Tag Archives: interracial dating

Walking the Tightrope: Good Indian Girls, Race, and Bad Sexuality

By Guest Contributor Chaya Babu; originally published at Feminist Wire

Image by xpgomes11 on Flickr

Image by xpgomes11 on Flickr

I was a few weeks into my freshman year at Duke when my sister, a senior at the time, said to me, “Indian girls who date black guys are sluts.” Just like that.

We were sitting in her car in the circular driveway behind my dorm. The night was warm and wet in the late North Carolina summer. I had just told her about the budding flirtation with a boy from Memphis who lived across the grassy quad. I would spy him coming back from class and get the jitters. He asked me to help him study Spanish. I got excited just talking about it. And her sisterly response? Indian girls who date black guys are sluts.

I think I was already mildly aware of this idea. It had lurked in the periphery of my consciousness in high school because of the way my family looked suspiciously upon my adolescent tryst with a lanky, dark-skinned boy from a neighboring town and even my interest at a young age in hip hop music. They didn’t say anything, but they didn’t have to. The unspoken messages about how they viewed blackness and sexuality and the intersection of these two things – and how I was attaching myself to it – were successfully transmitted. And lately, at 30 years old, I wonder if I’m still working through them somewhere deep beneath the surface as I finally try to reclaim and redefine this part of my identity as my own.

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Awkward: When Your Friends Make Racist Assumptions About Your Dating/Sex Life

So, as I am wont to do, I found myself doing chores and catching up on reality TV.

I had heard about Nicole Murphy/Andrea Kelly’s new show, but I also set myself up for disappointment by reading the title as “Hollywood Execs” not “Hollywood Exes.” Here I was excited to hear all about these new women fronted development projects, and the show is actually about moving on from your famous spouse. Oh well. I decided to give it another chance. During a routine conversation about vaginal lasering and rejuvenation, this exchange happens:

Sheree Fletcher: Wait a minute, let me ask you this. It’s my understanding that men really don’t care what it looks like -

Jessica Canseco: Well, that’s ’cause you datin’ a black guy, honey!

*record scratch*

Sheree Fletcher: Now wait a minute…

Other women: What do you mean, what do you mean?

Jessica Canseco: From what I hear, black guys don’t go [down.]

*gasps*

Nicole Murphy: (in confessional mode) That’s garbage. That’s not true. At all.

Jessica Canseco: Black guys are like “eep eep eep” (makes chicken fingers). They do, I swear to God. They talk about black girl’s vaginas. It’s true.

Sheree Fletcher: (swoons) Our vaginas?

Jessica Canseco: You want me to get into all of this?

Sheree Fletcher: They complain about our vaginas to white girls? Continue reading

Awkward Interracial Dating: High Hopes for Season 2 of Awkward Black Girl

By Guest Contributor Tracey Ross

(Note: Spoilers if you did not watch episode 7.)

I’m the kind of girl who walks down the street and doesn’t realize I’ve been singing out loud. Or offers a pregnant lady a seat on the metro only to find out she’s not pregnant. I’m awkward. And black. This is why I love the web series Awkward Black Girl and, like many ABG fans, am counting down to the premiere of season two.

Towards the end of the first season, the audience was left with a cliffhanger episode where the star “J” (played by show creator Issa Rae) finds her two love interests “Fred” and “White Jay” at her doorstep. If it’s not obvious, White Jay is white. And Fred is black. Given the choice before J, the show created an unlikely platform for conversations about interracial dating, and spurred much debate over whether it is OK to date outside one’s race. We can expect season two to highlight J’s new relationship with White Jay, but it would be a mistake to allow the characters to fall into the familiar tropes used to depict interracial dating.

Typically, there are two ways television and movies handle interracial dating. The first is the traditional approach where the family has a problem with the relationship. From the 1967 classic “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” to the 2005 role reversal of “Guess Who.” The second is the imaginary, post-racial approach where no one seems to notice that the happy pair is an interracial couple. Not even the couple themselves, as seen on many new sitcoms. Continue reading

Quoted: Diane Farr on White Privilege and Interracial Relationships

Diane Farr and Family

 Seung had been told, all his life, more or less, that he was not allowed to marry someone like me.

Pronunciation aside, it hadn’t occurred to me that Seung and I made a mismatched couple. Mixed-race yes, but I couldn’t fathom that my race could make me the “wrong kind of girl” for anyone.

Yes, it was white privilege that blinded me to the fact I might be the bottom of the barrel on someone else’s race card.

Perhaps even more so because I have been listening to the dialogue about how to make America more post-racial — mostly as it pertains to black and white culture — for so long that it never occurred to me that an Asian immigrant family might cry foul when their son fell in love with an all-American girl like me. [...]

This man I had woken up with earlier in the day now seemed like a stranger to me. Specifically, he seemed like someone of another culture that I didn’t know or understand. Which was in fact true, because as much as we had in common, I was completely unaware of what it meant to grow up Asian-American — both in his home and in the outside world. [...]

Using my words, gently and respectfully, in many, many, many subsequent conversations about how I felt did in fact lead Seung Yong and I to marry — with the full support of all our parents.

But it was only through continuous dialogue — at the dinner table with friends who could advise us, and using calm voices in the bedroom with one another, and keeping an open mind on the couch at the therapist’s office — that we were able to find a way to make our familial cultures meet in the middle at our mutual American one.

 

“His parents said, ‘Not with a white girl’,” Dianne Farr writing for CNN’s Defining America series

(Image Credit: CNN)

(Thanks to reader Mickey for the tip!)

“Canadians don’t say such things”: Halle Berry, Gabriel Aubry, and Common Fallacies in Interracial Relationships

by Latoya Peterson

The acrimonious custody battle between Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry took a racial turn last week, when allegations surfaced that Aubry used racial slurs toward Berry, and acted with anger whenever a news story would describe their mixed-race child Nahla as black. One of Aubry’s exes added fuel to the fire, referring to him as “borderline racist.”

Nadra Kareem Nittle, writing for Bitch, takes the opportunity to examine the racial divide in the reactions to the gossip:

On the gossip website Celebitchy, one of the more civil celeb sites, the readership not only overwhelmingly sided with Aubry but also expressed disbelief that he may have used the N-word while arguing with Berry.

“Sounds to me like she’s trying to pull the race card, which is pretty low when you consider that the guy obviously has no problems being with a black woman, nor having a mixed race child with her,” one commenter wrote.

Another remarked, “I have to side with Gabriel here. He doesn’t seem to be the type who would throw out racial slurs.”

One more commented, “Disgusting that Halle is playing the race card. Gabriel is Canadian, and the N-word isn’t used here.” Continue reading

Race-Based Dating [Love, Anonymously]

by Guest Contributor Emmeaki

Before we jump into a conversation on race-based dating, let’s start by showing how not to do it, with a short film called “Dragon of Love.”*

I’m a black woman who has always been attracted to Asian men. Perhaps it started with all those Hong Kong action movies that I used to watch with my mom as a teenager. After all, movie stars are often our first crushes – it made sense that it would make some impact on who I found attractive.  But growing up in a segregated city in the Midwest, there weren’t many Asians around. In four years of high school, there were only three Asian kids, including a cute Chinese boy that I was hot for in tenth grade, who transferred to another school just as we were becoming friends.

So, recently when a friend of mine invited me to an event he was hosting at his house for black women and Asian men, I was all for it. My friend (a Vietnamese man who likes black women) had been listening to my boyfriend drama for the last few months and he thought this would pull me out of my funk. Boy was he right!

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Dr. Laura, interracial relationships, and the challenge of anti-racist responses

by Guest Contributor Ope Bukola, originally published at Zora & Alice

Some of you may have read/heard the latest episode in  racist rants that inexplicably affect our “post-racial” society. For those who haven’t, it happened last week when Dr. Laura Schlessinger took a call from a listener. The listener, a black woman married to a white man, called to express her frustration with racist comments made by her husband’s friend and family, and in the particular with her husband’s ignoring the comments.

Here’s a clip of the exchange from Media Matters:

Basically, Dr.Laura asks her for an example of an offensive situation then tells the call to stop being uptight. The doc then goes to prove to the caller how “down” she is with black folks by using the n-word multiple times. Of course, like any “non-racist” with black friends to prove it, Dr.Laura has since “apologized” both on her radio show and her blog. While some folks argue over whether Dr.Laura’s comments were racist or just in poor taste, I’m more interested in the caller’s initial dilemma.

What do you do when you’re in an interracial relationship and your partner ignores racist comments? Continue reading

Mixed Race Mess: Alicia Keys and Unthinkable Interracial Dating [Mixed Media Watch]

By Deputy Editor Thea Lim

Alicia Keys loves drama – and no, I am not referring to her current lovelife (you’ll have to read a different kind of blog to get that gossip, unfortch), I’m referring to her music videos.  When it comes to star-crossed histrionics, both Keys’ music and videos always deliver the goods. Which I kind of like, most of the time; woman’s got a good set of lungs and a nice scrunchy crying-for-the-camera face.

But her latest video just gets on my nerves.  ”Unthinkable” stars Chad Michael Murray as Keys’ white lover, and shows reincarnations of the same interracial couple across several different decades, suggesting that from the 40′s up to today interracial relationships still face prejudice.

While I appreciate the way Keys uses time to show parallels between the racism of the past and the racism of the present, there are a few things about this video that strike me as deeply dishonest.  Broken down for your reading convenience, here are my issues:

1. Only black people hate interracial relationships!

Okay Ms Keys, why do you only have black people showing prejudice in this video?  From the 50′s to 70′s to the 80′s to the 00′s, all we see are black faces looking on at the Murray/Keys pairing with fury and even violence.  Oh no wait, we get a split second of a white cashier looking at black/white flirtation with disgust…and then it’s back to black folks.

A video doesn’t just pop out organically from the brain of its creator: someone makes very specific choices and then very specific casting calls to mark race in a video.  So why did Keys and her team choose to only show black people getting mad about the interracial love in this video?

This seems particularly problematic and dishonest in the “50′s” section of the video, where the optics, if you really look at them, are disquieting: a group of angry, bloodthirsty black men circle a defenseless white man with a puppy dog face.

So not only do we get a very racist portrayal of black people as aggressive and irrational in contrast to a lover-not-a-fighter white man, we get a profoundly skewed version of history.  Anyone with a 101 knowledge of Black History Month knows that in the 50′s it was black men, not white men, whose lives were in danger if they so much as looked at white women.  For some of our readers this will be well-trod ground, but let’s do a refresher just in case: Emmet Till was a 14 year-old black boy who was tortured and murdered for allegedly flirting with a white woman.  And his story was not an anomaly; this happened to many black men.  So much so that an all-white jury took all of 67 minutes to acquit both Till’s accused murderers.  This didn’t happen in 1897, it happened in 1955.

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