Tag: interracial relationships

August 12, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Latoya Peterson

This is what I have been waiting for.

The Women of Color and Beauty Carnival.

And, of course, it does not disappoint.

Black Amazon – I Ain’t Pretty

You see when we talk about pretty , I’m not sure we’re talking about the same thing, not to mention to cling to pretty even in CHALLENGING the concept ( I WILL REJECT ALL THINGS THAT I SEE AS PRETTY CAUSE EVERYTHING MEANS THE SAME TO EVERYONE) makes me nauseaus.

You see in my life as WOC , pretty has had fuck all to do with attractiveness, vibrancy, or sexuality , it has had everything with a validation.

A validation that includes protection, ownership, and often the use of these things to pit women agianst each other, sometimes by patriarchial interests, OFTEN by racist thematics, and sometimes love itself.

Personally, I am beautiful. It is strange to say because dear god it sounds conceited and I am trying my darndest not to post any pictures , but even in the glaringly Eurocentric run studies about symmetry and youthfulness and clearness of skin and bountifulness of hair ETc.ETC.

I am doing okay.

I am not however in any way European featured , not in the slightest not by a long shot. My look comes with the music of steel pans and African drums some sitars and strings with a light note of pipes . My walk is all drums all the time.

I am always black.

And I am not pretty .

Read the Post Link Love – Women of Color and Beauty Carnival

August 5, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Latoya Peterson

This is my second contribution to the interracial dating series. I originally wasn’t going to contribute after the intro post as my experience in this area is extremely limited. But, since we aren’t having the conversations I want to have, I’ll take a crack at it. I’m going to come off as a jerk, and I’m okay with this. Feel free to pose any questions you like in the comments, but I am going to ask that you refrain from making assumptions about my friends. If you want to know something, ask. – LDP

My best friend dates white girls.

It’s still painful for me to type that. Just the words, staring me in the face on the screen is like me pouring salt on a five year old wound. How the hell did that even happen?

Things weren’t always this way. Back in high school, I started kicking it with the guy who would eventually become best male friend (hereafter referred to as Bestboy). At the time, we bonded over a mutual love of reading, rock music, and dying our hair ridiculous colors normally only found in packs of Kool-aid. Bestboy was busy exploring his identity as a burgeoning black intellectual with a skateboard and back then his common refrain when it came to relations with the opposite sex was that he “dated the rainbow.” He found my insistence on dating within the race puzzling, I found his dating outside of it equally strange. But, as adolescents are wont to do, these minor disagreements were laid aside in favor of discussing more pressing matters like how many people could fit into a Honda Hatchback on the way home from HFStival.

Time passed, we graduated, and me and Bestboy kept in touch. Our hobbies grew in the same direction and we reunited around mutual adoration of art and anime. There was only one thing that became a quiet little undertone to many of our conversations. Over the last few years, the “rainbow” Bestboy spoke of had faded into one color: white.

Now, at this point, many of you may be wondering why I care about these things at all. Why do I care who my best friend dates? What does it matter the race of his partner as long as he is happy?

In a perfect world, these things wouldn’t matter. Love would just be love.

But the world isn’t perfect and these things do matter.

Love doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Read the Post Interracial Dating: Grudgingly Heading Toward Acceptance

June 24, 2008 / / Uncategorized

I remember when, the week before I left for college, my parents sat me down to tell me about the facts of life. The lecture wasn’t about sex — my father, a physician, was prone to oversharing the grosser aspects of human anatomy, so I was horrifyingly aware of the mechanical aspects of reproduction as early as elementary school. No, the wisdom they sought to impart related to the Theory of Dating Relativity. Which is to say: The more similar your partner is to you without actually being a blood relative, the better. Read the Post Quoted: Jeff Yang on Interracial Dating

May 20, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Guest Contributor Nadra Kareem

“I hope he dates a white girl.”

A few years ago a visitor to actor John Cho’s page on the Internet Movie Database left this comment. The commenter, presumably an Asian male, explained that he made the statement because it would serve Asian women right if a desirable Asian male ended up with a white woman, since Asian women so often end up with white men.

At the time, I didn’t make much of the comment. I thought it was the lone view of a person who felt that the women of his race had betrayed him. But more recently, I’ve seen a slew of comments like this one pop up online. Visit Halle Berry’s IMDB page or any site that mentions the baby girl she had with white Canadian model Gabriel Aubry, and you’ll find a series of remarks, left presumably by black women, that not only applaud Berry’s decision to partner with a white man but also express resentment against black men for not committing to black women. Black men are afraid of marriage, dating white women, in jail, “on the down low” or dead, the commenters argue, and, if they wait around for black men to get their act together, they just might end up childless and alone.

Now, I realize that these comments stereotype Asian women and black men, but they beg the question: Do Asian men and black women find themselves in interracial relationships for different reasons than their female and male counterparts, respectively, do? Read the Post Interracial Dating: Interracial Dating with a Vengeance

May 19, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Guest Contributor Nadra Kareem, originally published at The Whirliest Girl

Is it possible to exoticize a member of your own racial group? After catching a screening of “The Visitor” recently, I found myself wondering if this were possible. The Tom McCarthy film is about a dispirited academic who returns to the apartment he shared with his late wife to find a couple living there made up of a Senegalese woman, played by Danai Gurira, and a Syrian man, played by Haaz Sleiman.

At its core, the movie is about how the professor, who is white and nearing retirement, is rejuvenated by his encounter with the young, immigrant couple. But the professor’s personal growth was not at all my focus as I watched “The Visitor.” I was too taken with Gurira, with watching the beautiful, intricate jewelry that hung from her ears and the colorful garments that made her Snickers-colored skin look all the richer, to make the professor’s metamorphosis my first priority.

Watching “The Visitor” I was reminded of a scene from Toni Morrison’s novel Tar Baby. A light-skinned black model named Jadine is stunned by an African woman she sees while grocery shopping. She thinks:

“The vision itself was a woman much too tall. Under her long canary yellow dress Jadine knew there was too much hip, too much bust…, so why was she and everybody else in the store transfixed? The height? The skin like tar against the canary yellow dress…? She would deny it now, but along with everybody else in the market, Jadine gasped…Just a quick snatch of breath before that woman’s woman—that mother/sister/she; that unphotographable beauty—took it all away.”

Unlike Jadine, I’m not going to deny that I was mesmerized by “the vision” of a beautiful African woman, despite being African myself (I have a Nigerian father and an African American mother). After watching “The Visitor,” I’m still trying to process exactly why I had this reaction, and so far I’m pretty sure it’s due to a combination of factors. Firstly, I was struck by the simple appearance of an African woman in a film set in the West. It’s rare to see Africans on the silver screen in a setting outside of Africa, let alone see them not play characters who are victimized by war, AIDS or another atrocity. And even in films set in Africa, the women are usually relegated to the role of wife and, thus, never allowed full character development.

“The Visitor” turns this dynamic on its head to a degree. Read the Post Black and Tan Fantasy*: A Review of “The Visitor”

by Guest Contributor Alex Alvarez

Interracial and interethnic dating has as much, if not more, to do with “Family Matters” as my own family. So, in order to try to describe the experience of being in an interethnic relationship, I have to first evaluate the culture popping up all around me. Grab some Cheez Puffs or chicharrones, put aside your distaste for cheesy, alliterative snack food references, and let’s get to this.

Should you ever feel inclined to Google “Interracial Dating,” as I do not do often on a Tuesday night, you’ll find a lot of dating sites aimed at hooking you up with someone of another race. Not information about interracial dating, not tirades against it, not advice, not thoughtful writing on the subject, but, rather, dating sites with names like “Salt and Pepper.” Discovering this made a little light blink on and off in my mind’s eye reading “Fetish! Fetish! Fetish!” I’ll admit to feeling conflicted about interracial dating as it relates to the fetishization of a group. Who am I to make the distinction between preference and prejudice? That concern always takes the form of a certain cringe I’m never without when thinking about the subject, but when I see evidence of people actively going out and searching for someone of another, specific race or ethnicity, well. That action toes the very fine line between personal preference and …and what, exactly?

This isn’t racism in the traditional sense of hating or fearing a group of people, but there does seem to be the impression that the fetishized group is somehow either aesthetically or sexually superior to other groups or that, taking that a step further, they are somehow subhuman, objectified, interchangeable receptacles for sex and attention. I don’t want to advocate the idea that there are different levels of racism, but this particular brand is so hurtful because it occurs so subtly and, for the most part, disguised as a compliment. When a man who is darker than me compliments me on the paleness of my skin, as I often encounter with Latino men, it insults and devalues both of us. I’m reduced to my body parts, and he buys into the idea that white skin is inherently beautiful. Read the Post You Got Some ‘Splaining To Do: Interracial And Interethnic Relationships, As Seen On TV. And Heard On The Radio. And Read On Cereal Boxes.

May 7, 2008 / / Uncategorized
April 18, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Guest Contributor Nadra Kareem, originally published at The Whirliest Girl

Years ago my mother was an avid reader of the Harlequin Romance series, while I read what some would view as the young adult version of those books—Sweet Valley High. From about fourth through sixth grade, I was obsessed with the central characters of the series, a pair of blond, blue-eyed Southern California twins named Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. Now, I’ve learned that the books, first published about 25 years ago, are back. The series has been updated to include references to contemporary technology, such as email, the Internet and cell phones. But the most controversial change is that the Wakefield sisters will now be a Size 4 instead of a Size 6. The downsizing of the girls’ much touted tan frames has sparked debates on Feministing.com, as well as at the Dairi Burger site, a blog named after fictitious Sweet Valley’s favorite teen hotspot.

I’ve been unsettled to read comments from visitors to these sites who say that the Sweet Valley series is to blame for their development of eating disorders. The readers say that the books ingrained in them the notion that Size 6 was the ideal. This isn’t surprising because, in each book in the series, the twins’ size and height (5 feet 6) are emphasized. What I’ve forgotten in adulthood, however, is that the books actually contain character after character with dietary habits that fall under the umbrella of bulimia or anorexia. One mother’s use of diet pills during pregnancy is responsible for her daughter being born deaf. And characters constantly criticize each other for doing things like eating full plates of food or looking fat in their jeans. Those who aren’t thin are almost always viewed as being impaired, if not downright sub-human.

Wrote one visitor to the Dairi Burger Web site:

“Here I was, thinking I was the only one who developed an eating disorder after reading SVH. This is fucking hilarious!”

From reading the site’s revisionist retellings of the books, not only does the Sweet Valley High series promote dysfunctional eating, they are also filled with episodes of attempted rape and sexual abuse that are completely forgotten about later. As if that weren’t enough, the books are filled with classist/racist/heterosexist rhetoric.

“I don’t know how she can date him,” a character says about a classmate who is dating a Latino student. “He’s so ethnic and working class.” Read the Post It’s Baaack: Sweet Valley High Redux