Jill Scott is a Bigot or How to Misunderstand Racism

jill-scottBigotry and racism, they’re easy to understand, right?

A bigot is a person who is partial to their own group or way of thinking and intolerant of others. A racist is someone who believes that a person’s race is the primary deciding factor in their character, capabilities, and worth.

Sounds simple, yet it’s not.

Musicians and recent White House guests Jill Scott and Common have come under harsh criticism for comments they made in past interviews and songs. Both artists were personally invited by First Lady Michelle Obama to perform at the White House’s Poetry Night in early May 2011. And both artists have been called racists and bigots for their comments about interracial dating and marriage, particularly those involving black men and white women in the United States.

The criticisms of their comments, while well-meant, offer a perfect opportunity to show how racism and bigotry can be easily and boldly misunderstood when a person lacks proper background knowledge and experience.

First, the comments. Jill Scott comments in the April 2010 issue of Essence Magazine:

My new friend is handsome, African-American, intelligent and seemingly wealthy…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.’

And Common’s comments in an interview with Touch Magazine in 2005:

I don’t think there’s anything the matter with somebody loving somebody from another race but it’s almost like a stereotype that if you’ve got dreadlocks you go out with a white girl. I just feel like, as black men, we do have to be aware that every time we step out with some woman it’s setting an example for our daughters and it’s also representing something for our mothers. If you can’t really love your own, how can you really love others?

“My whole thing is that black women have been so put down – whether it’s due to the oppression of a white government or we [black men] putting our own women down. When dudes say they only gonna focus on white girls, to me, it’s like a slap in a black girl’s face. I still feel like because I’m an artist and I say certain things, I have a responsibility to let people know what I mean.”

Then, the criticism. Conservative blogger and journalist Patrick Courrielche’s response is typical:

“If [Jill Scott’s] words were put in the mouth of a Caucasian, the viewpoint would reek of bigotry.

Should Jill Scott and Common be uninvited to the White House Poetry event? At this point, probably not… But the First Lady should ask that Common and Jill Scott renounce their statements, and use the opportunity to help the black community see that many of their icons are big contributors to the racial divide that they so obviously abhor.”

What is wrong with the response of Patrick Courrielche and others? They assume that black Americans and white Americans are in equal positions in American society. That similar statements made by black and white people somehow have the same basic meaning and origin.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

rapper-common

Common, rapper and actor

Jill Scott and Common’s responses can not simply be dismissed as bigotry. Their feelings are a reaction to a larger truth about American society. In the United States, as in many other societies, women are judged primarily on their appearances. And as in many other societies, there is an unspoken beauty ideal concerning women.

This ideal largely favors a white –or whiter– appearance, in popular culture and greater society. Black American communities are affected by the greater American standard — the lightest and whitest women are preferred by men and in general. This doesn’t escape the attention of black women who tend to be the furthest from this perpetuated standard.

Jill Scott’s wince  wasn’t caused by bigotry or racism. It was caused by a reminder that even her “own” do not favor her, as a black woman. It was caused by a reminder that, whenever possible, someone else will be chosen.

This dynamic can not simply be reversed — the same can not be said by a white woman. A white American woman doesn’t live in a society where the women who are considered the most beautiful and marriageable are those who seem to be the furthest from white. Her wince (if she winced) would come from a completely different place.

Jill Scott and Common may or may not be correct in their views  and their feelings aren’t reflective of all black Americans’ views on interracial marriage. But calling their views bigoted and racist is missing the point, and America’s unique brand of discrimination, entirely.

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76 thoughts on “Jill Scott is a Bigot or How to Misunderstand Racism

  1. Maybe they just hate white people? It’s not impossible, Jill Scott seems like the type with a chip on her shoulder.

    Oh and didn’t common make statements about killing police? I can’t get behind a man like that at all. It was in the Swedish news papers..

  2. No, it’s not the same, and it it’s important to understand it. The power is not the same, the context is not the same. It’s just… Not the same.

    I don’t think they’re bigots, and I don’t think it’s the same as Kirsten Dunst and Brad Pitt saying those things; but I don’t like the fact they equate personal and collective level. That is a bad and a harmful thing to do, and belonging to an oppressed group doesn’t excuse them in that department.

    Nkosazana,

    I am against killings, but I can totally relate to someone’s hate for the police…

  3. Nkosazana,

    “Maybe they just hate white people? It’s not impossible”

    It’s possible, but I wouldn’t draw that conclusion solely based on their comments.

    Hate is a strong word and I definitely don’t think that black people who speak about or on race hate white people, although they tend to be assigned that label.

    “Oh and didn’t common make statements about killing police? I can’t get behind a man like that at all.”

    Well, not exactly. He more said that if they ever decide to do something out of place, he’s ready for them. He hasn’t killed any cops yet and doesn’t have some plan to, AFAIK. But that was also part of the reason people opposed his appearance at the White House.

    And like, Mira, I understand the sentiment. I don’t hate police, and there are many that are honorable, but the bad ones are very unlikeable. Nonetheless I don’t advocate killing cops, or Common’s comment.

  4. First-time commenter…finalllly (sorry this was a long comment:)

    Maybe I’m missing something, but the reason why I didn’t want Common at the poetry reading is the same reason why I don’t want any other rapper in the White House. Call him a “lyricst”, say he’s not as “offensive” as other rappers, complain that other genres of music are offensive, etc. I said in one of my posts:

    I’m not in the business of defending hip-hop and rap’s glorification of violence and misogyny as a valid form of expression.

    And there is clear evidence of that in his “music” and in his interviews. I don’t blame Common for being at the White House. I blame the First Lady and whoever else thought it would be a good idea to invite rappers to the event. This reminds me of when the President names musicians on his iPod and repeatedly names Jay-Z. I just cringe. Really?? You have little black girls and you are bragging about him being in your playlist?? Le Sigh….

    As for Jill Scott…?

    I’m just going to sit back and watch what happens when black women like Erykah Badu and Jill Scott finally finally realize all their sista soldiering and bm coddling efforts were a waste of time.

    Translation: They KANGS ain’t coming home.

    I wouldn’t have cared about all this wincing nonsense if it hadn’t been for the fact that Ms. Scott was on LIVE tv (CNN) saying this mess. Not only did she insinuated that all black women were ‘wincing’ along with her….bleh.

    But what’s truly sad about this mess is the amount of attention it’s gotten. I hope black women are paying attention to all the press Common is getting. Do bw ever get the kind of attention and support that Common and other bm who have been “done wrong” recieve? Shirley Sherrod DIDN’T even get this kind of support before and after she was thrown under the bus by the White House and the NAACP. But look how both these groups rush to the defense of the “lyricist”. Like I said, I just hope bw are paying attention…

  5. Mira,

    “I don’t think they’re bigots…but I don’t like the fact they equate personal and collective level.”

    Normally, I’d agree completely.

    But in this case, the personal intersects with the collective. Yes, a person’s relationship is a personal choice but we all know that people are greatly affected by their society. I don’t know if you can really 100 percent separate the personal from the collective, when it comes to this topic.

  6. No, you can’t separate them- but you must try your best. If nothing else, you should NOT encourage it, like Jill and Common seem to do.

    I know what I’m talking about. I’ve seen it happen, over and over again, in my culture. It’s harmful.

    Still, it has nothing to do with the main subject of the post, so I won’t want to ruin the topic.

  7. BWLivingWell,

    “First-time commenter…finalllly (sorry this was a long comment:)”

    Well, well, well. Look who we have here. You’ve finally decided to join us. Welcome. 🙂

    I can’t say I’m surprised this article brought you out of the woodwork… Here are your cookies.

    And longer comments are fine. Actually, I prefer them — more for me to dissect.

    To your comment:

    I must say, I do like Common. Not overly so, and some of his lyrics are becoming rather… interesting. But he is from Chicago after all, and there are few things I dislike from Chicago (Dwayne Wade being one of them). No doubt he can be misogynist, very much so, but he also has some helpful messages. And he did “clean it up” for the White House — I liked his performance a lot.

    I’m with you on Jill Scott’s comments. I do understand what she means, definitely. But she doesn’t speak for every black woman, so she shouldn’t try to present her views as “we black women”.

    Jill Scott got attention and support from liberal groups. I was just reading an article by a writer who defended her… and Shirley Sherrod. I’ll link it for you if you want to read it.

  8. Miss Alee,

    Although there is much truth in your post that white women would not be coming from the same place if they made the same comments Madame Scott did, I ultimately believe the issue is letting others define you. Although I am not attractive, I don’t buy into the notion that white women are more attractive by virtue of their whiteness. Since I’m not hung up on that, I don’t trip when I see a brotha with a white girl. And I’ve seen non-black men with black women (and actually been APPROACHED myself on occasion), so I know that we black women in the collective are not seen as completely without allure.

  9. Mira,

    “No, you can’t separate them- but you must try your best. If nothing else, you should NOT encourage it, like Jill and Common seem to do.”

    I don’t know if they are encouraging it, well, Jill Scott isn’t. It’s just their views. Common is a “conscious” rapper so he’s all about becoming more aware of your society and your place in it.

    “Still, it has nothing to do with the main subject of the post.”

    It has everything to do with the post!

    Speak on. 🙂

  10. Sherry,

    You don’t have to buy into the notion that white women are more attractive than other women to feel the “wince”. I don’t think Jill Scott, or any black woman who feels similarly does buy into that notion (after all studies demonstrate black women in America tend to have very high self-esteem). They just know that is the idea upheld in American society and they feel ill at ease with their own upholding it.

    The root issue is with being too tied to race as a concept and the opposite gender of your race. Although I cover many racial topics, at the end of the day I do believe people (black people, in particular) should loosen those bonds, wherever they are only pulling them down.

  11. Interesting topic.

    People who’ve read my comments before know this, but for the record I’ll say again, I don’t care when Black women prefer Black men, say “nothing but a Black man”, etc. To each her own, and there’s historical reasons for it. I do roll my eyes at the subset of the aforementioned women who complain about not getting any Black men, because that’s rule number 1 of relationships: it takes 2 to tango. Jill Scott can talk about her “wince” all she wants; it’s her generalizing the all Black women that’s eyeroll-worthy, and if I were her male “friend” I’d be insulted that she thought me to be so shallow (though at the same time, I doubt they’re true friends, since most people seem to have an idea of their friends’ relationship statuses–I doubt he just picked up this chick on the street and married her the next week).

    I too love all things Chicago (:-P), and as a native I wouldn’t be surprised if Common’s viewpoint is a result of how IR plays out in Chicago. Again as I’ve mentioned before, there’s this weird fetishization of light-skinned women (generally Black and Latina) coupled with a swearing-off of White girls. Some Chicago males are completely bought into the “light is right” mentality, but they seem to feel like as long as she’s not White it doesn’t really count.

  12. Jasmin,

    I agree with you re: Jill Scott and other “wincing” black women. I understand them, and they’re free to wince, but they should understand they don’t speak for all black women.

    She said the friend was a new friend, so that’s probably why she didn’t know about his marriage.

    “I too love all things Chicago (:-P)”

    😀

    “…as a native I wouldn’t be surprised if Common’s viewpoint is a result of how IR plays out in Chicago. As I’ve mentioned before, there’s this weird fetishization of light-skinned women (generally Black and Latina) coupled with a swearing-off of White girls.”

    A-ha. I’ve noted that about black guys from around that region (Illinois, Ohio, Penn, etc). I’ve also noticed it goes to some of the lighter womens’ heads…

    But that’s a bit how it is in my hometown — the black men act like light and/or mixed women are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Latinas are particular favorite. The only part that doesn’t fit is the swearing off white girls” part… it’s not that they have anything against them, but whites and blacks just never really date each other there. No matter how open they are to each other when it comes to friendship, business, etc.

  13. I don’t know if they are encouraging it, well, Jill Scott isn’t. It’s just their views. Common is a “conscious” rapper so he’s all about becoming more aware of your society and your place in it.

    You’re right, “encourage” might not be the right word. But they make it clear it’s how they think (note they don’t say: “black women”, they say “we/our women”. That’s an important clue). I think in these matters, if you want to separate collective from the individual, the first thing is to stop using “we”.

    It has everything to do with the post!

    Speak on. 🙂

    It is on topic, but it’s also topic shifting into another direction. You wrote a post on why you think they’re not bigots, and why black people saying this stuff is not the same as whites saying it. So I think it would be offensive to say: “yes, you’re right, it’s not the same, but look, they are still doing this bad thing!” Which I did, but I don’t want to go into it, because it’s not the most important here. I do agree it’s not the same thing when blacks and whites say it.

  14. Alright, this seals the deal. No black men from these places where BM have a fetish for light skinned people like her (most of the places in the world >.<)

    Not sure if I'd let her go off to college in the states like so many Swedes do when she gets older with all of this going on..

    And really wince? If some Black men are so obsessed with skin color then maybe those men ain't the ones to be around anyway. What kind of weak minded **** is that anyhow..

  15. A-ha. I’ve noted that about black guys from around that region (Illinois, Ohio, Penn, etc). I’ve also noticed it goes to some of the lighter womens’ heads…

    Yes and yes. It can’t be all of them, obviously, and I’m hesitant to generalize because I never had a problem attracting Black guys, and the most popular girls in the schools I went to growing up were always dark-skinned, but I feel that attitude has gotten more prevalent in the last 10 years or so (possible with the increasing popularity of rap music videos). And I’ve known some women (smart women) who never seemed to think something was wrong when every guy who dated them had something creepy to say about their “lightskinnedededness”.

  16. “Jill Scott’s wince wasn’t caused by bigotry or racism. It was caused by a reminder that even her “own” do not favor her, as a black woman. It was caused by a reminder that, whenever possible, someone else will be chosen.”

    What an apt description of Jill Scott’s comments.
    I find the charges made by the conservatives to be disingenuous. These are the same people questioning Obama’s birth certificate.

  17. Mira,

    ‘they make it clear it’s how they think (note they don’t say: “black women”, they say “we/our women”. That’s an important clue). I think in these matters, if you want to separate collective from the individual, the first thing is to stop using “we”.’

    Yes. And there is something off about them using the word “we” to describe their personal sentiments. Jill Scott’s whole comment, and her follow-up explanation was all “we” and I was thinking, “We?… No, you, Jill.”

    “It is on topic, but it’s also topic shifting into another direction.”

    Well, not so much, as long as you address the personal vs. collective dynamic on the topic of this post. If you disagree with the way they voiced their concerns because it intertwines the personal with the collective, then that’s on topic.

  18. Nk0sazana,

    “Alright, this seals the deal. No black men from these places where BM have a fetish for light skinned people like [my daughter] (most of the places in the world >.<)"

    Colorism is an issue but a person doesn’t have to involve themselves in it if they don’t want to. They just have to recognize when a guy is overly focused on their skin tone… it’s usually not hard to figure out, if you’re even somewhat conscious of these things.

    “And really wince? If some Black men are so obsessed with skin color then maybe those men ain’t the ones to be around anyway. What kind of weak minded **** is that anyhow..”

    Right. And small groups of people have been saying that for years. But many black women still act, and think, as if they are joined at the hip with black men. They simply don’t think of other men as potential mates. Then they complain about their being so few [black] men, the [black] men not wanting them, etc.

  19. Jasmin,

    ‘I’ve known some women (smart women) who never seemed to think something was wrong when every guy who dated them had something creepy to say about their “lightskinnedededness”. ‘

    IME, some of these women know, and just don’t care because colorism works to their advantage. Others also know but aren’t very socially conscious so they say, “People like what they like!” and “Everyone has their preferences!”. : /

    SS,

    “What an apt description of Jill Scott’s comments.
    I find the charges made by the conservatives to be disingenuous. These are the same people questioning Obama’s birth certificate.”

    Thanks.

    Yes, these are a lot of the same people who give both of the Obamas trouble about supposedly not being American enough. And it’s also the same people who say, “Why does Obama call himself black? He’s not black!”… Ummm, yeah. Sure.

  20. I find that these conservative types (not all, just these particular ones) are annoyed by the fact that they have been rightfully been called out for past racist statements, so they relish the opportunity to call out a black person, in particular, for anything that might seem to have the appearance of racism.

    In the Jill Scott and Common cases, it’s like a, “gotcha,” moment.

    Except it doesn’t work like that. Every group has intraethnic or intraracial issues that are not meant to be dissected by outside groups. Whether I agree with Jill and Common or not (I’ll save that for another post), they were talking to an INTERNAL audience. Essence Magazine is geared toward black women. I don’t know about Touch Magazine, but I don’t get the sense its targeted at a general audience.

    Jewish folks have discussions about intermarriage all the time. I know of some Jewish matchmakers who will ONLY work to match Jews. I’m cool with that… I understand why they want to do that and don’t take offense to it (even though I woulda dated Jewish guys on my own, lol). Every ethnic/racial/religious group worries about “marrying out” to some degree, especially when the levels of outmarriage are not gender balanced and appear to be based on an idealization of white WASPness.

    Anyway, I agree. Neither one of them are being racists with those comments.

  21. Bunny, great response. 🙂

    “I find that these conservative types (not all, just these particular ones) are annoyed by the fact that they have been rightfully been called out for past racist statements, so they relish the opportunity to call out a black person, in particular, for anything that might seem to have the appearance of racism.”

    Bingo.

    That is very apparent in the way they address this issue and other racial issues. They take on a holier-than-thou, “Who said only white people can be racist?” attitude. But I just wanted to respond to their criticisms and not their motivations.

    “Every group has intraethnic or intraracial issues that are not meant to be dissected by outside groups. Whether I agree with Jill and Common or not (I’ll save that for another post), they were talking to an INTERNAL audience.”

    Right, again. I’m not a proponent of, “You have to be X to understand X’s issues”. But sometimes with race that applies. This is one of those times.

    I don’t know if a non-black person (or maybe even most black men) could understand what Jill and Common are feeling. Some can understand it on an intellectual level, as some liberal commentators have shown in their responses. But I doubt they could put themselves in the situation and feel the “wince”, for example.

    “Essence Magazine is geared toward black women. I don’t know about Touch Magazine, but I don’t get the sense its targeted at a general audience.”

    Touch Magazine has since closed down so I couldn’t provide a link to the main site. But yes, Touch was a British-based publication about black culture –mainly lifestyle and music– and marketed to a black audience; men and women. So when Common made those comments, he knew who would be reading.

    Re: Jewish intermarriage

    It’s funny that you brought that up because I was reading an article about that last year, around the time Chelsea Clinton was set to be married to her Jewish husband Marc Mezvinksy.

    The author of the article was a Jewish woman and she wrote about their marriage and how it’s part of a troubling, wider trend of Jews to outmarry (nearly half marry a non-Jew). She wrote about the erosion of their religion and culture that has been shown by studies to be a likely result. Her presentation was superb. And most of the commenters, who were also Jewish, agreed it was an issue. But one lady, a non-Jewish white American who was married to a Jewish-American man, vehemently disagreed and wrote a response on her blog.

    The woman responded the way critics are responding to Jill Scott and Common now. She said the Jewish woman was narrow-minded and bigoted, and that people like her are holding others back and getting in the way of love. At the time I thought, ” 😕 This is not ‘your’ issue; it doesn’t affect your group. Of course you don’t understand.” This blog wasn’t around then, or I would have written a response to her response… Luckily, she was eventually called out by the Jewish writer and readers. But even so, she still stuck to her guns and didn’t understand where her analysis was lacking.

  22. But I doubt they could put themselves in the situation and feel the “wince”, for example.

    Oh I can understand, the black men here might not be running off in large numbers (cept for Tokyo Sexwale) and because they are mostly poor while whites are richer, but I get it when people don’t want other people to date outside their “Race” or “Culture” and especially because BM value “whiteness” over real black women.

    I just don’t care enough about BM dating WW for whatever reason not to make a comment at all in the media. I’m not needy enough for BMs attention, I might scorn them for their reasons for doing that, but if BM finds me ugly for my skin then I’ll grab me another man who finds me beautiful. So they can have their little fetish, as along as they don’t come near my family with it.

    And if that Jewish woman dislike inter-cultural marriages and are concerned about that preserving the Jewish culture, then maybe she should move to Israel, I hear they have a very nice apartheid like system over there with group areas acts and papers. Limits the contact with non jews. But as you say its not my issue lol.

    Can’t expect your culture to stay the same in a modern society with influences from all over the world..

  23. Nkosazana,

    “Oh I can understand”

    I know you can… you’re black. 😉
    White fetishization and colorism are not only issues with blacks in America, but in other countries with a sizable number of whites and blacks and/or countries with a heavy Euro influence (e.g. countries that were colonized for a long period). The Caribbean and the UK, for example, from what I’ve personally experienced, read, and been told from natives.

    “I just don’t care enough about BM dating WW for whatever reason not to make a comment at all in the media.”

    I don’t care on a personal level, but I care about it in the sense that I care about all social trends — as something to observe and discuss. But its noteworthy that both Jill Scott and Common are from areas with large black populations and long histories of race activism (Philadelphia and Chicago, respectively). So it’s expected that they’d be more racially conscious.

    “And if that Jewish woman dislike inter-cultural marriages and are concerned about that preserving the Jewish culture, then maybe she should move to Israel”

    Yup… It’s not your issue. 🙂

    “Can’t expect your culture to stay the same in a modern society with influences from all over the world..”

    I don’t think it’s expected that the culture stays the same. Living in the U.S., they realize there is going to be a bit of Americanization with future generations. But they don’t want it to die out almost completely. It’s been shown that Jewish people who intermarry are less likely to raise their children as Jewish only, so that affects their (already small) numbers in the U.S.

    …This would be a good time for Zek (and/or Jasmin) to offer their views since both the subject of black interracial marriage and this tangent about Jew intermarriage affects them.

  24. Z left for school (he has a test), and I’m about to hit the train for work, but we’ll comment soon! 🙂

    (It’s Jasmin, commenting as him.)

  25. Ha, okay Jasmin. I was thinking you were Zek when I clicked to read the comment. I thought, “Well, that was quick!” 🙂

  26. Alee, I read a few commentaries as well from Jewish women about Chelsea Clinton’s marriage. I knew her husband was Jewish, but that fact didn’t really mean much to me. I was more interested in seeing what dress she would wear and hearing about wedding details and such (especially with my wedding being just three months away, at that point).

    BUT, it was interesting to stumble onto the perspectives that came from Jewish women about the issue, because the intermarriage thing never would have crossed my mind.

    Also, I can still support IR dating (and interfaith/interrethnic dating) while still understanding “legitimate” concerns some members of the minority group involved might have about it. I say legitimate in quotes because it’s a very tricky subject to appear to object to inter-whatever relationships, but I think if one looks at the entire context of the objection, a reasonable person should at least be able to understand the point. To simply say, “Oh grow up, people should date and marry who they want,” can put one in the league of the Fox News crowd that takes on that holier-than-thou attitude.

    Now alla that being said… lol… while Jill may be justified with some of her “wincing,” she does not speak for all black women and I think BW really are not helping their general cause with all this public, uh, “wincing.”

  27. Hmm… when I read this post I was originally thinking of doing my own blog post on the subject, because while I agree with the sentiment expressed by Jill Scott and Common (because frankly, they’re nothing uncommon to Jews like my grandmother who want the younger generations to date Jews only, even if they’re not, strictly speaking, White Jews which are the most common Jewish demographic in America) but I do kind of have a moment of defiance towards what they actually said.

    For Jill Scott to wince when she sees a Black man with a White woman is in the practical reality of that couple no better than when a White person winces at them. It still hurts, and it still makes you feel like zoo animals, or some freak-show. For Common to NOTORIOUSLY decry dating White women seriously, yet hold the double-standard that they are “okay” for f*cking seems misogynistic at best, even though scores of men have held the same attitude regarding Black women. His comments reflect our history and his upbringing, but they don’t do a lot except to get everyone’s panties in a bunch. And per his comment about self-love, I can only shake my head because it seems like he never considered the possibility that you can love a White person and still love yourself.

    I’ll finish this up after my test with a comment regarding Jewish intermarriage, and specifically the large number of Jewish people who date Black people. (I think we’re possibly the largest demographic among White people that do.)

    Catch ya’ll ina bit!

  28. Bunny,

    “I was more interested in seeing what dress she would wear and hearing about wedding details and such”

    Lol. You’re like my sister — she’s getting all these wedding books and searching for the perfect dress. And she’s not even engaged yet! 🙂

    “I can still support IR dating (and interfaith/interrethnic dating) while still understanding “legitimate” concerns some members of the minority group involved might have about it.’

    Same. I do support interdating all of sorts. Very much. But I also understand those people with real concerns about effects it may have.

    “Now alla that being said… lol… while Jill may be justified with some of her “wincing,” she does not speak for all black women and I think BW really are not helping their general cause with all this public, uh, “wincing.”

    Lol @ “alla”.

    And that was the issue I initially had with Jill’s comments. She used the word “we” and attempted to use her platform to speak for all black women. And I think the “wince” is something that black women could probably do without telling the whole world about, and instead deal with personally or in their groups. Shouting it from mountaintops just reinforces attitudes about black women in general that are possibly incorrect.

    Essentially my whole problem with Jill’s comments come down to, “don’t speak for me” — implicitly or explicitly.

  29. Oh ok, here it is. I’m making Swedish cookies that I learned from my mother in law for my brothers children or I would have reposted it quickly..

    Oh I thought this blog entry was interesting about Common Alee.

    Link

    “I learned about the Bible through hip-hop. I learned about … uplifting black women. I started changing my way of thinking because of hip-hop.”

    Now go back and listen to Common’s “Poke Her Face” again folks- are you seeing the Biblical references and the “uplifting” of Black women? Dontcha feel uplifted listening to Common?

    I have to say I giggle a bit when I read that.

  30. Zek,

    You should write your own post if you’re so inclined. I probably wouldn’t be able to read it immediately since you’re on Blogger, but I’ll read it eventually. I wasn’t going to cover this situation at first because I’m too fond of “news-y” topics, but the responses to Jill and Common were just utter failures.

    “For Jill Scott to wince when she sees a Black man with a White woman is in the practical reality of that couple no better than when a White person winces at them.”

    Hmmm… I disagree.

    For one, because Jill’s wince was an inward one — not one that showed on her face (She said her face read, “Happy for you”). So he didn’t know she was wincing, thus he couldn’t be hurt by it.

    Also, because in my experience as part of an interracial pairing, reactions from various groups well… vary, and my own reaction to them varied. A black man giving me the side-eye vs. a white woman vs. an Asian woman mean different things. (Even though I’m not hurt by any of them.) There is a definite difference between the way I interpret a look from a white person vs. a black person.

    And I think you’ll have to, eventually, get over the “circus animal” feeling if you’re going to last in an interracial relationship. Maybe you just stop noticing or caring, but if you’re going to be bothered by every person who looks to long, you’re going to be one bothered person.

    About Common’s comment about sexing vs. dating or marrying… Yes, that made my eyebrow arch too. Misogyny is not good, no matter where you’re coming from. But zek, “scores of men”? Well, that’s… blunt.

    “And per his comment about self-love, I can only shake my head because it seems like he never considered the possibility that you can love a White person and still love yourself.”

    Yes, I think he tripped up on that one. And contradicted himself. Initially he said, I don’t think there’s anything the matter with somebody loving somebody from another race”. Then he later said, “I disagree with [mixed relationships]. It’s a lack of self-love. It’s a problem.”

    Which one is it? I think he isn’t too sure himself. He’s struggling with trying not to view all interracial relationships as a result of self-hate (since many are not) because he’s had experiences with those that were.

  31. Nkosazana, thanks 🙂

    I understand what the writer means and I agree to an extent. A rapper being “conscious” doesn’t mean their actions are any different from a “regular” rapper’s, in real time. However, I try to look at all that a person has done. And I can’t say that Common’s contributions are disproportionately negative (although a good chunk are detrimental). But even in his music, there is “good” — “Come Close” and “bad” — the following song…

    The writer says:

    ‘Now go back and listen to Common’s “Poke Her Face” again folks- are you seeing the Biblical references and the “uplifting” of Black women? Dontcha feel uplifted listening to Common?’

    “Poke Her Face” was a shameful moment in the histories of Kanye West, Common, and Chicago. It was one of those times I got to the point of, “Okay, I’m done with both of these Chi-town clowns”. Oh, how the mighty have fallen…

    I respect anyone’s choice not to support him and his music. I certainly don’t, at least not monetarily.

  32. Well, I guess Jill and Common are not the only ones who need to separate the personal and collective. We (and here I mean: “the audience”) need to do it, too.

    So. What Jill and Common said can be taken on both levels, but please people (I’m not addressing this to anybody in particular here): make a difference between personal and collective! You might or might not like what Jill and Common said. You might think they are unpleasant people, or whatever. You might support interracial marriage and dislike their attitude towards it (I know I wince whenever I see someone talking against mixed relationships, no matter whether they’re interracial, interfaith or whatever). But hey, it’s just a personal level. None of us wants to date Jill or Common, and we’re not their friends and family, so what they think will not cause problems in our relationships.

    So let’s forget about them as individuals and see what they say. Whatever they say (in this matter), is simply NOT THE SAME as a white person saying this stuff. It might be justified and understandable. It might not be. But it’s sure not the same, because the context can’t be the same. Does that mean all blacks are good people? No. Does that mean blacks can’t be hateful? Of course not. But implying it’s the same thing shows basic misunderstanding of the dynamics.

    Stating this difference doesn’t mean to give Jill or Common a pass where you wouldn’t to John Mayer.

    I am not a black woman so I don’t know how black women feel, though I do think talking about the issues with the “outsiders” (be it race or anything else) is a good thing. But you don’t have to be a black woman to understand the dynamics at play is not the same.

  33. For one, because Jill’s wince was an inward one — not one that showed on her face (She said her face read, “Happy for you”). So he didn’t know she was wincing, thus he couldn’t be hurt by it.

    Fair enough. But is her wince really inward? I mean, she did publish an article documenting said wince, and thus it seems less like self-reflectance and more like talking behind someone’s back while you pretend to be happy for them.

    I would agree that if you’re going to be bothered by anyone wincing in your general direction of your interracial relationship, then likely you’ll be an unhappy person no matter what. I know Jasmin and I turned the whole thing into a game, but nowadays it hardly registers. My point was more that when it comes to daily living, a Black woman’s wince is going to affect me/us/some random interracial couple the same way as a White guy’s wince, because to me I feel like a wince is a wince. (Is a wince.)

    Which is where the disagree comes in again, hehe. I would say anyone’s side-eye, whether they’re a Black man or an Asian woman means the same thing in practicality where I can’t really tell what they’re thinking — only guesstimate based on experience, and more likely my preconceptions. But that aside, I think it’s only fair to give equal weight to people’s reactions even based on race, because otherwise I feel like I’m creating a double-standard in my mind where one person’s potential for offensiveness is worse than another’s. It just doesn’t sit right with me.

    About Common’s comment about sexing vs. dating or marrying… Yes, that made my eyebrow arch too. Misogyny is not good, no matter where you’re coming from. But zek, “scores of men”? Well, that’s… blunt.

    Haha, true, I might have phrased it better. However my point stands: Common is inverting a racist misogynistic stereotype, which is interesting since such things don’t often happen in America, but it’s still demeaning to women (as a gender) and to White women specifically. (Not that White women are exactly falling all over themselves in pain because of Common’s solitary voice decrying their place on the pedestal. I realize the context even as I notice the prejudice.)

    I guess in the end, I feel that what they said was wrong, but I can’t exactly blame them for saying it because when I take a hard look at America I can see why they feel the way that they do.

    Anyhoo, moving on to Jewish intermarriage! In Jewish life, intermarriage is a tricky subject because due to Halacha (Jewish) law, “Jewishness” is passed along the mother’s line. So Jewish women may practice exogamy (marriage outside the culture) whereas Jewish men are pressured only to be endogamous (marry inside the culture). Yet most Jews in America are secular, meaning their religion is more on the basis of culture and ancestry rather than actual practice of beliefs. For all intents and purposes, most American Jews are White, and it’s only when people focus on their being Jewish that you can see the differences. (Yes, that includes me. Bleh.)

    But Jews do tend to marry interracially at disproportionately high rates, particularly with regard to Asian and Black women. (The former is actually common enough to be a stereotype — Jewish guys always going after Asian girls.) Now the reasons for this vary by gender, since Jewish women are free to date whoever and still feel fine that they’re gonna have Jewish babies. Jewish men who date interracially tend to be secular, and since most American Jews are secular, the vast majority of interracial dating among Jews seems to occur in America to me.

    However, I can’t say for certain how Jews of Color view the topic. Probably a lot differently.

    Either way, the attempt to maintain Jewishness by marrying in seems lame at best, because most Jews barely practice the religion anymore anyways. (It’s something of a problem the Jewish community is constantly bemoaning.) They take it for granted like most Christians, with a brief acknowledgement but not much else, and then go back to being American. I feel the same way about any kind of inter-whatever relationship. If your primary concern is continuing the tradition of your people, then you’re basically making the assumption that marrying another person makes someone an apostate, when in fact a person can hold multiple identities simultaneously and honor each of them. (Just look at people who are mixed, or people who are inter-faith, or people who are transnational, immigrants, etc.)

  34. I’m late to the party (long story about work…sigh), but for the record, me and Z’s kids will be both Jewish and Christian, but mostly Jewish. We’re both pretty secular (he’s a Reconstructionist, I’m non-denominational), though I think I’m more likely to go to services than he is (I don’t go to church out here, mainly because there aren’t any churches like my home church nearby), but he’s done more religious rituals than I have (he went to Hebrew school and had a bar mitzvah; I haven’t been baptized). Our kids will go to church and temple (probably church more often, since you have to pay to go to temple), they’ll go to Hebrew school, and they’ll have bar/bat mitzvahs. They’ll also celebrate Christmas and Easter, but I don’t know about Jewish holidays. (Not that I’m against celebrating them, but Z doesn’t–maybe just Hanukkah.)

    Z seems to have a slight aversion to hanging out with other Jews (not like we really know any, anyway)–he says that in a group they’ll try to “out-Jew” each other, and I can see how that can get annoying. The odds were always against him marrying a Jewish woman, based on his dating history, but I don’t think his parents/grandmother care much. (Maybe his grandmother a little bit, but she’s dated non-Jewish guys, and his dad isn’t very religious at all, so it’s no big deal.)

  35. hmmmmm.

    Whats funny is where I’m from, in high school and college, about 95% of all the hot black girls would not date white guys or black guys who acted “white”. So I completely understand when well to do black guys choose not to date black girls, because from their life experiences they know that there’s a high probability that she’ll cheat on him for a “real” black guy with “swagger”.

    I’m not saying that most black girls go for this kind of guy, but where I’m from 95% of the hot ones do. And of those remaining 5%, probably at least half of them have given up on black guys altogether and only date interracialy. So that leaves about 2.5% of all hot black girls available, very slim odds. Therefore I can understand when the minority of hot black girls get upset real high quality black guys won’t date them, and then you have all the fugly ones who think the reason the black guy won’t date them is because their not white, when really its just because their grossly overweight.

    One of my black friends with a college degree, well paying job, owns his own home, is in very good shape, (also handsome from what I’m told) says he could never picture himself marrying a non-black girl, but the only black girls he can get are pretty ugly ones. None of the good looking ones want him. However, he can score a completely beautiful white woman with ease. Guess who hes going to choose to focus on? And he’s mad at me because I’m dating a hot black girl, he wonders why they all turn him down haha. I told him he better get used to the idea of marrying a white girl, but he says his mom would disown him lol.

  36. Jasmin

    Oy vey, putting our business in the street, haha.

    But I’m not actively religious at this point in my life because I’m frankly too busy to be. Practicing Judaism is a luxury in a Christian society because if I really took time off for temple services (that I’d have to pay for if I wanted to go long-term) I’d miss Friday nights and Saturday mornings every time. Notably, I host an open-mic on Friday nights, so there’s another reason.

    And taking time off for the many holidays would be difficult and impractical too. I prefer to practice my religion spiritually, in private, on my schedule. I study Judaism still, on a regular basis, but it’s rarely in the confines or strictures of mainstream Judaism and the synagogue.

    However, for kids (when we get around to having some WAAAAAAY in the future) I’d be more than willing to make the necessary sacrifices to my daily life so that they can get the same religious education I got — Hebrew school, Yiddish/Hebrew lessons, a Bat/Bar’Mitzvah, going to services, celebrating the major holidays, etc. These things are important, and in a way you could say I’m Jewish like my family; we’re religious with the children and to other people, but in our regular lives we tend to emphasize it a lot less.

    A certainly I want to make sure the kids feel Jewish because they won’t be considered Jewish by Conservative and Orthodox Jews since Jasmin isn’t Jewish. I mean, I doubt it’ll be a regular problem since obviously I wouldn’t go to any temple that wasn’t Reform/Reconstructionist, but it never hurts to prepare in advance.

    And then when they’re all growned up, I can go back to being lazy and private ; )

  37. Lol. I don’t really know what to do with my kids, You’re lucky Jasmin that both of your culture are so near you..

    I’ve been looking into it and I have found that there’s scouts for well off Zulu kids (for boys of course a womans place is not in the bush) and I’m thinking about sending my boy down during the summers to spend time with my family and go out and do traditional Zulu stuff with those scouts, I think they learn how to fight traditionally as well and that’s something young boys would like I think. I got to find something for my daughter as well. Maybe dancing and beadwork? I thought beadwork was fun when I was little.

    I think if anyone will question my sons blackness just because hes blond are going to get a surprise at how much he will be connected to his african part.

  38. Mira,

    “Well, I guess Jill and Common are not the only ones who need to separate the personal and collective. We (and here I mean: “the audience”) need to do it, too.”

    But, like I said, they are not easily separable in this case. What Jill Scott or other black women say and do can affect others’ personal relationships. I’ve had numerous white guys say to me, “Well, [insert celebrity black woman/man] says black women don’t like white men. And I never see black women with white men. So I always thought they didn’t like us.”

    It’s short-sighted, in America especially, to think that one or two people’s opinions don’t affect their perceived group on a wide-scale. It most certainly can, especially if they have a loudspeaker to voice these opinions (TV, magazines, radio, etc).

    “I am not a black woman so I don’t know how black women feel, though I do think talking about the issues with the “outsiders” (be it race or anything else) is a good thing.”

    Discussing is different from judging. What Bunny and I were saying is that outsiders (especially ill-informed outsiders) should probably not do the latter. How the critics responded to Jill Scott and Common’s comments was, “No, you’re wrong. STFU.”

    …That’s not a discussion.

  39. Zek,

    “Fair enough. But is her wince really inward? I mean, she did publish an article documenting said wince”

    Well, it was initially inward. But then she decided to discuss it in Essence and on CNN, making it very outward. However, any other black women’s inward wince would be just that.

    “most American Jews are White, and it’s only when people focus on their being Jewish that you can see the differences. (Yes, that includes me. Bleh.)”

    Yes, based on my vast experience with them, I’d say this is true. Few of the Jewish people I’ve known strike me as being very different from non-Jewish white people in… anything. Older Jewish people, yes, but not the ones my age.

    But that just reinforces the idea that Jewish religion and culture might be disappearing. I doubt intermarrying is helping matters.

    “But Jews do tend to marry interracially at disproportionately high rates, particularly with regard to Asian and Black women. (The former is actually common enough to be a stereotype — Jewish guys always going after Asian girls.)”

    It is a stereotype…

    But the latter might be as well… this girl would always ask me if I dated Jewish men or if Jewish men asked me out a lot. I said no, because only one of the white men I’ve dated has been Jewish. I wondered why she kept asking that until I noticed that Jewish men do seem to be very open to interracial dating.

    @ Jasmin

    You two seem to be very devoted to continuing Jewish practices with your (future) kids. I wonder if many other interracial/cultural couples are like you two… I doubt they are. The evidence says otherwise.

  40. that guy,

    You just pulled out that tired meme:

    “Black Women Only Want Thugs/ ‘Swagger’ ”

    I have to call BS on this. I mean, that is BS — you have to know. If you’re talking about black girls in school, I agree (many girls like “bad boys” — that has little to do with race). But not black women.

    Jill Scott is not a black girl. I doubt she would turn down a guy because he didn’t have enough “swagger”. In fact, her former fiance didn’t seem to have much “swagger” at all.
    Michelle Obama is not a black girl. She didn’t say, “Ewww, no way” because Barack didn’t wear baggy pants and had “no Negro dialect”.

    They are black women.

    Only black girls, in chronological or mental age, look for guys with “swagger” and overlook the “normal” guys. You’re not going to tell me you think the overwhelming majority of black women are mentally childish?

    Please note that we’re not talking about black Nice Guys ™ or black Embarrassingly Nerdy Guys here. Those sorts of guys won’t have much success with women, in general. Usually when I hear the “black women don’t want me, they only want the thugs” from a black guy, he solidly falls into either or both of those categories. Just being honest here.

    A “normal”, successful black guy who isn’t one of those two won’t have difficulty with black women. Those types are snatched up quickly — they are known as IBMs (Ideal Black Men), and every other black woman is dying to marry them. Including beautiful, successful in their own right, black women; I know a ton of them.

    But if a rich, black Nice Guy™ or rich, black Embarrassingly Nerdy Guy only has success with white women, shouldn’t he ask himself why? Is it him they like or is it… something else? I’m just putting that out there — studies have shown there can be a trade-off in black men/white women marriages where the guy trades in his income for a woman’s whiteness.

    And if you, that guy, have a beautiful black girlfriend, are you telling me you have swagger? Or you just managed to score one of the 2.5 percent of hot black women who don’t go for swagger and exclusively date interracially?

    “One of my black friends with a college degree, well paying job, owns his own home, is in very good shape, (also handsome from what I’m told) says he could never picture himself marrying a non-black girl, but the only black girls he can get are pretty ugly ones.”

    There is something wrong with him. Sorry. You might not see it, as you’re a guy, but I know there has to be.

    The above guy sounds like an IBM and they are never without prospects. Never. But if your friend’s personality and behavior put him in the Nice Guy™ or Embarrassingly Nerdy Guy category that would explain why he has so much trouble. Or he has some other serious defect. 🙂

  41. Discussing is different from judging. What Bunny and I were saying is that outsiders (especially ill-informed outsiders) should probably not do the latter. How the critics responded to Jill Scott and Common’s comments was, “No, you’re wrong. STFU.”

    …That’s not a discussion.

    Right. I actually appreciate it when an “outsider” wants to understand more about why an “insider” sees a particular situation a certain way. I like that Mira participates on this blog and shares her perspective about Eastern Europe, Serbia, etc., and then listens to discussions about various ethnic groups in the United States.

    If more people could be like you, Mira, we’d all be good! 🙂

    But as Alee said, dismissing the person automatically is not helpful. You can still listen and disagree, but at least you understand why the person feels that way, especially in a situation where the issue is one germane to a person’s particular ethnic/social/racial/religious/national group.

  42. Alee,

    People always seem surprised, but it’s truly not a big deal to me. I was open to dating guys of other faiths before I met Z, and since I’m not a hardcore Christian, it would be hypocritical to put all of these rituals in place all of a sudden.

  43. Bunny,

    I like that about Mira too! She’s definitely one-of-a-kind; you won’t find many people like her, even on blogs. I agree that if more people were like her, the world would be an entirely different place. A dream for an idealist like. But I guess I can only dream…

    Jasmin,

    But you’re not converting? 🙂

  44. I’m not opposed to converting on the basis of faith, I’m opposed because I feel like I’d be sure to go to hell (if I’m not already :-P) for lying to a rabbi. I know some people who’ve converted, and I feel like it’d be making a mockery of their faith, since I’d only be doing it for Z.

  45. Oh, you’re making me blush! Thank you 🙂 I don’t really see myself as one of a kind, but I do know it’s pretty easy not to listen other people’s experiences, especially if “your people” have problems (and it happens in my part of the world all the time).

  46. Jasmin, I understand where you’re coming from. I’m Christian, but more by way of upbringing and familiarity than to some deep commitment to the faith. I’ve been on a continual faith discovery journey that’s not all that pressing — as in, I’ll research some other faith path, but never feel so pulled in a particular direction that I actually do something about it.

    So if I had gotten serious with a Jewish guy and he wanted me to convert, I probably would have done it. And at least raised the kids in the faith.

  47. I’m kinda with Jasmin, but not because it would be a lie. I would not be willing to convert and give up my culture just to marry a person. Sorry hun, I’m not giving up my culture and who I am for anyone.

    Don’t know even If I’d raise my kids in his faith. I have my own traditions that I want to keep alive. I want to give my kids a dose of both and I can do that, but not if his takes president.

    I’ve seen converts to Islam and their culture gets totally lost and tossed away to make room for all of the new stuff. I don’t know much about Judaism though if they makes room for it though.

  48. There are many examples in my family. My grandmother for example, converted from Catholicism to Orthodox Christianity. It might not seem like a huge difference, since it’s the same faith, but it IS huge difference here, and it’s a marker of ethnicity (Serbs are Orthodox, Croats are Catholic). But nobody in her family was particularly religious, and it was taken for granted that you take your husband’s faith, no questions asked.

    But religion here… It’s different than in the West (or East) I think. There are people who are religious, but tradition is what people here value the most. So it’s not that they read Bible and go to church that often; they just carefully follow the tradition and holidays. But, we were socialist country for 50 years, so one whole generation (my parents’ generation) completely lost touch with religion. Still, mixed marriages were somewhat of a norm. (Well, they were not a surprising thing).

  49. @ alee

    “I have to call BS on this. I mean, that is BS — you have to know. If you’re talking about black girls in school, I agree (many girls like “bad boys” — that has little to do with race). But not black women.”

    Right, of course I’m not saying this is how all black women behave, or even most. What I’m saying is growing up in an environment where most attractive black girls want nothing to do with them yet for some reason attractive white women go crazy for him, your going to become conditioned to dating white women and ignoring black women. However he’s in his mid twenties like me, and things are not much different for him. Maybe things will change as he gets older or moves to a different city.

    “Please note that we’re not talking about black Nice Guys ™ or black Embarrassingly Nerdy Guys here. Those sorts of guys won’t have much success with women, in general. Usually when I hear the “black women don’t want me, they only want the thugs” from a black guy, he solidly falls into either or both of those categories. Just being honest here. ”

    Right of course. Note I said he has no problem dating beautiful white women, so this is definitely not the problem. Unless if maybe there’s some truth in what your saying and beautiful white women are just more tolerant of Nice guys than beautiful black women are? (this actually wouldn’t surprise me at all)

    “And if you, that guy, have a beautiful black girlfriend, are you telling me you have swagger? Or you just managed to score one of the 2.5 percent of hot black women who don’t go for swagger and exclusively date interracially?”

    I’m not dating an American black woman, so those percentages don’t apply. The majority of non-African American blacks that I’ve met have absolutely no problem dating interacially. I only meant those percentages to apply to African American women in my particular area. Hot ones at that. The “hot” part is very important here. If you take that part out, the percentages will be wildly different.

    “There is something wrong with him. Sorry. You might not see it, as you’re a guy, but I know there has to be.

    The above guy sounds like an IBM and they are never without prospects. Never. But if your friend’s personality and behavior put him in the Nice Guy™ or Embarrassingly Nerdy Guy category that would explain why he has so much trouble. Or he has some other serious defect. 🙂 ”

    Yup, your right. There might be something dreadfully wrong with him that I don’t realize. And something that a large amount of white women don’t realize either. I guess only black women realize whats wrong with him. Do I really need to point out the problem with this line of thinking?

  50. However, any other black women’s inward wince would be just that.

    I agree. It’s merely Jill Scott’s — and Common’s — celebrity which allows them the privilege to even make statements like that. For most people, these are all private thoughts and actions. And for that reason, among others, is why I can’t wholly condemn her for it even though I still disagree.

    It is a stereotype…

    Oh I know! I just phrased it that way because I wasn’t sure if ya’ll knew about it. Some people aren’t, surprisingly (to me at least) about Jewish culture in America despite the obvious influence(s) we’ve had on it.

    @thatguy:

    Do I really need to point out the problem with this line of thinking?

    I see what you’re saying, but then you’re attempting to make your friend an exception to a rule. Great guys tend to get snatched up pretty quick, even if you believe that women (of whatever race) value negative qualities too highly. There is endless anecdotal evidence to back this up, and serious studies too I’m sure. But if your friend is a great guy, and single still, then he’s either an exception to this social reality — or he’s just not as great as you make him sound.

    Now, I’m sure he’s an awesome friend, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate an awesome partner in a relationship. Yet you tell us that he has no problem getting White women. So then my question is: have you considered the possibility that maybe there’s another factor at work which causes him to be unsuccessful with Black women and successful with White women that doesn’t necessarily include denigrating 95% of Black women’s dating choices? (Especially when said 95% is based on personal experience that is contradicted by what actual Black women here are telling us.)

    Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a combination of personality problems and Black male stereotypes from the White women he dates. But who knows? It could be that he just hasn’t met Black women that are right for him. Or maybe he’s turned his initial difficulties into a continuing spiral of confirmation bias and simply doesn’t try as hard with Black women anymore because he’s already assumed he’ll fail.

    The point is, is that there are more reasons to consider, I think, before deciding to castigate the choices of Black women — or even women in general, who have every right to be as shallow and stupid as men — especially since it seems disingenuous to blame others before we blame ourselves.

    Not hatin’. Just sayin’.

  51. that guy,

    “What I’m saying is growing up in an environment where most attractive black girls want nothing to do with them yet for some reason attractive white women go crazy for him, your going to become conditioned to dating white women and ignoring black women.”

    Are you sure this isn’t a cop-out? One of the most common reasons some black men give for exclusively dating white women: “No black women want me.” Thus they have no choice — they are forced into the hands of the awful, second-choice white women… Yeah, sure.

    Really, it doesn’t seem the least bit suspicious to you that a wealthy, educated, handsome, and fit black man can’t find a suitable black woman in a country where lots of black women are single and looking? Where black women tend to marry “below their station”… if they marry? Because it sounds suspicious to me. There are almost 2 million more black women than black men in the United States. This country is a black man’s heaven if he only wants to date black women.

    “Unless if maybe there’s some truth in what your saying and beautiful white women are just more tolerant of Nice guys than beautiful black women are? (this actually wouldn’t surprise me at all)”

    No, are you kidding me? There is a whole industry dedicated to getting beautiful white women to give Nice Guys™ a chance — PUA.

    I’m saying they might be willing to overlook “flaws” in a black guy if he has ample amounts of money in exchange for what they bring to the table (whiteness). A black woman doesn’t have that social status to exchange so her situation wouldn’t work out the same way. It also wouldn’t work out that way with a white Nice Guy™ and a white woman.

    “I’m not dating an American black woman”

    Oh, interesting. Where is your girlfriend from?

    “Yup, your right. There might be something dreadfully wrong with him that I don’t realize. And something that a large amount of white women don’t realize either. I guess only black women realize whats wrong with him. Do I really need to point out the problem with this line of thinking?”

    Lol. You’re becoming defensive, needlessly. 🙂

    And I don’t think there is anything wrong with thinking a certain group of people don’t as easily “get” things about people outside of their group if they lack the experience. I mean, that’s what this whole post is about. There are many reasons a guy wouldn’t see possible flaws his guy friend might have, that a potential female partner of his group might.

    Anyway, the guy you described would be a dream to ANY woman, not just black women. How many women do you know that would pass up such a guy? (And don’t say black women.)

    If he isn’t having success with an entire demographic of women, you can’t simply blame the women. It takes two. Figure out what is wrong with the guy. I’m not saying that he must be a horrible person but I doubt it’s only because he lacks “swagger”. I mean, it’s possible that 95 percent of good-looking black women are overlooking him for this reason, but knowing this group very well, I highly, highly doubt this. Highly!

    Do you not see what’s wrong with your line of reasoning? It’s very PUA-ish — “hot [black] women never give a good guy a chance”. It’s not different because you added race to the equation.

    Or is he only going after a certain group of women? Stereotypical “hot” women?

    Forgive me if I think there might be something you’re leaving out. It’s just that single men of this caliber usually only exist in fairytales.

    But I’ll tell you what. If your friend is really as awesome as you say, you can send me an email (address located on my About page) and I’ll try to hook him up with some friends of mine. You’re in the Northeastern region, right? I’m originally from there as well, and I have a boatful of worthy black women friends of his age group there. They are looking for a guy just like him –a black guy– so if he’s willing to move a state or two over something could very well happen. Seriously.

  52. zek,

    “It could be that he just hasn’t met Black women that are right for him.”

    That might the case. That’s why I mentioned stereotypical “hot” [black] women: they’re just like any other group of stereotypicallt good-looking women in that they can be shallow and fickle. If he’s focused only on Lauren London look-a-likes, I’m not surprised he isn’t having much success.

    But those types hardly comprise 95 percent of good-looking black women. I have friends who are quite pretty, but they aren’t stereotypically “hot”; they’re more modest.

    “Or maybe he’s turned his initial difficulties into a continuing spiral of confirmation bias and simply doesn’t try as hard with Black women anymore because he’s already assumed he’ll fail.”

    Ummm, another yes. Some black men do this.

    I don’t know if it’s just me but it seems like when guys have problems in dating they look for what’s wrong with the women in their vicinity. Whereas women tend to think there is something wrong with them if they date for a long while and still can’t find the right guy. It might be the way the genders are socialized; women are taught they need a man to validate their existence.

  53. @alee

    Maybe this is more a location thing. I don’t know. While there may be 2 million more black women than men, (this is probably going to sound racist) where I live an attractive black women who doesn’t have kids, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t go out to clubs every weekend, isn’t overweight, and has a decent career (doesn’t have to be money making, but a high school diploma and an associates degree would be nice) are an extreme rarity. These are all very low requirements for most guys regardless of race, and its surprisingly hard to find black women that meet these categories. (Don ‘t black women have a similar list when they complain they can’t find a black man lol) And yes, no doubt location has something to do with this. Also yes, he does typically only date hot women, I’m not sure what you mean by “stereotypical” though. Its not that serious though, single life isn’t that bad around here lol.

    My girlfriend is African, I think almost all African women living in the United States are open to dating interracially.

    Also I chunkled when you said that single men of his caliber only exist in fairytales. I said he’s attractive, has a good job, and owns a home. If thats a fairytale for most women, yall must have the bar set pretty low haha.

  54. And I’ve known some women (smart women) who never seemed to think something was wrong when every guy who dated them had something creepy to say about their “lightskinnedededness”.

    Ew…I hate those guys who are obsessed with a woman being light-skinned. I have been approached by those types of guys, but unlike the women you knew, I find being coveted only because I have light skin revolting. I want someone to like me because they like me, not because they only like women of a certain color.

    Oh, and the so-called black “nice guys” are just as annoying. As mentioned above, they tend to only want the hottest of the hot black women, not giving the time of day to a woman who’s decent-looking but doesn’t look like a supermodel. Men like that have issues that seriously need to be addressed. They need to take a good look at themselves before they write all black women off like that.

  55. Random aside:

    …an attractive black women

    This drives me bonkers. I see this too often—people confusing “woman” singular with “women” plural. Makes my eyes bleed! Make it stop. ACK! I hardly see people getting “man” and “men” mixed up.

  56. that guy,

    “a high school diploma and an associates degree would be nice) are an extreme rarity.”

    😯

    Ummm, wow. I think you might be living in a low-income urban area? Because a person with a high school diploma and a couple of college credits is not hard to find where I’m from! We’re from the same region, but clearly not from similar areas…

    Maybe he should move because that area is quite unusual. Unless he likes the single life that much.

    “I chunkled when you said that single men of his caliber only exist in fairytales. I said he’s attractive, has a good job, and owns a home. If thats a fairytale for most women, yall must have the bar set pretty low haha.”

    No, you said:

    “One of my black friends with a college degree, well paying job, owns his own home, is in very good shape, (also handsome from what I’m told)”

    That sounds like an above average guy. And, yes, especially to a black woman. “Well-paying” I read as “$80,000+”. “Handsome and in very good shape” I read as “TJ Holmes look-a-like”.

    Was I wrong? 😀

    And you’re girlfriend is African, Africa is a large place… what ethnic group is she from?

  57. changingmoods,

    “Ew…I hate those guys who are obsessed with a woman being light-skinned. I have been approached by those types of guys, but unlike the women you knew, I find being coveted only because I have light skin revolting. I want someone to like me because they like me, not because they only like women of a certain color.”

    Same. Once you understand why you’re really wanted, it’s a complete turn-off.

    And, yes, Nice Guys need to give the Nice Girls a chance. Many Nice Girls are pretty and interesting. You can’t complain that you have no options when you’re only looking at a small subset of your options.

    ‘This drives me bonkers. I see this too often—people confusing “woman” singular with “women” plural. Makes my eyes bleed! Make it stop. ACK!’

    Lol. It’s an easily made mistake.

    ‘I hardly see people getting “man” and “men” mixed up.’

    That’s true! Maybe because “woman” and “women” are longer words, so you won’t readily notice if you mix them up? Hmmm…

  58. @ alee

    Yes, a woman with more than a couple credits isn’t hard to find. But attractive, single, and all those other characteristics I names all together (including black)? Rare. If we cut off either the kids or the overweight disqualifier, they would be abundant though. Guys know their rare too, that’s why they either marry them young or knock them up young to keep them around. Mostly knock them up young. Especially if the guy doesn’t have anything else going on with his life.

    And yes above average I agree, but fairytale? A little stretch but I’ll let it pass haha. Lol at TJ Holmes. He is one of the few men that my girl has told me she would dump me for on the spot. Shes West African, not going to get into any more detail, maybe she reads these blogs and I’ll give up my treasured anonymous identity.

    Most “nice girls” that I know who have a hard time with men, regardless of their race, all have great personalities, but their usually overweight. Guys don’t care if your an introvert, most prefer a “nice girl”. Weight is a no-go though. Especially if your dealing with a man with a decent income, your not just competing with American women, your competing with women from all over the world. Hint, most countries other than America do not have obesity problems. Not that most American guys aren’t overweight themselves. . .

  59. Not that most American guys aren’t overweight themselves. . .

    See the problem with this?

    While I have nothing against overweight people, dating only women who aren’t overweight while being overweight yourself is just… Does that make sense?

  60. Yeah I know, maybe I wasn’t clear. I’m not defending overweight American guys in the least. They need to lower their standards or lower their weight also.

  61. that guy,

    “And yes above average I agree, but fairytale? A little stretch”

    It’s not a stretch. Especially for a black woman looking for a black man.

    “Lol at TJ Holmes. He is one of the few men that my girl has told me she would dump me for on the spot.”

    TJ Holmes is… TJ Holmes. Hide your woman if he’s ever around. 🙂

    How would mentioning the actual country or ethnic group of your girlfriend reveal who you two are? There are plenty of W. African people, in the Northeast especially. And I know W. African women with white guys; it’s not rare, as far as the BW/WM dynamic goes.

    ‘Most “nice girls” that I know who have a hard time with men, regardless of their race, all have great personalities, but their usually overweight.’

    Ha, is every woman basically overweight to you? 😉

    Anyway, “overweight” is an ambiguous term. Beyonce is most likely overweight, as was Kim Kardashian when she first hit the scene. A person being clinically overweight doesn’t mean they are “fat”. But when people look at stats that’s what they automatically think when they read “X percent of women are overweight”.

    So, by overweight, you’re going to have to specify what you mean. I assume you mean clearly overweight, but one can never be too sure. Especially with differing cultural/ethnic/racial/personal ideas about what exactly constitutes clearly overweight.

    ‘Guys don’t care if your an introvert, most prefer a “nice girl”.’

    Oh, please. 🙂

    That is the lie (or misconception) of the century. I’m an introvert and yes, guys do care about that. When the girl you’re dating would rather read a book than go out with you to some party where you can show her off to your friends, that can become problematic.

    Guys would rather a social woman, or at least one that appears to have an “active” social life and many friends. People think introvert = loser, and guys think if a girl doesn’t have a social life then she’ll just be glued to them. So yes, there is some discrimination against introverts. Not all guys will discriminate, but many of the younger ones (20s) will.

  62. Mira,

    You already know what I’m going to say. And there are more overweight American men than there are overweight American women. But of course they are men (hear them roar!), so it’s okay for them to discriminate…

    I wouldn’t be too concerned though because the overweight percentage for American woman is greater than the single, never married percentage. So someone is marrying those fat American women. 😉

    And this relates to an upcoming post… I love when that happens. (P.S. You –general you– should continue the topic there, so this topic doesn’t become further derailed.)

  63. @ alee

    Shes from Ivory Coast.

    And yes, most American women my age are overweight to me. At least where I live. In Miami or the West coast, completely different story.

    As far as the introvert thing, maybe our definition is a little different. Of course a guy wants a girl who can hold a conversation and doesn’t mind being taken out, but you don’t have to be that girl that makes new friends everywhere you go. I personally think its more important to have a few very close friends that you have a deep relationship with than many shallow friendships. Its just too superficial, like everyone has to try to act cooler than they are all the time nonstop. Its a big turnoff.

    Also when I say guys don’t mind a “nice girl” that doesn’t mean we want a girl who will allow us to run all over them. Stand up for yourself sometimes.

    “So someone is marrying those fat American women. ;)”

    Generally what happens is when they get married, their only slightly overweight, but after the marriage, give them a few years and they will be obese. Moving on . . .

  64. that guy,

    “Shes from Ivory Coast.”

    Awesome. I love the Ivory Coast.

    “Moving on . . .”

    Indeed. The post is up.

  65. The writer actually makes some valid points. I just think people need to realize we’re in a time where people are interacting with other races more than ever and it’s inevitable that some of them will fall in love.

  66. Hi biglew,

    By “the writer”, do you mean me? 😀

    Or Patrick Courrielche?…

    People understand that others will fall in love with people of different racial, ethnic, cultural backgrounds. But we also need to understand the dynamics that produce “love” in a racially discriminatory society. You can’t really take interracial marriage trends out of their very important context.

  67. This really upset me as I am a huge fan of Jill – have all her albums and watched every episode of Ladies Detective Agency. This was not an off the cuff remark, she has talked about it in detail at concerts in the past, bottom line is she finds inter-racial marriages offensive. Well I find that stance offensive, and yes it is a racist stance no matter how you try and justify it… really really sad, a beautiful woman, amazing talent – but this undermines it all.

  68. Hi alan,

    “This was not an off the cuff remark”

    Right.

    “bottom line is she finds inter-racial marriages offensive.”

    No, that’s not the bottom line… I didn’t see where she mentioned anything about black women and white men, or Asian women and white men? 🙂

    “it is a racist stance no matter how you try and justify it”

    It’s very easy to dismiss her remarks as racist if you don’t understand and/or care about the racial environment in America which influences interracial dating and marriage and black-white interracial relations in particular. Her remarks are much more nuanced than simple bigotry or racism.

    I’m not justifying, but explaining. That’s sort of what I do at A Lofty Existence: comment on or explain observed social phenomena.

  69. Have you read this? Wing men wanted for Jill Scott!

    It’s pretty darn funny! I read this yesterday and was giggling at her foolishness.

    She claims to be speaking for a whole host of black wimmen. Millions of us. Everywhere. Everywhere you go, there’s de black wimmen wincing at de brothas with de white wimmen.

  70. Nkosazana, I saw that some time ago, but didn’t read it fully until now.

    ‘Stand and shout, “You are so beautiful, Jill.” Look around the room.’

    Lol.

  71. I pose this thought…when it comes to the different races in any arena of this country, we are always an “after thought”…for a simple low level example, why is it that natural hair, full figures and color are not included in the different arena’s until a revolt of some sort is waged!? Why does it have to be reported on a news cast that victoria secret is coming out with a line for full figured women? Why is there ethnic sections in various stores, don’t you think we can go in a store and pick out the product that we feel most comfortable with, without it being segregated? Here is the point…the issue is not “what” they said, the real issue is “that” they said it. The truth is the truth, we have to grow up and deal with it!

  72. Lol let me point out the obvious problem here… Why do you care what Jill Scott or Common thinks on any topic? Just because they were invited to the White House for being celebrities they’re supposed to be great people? To me honestly I’ll be amazed at a celebrity who refuses to go to the White House, I’d be like “Now theres a man/woman who actually stands for what they believe.” I’d buy the album or whatever they sell right then and there. “Oooh the White House wants me to perform, Im somebody now!” If they feel two different races shouldn’t mix then thats that, they’re just people. Jill Scott is a plus-sized woman and if she wants to land a man then she should focus on changing her world perspective and losing some weight instead of projecting her insecurities on other people, seriously, who wants to be with a racist narrow-minded woman like that? All mad at the world and stuffing her face gossiping all damn day, yea thats attractive. She is a famous singer and she’s still bitter? She must be loads of fun, sign me up. Stupid enough to alienate her own audience and lose money in the process. I used to think she was intelligent and open-minded, go figure. Common? Irony being that he is very common and the word “Sense” isn’t there for a reason, its more like Common-Cents. Sell-out rapper who just wants money, wasn’t he on “Hell On Wheels” obsessing over a white woman the entire time after he made these idiotic statements? Handle your own family and raise your kids right and don’t worry about other people and what they do, if everyone followed that simple guideline the world would be a better place. Point the finger at yourself, not others.

  73. Larry,

    No one claimed to particularly care about Jill Scott or Common. This a blog that deals with many social issues so the topic was relevant.

    Being asked to perform at the White House seems like an honor to me, although of course, not being asked doesn’t mean an artist isn’t noteworthy.

  74. The whole second half of this article is an assumption that the lighter a woman’s skin is the more desirable she is to men/society. Where is the basis for this? Polls, surveys, research, ect? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and if you can’t see past that your intolerant not intelligent.

  75. I really don’t know if this comment is a joke or not.

    “The whole second half of this article is an assumption that the lighter a woman’s skin is the more desirable she is to men/society. Where is the basis for this? Polls, surveys, research, ect?”

    No, actually it’s not — I just pulled it out of the sky.

    Yes, this is based on historical fact and countless papers, documentaries, surveys, etc. Where have you been — under a super-super impermeable rock?

    You’re a presumably non-white adult living in America and you’re not aware of color bias? I skipped the notation because I assumed everyone reading was well aware of this. I guess not…

    Look up The Color Complex by Kathy Russell. Then look up related books.

    Then go to any online research engine and search for race and dating.

    After that look up any Most Beautiful Woman list.

    Following, you can search for references by any hip-hop or R&B artist to female skin color and attraction/beauty in the past decade or two.

    After, you can search for the covers of men’s magazines, also in the past decade or two.

    Finally, you can search for documentaries on black and Latino women’s experience with skin color in the Caribbean.

    Following all of this, return and let me know whether you still think there is no evidence to the idea that the American beauty ideal favors white/light.

    “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and if you can’t see past that your intolerant not intelligent.”

    I’m not certain if this is the personal “you” or collective. Either way, what someone personally believes is beautiful has nothing to do with general ideas of beauty; acknowledging the latter doesn’t affect the former.

    If you’re going to brand people ignorant or intelligent, it would help if you’d do some background research on the topic. Also, you might want to understand the difference between “you’re” and “your”. I hate to pick on grammar, but in the context it just has to be said.

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