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