For like five or six years, there was a running joke about how only white people loved Donald Glover and Childish Gambino. And I found that odd, because I’m not white, and I’ve been a fan of him since Community. Recently, someone suggested that the creator of Atlanta was “fake woke” because he has children with an Italian woman. This has to be one of the most ill-conceived, misinformed statements of the year.

In an episode of Girls, his character expertly rails on those Bohemians, like Lena Dunham’s character, who pick up African American men like they would a new puppy or a ukulele and a chai latte.  His character poignantly, humorously, with biting honesty notes about her character:

“Oh, I’m a white girl, and I moved to New York and I’m having a great time, and, Oh, I’ve got a fixed-gear bike, and I’m going to date a black guy and we’re going to go to a dangerous part of town” And while this imagery is humorous, I think trying to enter a relationship like this for the wrong reasons, and/or telling people who they should not be with is no laughing matter. 

One problem you will always run into when saying black men and white women shouldn’t be together is the question of whether or not you hate the products of interracial relationships. Trevor Noah’s existence was illegal in Apartheid South Africa. Barack Obama was both too black and not black enough for 8 years.  Last year, Jordan Peele showed millions literal and figurative dangers of dating a liberal white woman whose parents would have “voted for Obama three times” if they could have. I’ve got so many mixed-race friends with strong black daddies who only wanted their kids to be kids, but whose children only met resistance from both sides. 

Damn girl.?

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I do agree that fetishizing Caucasian women is problematic. As soon as you turn someone into an idea, you gotta know you have already messed up. And I think a lot of Brothers chase white women for the adventure, the boast, the unconscious attempt to dominate the successor of the predecessor who dominated our ancestors. I get it. But yeah. Please don’t treat humans like reparations. 

Many Sisters feel that a great deal of potential mates cannot measure up to their standards. And I understand the sentiment. Some professional black women are growing old waiting for a suitable mate. And before you claim that “black women shouldn’t be so picky,” recognize how many other groups are pickier. Some families do not permit sons and daughters to date outside of their social strata, beneath their family’s economic standing, and absolutely not outside their ethnicity. I think everyone should have full access to enter relationships with anyone they deem acceptable. And my beautiful black Sisters are by no means an exception. That’s something I hate about hearing people trash Serena Williams for having a baby with Alexis Ohanian (who is of German and Armenian descent), calling out black women for being hypocritical in supporting this union but frowning upon similar opposite gender unions. Please just let that woman live. She’s grown and can do what she wants. I think it should be said that black men have been just as picky, if not more through the years.

I was raised by the strongest black woman I’ve ever known. I celebrate black women and am proud to have had them as friends and lovers. So many black men, sadly, have given black women reason to be guarded and self-conscious. I was even guilty of it for years, thinking they didn’t measure up to the beauty standard set by Europeans for generations. And I’m ashamed to say that, because I would be nothing without a black woman. Being raised by an outstanding woman of color has been a blessing, and my skin is something I now celebrate and am proud of because of who it comes from.

That’s not to say that whites who date blacks are absolved of racism. I have known blonde, blue-eyed mothers of biracial children who hate blacks just as much as those white sheet-wearing gentlemen. Loving black dick isn’t the same as loving black people

With the handsome @alexisohanian

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If there’s anyone who loves pointing out the hypocrisies of white people, I’m one of the most verbal. I’ve been around so many whites who adore our music and our culture, saying the N-word, and drinking the Kool-Aid, yet wouldn’t touch a black person in any shape or form. Some girl once told me I’d be everything she looked for in a man, were it not for my skin color. This is what happens.

Condemning people and ordering them not to intermingle is counter to civil rights to begin with. It plays right into the idea of segregation as an unstoppable force, a necessary way to deal with ideological and cultural differences, on top of skin color, a biological and evolutionary imperative. We cannot pretend like this isn’t a problem. I’ve heard too many people say, “I’m not racist, and my parents aren’t either,” “I don’t see color,” and “why has this gotta be about race?” but then they somehow draw the line at dating blacks and browns, as if there was a reason they don’t do so, and the reason why they only have two black friends: Urkel and Carlton.

One of my relatives told me if I married someone white after she died, she’d come out the ground and murder me, then go back to her dirt nap. Yeah, that sucked to hear as a 3 year-old in love with Marilyn Monroe. 

And look, I’m not so naive to miss the complexities and the complications that can arise when someone tries to erase your cultural identity. Entire courses are taught about the effects of systemic and social racism and colorism on Negroid psychology. So, we shouldn’t be telling our sons that they’re coons for dating outside their race. I’ve found this to be true, from an early age…that it’s a learned idea.  Just like white men willing to die to protect their daughter’s virginity from a prowling black penis.

I think we’d all date whoever the hell we wanted to if our parents didn’t tell us who we shouldn’t. In addition, rejecting who you are to date outside your race, is exactly why doing so is unacceptable and culturally damaging. Don’t don cornrows and velour bottoms that say “Juicy” on the ass just to go with a black man because you think that’s what we like. Black men, don’t toss out your Bone Thugs and pick up Dave Matthews just to make someone like you. If you enter a union with anyone, I imagine that subtle changes will happen, simply out of the nature of being with them. But don’t sacrifice every fundamental thing about who you are, your identity, to tailor to another person’s taste…because clearly that person doesn’t accept you for you if you must alter who you are for them.

❤️

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I think it should be noted that it’s never easy for a Brother to just pick up a white woman all a sudden. One Negro and one Caucasian in our society do not simply start making a swirl ice cream cone, like at McDonald’s. Partly because society doesn’t see it as just two people dating, two people in love. Secondly, the damn ice cream machines at McDonald’s are always broken anyway. From the word “go”, somebody will find a reason to criticize his choice. As inappropriate and painful as saying that someone sounds white, the stigma of interracial dating (specifically black man, white woman pairings) continues to keep people on one side of the fence. If a Brother enters a union with someone of the opposite race, he’s wondering “am I still black, or am I an Uncle Tom? Will she like my individualism? Will I compromise for her just so that I don’t offend her sensibilities?”  I think criticism of this pairing is equally as prevalent in both communities; however, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get your ass kicked in the Hood for this. On the other side of the fence, you can get your ass killed. I have also heard the theory that all black men are secretly down with the vanilla-chocolate swirl. And that’s wrong on so many fronts, I just wanna say stop it. Don’t assume you know someone unless you share a brain with them. Not every black man wants a white woman, and vice versa.

I love Kanye, and despite everything he’s said, I’ll still listen to his music and still be supportive of him because I think his greatest illness is that he’s mentally ill. But as Nicki Minaj said in 2016, she wasn’t slamming him for his lyrics in “Gold Digger” because he was just “telling the truth.” Many black men have the propensity to leave their community and date outside of their race once they think they’ve  “graduated” to dating white women. If you’ve never heard the song, here’s the sample she was referring to:

“So stick by his side
I know there’s dudes ballin’, and yeah, that’s nice
And they gonna keep callin’ and tryin’, but you stay right, girl
And when you get on, he’ll leave yo’ ass for a white girl”

But just like most generalizations, it robs individuals of their uniqueness to say that they’re only dating outside of their race because they find something wrong with their race. I have no doubt that many black men hate black women…I’ve seen it too often to deny it. Maybe Kanye did it. Maybe Taye Diggs did also. But not every black man wants to stick it to ladies in his community by perpetuating what has become a taboo of entering extra-communal relationships. And I think we fall short as a society when we continue to deny people the permission and/or the freedom from persecution for their relational choices. We can be better.

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Alex Miller is a freelance writer living in Harlem. His work has appeared in Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other places.