I Feel Jill Scott

(Editor’s Note: This is NOT wedding planning related at all and purely me getting some thoughts out of my head and onto “paper”. I am well aware of the statistics dealing with interracial marriage and realize fully that most black folks are getting married (if they get married) to each other. That being said, it’s my blog and I’ll post what I wanna..LOL!)

The interwebs have been blowing up for the last few days about a piece that accomplished singer/actress Jill Scott wrote regarding her feelings toward interracial marriage for Essence.com.

In her commentary, Jill talks about “the wince” or internal discomfort that some black women feel when they see a black man with a woman of another race, in particular a white woman. She goes further to discuss some of the historical baggage related to interracial relationships in particular stemming from slavery and Jim Crow. She also touches upon Western (white) standards of beauty and how the media typically devalues the beauty/attractiveness of black women as a whole. Needless to say, she has caught a lot of backlash AND support because of her comments from other bloggers. (See HERE and HERE)

As an recently engaged black woman who is going to marry a black man, I would be lying if I didn’t say I didn’t understand where Ms. Scott is coming from. I have often seen a black man with a white (or other non-black) woman felt the same wince. It’s not a wince of jealousy. It’s not necessarily haterism. It’s a kind of wistfulness. When you know so many beautiful, black, accomplished women who desire to be married or partnered, to see a black man who has chosen to partner outside of the race, in particular, when the concept or notion of “the black family” is under such attack is mentally unsettling.

It’s a lot to unpack in your head. My reason and logic is very sound. I fully understand the concept of loving who you love. I would never want to deny anyone that right. It wasn’t even legal in the United States to marry someone of another race until 1967. But when one thinks about how black women are portrayed in the media, one reads the statistics that say we are the least likely to get married, and one hears the stereotypes that laid upon us collectively (being too loud, too fat, too this, too that) then I think it is a lot to have to deal with, in particular in our society, which places pressure on women to get married. If there are not enough eligible marriageable black men, then some women are bound to get left out. (Again, I am placing this post in the context of black women who want to be married. Some women don’t want to get married and some women don’t date men at all.)

I don’t pretend to know anyone person’s particular story and try not to assume too much when I see an interracial couple. I have grown in my thought process from where I once was. After all, my thoughts/assumptions/opinions don’t matter a hoot to that couple. But what I do think is that it’s unfair to cast aspersions on Ms. Scott’s personal opinion or call her racist, as some of the comment chatter has been doing. I think it’s disingenuous to not think that it hasn’t crossed the minds of SOME black women. It has crossed my mind, and also those of my friends and associates.

So I guess I’ll wrap up my ramblings by saying: I feel Jill Scott.  I totally understand where she is coming from. And, I appreciate her nuanced and non-PC way of stating her personal truth.

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Please feel free to discuss. Please be nice in the comments. 🙂

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11 thoughts on “I Feel Jill Scott

  1. To MissMajestic, yes, you are most concerned about Jill being an unwed mother as if her parental role denies her a right to an opinion. She was married to a Black man and engaged to another Black man. I don’t think her message was lost b/c she was the messenger.

    I will put it out there. I don’t like to see Black men date White women. At initial sight, I wince. Just like Jill said. But then I rationalize it by saying that maybe he was looking for love and it came along in a non-Black package. Or maybe he’s such a deadbeat that he couldn’t get a Black woman because he didn’t want to come with is ‘A’ game. I’m being honest and that’s my train of thought.

    On the flip side of it, I’ve date non-Black men before. One was white from Montana. The other was Italian from Philly. I felt truly loved by one so I can see how it is possible to fall in love with someone who is not of the same race.

    I don’t think that White women or non-Black women for that matter know how to appreciate a Black man and the struggles he faces in America. Just my view. So when I do see an interracial couple, I think it’s the Black man that’s losing out, not us.

  2. The only ones that bother me are the ones that exclusively date people of other races. I’m all for preferences, but in my experience, the ones who rule out dating someone of their own race are “trying too hard” for acceptance by those of the race they prefer to date.

    That said, anyone who has found love has found a wonderful thing. And I admit that the sight of a young black couple building together warms my heart like little else.

  3. This is why the world is NOT ready for a serious discussion on race and prejudice.

  4. Hmmm. I don’t wince. I really don’t care who anyone dates or marries – as long as they’re not trying to date my husband, we’re good.

    I think I don’t care because I’ve been with the same man for 17 years. I have not ever experienced dating as a grown woman – I can certainly see how that would change one’s perspective.

    I do question those black men who “only” date white women. But there’s not enough room on this page for me to express my feelings about that!

    • I agree with you on this. Hubby and I have been together 17 years too (since high school), so I think that my perspective is very different.

      I never, ever wince at interracial couples. I would hope that they were together simply because they wanted to be, but whether it’s true love, a fad or whatever else, I could care less.

  5. I’m ambivalent on the topic. Her message was lost in the messenger for me. I think Essence should have picked a woman who was married or at least in a relationship with a black man to write on that topic. To have a single woman do it comes off as bitter, to me. Maybe I wouldn’t feel this way if I felt the men in my marriage pool preferred White women. But from what I can tell, they don’t. They prefer to stay single (gross generalization here on another topic) And I am a huge Jill fan. But I don’t see how she can discuss slavery without also mentioning how families were torn apart and men and women weren’t allowed to legally marry. This is what I think of when I think of slavery. As a reader, how can I ignore the fact that she is an unwed mother? And she’s been divorced so its not like she couldn’t get a man at all cuz they all wanted White women. I guess I’m just really conservative. I guess I need to differentiate between societal issues and personal situations. To me this so called unmarried or single parent epidemic is much more important but I guess that’s really apples to oranges. I’m just thinking about all the statistics on marriage and single parenthood in the Black community. I’m just saying, she wasn’t the one to write about black men choosing to date or marry women of other races. IMO.

  6. I haven’t read Jill’s comments but based on your summary, I totally understand her position. Ms. Smart got it right; the majority doesn’t want to look at the reasons someone may have a problem with interracial dating, they just want to yell racism.

    There was an article in Essence a while back where a black mother stated that her son better not bring home a non-black girl. She was villified!!! But it’s no problem with a Jewish woman wants her son to bring home a good Jewish girl. Or an Italian father wants to keep their heritage…

    It just seems that black people just can’t have preferences – and God forbid if those preferences exclude the majority…

    • “But it’s no problem with a Jewish woman wants her son to bring home a good Jewish girl. Or an Italian father wants to keep their heritage…”

      THIS right here! It’s also not wrong for them to prefer to go to a Jewish/Italian doctor, etc. I also find it interesting that it’s OK for me to want a female doctor but not a Black female doctor. Huh? Really?

  7. Eh, if you point out the historical ‘lumps’ regarding race and sex in the country, those who don’t want to deal with it are quick to call you a racist. I don’t see anything wrong with what Jill wrote.

    I only have one Black male friend who is married to a white woman. She’s a lovely woman. He’s a cool dude. He didn’t marry her because he hated Black women and chose not to date Black women. He married her (the only white woman he ever dated) because he loves her and she loves him. Sometimes it’s really just that simple. The problem is that the Black men who only date/marry non-Black women are so loud in their attempts to justify their choices by denigrating Black women. Non-Black women can have those types of men-if they want them. None of my friends (of all races) want those men though.

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