White Men Don’t Like Black Women Says Who? Another Look

white-man-black-woman-embraceIn the first look at the concept of “white men don’t like black women”, the why of the phenomenon was discussed — what causes some to say and believe this idea, and what are their motives? Anecdotal evidence of many disagrees with the notion, but what about the actual numbers? Do they suggest, in fact, that white men in America do not like black women?

Recently, a reader named ALfie added a response to the original post, stating that yes, interracial marriage numbers would suggest that the claim that white men don’t black women has some truth to it:

Well it is true according  to statistics.
White men choice:
White women: 50000000, Asian women 529000, Other 488000, Black women 168000
Stats show black women are least chosen

Laying aside that these particular stats don’t account for the percentage of each group in the American population, these and similar stats are usually presented as undeniable evidence by proponents of the “white men don’t like black women” theory. Yet as obvious as some may believe it seems, numbers don’t talk — they don’t give any background information; they don’t tell us why.

Marriage Isn’t Simply Attraction

If marriage were just an issue of “man sees woman, man likes woman, man marries woman,” then those who believe white men don’t like black women based on interracial marriage numbers in the United States would, in general, be correct. Marriage, however, results from a variety of factors and influences. Absent strong opposing evidence, one can only conclude that these factors have as much to do, if not more, with the number of interracial marriages as does simple attraction.

Familiarity, Normality, and Approval

Outside of location, three external factors seem to strongly influence whether two people will date and eventually marry: familiarity, normality, and approval. As a whole, these elements aren’t encouraging of the marriage between black women and white men, and may even work against it.

  • Familiarity: How familiar are two people with each other; how well do they feel they know each other? Familiarity creates comfort and those who are familiar with each other are more likely to date and marry. White men and black women, in general, occupy vastly different locations and social environments, resulting in a lack of familiarity.
  • Normality: Is a certain pairing considered “good”, “normal”, or “usual” in the given surroundings? Would such a pairing be in contrast to others? White men and black women as a couple is seen less in both media and reality, leading to a lack of normality in a feedback loop.
  • Approval: What sort of reactions would dating provoke from family, close friends, and from others in the person’s surroundings? Would dating someone cause negative consequences, socially or financially? Studies and commentary exploring interracial relationships have shown that white men and black women alike express worries that interracial dating could bring about undesirable effects.

So, what is the verdict — do white men like black women or not? It’s doubtful that anyone could give an answer that would hold up to all scrutiny. Though one thing is certain: numbers don’t give any answers.

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Article Response: Kanye Isn’t Coming Back

kanye-west-styleAnd even if he were, you don’t need him to.

Journalist and blogger Janelle Harris at The Stir recently posted a letter to rapper and producer Kanye West entitled Kanye West and I Will Never Get Married. Like myself, Janelle is a devoted and longtime fan of Kanye West. And like myself, Janelle decided to write an open letter to Kanye to express her disappointment in his massive backslide.

However, Janelle’s issue with Kanye stems not from his changing musical style or erratic behavior. Janelle calls Kanye to the table for his changing choice of women. As she muses, Janelle touches upon an often-discussed topic in some circles: colorism and the apparent exodus of black men via interracial dating and marriage:

My Dearest Kanye,

Eight years, six albums and several public fiascoes ago, I was introduced to you via “Through the Wire” and I was smitten — with your flow, your word choice, your honesty, your expressiveness…As you turned verses into albums, I really connected with not just your music but with you as a person, like kindred spirits…

So it’s been hard to watch you spiral into a stereotype that bulldogs so many Black men when they ascertain a high level of success: they dump us for the once-forbidden, still-taboo allure of the world of white girls and, if they aren’t quite bold enough to do that, they brandish the good ol’ fashioned colorism card that makes trophies out of light-skinned women. The more racially ambiguous, the better.

The bigger your name — and, can we be honest, your ego — got, the more you started interjecting little quips about race and complexion into your songs… I’m gonna need you not to be sucked into the played out patterns that too many big pimpin’ black men have perpetuated.

I understand that love can come shrouded in any color. Sure as I’m sitting here writing this, some sour commenter blinded by the overarching topic of interracial relationships is going to insist that it’s your right to date whomever you darn well please. And that it is, my dear. You certainly wouldn’t be the last brother to cross that color line and never come back… But the hem of your inner self-conflict is showing, and I think you can be saved.

The other day, my friends and I debated whether you would ever link up with another black woman…I’m wondering if a regular black girl or a chocolatey “Kelly Rowland” could ever be that masterpiece of perfection you like to praise…Look at a picture of your mama and tell me that you don’t find beauty in black women anymore…

I’ll always be a fan, Kanye. But I will be disappointed if you don’t put all that mouth to use to say something that the world needs to hear expressly said about black women: we’re desirable and sexy and art-inspiring, too.

Love, Janelle

While Janelle’s letter was well-written and honest, her concerns are not new and don’t look to be resolvable anywhere in the near future. As such, I’ve written my own letter in response to Janelle:

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Brandy Norwood

brandy-norwood
Brandy Norwood, better known as simply Brandy, is an American singer and actress. She is one of the best-selling female artists of all-time and of the 1990s.

Brandy was born on a full moon in small town Mississippi, but grew up in Southern California with her parents and brother Ray-J. Brandy’s singing career began early — she was a back-up singer at 11 (for R&B group Immature), won a recording contract at 14, and released her first album, Brandy, at 15. Her acting career was similarly successful with Brandy securing her own sitcom Moesha; the most watched show in UPN history.

Brandy’s self-titled debut album released in 1994 has sold over 7 million copies worldwide and features the hit singles, “I Wanna Be Down” and “Brokenhearted”. Her raspy alto is widely praised, with former Red Hot Chilli Peppers guitarist John Frusciante describing it as, “multi-dimensional… you have to hear her voice with your subconscious.”

But her much-awaited second album was put on hold while Brandy focused on acting. In addition to her role as Moesha, she played Cinderella in a television remake of the classic fairytale in 1997. Singer Whitney Houston, who helped produced the film, starred as her fairy godmother.

brandy-norwoodWhen Brandy finally released her follow-up album it was an even bigger success than her first. 1998’s Never Say Never features the well-known duet, “The Boy Is Mine” with singer Monica and songs “Have You Ever?” and “Almost Doesn’t Count”. The same year she appeared in the film I Still Know What You Did Last Summer alongside Freddie Prinze Jr. and Jennifer Love Hewitt, and worked as a CoverGirl.

After her sophomore album, she took another break from singing, returning in 2002 with Full Moon and a daughter, Sy’rai, from her relationship with producer Robert Smith. Her pregnancy was documented on the MTV reality TV show Diary Presents Brandy: Special Delivery. She later worked as a judge on the first season of reality talent show America’s Got Talent, but left the show after being involved in a fatal multi-car accident.

Her last two albums Afrodisiac and Human highlighted her journey from a young, inexperienced star to a multifaceted woman who has lived a life speckled with trials and triumphs. On the difference between her first albums and her later albums Brandy says,

“I just wanted to sing my heart out and connect with people. I wasn’t old enough or mature enough before to get into people’s hearts. Now I am.”

Brandy cites Whitney Houston as her number one musical inspiration — Whitney’s music video for, “How Will I Know” spurred Brandy to pursue a professional music career. She is planning on releasing a joint R&B album with her brother Ray-J.

Brandy is first cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg and close friend of tennis player Serena Williams and fellow R&B singer Kelly Rowland.

She was NBA star Kobe Bryant’s high school prom date and former fiancée of NBA guard Quentin Richardson.

singer-brandy  brandy-singer  brandy-singer  brandy-norwood

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On Black Women Empowerment Blogs

black-women-empowerment

Black Women Empowerment (BWE) blogs are a niche of blogs which center on discussion and  improvement of the lives of black women in the United States, and the world.

Black Women Empowerment blogs are a diverse group — some focus mainly on practical advice designed to enhance the lives of black women, others on current issues which affect black women, and many more on dating and marriage with a spotlight on interracial relations. Some combine all of these subjects. BWE blogs address and cater to the particular needs of a group which isn’t often acknowledged in more mainstream arenas.

Since their inception Black Female Empowerment blogs have created waves in the blogosphere. BWE blogs, their owners, and their writings draw strong reactions and criticism. Some hail the writings of BWE blogs as groundbreaking and essential, but BWE blogs have also been denounced as everything from hateful and bitter to pathetic and misguided. Blogs have been created to oppose and ridicule their messages.

BWE bloggers and participants have responded to these accusations on occasion, but here I’ll explore in-depth some of the most common criticisms of Black Women Empowerment blogs, the reasoning behind them, and the accuracy of these assessments.

1. “Black Women Empowerment blogs are full of bitter and angry women”

One of the main purposes of BWE blogs is to alert black women to pressing issues in their communities and raise awareness. As such, articles and comments tend to be written in a straightforward, direct style. Words are not moderated for sensitivity — BWE blogs are clear about confronting issues and those who have been identified as sources of these issues.

The blunt manner of many Black Female Empowerment Blogs is read by some as anger and animosity. But this is a perception caused by the reader and their background and not necessarily reflective of the writer or even the writing — another reader may view the same writing as positive and calm. A writer may view their message as urgent and style their words to demonstrate this urgency, even though they may be relaxed while writing. A willingness to tackle difficult ongoing situations with confidence can be seen as optimism that change is possible, instead of begrudging.

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Black Women and The Martyr Complex

lonely-black-woman

So much for the myth of the strong black woman.

Black women in America have historically taken on the role of the martyr — one who suffers for a cause or belief. During and after slavery in the United States, black women sacrificed their own needs and well-being for the benefit of others.

Over time, many black women have developed not only the role of the martyr, but the mindset of the martyr. They have come to see themselves as the eternal victim, specially chosen to endure pain and sacrifice their happiness for others. In contradiction to their outward appearance of resilience and ability, some black women indulge in unending victimhood, and consider pain and hardship a basic aspect of their existence.

This martyr complex is easy to observe, if one looks in the right places. Magazines catered to black women, online forums and blogs where black women participate, and conversations among black women offer many examples. In such venues it is not uncommon to hear rants and complaints from black women on everything from beauty standards to career.

For every martyr, victimhood fulfills certain needs. What do black women gain from the martyr syndrome?

1. An explanation

Believing that one’s fate in life is to endure pain provides an explanation for suffering, if a simple and unchangeable one. If black women are destined to suffer, an individual black woman’s problems in life are simply the fulfillment of this fate. There is no need to reflect or determine if one’s problems are due to any personal failings. There is no need to improve.

2. A sense of belonging

People enjoy bonding and feeling like they are part of a community. They appreciate this sense of belonging even if their only tie to others in their community is shared trials and frustration. By joining together in martyrdom, black women feel less alone in any struggles they may be having.

3. The biggest loser

Martyrs gain a sense of self and identity from their suffering. No one suffers as much as they do, no one is as honorable in their ability to bear difficulties. The martyr is strengthened from being broken down. This sense of misery provides relief for black women. Even if they can’t win at anything else, black women can win at one thing — losing.

But no matter the benefits the martyr complex appears to offer in the short-run, it is more damaging than anything else. Martyrs hold themselves back from their maximum potential in life. They strain themselves mentally and emotionally by making experience of pain a life priority. Martyrs make life for those around them more difficult with their negativity and constant victimhood.

Black women would be better served by concentrating less energy on the victim complex and more energy on finding or creating solutions to any issues they may come up against in life. True peace and happiness are more uplifting than martyrdom.

Arlenis Sosa

arlenis-sosaArlenis Sosa (1989-) is a Dominican editorial and runway model. She is best known for appearing in Vogue Italia‘s “all black” July 2008 issue and as spokesmodel for Lancôme cosmetics.

Born Arlenis Sosa Peña in Montecristi, Dominican Republic,  Arlenis was discovered by designer Luis Menieur while walking down the street with her parents. Menieur recommended that 5 foot 11 inches (1.8 meters) young Arlenis become a model. After finishing high school, she took his advice and moved to New York to venture into the fashion world.

Her first week in New York she met Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of American Vogue. Wintour helped launched her career: she arranged for Arlenis to attend the famous Met Costume Institute Gala with designer Oscar de la Renta’s son. In March of 2008 Arlenis walked into Marilyn Modeling Ageny, home of models Naomi Campbell and Adriana Lima, and was signed on the spot.

A couple of weeks after her signing, Arlenis booked editorial deals with Vogue and Vogue Italia. She appeared in both Vogue July 2008 issues, including the first all-black issue of Italian Vogue. In the ground-breaking Italian edition, Arlenis shot with legendary models Tyra Banks, Iman, and Liya Kebede. The issue became Vogue Italia’s best-selling issue in history, running out of print twice.

arlenis-sosaSpeaking of her experience as a young black model, Arlenis comments,  “Models need to stick together, especially black models, whom people are always accusing of being too competitive… The important thing is that black models are doing it big now.” Arlenis is an example of this — she is the godmother to black British model Jourdan Dunn’s son and very close friend of fellow Dominican model Sessilee Lopez.

She debuted on the runway in Banana Republic’s fall/winter 2008 show. Since then she has worked the runway for designers Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, and Michael Kors, among others. She also walked in Victoria Secret’s annual fashion show in November of 2008.

Arlenis was featured as a top ten up-and-coming model by Models.com in September of 2008. That same month she became the coveted face of Lancôme, first appearing in advertisements for the cosmetics line in spring 2010.

She is known as sweet, down-to-earth, and wise. She uses her quickly-found fortune for good causes: “I always wanted to have money—not just to have it but to help others”. In 2010 she did so, launching The Arlenis Sosa Foundation, which helps children suffering from diabetes in the Dominican Republic.

arlenis-sosa arlenis-sosa arlenis-sosa arlenis-sosa

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White Men Don’t Like Black Women? Says Who?

black-woman-white-man

Note: Some may take offense to this post. My goal with this post is to be honest.

That white men don’t desire black women as romantic partners is a concept accepted –in fact, promoted– by many black Americans, without questioning. Ask a random black person in the United States what they think of relationships involving black women and white men and you’re likely to get responses which lead back to this theory; the theory that white men simply aren’t attracted to black women.

As a black woman who has been in relationships with men from a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds, and whose current partner is white, I was at first puzzled by these statements. Besides that I was completely unaware that as a woman of African descent I was supposed to be considered undesirable to men I was regularly involved with, two aspects of this phenomenon impressed upon me. (1) It wasn’t only racist whites who were encouraging the notion that white men aren’t attracted to black women, but blacks; even black women and (2) not only did blacks believe this idea, but they forcefully try to convince anyone who disagrees that their belief is the set in stone truth.

But why? Why are blacks spending so much time advocating this idea? I’ve analyzed this phenomenon and have concluded that its basis lies in three major areas:

  • Internalization of Eurocentric Beauty Standards
  • Black Women as Competition
  • Control of Black Women and Black Women as the Backbone of the “Black Community”

Internalization of Eurocentric Beauty Standards

Among racially aware blacks there is much talk that standards of beauty are heavily centered on a European appearance; that this is one of the main reasons why white men aren’t attracted to women of African descent. But what is less mentioned is the extent to which blacks themselves have internalized these standards.

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Top Black Models of the Decade (2000-2010)

After music, modeling and fashion are favorite interests of mine. These are my top ten picks for the top black female models of the past decade. The list is based on body of work, appearance, and visibility. Feel free to make any suggestions.

liya-kebede

1. Liya Kebede is an Ethiopian runway and editorial model. She is one of the highest paid models in the world. She has an elegant and classically beautiful face.

jordan-richardson

2. Jordan Richardson is an American editorial model. She has a sweet and hip look.

oluchi-onweagba

3. Oluchi Onweagba is a Nigerian editorial, swimsuit, and runway model. She has model long legs and beautiful skin.

jourdan-dunn

4. Jourdan Dunn is an English runway and editorial model. She has a face made for high fashion.

noemie-lenoir

5. Noémie Lenoir is a French editorial and runway model of Malagasy and French descent. She is versatile, with a face that can be sweet and innocent, then strong and fierce.

arlenis-sosa

6. Arlenis Sosa is a Dominican editorial and print model and current spokesmodel of Lancome cosmetics. She has a uniquely beautiful face and glowing skin.

chanel-iman

7. Chanel Iman is an American editorial and runway model of black and Korean descent. Her look is cute and fresh.

yasmin-warsame

8. Yasmin Warsame is a Somalian runway and editorial model. She has a strong face that makes her a runway favorite.

yaya-dacosta

9. Yaya DaCosta is an American print model and runner-up on America’s Next Top Model Cycle Three. She is graceful with the body of a dancer (and she is one).

bre-scullark

10. Bre Scullark is an American print model. She finished third on the fifth cycle of America’s Next Top Model. She has a sweet face which can also look high fashion.

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order by first name): Adaora Akubilo, Alek Wek, Danielle “Dani” Evans, Jaunel McKenzie, Quiana Grant, Selita Ebanks, Sessilee Lopez, Toccara Jones

Amel Larrieux

Amel Larrieux (1973-) is an American R&B and soul singer, songwriter, and producer. She was one half of the 1990s R&B group Groove Theory, best known for their hit single “Tell Me” from their self-titled debut album. She is one of the most beautiful and talented women in the world.

Amel, whose name means “hope” in Arabic, was born in Greenwich Village in New York City. Her mother, a dance professor and critic, is of black American descent, and her father is white American of French, English, and Scottish descent. Growing up as an only child in the Westbeth Arists Community in Greenwich Village, Amel was surrounded by artistic influences from all over the world, ranging from hip-hop to Middle Eastern, and everything in between. Her mother brought her along to the shows she would critic, and early on, Amel made the decision to become a musical artist.

Amel met producer and musician Bryce Wilson in 1991, and they formed Groove Theory, which released its debut album of the same name in the mid ’90s. Their first single “Tell Me” peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100, making Groove Theory an instant success. Amel, however, left the group in 1999 to pursue a solo career.

As a solo artist on Epic Records, Amel released the album, Infinite Possibilities, which produced her greatest single hit to date, “Get Up”. After the album, Amel left Epic Records and began her independent label BlissLife Records with her husband, Laru Larrieux. On her indie label, she released the albums Bravebird and Morning, the latter being her highest-charting solo album. Bravebird features the single “Giving Something Up” which was featured in the commercial for BET’s Rap It Up AIDS awareness campaign. In May of 2007, Amel released a jazz album entitled Lovely Standards. The album reached the top five of the Top Jazz albums for that year.

Amel has contributed music to many film soundtracks including Barbershop, Love Jones, Sunset Park, and Down To Earth. She was part of Coca-Cola’s “Keep It Real” campaign, appearing on radio, television, and print ads. She has also been featured in the magazines Harper’s Bazaar, Essence, Honey, and TRACE. She appeared in the anniversary print campaign for Coach, Inc.

Amel lives in New York City with her husband and daughters Sky and Sanji Rei. She is working with Bryce Wilson on what will be Groove Theory’s second official album.

Amel-Larrieux Amel-Larrieux Amel-Larrieux

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