A few weeks ago, I noticed a video posted on Facebook,“Can you be pro-black and Date Interracially.’” posted by Jovita A. Lee. The video by Candid Conversations was re-posted by Black British Banter, a Pro Black group based in the UK. The re-post generated over 100,000 views and 10,000 comments. Jovita's re-post gained 100 comments with me included.
The thread started off dismissing the validity of the question. But soon, it grew into a beautiful understanding. A conversation happened, people talked and listen. And in the end, we all gained knowledge and perspective. I wasn’t expecting the thread to be emotional, neither was I expecting our views to be contrastive. The comments geared towards interracial couples who were black and white more than any other racial group.
After my last comment on the post, I messaged Jovita. Lee is a twenty- four- year old political organizer who identifies as a pro-black woman. As we messaged back and forth, she revealed her own struggles. At first, she was against it, but her views shifted. Like me, her brother dated a white woman changing her perspective. We both agreed this question is valid. The family structure is the most vital part of the advancement of the black community. Without it, our community suffers as do the welfare of our people. It is easier for black men to date out then black women.
Because black women carry the burden of being the backbone of our community, our loyalty is for our men. However, Black men are two times more likely to date outside their race than black women. Dating out was key to climbing the social ladder. Whereas, black women are overlooked and we are the least likely group to find a marriage.
Where Lee and I disagreed is the legitimacy of interracial dating, if you are pro-black. Interracial dating is doable. As long as you have "a partner who is compassionate and empathizes withyour plight," color doesn’t matter. Lee continued, "if you are pro-black, NOTHING can alter that fact no matter who you love." I found myself trying to grow as she has done with her assessment, but I haven’t. As a pro-black woman, if I did date out "I think my boldness and unapologetic language would offend my partner." Lee ended and again I agreed.
The subject of interracial dating is a click bait. Interracial dating is growing in popularity among American people. Although the Supreme court legalized interracial marriages in 1967, it is still a taboo subject. Races/cultures tend to marry within the same social construct. But, when black and white date people date everyone pays attention. In America, race matters more than culture. My questions to you reader, is, can you be pro-black and date outside your race? Before you answer, let's define pro-black. Lee explains this perfectly, “pro-black is a lifestyle that encourages the economic growth and development of the black people as a whole. Its sole purpose is to keep uplifting black people in America.”
After our conversation, I went back to the Facebook comments. I wanted to find the answers to this repeated question. I sorted through the comments then I asked nineteen people: Can you be pro-black and date outside your race? Their answers weren’t so black and white.
1. Jaquetta- age 40, business owner, color stylist
Personally? No. Then there is another question- you can’t control who you fall in love with. What do you mean you can’t control yourself?.... We are the only group that thinks we are better if we go get that race. That’s the only race (white people) that no other race minds if you marry- black people don’t get the same privilege.
2. Amanda, age 35, fitness instructor:
Absolutely! As a "pro-Black woman, we should seek to marry and have a family with the most suitable candidate for marriage and fatherhood to give our kids a better shot at life. If that man happens to be non- black, so be it.
3. Brianna, single, age 23:
You can be pro-black and still date outside your race. It’s all about what is good for you and if that happens to be someone who isn’t black then cool but don’t bash black people.
4. Kayla, single, age 26 -
For me personally, I’m not at a place where interracial dating and pro-black mix. I don’t have the space to be patient with someone who doesn’t understand my culture and heritage: I still need to time to grow.
5. Maya, age 32, single -
That is a tough question… I am all about uplifting my black brothers and sisters. I try as hard as I can to support black businesses and black economic empowerment and raise the social consciousness-However, I am not going to put others down who do it.
"The tides raise all ships and if we are better, then we can put that into our own community."
6. Monica, age 30, married to a white guy-
As a pro-black woman in an interracial marriage, I support the plight of black people. I also understand why some think you can't to date outside if you are pro-black.
One thing though, I believe just because you have a black partner doesn't t give you a pass to assume authority or ownership on the discussion of blackness. Period.
7. Jovita Lee-
I’ve grown... I’ve come to realize that progress in the Black community cannot be solely dependent on “Okay everybody, make sure you marry Black."
8. Lala, African, age 26, single –
As an African woman, we experience the same issues as Black American Women. We share the burden of pro-blackness, we date our men before we consider other races. In my experience, our men date other races before us; they see as it climbing the social ladder.
10. My father, age 69, postal worker- father of three -
Nah, you either have to be this way or that way, especially this day and time. We have to go back to our roots. The family black family structure is destroyed, we aren’t strong anymore.
11. Ahmad, age 27, single-
Yes, you can. Pro black is not anti any other race. Many of my people believe to support their culture they have to hate another which is bigotry.
12. Brandon, age 28, single- hip- hop artist-
Yeah, sure. I do think it matters who you date. You can’t generalize all white people; don’t let opinions of a few determine your perception of all.
13. Eric, age 27, single, customer service rep-
My answer is no, that is a double standard.
14. Dre, age 26, dancer, single –
It’s awkward but yes, pro-black doesn’t mean anti-white You can fight for equality and speak out against injustices without hating or attacking white people.
15. Justin, age 32, in a relationship -
I would say yes and no- because ask yourself, what is Pro black? You need to have a full understanding of pro-black. Ask yourself- Can you be pro-vegan and eat meat? You can, but it contradicts what you say you stand for.
16. Robert Lee age 31, married- father of three- (Robert has one bi-racial son)
I’m torn on this subject.
You can be pro-black and still date outside your race… however… the lessons you teach your children will determine which side of the scale you lean towards.
White people: men and women included :
17. Katie, age 20, in a relationship –
I know for a fact I love my man more than anything.
18. Ted Willis, age 37, engaged to black man-
I cannot even begin to understand the plight, but I empathize as a gay man from a different perspective. Love is love is love is love is love. I love my finance because of who he is. I was raised to love and respect everyone.
19. Ashley, age 22, married to Nigerian man -
I come from a mixed family and I get to be a part of two cultures. My husband is Nigerian and his culture is an amazing part of him! It has been a privilege to learn: It is absolutely amazing.