What Is It with Black Men and Interracial Relationships?

By Mel Bancroft

Up until the 1960s, a Black man was liable to find himself dead for even looking at a White woman. Look what happened to Emmett Till, a Black teenage boy who was killed for talking to a White woman in 1955. My, have times changed. Since then, it seems to have become the “norm” to see a White woman and a Black man walking hand-in-hand as lovers or husband and wife, and with children. Black women with White men are rarely seen in this fashion, at least not at the same frequency. So it begs the question that people, especially Black women, tend to ask: What draws Black men into interracial relationships?

Black men have given reasons that many believe reveal dislike or hatred of their own race and culture. This is particularly due to the fact that some Black men exclusively date White women or outside of their race altogether. Black men have also been known to cite the Black woman’s snappy attitude and busy mouth as the reasons for “driving” them to White women. You’d think it would take more than that to drive a man to an interracial relationship. But that’s what they have claimed. It would behoove Black women, like it or not, to pay attention to the emotional needs that Black men have. Some of them have found that White women are more submissive and easier to get along with, and therefore develop a preference for dating White women only.

Terence, an attorney and writer, exclusively dates White women. When asked why, he replied, “Their skin, hair and eye color are the most attractive of all women. They understand my emotional and physical needs. They’re queens as far as I’m concerned.” He refuses to date Black women or any other race of women. “I have never dated Black women, and I don’t think I ever will,” he added.

On the other hand, Steve, a security guard, who’s been in several interracial relationships, no longer cares for it. “I did that when I was in my twenties,” he said, when asked about his experiences. “I’ve dated White girls, Italian, French, Persian, a whole rainbow of women. But as I got older, I had to have me a Black woman, and that’s what I prefer. I think it was just a phase I was going through when I was younger.”

“As long as I live, I will never date another White woman,” said Sean, a bank manager. He was in an interracial relationship with a lady he met near his job. “Her family was extremely racist; mine was more accepting of it. Plus it was way too complicated trying to teach her my African American culture, it felt totally forced. But the last straw was when she and I got into an argument and she called me the ‘N’ word. That was it for me.”

Why people are in interracial relationships is not a cut and dry subject, it is quite complex. Under the color scheme of what looks like Black and White issues on the surface, lies a bit of a grey area. Are White women really that submissive? That’s questionable. Are Black women really that abrasive and out of control? That is also questionable. Have Black men simply found other options that fulfill their need to explore and conquer different territory? This aspect is rarely touched as people tend to focus on and debate over race.

Some Black women feel that the Black men who complain about their “attitude” seek interracial relationships as a way to avoid dealing with their own issues, using race as the scapegoat, the determining factor, if you will. Many Black women believe the intensity of their “attitude” is simply their way of not putting up with nonsense, and Black men don’t want to deal with that.

And doesn’t curiosity play a role in all this, on both the Black and White side? It seems that some people just want to experience something different, test the waters.

Just like any same-race relationship, one would really need to look deep enough at the reasons a Black man or a White woman decides to enter into an interracial relationship. Some of it is plain superficiality. In many cases, especially in pop culture amidst the who’s who of Hollywood, Black athletes, actors and entertainers are shown parading something “other than Black” on their arms. It’s become a trophy trend, bringing a whole new meaning to “who are you wearing” on the red carpet. And God knows in nine months or so, if that long, a new and improved, more exotic woman will replace her.

Whatever the reason one chooses to be in an interracial relationship, the main reason should be for love, just like any other relationship. Hooking up with someone because you think their racial, social or cultural standing will either enhance or elevate you in some way is superficial, ludicrous and futile. It doesn’t matter how much money, stature, or influence that person has. If you don’t have their heart, and they don’t have yours, it’s just another dating game.

Bancroft is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.

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