Is Marriage For White People?

Here we go again. The publishing industry has released yet another book about the decline in black marriage. Is Marriage for White People? is in bookstores, and I do not plan to read it. I’ve already gotten the Cliff Notes version, and one of its suggestions is that black women date and ultimately marry white men. Even as someone who married a white man 10 years ago, I am growing weary of this proposal.

The suggestion is tired and simplistic. I don’t know if anyone had suggested I date a white guy before I was ready to that I would have been open to it. It’s just not realistic. We all know we can’t change anyone’s mind; a woman has to do that for herself.

That said, I feel obligated to address some of the questions/topics/issues/excuses I’ve seen for why black women may not be open to interracial relationships.

1. She is betraying black men.

Um, no. Why if someone loves a white man must it mean that she hates black men? Some of the most important people in my life are black men, including my father, brother, and a slew of uncles.  There’s no way I am kicking any of them to the curb.

2. She is selling out.

If finding love and happiness is selling out, then fine, I sold out.

3. She is weakening the black family?

If you say so.  It takes two people to build a family, you know.

4. But what if black women aren’t attracted to white men or white men aren’t attracted to black women?

Then keep it moving. No one is saying that a black woman spies the first white man who crosses her path and decides then and there that he is the one for her. You still have to date, get to know each other, have fun, and share common interests. Come on, people.

5. White men lack swag.

Black men do not own the patent on swagger. And since when is swagger the must-have trait in a man?

6. A white man won’t understand black hair.

Seriously? You know guys don’t care about this stuff, right? I am willing to bet many black men have no idea why their wives, girlfriends, significant others disappear during the wee hours on Saturday mornings, stay gone past lunch, come home looking good and knowing all of the neighborhood’s business.

7. The children won’t be “black enough.”

Well, I haven’t been black enough since grade school, so there. Why must there be degrees of black folk? Besides, some of us consider our children biracial, not black. Google it!

  • I love everything about your response. And funny (sad?) enough, the thing that comes up most often about my interracial relationship is the hair thing. Like, my hair is some deep dark Black secret that my white boyfriend won’t ‘get’ or appreciate …

    Keep on writing, Mama! Cheers.

    ET

  • Love is love — pure and simple. I am African-American, 63 years old, and happily married to a white man for 33 years, not counting the 6 years we dated before that. I’ve never met a man like him and he has never met a woman like me. That book is a bunch of sh*t. Other than that, I love your blog, your beauty, and your sensibilities. I’ve written a post on my humorist storytelling blog about my man (Once Upon a Time) that describes what our relationship is like. God did a wonderful thing when he introduced us to each other and there are lots of us out there. Take care.

  • Ameriea

    I read the book from cover to cover the other day, and I think it’s difficult to comment on the book, if you haven’t read it. To sum it up, he is saying that black males outnumber females in drastic numbers. Because of this, black males have been “playing the field” while black women who remain loyal are also unmarried well into their 50’s. He suggest that black females should date other races in an effort to “even the playing field” and in doing so, they will also find love and marriage… just as you ladies have done. 🙂

    • Blanc2

      I think you mean “black females outnumber [eligible] males in drastic numbers.” I understand the point, but as Honeysmoke notes, marriage isn’t merely a matter of supply and demand. Compatible spouses aren’t widgets.

      To me, the importance of this book and others like it is Honeysmoke’s point 1, above — a message that it is okay for BW to date and marry outside of the black community, that this is not a “betrayal” of the community.

  • Nadia

    I think the title is definitely going to increase sales and create discussion. A great marketing ploy.
    My opinion? Marriage depends on the individual and the couple, not the race.

  • Blanc2

    Like you I don’t plan to read the book, though I don’t begrudge the author his success. Frankly, much of the buzz around the book is pitchmanship to garner sales. That’s publishing.

    Aslo like you, though I’ve been in a mixed marriage for over 16 years, and though I do enjoy, out of a sense of kinship, seening other WM/BW couples in public, I find the author’s attempt to use business-style market analysis in the realm of love and relationships to be mercenary and unrealistic. We like whom we like.

    Otherwise, I think all of your points are good ones.

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