Mar 28, 2010

Gifted singer, songwriter, and actress Jill Scott took to the pages of this month's Essence magazine to discuss her feelings as they pertain to interracial dating and marriage. What she brings forth is a very honest and compelling essay that speaks to the heart of what is going on in the mind of many sistas.

My new friend is handsome, African-American, intelligent and seemingly wealthy. He is an athlete, loves his momma, and is happily married to a White woman. I admit when I saw his wedding ring, I privately hoped. But something in me just knew he didn't marry a sister. Although my guess hit the mark, when my friend told me his wife was indeed Caucasian, I felt my spirit...wince. I didn't immediately understand it. My face read happy for you. My body showed no reaction to my inner pinch, but the sting was there, quiet like a mosquito under a summer dress.

Was I jealous? Did the reality of his relationship somehow diminish his soul's credibility? The answer is not simple. One could easily dispel the wince as racist or separatist, but that's not how I was brought up. I was reared in a Jehovah's Witness household. I was taught that every man should be judged by his deeds and not his color, and I firmly stand where my grandmother left me. African people worldwide are known to be welcoming and open-minded. We share our culture sometimes to our own peril and most of us love the very notion of love. My position is that for women of color, this very common "wince" has solely to do with the African story in America.

When our people were enslaved, "Massa" placed his Caucasian woman on a pedestal. She was spoiled, revered and angelic, while the Black slave woman was overworked, beaten, raped and farmed out like cattle to be mated. She was nothing and neither was our Black man. As slavery died for the greater good of America, and the movement for equality sputtered to life, the White woman was on the cover of every American magazine. She was the dazzling jewel on every movie screen, the glory of every commercial and television show. She was unequivocally the standard of beauty for this country, firmly unattainable to anyone not of her race. We daughters of the dust were seen as ugly, nappy mammies, good for day work and unwanted children, while our men were thought to be thieving, sex-hungry animals with limited brain capacity.

We reflect on this awful past and recall that if a Black man even looked at a White woman, he would have been lynched, beaten, jailed or shot to death. In the midst of this, Black women and Black men struggled together, mourned together, starved together, braved the hoses and vicious police dogs and died untimely on southern back roads together. These harsh truths lead to what we really feel when we see a seemingly together brother with a Caucasian woman and their children. That feeling is betrayed. While we exert efforts to raise our sons and daughters to appreciate themselves and respect others, most of us end up doing this important work alone, with no fathers or like representatives, limited financial support (often court-enforced) and, on top of everything else, an empty bed. It's frustrating and it hurts!

Our minds do understand that people of all races find genuine love in many places. We dig that the world is full of amazing options. But underneath, there is a bite, no matter the ointment, that has yet to stop burning. Some may find these thoughts to be hurtful. That is not my intent. I'm just sayin'.


  1. Bravo! To Jill Scott. The comments are very real, and each and every one of us Black Girls can probably attest to the "wince" feeling at some point when we have embraced a black man with a white woman... Great Post!

  2. Jill's essay was well written and right on point. I'm going to share my thoughts and they're not meant to take away from the "wince". It's a real thing, a real pain and we're entitled to it.

    I wish more black women were open to dating inter-racially. I'm newly single. Was married to a black man for 14 years. I'm not dating now, but when I do, my options will not be limited to black men. Honestly, I'm not bashing the brothers, but so many of them are messed up in so many ways. And many are messed up about color. They clearly view white women as a prize and when the prize is the opposite of yourself, that speaks to something being wrong with you. Really sisters, we don't want these messed up men. We can't love them better. Let the white women have them.

    I think the real question is, why are our men so messed up? Why do they hate themselves so much?

    I think it goes back to those black women (single mamas mainly) that are raising them. What are we teaching them about who they are? About black women? What are we modeling? Is a black woman a loving person who comforts him beyond the crib or is she tired, grumpy, showing wear and tear in her emotions, communication, appearance? Does she emasculate him as she's raising him? Mama is the first black woman he meets, so I'm hard pressed to believe she is not a part of this problem. And I have watched my friends make some really bad mistakes with their sons. Clearly a few girlfriends is not an empirical study, but it's evidence that something is off. If a college educated, professional single mama can make a mess, what is the less educated single mother doing? Hmmmm...

    My son recently showed me a picture of a girl he is attracted to. She was so dark it shocked me. Not because there was anything wrong, just because amongst his peers, she would not be considered "the prize" (as we're trippin' on light skin too). But he's diggin' her and we don't get much darker. I was so proud. So proud that I (a mostly single mother, because my ex was absent when he was there) had managed to get something right in his head about color.

    Let me add among other things, my son was not allowed to watch music videos until he was about 15. I took control over the images he was allowed to see in our home. So he didn't have white girls and booty all in his face from the time he was five years old. He also wasn't allowed to listen to music with explicit lyrics that demeaned women. We can control some of that. We can control what's in our home. We can at least try. My son is a well adjusted, college bound young man, who believes that black is right. And best believe, I have no doubt that he will never bring a white girl home, because he is in love with the skin he's in.

    We need to focus on the next generation of brothers. We can fix this with our sons. But we also need to be careful about how we're raising our daughters. So many angry black women are raising angry crazy daughters. We're passing our emotions down to our girls and this isn't cool. Because a nice young black man dates her, she's a nut and then he dates another sister and she's a nut and then he's thinking, "What's wrong with black women?" This too is a part of the problem.

    Well, I've had my say. I'm not blaming the black women for this problem, but I do believe we are a part of it. The wince hurts, but let's move beyond the wince and start looking at our own sons and nephews and try to figure out how we can make it better for the next generation of sisters.

  3. Anonymous,

    I have this same conversation often with black men. Not to beat them down or anything, but, you are right - a black woman cannot fix them. And if she does embark on such a feat, oh, Woe unto her...she is definitely headed down a road of that is as crazy and mixed up as he is. I have witnessed it all too many times with friends and family.

    I agree that MOTHERS are the root problem for the black male. Someone once said, that "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the earth." This sentiment places a huge amount of control in a mother.

    Lastly, I applaud you for raising a black man who is "conscious" about the world in which he lives, but most importantly about "who he is." Kudos to you!!!

  4. To the lady who made the comment about her son. Your work is admirable and more mothers should do what u do. And not to negate what u said about the state of the black male. But, black women whom I know that date or are married to men other than their own race, find that their men have issues too. I guess it is just a matter of what one choses to deal with. I enjoyed your post.

  5. I like Ms. Scotts's statement. I am single and I wince all day long. I'm so sick of white women and our men.

    Interesting response from the poster. Like I said, I wince, but you're right, I don't know that some of this is not our fault. I always feel like it's the brothers, the brothers, but I do have some friends who I sometimes question about the parenting things. They always dismiss my concerns as invalid because I don't have children. I always think, I have common sense. Most of my friends have daughters and they let them in on too much about their no good boyfriends, so I can see that messing up the girls heads. And then the ones with sons aren't raising men. They're raising boys.

    I think the single parenting piece is a large part of it, but even in two parents households if a man hadn't been fathered he may not be worth much.

    I also think all men have issues: white, black, latino, asian, but true it depends on what you want to deal with. We may need to be more open. We are just outnumbering the brothers like crazy. I can't seem to get a white man to look my way. I'm not sure how I would handle it if one asked me on a date.

    This was a useful discussion. I wish I had the poster's email address. My sixteen year old niece needs to meet her son!

  6. Everything on the earth is the black woman's fault. I'm so sick of it.

  7. Dear anonymous,

    Does it make you feel better to suggest that some black men choose to be in relationships with white women because they are somehow flawed, rather than taking the more obvious view that those black men are sick to death of the arrogance of some black women. The kind of arrogance that Jill Scott is displaying in writing that article, for example


  8. I don't know why people are painting it as if Jill was condemning interracial dating. It sounds to me that she was simply admitting (not proudly) why it still hurts BW when they see BM with WW.. Well said, props to her for having the courage and strength to admit black women's insecurities -- what she and other BW fail to realize it that ALL RACES HAVE THESE INSECURITIES..

    Do you think us black men don't feel "the wince" to see ALL of our beautiful BW in the media (Halle, Zoe Saldana, Sanaa Lathan, Paula Patton, Stacey Dash etc.) with WM? My white friends (all of which date BW) admit to feeling the "the wince" when they see pretty WW with BM as well.. Its about personal insecurity NO MATTER WHAT RACE YOU ARE.

    The only difference is that BW have the LUXURY of scape-goating ALL of their PERSONAL issues on their male counterparts.. BW obnoxiously preach about their independence and strength -- yet uses the "well, black men do this... well, black men do that.." defense EVERY TIME. White, Asian, and Hispanic women do not have this luxury of not being responsible for your own character traits and emotions..

    Pretty American black women are so BOOSHIE and stuck-up they will date ANY white guy, but only date a black man if he is an Athlete or Entertainer or has some social status.. Black woman straighten, dye and put weave in their hair, then get mad when BM are attracted to WW and "sellout".. Only to high-five and applaud BW who sleep with WM do to pathetically ignorant hypocrisy and vengeful bitterness..

    PEOPLE OF ALL RACES FEEL THIS "WINCE." Its a personal issue about a lack of confidence in the way the opposite sex of your race views you. Why do BW need an excuse for it like with everything else? The "wince" is personal insecurity, a weak-minded character FLAW yet BW claim entitlement to it. They carry around this bitterness and hate (by choice) and wonder why black men don't want them "must be the man's fault"..

    BW don't realize THE WORLD (especially men) DOESN'T CARE wither your PERSONAL bitterness and insecurities are justified or not.. Wake up sistas. What real, honest, dignified, self-respecting, quality man OF ANY COLOR WOULD WANT AN INSECURE, SPITEFUL, BITTER, EXCUSE-MAKING WOMEN???

  9. Black men have been taught by the media to hate Black women. They are worthless and weak. I have no respect for these weak, stupid, ignorant thugs. This is why I no longer date Black men and now date inter-racially. The white women can have these idiots. I don't want them. With the exception of our president and a few others, Black men are losers. More black men are thugs, have aids, incarcerated, on the "down low" and do not take care of their out of wedlock kids. They are weak, and they are an embarrassment. All they seem to do is to talk about a black woman's hair and bad mouth black women. Hey black men, if you don't like the black woman's hair, then don't look at it you assholes. Go look in the mirror at your ugly ass black face and nappy ass hair, you stupid ass black man.

  10. Anonymous...

    What about BW who try really hard to be other ethnic groups. At every opportunity, they try so say they are part this and that. Ohh...I am part Native American, German, and so on. There are so many women who come from mixed ethnic groups. And it obvious. But if you look black, why try so hard to prove your are this and that? Why can't they just be happy being a BW. Does this go back to the insecurity of the our skin color? Why not say and identify with any of the African countries? That at least may be more plausible if your skin is as dark as they come. Having lighter skin does not make you more acceptable or more beautiful. Trying to hide who are also does not make you more appealing. Showing off that you have a WM for a husband does not make you better or hide the fact the he can or may be a scum bag, regardless if he is a WM or a BM.

  11. wow, truly beautiful and thought-provoking. it had a lot of feeling and emotion in it. as a hispanic woman with a black man, i have experienced a lot of racism and discrimination from black women on the basis of my relationship. i developed a tough skin and was unwilling to see from the other perspective.

    i'm not here to defend my relationship or say anything to offend anyone else.

    i think that people in interracial relationships that are truly committed and loving need to be open enough to hear from the other side. i know a lot of couples whether interracial, intercultural, white man-black woman, white woman-black man, or otherwise will come against some difficulties...

    but i DO strongly believe that there is value in hearing the opinion of others outside of you. it's all about tolerance and understanding.

    i want to reach out to jill scott, i may never know what it's like to be a black woman in america but as a hispanic i know what it's like to be a minority in america. although i'm happily married with a husband of my own i know that same wince feeling that comes from seeing an attractive hispanic male with a white woman.

    i will never know the black experience but seeing that my future daughters will be biracial and share in the african american experience. i DO want to be open and try to understand.

    thank you jill scott for a beautifully written article. very insightful, very emotional, and very well-put.

    lots of love to my beautiful black sisters, please keep in mind that not all interracial relationships are based on superficialities. there are those of us who truly love our men and admire african american culture. please realize that as WOMEN we are, in a sense, all in this together<3