yesterday afternoon, the reggie bush essence magazine cover controversy — black women upset that essence would feature a man who’s dating a non-black woman on its cover, even though every other 4th string NFL running back has a more legitimate beef with essence (“if his no burn getting ass is getting magazine cover love, why can’t i???“) — sparked a gmail convo with a friend from college and i.
the friend thought that this was just another example of how often high-profile african-american men choose to be with non-black women (nttawwt). (half)jokingly she remarked “i won’t say that half of ya’ll run out and get white chicks, but at least 49 percent of ya’ll do”
when i replied that her perception was way off, she cited the study that was bouncing around the web last year about black men being almost three times more likely to marry outside of their race than black women as proof.
i then showed her the actual numbers from that study (3.7% of married black american women and 8.4% of married black american men had a non-Black spouse), proof that while it’s technically true that african-american men are more likely to marry outside of their race than african-american women, the difference between 91.6% and 96.3% is hardly worthy of any “all ya’ll n*ggas is playing in the snow” hysteria.
she replied (paraphrasing) “for real, i dont care about no damn study. all i know is that whenever i open up a magazine or watch a show about some famous black guy, at least half of the time he has a white girlfriend or a white wife and a bunch of little curly-haired kids. my eyes don’t lie to me”
i saw this discussion was going in circles, so i quickly changed the subject to jill scott (this always works).
still, she did have a point. if you just went by the impression pop culture and the media gave us, it would seem like high-profile african-american men have a tendency to sprint to the first non-black woman they could find as soon as their number hit. even militant-ass van jones and craig robinson (michelle obama’s brother) have white wives. this sh*t seems to be ubiquitous.
just to see how her perception truly jived with reality, i did an impromptu study of my own last night, looking at the black men currently on top of the pop culture food chain and who they’re in relationships with:
barack obama-black wife
will smith-black wife
lebron james-black, ummm, long-term concubine, which is as good as a wife in akron, ohio.
i then thought of a few more uber-popular african-american men across various genres.
muhammad ali-approximately 17,000 different black wives
michael jordan-married a black woman while he was at the height of his popularity, even though said black woman was known nba groupie (which kind of throws salt on sister t’s theory).
jim brown-multiple black punching bags, errr, wives
jesse jackson-black wife
bob johnson-black wife
r-kelly-underaged black wife
oedipus rexusher-black wife
*in fact, i can’t think of ONE black male r&b or rap superstar that’s married to a non-black woman. not one. a free vsb t-shirt to the first person who can*
eddie murphy-black wives and biracial men
mike tyson-crazy black wife
chris rock-black wife
sam jackson-black wife
magic johnson-banging black wife that nobody in their right mind would ever sleep with
shaq: black wife, supahead, and numerous unnamed supahead doppelgangers
then, just for sh*ts and giggles, since black professional athletes are thought to be the ones most enthralled with non-black booty, and since the nba houses the most recognizable and highest-paid black athletes in all of sports, i looked at the entire roster of the 2009 nba all-star game.
out of the 22 black american players in that game, i could only name two who definitely didn’t have a black girlfriend/wife, and one doesn’t count because he’s Jesus (ray allen) and the other doesn’t count because he’s a bitch (kobe bryant)
although i realize that my half-assed study was far from infallible (i think the term “statistical noise” was invented for sh*t like this), you can’t deny that it punches a couple holes in the weak “he’ll leave your ass for a white girl once he makes it” argument. the stats and the naked eye show that the vast majority of us still prefer to date and marry black women, regardless if we’re at the top or the bottom of the food chain.
the mythical successful black male exodus from black women is just that…a myth, a scary campfire story/lullaby told by those who want black women to think that we don’t believe that they’re the bangingest women on the planet, and believed by those needing a reliable crutch to explain their own dating difficulty. reggie bush just happens to be their most recent boogeyman.
i thought about logging back on to gmail that night to tell my homegirl about what i found, but i eventually decided against it. she probably didn’t want to hear what i had to say anyway. it was late, and i’m sure her usual lullaby helps her sleep.