Should Jill Scott say, “I date exclusively interracially,” instead of wincing at a classical Benetton situation there would be chasms of silence, punctuated by a round-the-way remark from someone from my Chuck-D generation. Another ignorant assumption of mine is that this phrase—“I date exclusively interracially”—which I interpret as hostile—would never be written or spoken outside of the context of sarcasm by self-described “white” women.
My first brutal encounter with these words—“I date exclusively interracially”—was on a dating website. For the sisters of my generation and older, let me explain: I approached dating websites to select potential life partners or just female friends within a certain context of income. What I am saying here in the rasx() context, is that I hooked up with online dating for the same reasons why I suspect many professional women do it: to avoid getting into relationships with economically-challenged people. Moreover, what should appear pretentious to many of my cynical sisters, is actually asserting that I did it for my children. What would sound more humbling is to say, I did it because I can no longer afford to risk “loving someone new” with serious economic issues. I am trying to achieve what many respectable people regard as impossible: I never want to argue about money with anyone.
What’s important for people who are not me, is that these words—“I date exclusively interracially”—are probably written for same reasons, to avoid “loving someone new” with serious economic issues—in addition to its obvious self-hating, Stockholm-syndrome-psycho-sexual, missionary positioning.
My “point” here in the rasx() context is not to do the age old attack on a self-hater. My main motivation for writing about these words is to express my suspicion about the presence of many women of color on dating sites. I daresay they have racialized their sense of self-improvement through life partnering. They see “white” males as the “sensible” way to life fulfillment, a kind of vacation away from the struggle. These human beings are not looking for income and education levels in a “colorblind” way. Don’t try to condemn and dismiss these people too quickly—try this experiment my fellow American: visualize a Black man making over six figures with three children each by different women—and do the same for a “white” man. What do you see? In the “white” case, do you see something like Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park? What do you see in the Black case? Do you see a bunch of babymamas trying to pick fights with you at the slightest provocation? Do you see Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Fresh?
To be honest with myself, these words—“I date exclusively interracially”—were not that ‘brutal’ for me. When I saw the photos of the dating site profile, I saw a chocolate-colored, physically-fit woman in her 30s with bold blonde hair, who has clearly travelled all over the world doing a lot of skiing. So her explicit effort in the words “I date exclusively interracially,” represents respectable honesty from an intelligent woman of African descent. For this honesty alone, it was worth bringing this subject up and out here in the rasx() context.
And please let me not forget that I proudly and vehemently distinguish between the “economically challenged” person from the alternative-living person who has little or no income but they have zero debt and clearly demonstrate vibrant, creative, self-loving self-sufficiency. These people—especially appearing before me as chocolate-colored, physically-fit women—are often more valuable economically than a high-income “life partner” that has a corporate career but a very 1990s American religious relationship to debt.
What is often forgotten is the economic power in communing with people who do not make you lose money because of their self-disciplined, micro-industrious self-sufficiency. This distinction is a mental-health exercise around the essence of poverty. There are loads of folks who see loads of cash pass through their hands but are deeply impoverished.
And, yeah, back to Jill Scott, who has written some great love songs based in the reality of young Black love: the only thing (for me) that is “offensive” about so-called “interracial” relationships starts from one member of the couple apparently trying to position themselves as a replacement or an indistinguishable equivalent for the ethnic gender role of the “racial” group. For example, when one flippantly and confidently says, “I can make sure that my children are raised in African-American culture,” while clearly being very “white” is an insult. It’s like me saying that I can make sure my children will be proper Germans just because my last name is German. But, because America traditionally values racism, the ridiculousness of my equivalent German-ness is clearly ridiculous. It gets more difficult to see where the ridicule applies in the wincing at the “interracial” (Black-white) context—such ridicule is ironically dismissed as ignorant or even racist.