The Myth of The Great White Hope
In the wake of all of the media attention aimed at Black women, which included but wasn’t limited to; ill-advised dating advice from comedians turned quasi-relationship experts, speculation about why we’re single and unmarried, No Wedding No Womb baby-mama campaign, why we are supposedly threatened by Kim Kardashian’s elegance, grace, and beauty, and play-play scientific charts documenting why we’re unattractive, many of us were flustered by the Tragic, Angry, Single Black Woman meme and exasperated with defending ourselves. The Black woman’s sensibilities definitely took a bit of a hit in the press and in popular culture. At Ariana Proehl’s (of Know This! TV) urging, I also resolved to put the tired trope to rest. I didn’t want to lend the insanity any more credence or energy.
That promise notwithstanding, no agenda geared toward Black women is equally as annoying as the Black Women Are Better off With and Simply MUST Date White Men or Will melt Into a Sticky Puddle of Nothingness and Despair propaganda, pushed by certain ones of my sistren is. Of late, articles are cropping up using another angle to access and publicly analyze our dating lives and there have been videos featuring groups of giddy Black women promoting bulleted lists of reasons why dating White men is somehow essential to our survival and livelihood. And it has to absolutely be White men… and none other, or else we’re doomed!
Author Niki McElroy has been making the social media rounds, promoting her book A Black Girl’s Guide to Dating White Men and espousing the attributes that will allegedly get Black women picked by a trophy husband (let’s cut the double-standard and call it what it so obviously is). In a video clip from a show called Everyway Woman, McElroy suggests that her current dating choices are relegated to White men and she wrote the book to placate her curious girlfriends’ queries. While I have no issue with interracial dating, believe in dating with an open mind, and have done so several times for no particular reason or sans any ulterior motives other than shared interests/mutual attraction/(because I just wanted to make-out with a willing partner), I do have a problem with people who date other, purely for opportunistic and superficial reasons or to prove some myopic argument.
When one of the women in the video eagerly (read: thirstily) lauded the book’s helpful hints on behaviors such as, how to order wine because it makes Black women “look so much more classier” [sic] to upper-middle class White men, to which the author agreed and opined that such learned behaviors present Black women in a more “knowledgeable” light when it comes to the finer things in life, since most of us were apparently ignorant about Moscato, prior to rappers coming on the scene guzzling the Italian dessert wine in music videos (insert major side-eye here); I couldn’t help but wince and shake my head with embarrassment… I honestly thought it was a parody video- (and “No comment” regarding another woman on the panel, who gleefully delighted in the guide being “easy to read” and not having “a lot of big words”).
While I understand McElroy’s intentions are probably paved with good intentions (like the ubiquitous road to Hell), I can attest to the fact that there’s no rhyme or reason to dating interracially (a few hurdles aside, it’s no more mysterious than dating among your own race). If you’re dating someone based on mutual and genuine attraction, there’s no need to adopt affected dating behaviors, beyond the norm (unless you’re in an inter-cultural relationship, which presents a different set of circumstances, regardless of race). I’ve been on dates with White men considered to be at the top of the economic chain (as it were), and can assure McElroy and women like those featured in the video clip that much of the time; I was the one making wine suggestions (even imploring one date not to ask for ice cubes with his Cabernet. And no it didn’t end well). I’ve also been on dates with insightful and charming Black and Latino men who may not have had six-figure incomes, but were equally as epicurean as I am and fun to be around. So the wine advice was asinine.
As illustrated in the video, McElroy and other bamboozled Black women like her who promote interracial dating the WRONG WAY for all the WRONG REASONS (just like some of our brethren), tend to deify and fetishize White men while encouraging wayward (but curious) Black women who’ve never dated outside the box, to act disingenuously in order to be rescued by this elusive idea of a White Knight. This type of interracial dating advice also insults our intelligence and in essence, suggests that Black women need to dumb themselves down, because our Black selves (intellect and good conversationalist be damned) simply isn’t acceptable enough. Not to mention it fails to recognize that interracial dating can be enjoyable in many other combinations besides Black Women/White men couplings.
Black women, if you are interested in learning about different wines, do so out of your own curiosity. Hit up your local wine and spirit shop’s free wine tastings (most tend to be on a Thursday, Friday, and/or Saturday) and chop it up with the employees there… just because; not because you’re trying to buy into some tired, interracial dating cliche or because you think it’ll make you appear less intellectually inferior to a White, male dating prospect. More importantly, if you’re a Black woman who’s interested in dating beyond the scope of Black Love, eschew interracial dating generalizations at all costs and date with genuine intentions. This would require that you not go seeking men out simply because they’re White, you’re looking to sate a racial/ethnic fetish, and you want to be saved and civilized (I’m still agitated by that wine thing) lest you come across looking like a needy ignoramus and a parched duck, with no ideas of your own to bring to the table; And as far as Niki McElroy’s book goes, skip it and don’t believe the hype as she has an obvious agenda to push, has admitted in her clumsily written book that she dates based on stereotypes- (she went through a fiery, temperamental Latin Lover phase apparently, had “yellow fever” and eventually dated South East Asian men, because she saw the movie Monsoon Wedding and wanted to have one of her very own)- and also writes (perhaps to be tongue-in-cheek, but still annoying nonetheless) at the beginning of the first chapter…
“Whether you laugh in glee, groan in despair or take offense, at the end of the day this is my story… And hell, now I can say I’m a published author an [sic] that’s a resume builder to get me more quality white dates!”
Plus it just sounds like more sinister, mythological dating drivel. Dating as a Black woman with an open-mind does not include pandering to trite racial stereotypes.