According to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of recent US Census’s demographic data, one-in-seven new marriages in the US are interracial or interethnic.
This number is stunning especially considering the fact that until forty-four years ago, interracial liaisons were unlawful in 16 or so states. And even in states were they were not proscribed, they were frowned upon. At the very least, such relationships and encounters conflicted with the social mores of several enclaves. It sounds silly now, but really, it was only in June 1967 that the U.S. Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia, knocked down the Virginia law that forbade whites from marrying blacks. In the intervening years, however, America has become more diverse than any other country in the industrialized world.
The data in question seem not to separate Africans from the African-Americans and the general non-white pool. Therefore, one is unable to make statistically valid deductions as to why Africans, in greater numbers, are attracted to and are marrying white women. To be clear: this essay does not make any scientific statement or conclusion. I have only taken the liberty to make inferences from my years of cursory observations in and around several enclaves across the United States. What’s more, I have friends and friends of friends who have dated, dating, have married or are currently married to white and Hispanic women and women of Asian background. This essay, then, looks at why African men are attracted to non-African women. I have used white women to denote all non-African women from the US, Latin America, Europe and elsewhere. The question here is simple: why are African men into white women? What’s the attraction?
First is the liberal attitude of many African men. After several years of living in the US, some seems to have come to the conclusion that African women are simply too raw, unrefined and conservative. The alternative then becomes women who, in their opinion, are stylish, sassy and spunky and nontraditional. They seek women who are liberal and with expansive worldview that fits with their new orbit. Second is the issue of the proverbial American dream. That is to say that the African immigrants are not much different from other immigrants who come to the US in search of the American dream. America, after all, is the land of endless possibilities. To get their feet inside the American door, therefore, some believe they needed an agreeable native to help them through this process (without which the American dream may become very difficult to achieve).
The third factor revolves around the issue of compatibility and companionship. The room-mate phenomenon where you test-drive a relationship is not very common in Africa. Some men and women feel trapped by such reality. In a society where trial-and-error relationships are not very common, couples may be subjected to a life of anguish should things go awry. But in the US, one could test-drive a relationship without long term commitment. This kind of arrangement gives the Africans the opportunity to explore alternatives. And this, they cannot easily and readily do, with African women.
In the movies and in magazines, most white women are depicted as sensual, sexual and alluring; and as creatures to be taken. These images, and the messages they send have not escaped the mind of a typical African male. Once in the U.S, all he wants is what he has for so long desired. He itches to poke, to bite and to lick the once forbidden fruit. In other words, the untouchable become touchable. For many African men, once they taste the white honey, they may never go back to the blackberry basket. And the fifth reason is this: for some Africans, the mind altering sex is a standalone reason to want the white woman. The argument, as some have posited, is that most African women are bad at sex. Even terrible! Most, I am told, just lay there -- motionless. White women, the argument goes, makes a man think of things he shouldn’t be thinking about; thoughts he shouldn’t be having, and fantasies he shouldn’t be floating in.
And of course, there is the rejection of the familiar. Americans are wont to say “Been there…done that.” Africans are wont to say it, too -- especially when it comes to African women. Their argument goes like this: “for years and years I dealt with Africans women; well, now that I am in America, why should I deal with them again?” As my cousin, Raphael Harry puts it, “…now they are in a foreign land they need to try something else and some ended up loving what they tasted and never went back.... I have seen it in Male and Female friends of mine.” It seems some make the conscious decision to abandon African women in favor of the whites. This kind of attitude is mostly prevalent among the younger generation of Africans from the English speaking African countries.
Also, there is old-fashioned love. By this I mean there are African men who love white women for no particular reason than old-fashioned love. For such men, loving and marrying white women has nothing to do with race or color or nationality or culture. Or even sex. They are not rejecting the African woman. No, not at all! They simply can’t help themselves and blind to several externalities. In order words, such men would have married a Chinese, Japanese, a Mongols or whomever and it still wouldn’t matter. Love is love and they marry the person they love and are in love with. It is that simple. These are men who believe that love conquers all and are determined to stay in and nurture their loving relationships.
And finally, there are the anecdotal reasons. For instance, there are those who believe that white women, in general, are more fun and accommodating and are easy to get along with. Africans -- and frankly, black men in general -- will tell you that for the most part, white girls are free of the high and low dramas that are usually associated with African and African-American women. Also, there is the belief that white women are easily manipulated. I doubt if this is true, though. And finally, it is believed that black women mostly wait for men to walk up to them, to propose -- while white women have no such hang-ups. If necessary, and under the right condition, they would make the first move. Many men, it seems, find this direct approach joyful and liberating and aphrodisiacal.
In spite of the aforesaid, one must be careful not to generalize. What is true of one person may not necessarily be true of another especially since we all have diverse life experiences, and usually find ourselves under different and varying circumstances. Nonetheless, it is important to understand why, in cities and states across the United States of America, an increasing number of African men are in long term relationship with white women. We need to understand the attraction. We also need to understand the ramifications, both in the short and long term. From the Washington DC metropolitan area to New York and Chicago down south to Houston and Dallas and westward to Seattle and Los Angeles, we see an alarming number of single African women (divorced and never remarried or have simply never been married before). Is it their choice to remain single or could it be that an increasing number of black men are no longer into black women. What’s going on?
• Sabella Abidde lives in Montgomery, Alabama. He is on Facebook and can also be reached at: [email protected]