So I Married a White Girl…
For those of you who are familiar with Kanye West, you should know that violating this sacrament, held within the black community, will cause nothing but a sense of disdain. In the song “Gold Digger,” Kanye pronounces to a black woman dating a successful black man that “when he get on he leave your ass for a white girl,” which is believed to be truism. (See Charles Barkley, Tiger Woods, and just about every other professional athlete) Now I know that Kanye West is not astute in the social sciences (albeit the most blunt, a la “George Bush does not like black people”), but he does touch on a point that I’ve noticed a lot among professional black men. I wrote this post because it seems like every time I go back to the old neighborhood, girls that I either grew up with or went to high school with are now suddenly “interested” in what the soon-to-be esquire is doing during his personal time. Yet, if I indicate that I’m not interested, the girl’s first response (and I mean literally the most common) is “Oh, I see you must really be loving Vanilla-Nova.”
I’ve always been confused because I’ve dated all kinds of woman (and I plan on continuing to do that), but there’s a perception that if I were to settle down and marry a Caucasian woman than I’ve officially become a sellout. So with this stigma in mind and my dating options in the profession pretty much limited to Caucasian woman, would my decision to marry a white girl be the result of my individual choosing or an unconscious submission to outside pressures. Growing up I always got a lot of flack for being different. I mean, I worked at Dechert LLP at the age of 16, I was the youngest guy in almost all my class, I had a 3.8 GPA in high school, and I wore a shirt and tie to school. In a culture where negatives are positives, it wasn’t cool to be what some perceived to be “white.” So, while dating a white girl might get you a side look, marrying one will surely get you called an Uncle Tom.
We have come far as a society when it comes to the acceptance of interracial couples; however, that doesn’t mean that everyone is going to understand where you might find love. (Just in case you didn’t know, Loving v. Virginia was decided only 40 years ago). So I often find myself second guessing if I should approach a Caucasian girl that I may have a crush on or just generally think is cute because I don’t want to have to feel defensive if someone asks me how we met or when we started dating. In the past, I felt like I had to walk around with a sign on my back explaining to the prying eyes and shaking heads that “No, I’m not a sell out and in fact I probably support more African-American causes than you and you’re entire family.” But the moment that I respond like that is the moment that I’ve become just as bad as those who can’t understand why I don’t think it’s a big deal to date someone of another race. How? Because if dating someone irrespective of their race is truly natural or not a big deal, then I shouldn’t have an offhand response as to why I am dating her. If I did have such a prepared response, you would be right for being suspicious.
My thoughts on why successful black men date white women is simple; look at the numbers and the level of proximity. An honest observation is that men are lazy and typically don’t venture out of their backyard. So, if there are more white women than black women in professional schools, just based on the numbers it is conceivable for all black men to end up with a white woman. In short, although Kanye was a little quick in his comments about George Bush, maybe he touched on a topic that is too big for him (and even myself) to tackle.