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« Watch the Flight of the Conchords Season 2 Premiere here | Main | Armed escorts: from desegregation to our first daughters' first day »

December 30, 2008


Johan Dough

"do some Black women hold an interracial relationship double standard?"

Is the Pope Catholic?


No way in hell obama would have gotten where he is unless he was married to a black woman and had that very traditional looking family. That is part of his appeal.


dont all woman have a double standard in dating?

In the Obama's case the reverse is also true, black woman do look for a lighter skin black male.


Thank you for writting an insightful article about interracial relationships. As an African American, I'm glad to be dating a black woman. But I have dated white women before, and every time a black woman saw me with a white woman, they had this look like as if I was embarrassed to date a black woman. The truth is, any time I met a black girl I was interested in, I jumped in because I never felt embarassed. I hope that African American men feel this way as well.


It is very difficult for an African American to get elected, especially to a state wide office. Obama was the only African American in the U.S. Senate. Often times when we see African Americans in positions of importance, they seem very detached from the African American community. What Michele gives Barack is a sense of authenticity.

Michele is without a doubt African American. Their kids could be any black kids in the U.S. Michele affirms that Barack isn't a token or a symbol, but truly one of us.

I am hesitant to say that dark women are looked down upon in society. If anything African American women, especially darker women, are looked at as 'Strong Black Women' (SBW). As more African American males fail to graduate high school, go to college, or simply to make anything of themselves, African American perform both the male and female roles in a household. Far from being looked down upon, SBW often anchor the African American family. Michele is no exception. She has just as much education as Barack, has had high paying jobs (often making more than Barack), and also is the center piece of consistency in the family while Barack is away. No, African American women are well admired both in and out of the African American community.

With that being said, SBW, while admired often times are not attractive. It is that very strength that drive away potential suitors who don't require such strength, such toughness that is often associated with masculinity. It is for that reason that men who are not in need of a SBW often search for a female who comes across as more feminine.


I think it is certainly true that perceptions of Obama within the black community, but also other communities would have been different had he a non-black wife. Honestly, had Obama a white wife, it would have indicated that he's a different kind of person than he is. A person with a lot more issues.

O, unlike many, had a kind of choice about his racial identity, not only because he's biracial, but also because of the international character of his family and he chose to firmly root himself in the African American community while working to spread a message of American unity -- a message not rooted in cheap multi-cultural consumerism or 'i don't see color' utopianism, but in something more honest and even pure, the conviction that though we come from different places, have different histories and hurts, though we maintain different cultures (as we should), if we wish to walk successfully into the future we have to work together across difference (not negating it).

It's beautiful. It gives you the reassurance that there is nothing in himself that he is running away from, no unsettled racial issues he's still working out. He's just doing him. And that projects inspiring confidence.


“I guess we just love men who really love Black women.” But only date white men who do.

That may not fall under the definition of a double standard, but it's screwed up at about the same measure.


Very nice post, Ryan. I'm reminded of the scene in "Jungle Fever" when several women discussed dating outside the race, all of them coming from different perspectives.

I wonder if it's more difficult now than it was during the movement when I dated and married my white husband. It wasn't easy then, but I sense that it's a bit more difficult now, difficult, but also fraught with interesting possibilities. For instance, these days, the offspring of those unions are not simply "light skinned", but interracial. From my perspective, this is progress -- for the kids to describe themselves as interracial suggests that their parents chose each other and made a decision to do so, rather than that some female family member generations ago was abused, in those years and years of racial and matrimonial asymmetry that ended legally a bit over forty years ago.

And yeah, I would not have been as enthusiastic about Obama had he not been married to Michelle. I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about Clarence Thomas for a variety of reasons, including his choice of spouse. Double standard, perhaps. Then again . . .


There is no way around it, this is an obvious double standard.

Black women who date or marry white men have no logical justification for looking down on a black man who does the same with a white women.

I can see how the "stick to your own kind" types have the advantage in the argument, but if you're married to a white man and fretting about what white/asian/hispanic woman some black guys is dating, you probably have a few issues you need to deal with yourself.


"Most Black women who I am close with approve of, and even cheer on, a Black female/White male interracial relationship."

With the black women I've met in the last 3 1/2 years, I would have to agree.

I have been in an interracial relationship since 2005 when I moved in with my black GF. We took a Carnival cruise in 2006 and we loved it! Then we took another cruise in 2007 and that's when I proposed to her in front of 1000 people on a microphone in the auditorium. A year later on Labor Day Weekend 2008 we got married! We're very happy and we have a great time together.

We wanted to do something for the interracial community, so we started a free forum/message board for people to discuss issues, post comments, view relevant videos + stories, meet new people, post a personal ad, advertise their business and have some fun. It's at so please check it out.


I just posted this on the Pop + Politics blog, but I figured this is where it probably belongs:

I get this point of view, I do. But as a white woman dating a Jewish man (And yes, that IS interracial dating--just ask his grandparents.), it hurts to read it. I value cultural identity--Lord knows I have my own--so I get the argument for why interracial/interfaith dating waters cultures down. But at the end of the day it's the white women who are the villains, not the men who fall in love with them, or, on the opposite end, the women who choose to date white men. Don't think it extends outside of the black/white dating community? It does; look up the word Shiksa. The fact that it even exists as a word horrifies me.

As women it kills me that we do this to each other. We're supposed to be a wider network, a web that supports each other by the virtue that we all share in so many experiences. But instead we rip each other apart for not sharing enough. Shouldn't we be valuing the things that make us different? Doesn't it make us understand and appreciate who we are even more?

It's disappointing. I just hope that one day my kids won't have to ask why they aren't Jewish enough, or what it means that their mom is a Shiksa.


Hey KD -
I don't recall saying or thinking that dating outside the race waters down a people. I'm a big proponent of inter-race (or faith) dating. Perhaps you misconstrued my message here - my reason for writing this post was more to explore the tricky feelings surrounding interracial relationships and less (or not at all) to bash White women.

And yes, I'm familiar with the term Shiksa. QUITE well, in fact.


True, you definitely didn't make the watering down argument. I'm sensitive to that POV, and I project it a little--sorry. And I didn't read your post as bashing white women; again, my apologies if my response came off that way.

The whole thing just sucks. Dating and relationships are hard enough, without worrying about what our families and friends think about our chosen partners. But this isn't a new problem, and it's not going away over night. I guess all we can do is recognize it for what it is and deal with it. With that in mind, let me put on my big girl panties and stop complaining. My rant is officially over.


Hold the phone! Michelle Obama is not dark-skinned. If the colors of the pictures are correct, Michelle Obama is the same shade of brown as you, Ryan. And, Obama is barely half a shade of brown different than his wife.


Thanks for this post. I'm exploring similar issues on my blog and you've inspired me to tackle my own feelings about this issue.


Sweet Christ, where to begin with this one!

Isn't this the same person who wrote about terrified she was of sexually hyper-aggressive black males? How they scared her into those oh so comforting anglo-arms when she was a teenager girl? Suggesting that only black men eyeball and catcall women in their teens?

I remember that post.

And I was certain someone from National Review had written it under a pen name, it was so thick with revulsion for black men. It was like finding cliff's notes for The Bell Curve.

It's truly tragic how much you hate men who share your color.

But anyway, on to this particular question. . .

There is absolutely no way Barack Obama would have received any African American money, or the overwhelming majority of African American votes, if he’d shown up in Iowa last year, or New Hampshire, or (God forbid!) South Carolina, clutching some Tara Reid lookalike of a wife while barking about how much she was his ‘rock’.

No. Way. In. Hell.

Stop lying to yourself.

As for the author: How much bravery does it actually demonstrate to bring a white male home to meet your folks when one of them is also a white male? Do you want some sort of extra cultural credit for bringing home a man that looks like your father?

Don’t most daughters end up doing that anyway, regardless of their race?

And given the particulars of your family, with its apparent aversion to black male suitors, wouldn’t it be a bit more noteworthy if you were actually involved with a man of color?

And, since it’s on the table, I just have to ask: am I--black, male and a Virginia native for the record--really supposed to believe that absolutely no black men in the Washington D.C. area–as chocolate a chocolate city as you’ll find anywhere on the East Coast–love dark skinned black women?


Not buying it.

Peddle that to the three or four black females you've found in the country that are comfortable waking up every the morning next to someone who looks nothing like them. Or the white-majority social circle that black biracial females tend to keep.

Maybe they’ll buy it.

Your article strikes me as another bit of deeply rooted ethnic longing among a black biracial disguised as editorial reflection, and little else.

Lastly, I'm going to assume that you probably don't actually know too many black people socially either. Maybe that can stand as a question in it's own right.

If you did, you'd already know how totally insane it would be to wonder if a black man with a white wife could end up becoming President of the United States.

Russian Brides

Hey, nice job on the blog here. Some good ideas. Keep up the good work.Thanks for sharing!

Manny Stevens

Bravo to you for taking on such a volatile topic!!

I think everyone REALLY knows what you mean even if they dont want to admit it. "Nothavingit" is clearly offended by it, others might not want to admit it b/c it's not PC.

What really bothers people is when a black guy dates a trashy white girl just b/c she's white. You see them hanging around malls. Ugly, chunky, white chicks named Tina who's dating Tyrone just to get a rise of her bigot parents. You see football players with bimbos on their arms, Ice T and Coco the Ho (literally).

And the thing is, you don't usually see hot black girls with trashy white guys. You see trashy white girls with black guys who could do better.

And for all the naysayers, admit it, you know I'm right.


Manny, the premise here is, would Obama have gotten as far as he did if he were married to a white woman? It has nothing to do with whether the woman was classy or trashy.

You link to a picture Ice T and Coco. Wow! A guy who built his career on pimp fantasies is married to a woman that looks like a hooker. Who do you expect to see Ice T with, Condoleezza Rice?

No matter how the author tries to beautify it here, her attitude about Obama is a double standard. And really it's not a big deal. Where race and gender are concerned, most people operate under double standards. It should be no surprise that when it comes to interracial relationships a lot of people's opinions are situational.

It's pretty narrow minded to decide that all bm/wf interracial relationships are shallow and meaningless; all wm/bf interracial relationships are deep and meaningful. They're relationships just like any other; people get together for all sorts of reasons.


Wow there is much pain and anger here.
The beauty and challenge of someone like Obama is that his sheer presence causes us all to look at ourselves and our biases-- which is a good, yet painful thing. You cannot heal without examination.

As a black female with a white male I can understand some of the challenges around interracial relationships. Interracial relationships call into question how we all really feel about ourselves, each other and the environments we were raised in. I am Not touching the bm/wm cloud with a 20 foot pole--having been on both sides of dirty looks aimed at interracial couples-- I can say whatever you feel about someone else's choice in relationship you will find deep within yourself if you look-- and please do look before cutting a fool..and for the record-- white women are just as prone to evil looks and general shenanigans when you are with a white man-- don't just blame the sistas.. (guess I did touch it.. anywho..)

Thanks for being willing to write this article and tackle this subject. Although everything that is said about interracial dating isn't loving-- it at least promotes dialogue that brings us all closer to love.


Hi, I found this on Racialicious. This is a great post, and I know exactly where you are coming. Your cousin hit the nail on the head-Black women love anyone who loves Black women. Nothing more, nothing less.

Many times, when Black women have a problem with Black men dating out, the underlying problem is the self-hate and contempt for Black women that usually accompanies it. Black men who say they date interracially is usually code word for "anything but a Black woman." All you hear about is "sista's attitudes, bossiness, etc." Why can't you just date outside the race without throwing Black women under the bus?

People would have resented Obama with a white wife because it represents a stale formula: Money + White Woman=Status. This essentially devalues Black women as an appropriate partner for successful Black men-you MUST snag a white woman to prove you've "made it." The rejection and devaluing is what Black women are responding negatively to. I don't really see that same attitude in Black women who date interracially.


Wow! This is a hot topic!

First of all look at the numbers. 10% of the black male population is incarcerated as opposed to 1% of white males.

Black male unemployment is about 51% compared to just 18% for white males and this is just based on a study done in Milwaukee.

“Medgar Evers College, for example, is 92 percent black. Only 23 percent of those black students are men. At York College, which is 62 percent black, only 29 percent of black students are men.”

I could go on and on with the disparities between black and white men, but the point is…

For the most part black women often end up with white men because the majority of black men end up in the traps set for them by society. Do black men have to fall for these traps. NO. But often they do.

Coming from the south it is not uncommon for a black woman to chose a white man to “love” out of survival. On the other hand it is not uncommon for a black man to chose a white woman to “love” out of passive agressive behavior towards his oppressor.

Because we have been so far removed from the chains of slavery it is easy to ignore the lingering psychological effects that slavery will have on us until the end of this age and possibly into others.

Listen to this wonderful converstion between Neely Fuller(race expert) and a white woman who loves black men. She realizes in this two part video that eventhough she LOVES black people she has still been practicing racism…Interesting.

I am not against interracial dating, I just think that going into these relationships lightly is quite dangerous if both parties are not actively trying to produce justice.

What was humanly meant to be pure love between two people is not and must take effort to be made pure.

It is amazing how we like to disregard the power of history when it comes to race, yet all of our wars today are a result of centuries of unresolved issues. This lingering effect also holds true for the relationships between the black woman and the white man or the white woman and the black man.

Even the most pure love between the races will be tainted with the history and present issues of racism. The best interracial relationships I have seen are the ones that embrace the social inequalites between them, rather than acting like love has blotted out the reality.

Black women are frustrated, because of what has happened to their men, therefore they try hard to be the best they can be to help them. Black men have long run from their black female counterparts, because it gives them a false sense of power that they too can win the bed of his white oppessor’s woman.

Until racism is replaced with justice no amount of love can change these facts. The facts can be ignored, played down, dressed up, but NEVER can love be real between a slave and his oppressor until the oppressor’s offsprings refuse to reap the rewards of their slave-mastering fathers.

Thank you beautiful ones,

Candi Taylor-Jeter

Posted 13 Jan 2009 at 4:42 pm ¶

Russian Girls

Hey, nice job on the blog here. Some good ideas. Keep up the good work.

Marmaduke Jones

@ Candi: I find it interesting that intraracial relationships are never viewed to be the product of some kind of sociological abberation such as "Black men date black women because of their feeling of inferiority vis-a-vis white women." Probably most of us would laugh at that explanation, and rightly so. A sadder implication involves the fact that intraracial relationships are considered "normal" - end of story. However, when it comes to explaining interracial relationships (because, being "abnormal" they always need an "explanation") we get prison figures, education statistics, and slave-master psychology. Funny how the simple possibility of two people - any two people - falling in love is tossed on the back burner. The simple truth is that most people end up with people that they have a shot at ending up with. That's why most of us will marry a girl or guy from around the way and not the member of some royal family. In a society like America that is still ripe with de facto segregation, invisible and artificial barriers involving family, church, social networks, and culture make it much harder for two people who might - personality-wise - be ideal matches for each other if they had more in common. And b/c gender plays a big role too, black men were able to advance professionally in white society and broke the marriage color line when they found themselves socially positioned to meet and marry white women. Until recently, this hasn't happened for black women. Now, however, as more and more black women enter the universities and the professions, one would expect to see the number the white male-black female relationships on the rise. A second point: social/educational advancement or lack thereof changes who we have in common with. So for example, even if a low-income, imprisoned black man were not incarcerated, the chances of a black female law school graduate marrying him would still not be high. A black man who grew up in poverty but has become a successful executive will likey not marry a woman from the old neighborhood. But a white guy who grew up poor and didn't make it out might. The point in all these examples is that what typically leads us into relationships is not our tortured, internal psychological relationship with racial history, but rather, the external factors that determine who we even get to meet in the first place. And when we do meet them, our socio-cultural backgrounds might be so far apart that we're not even speaking the same language. Once we get through these barriers (as we are doing more and more), we can love each other just the same as any other couple. That's not easy though, as our world has been shaped by economic forced imprinted by racism/sexism/classism and so interracial marriage will increase while at the same time such couples will remain in the minority. The last thing I'd like to say is that people with intellectual backgrounds discuss this subject with an overarching emphasis on history/internal psychology. I think this is an error despite the fact that yes, for example, some black men regard white women as trophies. But I really question whether this ever-present and overt historical memory of slavery is really on everyone's mind seemingly all the time whether consciously or "subconsciously", i.e., you can't prove it's there but you just know it is. My theory is that people who think about this stuff and debate theories think everyone else does too, and so it informs their decisions. In reality though, we live in a country of staggering historical ignorance, and who people date, marry, or simple find themselves attracted to is far more the product of low-level social pressures, cross-cultural communication, and good old fashioned romance than strict cultural determinism.


I don’t really think this has to do with black women's double standard in terms of interracial relationships, but rather, as your cousin said: "black women love men who love black women," be that man a black man, white man, Asian, Hispanic etc. And I believe the reaction stems from issues of self esteem and validation for black women. As a group black women in the US are often invisible, and when represented, are characterized as loud, "sassy", sexually immoral and promiscuous, ugly, poor, uneducated, “video hoes” etc… the list goes on. This is particularly true for darker African American women who rarely, if ever, see themselves represented in the larger “mainstream world”. Yes there are a couple of positive examples of all black women, including darker ones, but this isn’t nearly enough to 1) counteract the missing faces and the deleterious representations or 2) represent the true population of black women. Take a look at many of the major mainstream motion pictures débuting in the near future and examine the role most African American women play: the “sassy sage to the white female main character”, the no nonsense, masculine women who raised herself up from the streets, etc… Very rarely are black women the femininely seductive, intelligent, soft but charismatic leading lady to anyone. We don’t even get to be women, we always hyphenated with something, “strong black woman”, “angry black woman”. Coupled with statistics that decry the low marriage rates of African American women, particularly educated, professional women (who have worse marriage stats than similar white women) despite their additional assets; higher interracial marriage stats for black men and just about every other ethnic/gender combination in the US (although the rates of BW/WM marriages have been increasing at a tremendous rate in the last 5 years or so), I think many African American women are left feeling unwanted, devalued and unattractive. Appreciating a man who loves black women is an attempt to find validation and to acknowledge that someone can find you, a black woman, beautiful and just a “beautiful woman”, without any qualifiers. This is a message many white women can get through the media or their communities, but it is often lacking for black women (and minority women in general).

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