***Hello, everyone. S. Nicole Brown is here again to bless the VSB pulpit. This time, though, I decided to add some, um, “notes” in red to her piece. Not certain if she’s going to appreciate that, but, well, it’s my blog and I can do what I want to***
“That’s your woman? That is NOT your woman. You know that ain’t your woman, man.”
The man was around 35, smooth brown face featuring a neatly lined goatee, cap to the back, Pepsi in his right hand resting on his denim shorts. Before inviting himself into our lives, he was just another black man at the park that day.
(This was her first mistake. Dude definitely sounds homeless. I mean, he’s chillin in some random park with a Pepsi and some demin shorts? In 2012? Come on, man! It’s her fault for entertaining homeless men.)
It took us a moment to realize he was indeed directing his doubting statements at us, and although he was correct in his assumption, I turned my head, eyes wide at his audacity. I could only give a bewildered laugh. The man walking next to me, around the same age as him, slightly spiky brown hair, affable blue eyes, and clad in a “Detroit Soul” t-shirt, turned towards the man, his face serious.
“No, this is my wife.” He wrapped his hand around mine casually, and we kept walking.
(Although the wife move was admittedly a smooth transition, technically your wife would also be your woman, and he should have known that homeless Black men don’t appreciate semantic tricks. He’s lucky he didn’t get spleen shanked.)
This response was met with hushed laughter from the men sitting with our new friend, along with his words trailing us: “I don’t see a ring. That ain’t your woman man.”
(See, I know that’s a lie. Aint no group of Black men in Detroit gonna know what a wedding ring even is, let alone know where to check for it. For all they know, a wedding ring is some shit you find at the bottom of a bowl of wedding soup. Why are you making shit up?)
I shook my head but laughed it off, still in awe.
This would prove to be only one of several instances in which a day at an outdoor summer festival with a friend turned into a social experiment for the writer in me. I noticed all the stares, the shoulder taps on friends sitting next to them, and the not-so-subtle pointing. I was amused and embarrassed by the random and startling honking by cars containing black men as they drove past us, their voices carrying things like “Whiiiiite boyyyy! Yeahhh white boy!” over the music blasting from their stereos.
(I’m not doubting that any of this happened. I’m also not a Black woman who has walked through a summer festival in Detroit with a White man. Still, I do find it hard to believe that this experience is the norm instead of the exception. I mean, I’ve seen Black women and White men together before in Black settings, and aside from random cats asking him to cosign on car loans, they were pretty much left alone. They even occasionally get props and nicknames. And yes, it still counts as a nickname if the nickname is just their first name with “White” added to the front of it.)
I was downright shocked and offended by the three black men who stopped us and plainly asked in so many words what I was doing here with him and why I wasn’t with someone of a brown hue, eyes connecting solely with mine, completely disregarding the white man next to me. I was too much of a “beautiful sista” as one man stated as we passed by his perch, to not be with a black man. I looked around, had to keep reminding myself that it was 2011. It was as if we’d walked into neighborhood full of Crips wearing bright red.
Slowly I realized that the general consensus of the men who’d expressed confusion for our assumed pairing was that I was too attractive to date a white man, as if there is only a certain type of black woman that can date outside her race. Even when I told a guy friend about my experience, his initial response was that “they only said something because you’re attractive. They wouldn’t have otherwise.” I don’t understand. I know more than a few black women who date white men. They’re all very pretty women. That couldn’t be it.
(As your pseudo blog mentor and a person who’s very adept at the ancient art of humble bragging, I just want to say that these last couple paragraphs brought a tear to my eye. Good job grasshopper.)
Eric, my friend, a man who is far more Elijah Wood than Eminem, and primarily dates black women, was baffled himself. “Lisa and I used to come down here all the time, and this has never happened. I guess you are so fly.” He joked about the title of my old blog, but I could tell he was genuinely confused as to why so many brothers felt the need to speak their opinion one way or the other about two people whose relationship had nothing to do with them at all.
(Full disclosure: I have seen Ms. S. Nicole Brown before, and she is an attractive woman. And, because she’s tall and has big hair, she can be rather striking. This being the case, I wonder if the attention she received was due to her being with a White guy or if it was just some brothas having a pissing contest because they didn’t feel like her friend was a worthy partner and thought they might be able to put a bug in her ear. I can imagine they would have acted the same way if she happened to be with a “lame” looking brotha, and I also don’t think it’s a leap to suggest that a Don Draper doppelganger wouldn’t have received the same attention.)
The day was interesting to say the least. From a redheaded little boy pointing out my blackness to his parents, to the unexpected running-into Eric’s ex (black) and her man (white) and the confrontation that followed between the two men (two very square white men fighting over two black women in a park full of people. You can imagine the looks), it was definitely a day of firsts for me.
(I’ve never seen two sober White men fight in public. I know that has nothing to do with the story, but I just wanted to put that out there.)
Frankly, I was shocked. As someone who has seen many, many articles and comments surrounding the supposed stigma of black men dating interracially, white women in particular, and reading complaint after complaint, opinion after opinion from those same men on how black women have an enormous problem with this, I can’t say I’ve ever heard of the issue conversely.
(I honestly think that women “against” interracial dating are more against the idea of it than the actual act. I also think that Wendy’s spicy chicken nuggets on a bun with some grape jelly is the best off menu fast-food sandwich you can buy. Whatever you do, though, just don’t try to order it after 9pm.)
I also can’t say I’ve ever witnessed a black woman blatantly confront a black man walking with his blonde-haired, blue-eyed companion, and impose her opinion of their coupledom on them, whether positive or negative. I’ve never seen a black woman say “oh you got you some soul alright” to them as they walked past, minding their own business.
(Of course she wouldn’t confront them in person. That’s what Twitter and blogs are for. Duh!)
I’ve never dated a white man seriously. I’ve gotten approached by my fair share, as the natural hair seems to be a magnet (lol but no, it really is), and had a few dates, but a relationship has just never happened. I love black men and I always will, but I can’t say I’d be opposed to dating outside of that if my feelings led me that way. I for one would not even be here if not for the lovely chocolate-vanilla pairing that was my father’s parents, and my family consists of quite a few mixtures of love, so interracial coupling is quite normal to me.
(This paragraph was sweet and shit. Also, it’s proof that we could never date. Although I’m not particularly racist, I do seem to be attracted to racist Black women. I don’t know exactly why — Maybe I want my kids to be racists? — but I’m beginning to suspect that “racist Black women” just equals “Black women.” Anyway, you’re a bit too post-racial and shit for me.)
If I decided to do so tomorrow though, I am now overwhelmingly aware of the fact that black men will not mind letting me (and my date) know how they feel about it.
(And, by “Black men” you mean “some homeless Black men at a pre-Calicoe concert cookout in Detroit,” right?)
S. Nicole Brown (aka â€œMuzeâ€) is a writer of fiction, lover of words, and chronic reader happily living the clichÃ©d under-spaced and overpriced life of a NYC writer. You can find her in 140 or less @muzeness or on her blog, Because Iâ€™m Write.
***Just wanted to take some time and thank everyone again for the well-wishes and prayers. Like I mentioned yesterday, she just needs all the positive energy she can get. Writing this and reading the responses has definitely helped me, and I hope itâ€™s left me better equipped to help her.***