Recently on Gawker, Ernest Baker wrote a rather lengthy essay called, “The Realty of Dating White Women When You’re Black.”
Within the essay, Baker discusses the hardships of dating white women as a black man because of all of the stereotypes that mainstream America has created about the sexuality of black men. He stated that at his school growing up, black girls didn’t like him because he wasn’t “thuggish” and that white women gave him more attention.
He even said, “…I definitely like the straight, light hair and fair skin and colored eyes you get with a lot of white women.”
The U.S. has a soiled history of framing black people’s sexuality in an animalistic, inferior way. Black men were regularly lynched if they looked at a white woman, even if this ordeal was imaginary. Kimberly Crenshaw, a law professor at UCLA stated that lynching became a “prophylactic” for black sexuality. Black men became terrified of white women because of the threat that they would be punished by white men.
Also, the idea that white women were pure, chaste beings who were desired and needed to be protected greatly conflicted with the horrible ways that black women were treated. Black women [since slavery] were largely viewed as unattractive, and this legacy of being treated second-class to white women largely carries on to today.
In fact, in 2011 the magazine Psychology Today published a horrific article [which was eventually removed] by Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa which stated that black women were scientifically uglier than all other races of women. Yeah. That’s 2011.
Also, Black man/white woman pornography is one of the most popular types of pornography consumed by white men because of the myth that black men are animalistic…that black men having sex with white women becomes a form of fetishized punishment. At one point black men were lynched for these acts, and now white men consume it because it seemingly degrades white women.
So, with this context, it’s quite understandable why Baker would want to discuss these stereotypes in relation to his own experiences with holding a white woman’s hand as he walks down the street, especially since black women can feel slighted when they see this image. A black man dates a white woman and everyone flips. He states:
Why do I date white women? Black women have told me it’s because I’m a sellout. The white men who can get past the mental anguish of my black penis tarnishing “their” women think I’m making some latent admission that their race has the most attractive women.
Skepticism towards black men/white women relationships is a longstanding and well-documented part of our cultural fabric in America.
While Baker makes some good points in his piece, I do find his discussion about blonde hair, blue eyed women as “attractive” quite problematic within the context of Eurocentric standards.
Many women who have read his piece have taken to social media to express their anger at his words. His decision to write a piece about dating white women, without contextualizing the ways in which white women have always been favored in this country because of white supremacy, is quite troubling.
Lori from Feministing.com states:
White women have been publicly revered in this country since its inception. Chattel slavery was instrumental in securing the white woman’s body as something to be especially cherished and protected.
But it’s not just that white women were being carefully crafted as chaste fairies — it’s that black women were being carefully crafted as inferior.
Baker fails to realize that black women are not necessarily upset that black men date white women, but that white women are culturally viewed as “prettier” in relation to them being “uglier.”
Britni Danielle from Clutch Magazine states:
Here’s the thing: When it comes to dating and relationships, it’s okay for people to have preferences. If you don’t like Black women, or Black men, or Latinas, or Asian men, cool, do you.
The problem comes in when a person throws entire swaths of people under the bus to justify their preferences (or worse, tries to convert others to their point of view), or in Bakers case, writes 2,600+ word diatribes trying to justify a preference that doesn’t need justifying in the first place.
Since black women are always told that they’re “ugly” in most mainstream spaces which is why we have to fashion our bodies to the white ideal constantly, it’s quite random and odd that a black man would come out and write an essay describing his attraction to white women.
I personally don’t care that he’s attracted to white women. I don’t like how he frames black women as these jealous beings who are angry with him because we don’t like white women. Again, many black women are angry that white women are viewed as “more” attractive because we’ve been labeled as “unattractive.”
I’m biracial. I have a black mother and a white father and I grew up watching folks treat us differently because of that. I’m dating a white man now who I love. We get angry stares and curious stares all the time. I don’t care. But I’m not going to sit here and write a lengthy essay about my decision to date a white man while I live in a white supremacy. It just feels like an odd priority. [It’s like Baker writing an essay about how he finds skinny women attractive in a culture where skinny women are advertised as the ideal.]
Baker’s essay is contradictory. On the one hand he says he doesn’t *only* date white women and he hates when people assume that he only dates white women when they see him with one, but his whole essay is titled “The Reality of Dating White Women When You’re Black.” Date who you want, but don’t burden us with your decision by writing an essay going on and on about how beautiful white women are. I can just turn my tv on if I want to hear about that.