my life that I genuinely love, but I don’t go into situations with many unknown White people and automatically just believe that they are all for equality and hold absolutely zero prejudice values.
Maybe this stems from being called a “nigger” at age 7 when I was assaulted by two older White men. Maybe this stems from living in a small town with a small but noticeable skinhead presence. Maybe this stems from having all kinds of racist names shouted at me from the passenger side of pick-up trucks before I hit 12 years old. By the time I was 16, I had experienced enough prejudice to know that you never really know what White people say when you’re not around and believe in the depths of their soul that’s completely hidden from you.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump decisively won the election because he dominated almost all aspects of the White vote. Despite his open misogyny, his attacks on women, and his penchant for using his celebrity to pilfer punani without consent, he earned 66% of the White women vote. The only demographic of White citizens that Clinton beat Trump in was college-educated White women, and she only beat him by a small margin. The “Hidden Trump Vote”—people who declined to mention they were voting for Trump in order to avoid social shaming—is exactly what prevents me from fully trusting all White people, and that’s part of why young me, and many other Black folks like me, can’t get down with interracial dating in the same way others can.
Besides the fact that Black women are absolute magic, the Black politics of being anti-interracial dating are also predicated in emotional, mental, spiritual, and even physical preservation—the management of potential harm that you can be exposed to from clandestine prejudice from your significant other or even their family members.
Do you really know who you’re dating? Do you really know who you’re marrying? Do you really know who you’re having children and combining families with? While it may seem like these concerns should weigh no heavier on a person of one race versus someone else, that’s not real life where White supremacy exists and White people devote themselves to upholding its solidarity.
Funny enough, a few years back, I ran into some of my old high school friends that I used to go to the mall with and we reminisced about old times. The one major theme they all relayed to me is that the women they messed around with some 15+ years ago are now mostly married with kids—yet not a single one married a Black man. My boy summed it up the best when he said, “Man, we were all just a phase bruh.”
Look, I’m aware that some people simply have preferences. Some people date within their own race because it’s just who they’re attracted to, while other people freely date people of any race because that’s what they are attracted to. But when we start talking about Black people who are reluctant or disinterested in interracial dating, or the ones who say, “I’ll date someone of another race, but I’m marrying someone Black,” we need to start looking deeper at the psychology behind it. For a people with an incredibly complicated relationship with their nation and all it’s convoluted racial dynamics, it’s not as simple as preference.
For us, skin deep is deep as hell.
Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site, ThisIsYourConscious.com. He’s author of the book, “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer.” He can be reached on Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at Lincoln Anthony Blades.