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June 15, 2006

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Gina

Wow. That's a thought provoking post. I'm thinking about the comments of the Latina/Af-Am woman on interracial dating, in particular. Men frequently ask me "What are you?" with this hungry gleam of anticipation. I always reply "Black." "But are you from the Islands? Are you Indian?" they press on, and go down this whole list of exotic, titillating possibilities, it seems. I always reply, "I'm just a garden variety black woman." I don't feel that I (or anyone) should have to qualify on some imaginary scale for dating. I mean, everyone has very specific attractions. But it's denigrating to suggest that you're more or less dateworthy based on your ethnicity or the composition of your ethnicity.

To complicate matters further, there is the issue that a lot of Black men and women do seem to feel that they're "trading up" if they date outside of their race. It's as if you should get the degree or the pro-athlete status, then get the non-Af-Am wife or husband to crown your achievements. I don't have any issues with interracial relationships, and wish more people would try it. But when you objectify a man or a woman to the point where they're really a living, breathing trophy for you, I'm going to question your motivations.

Lastly, a lot of the very same Af-Am men who marry or date outside of their race seem to look down on Black women who do the same thing. I get the stink eye from a lot of black men if I'm in public with a white man... Even if they have a white woman on their arm. Some of them have even said things to me and my dates, and I'm floored. I don't understand this double standard.

Race is such a silly construct, and it's just another thing that we use to divide ourselves. I agree that is love, wherever and however you find it.

lizz

Great Comments from the Black Latina. I imagine that these experiences will become more and more prevalent as demographics in the U.S. change. We'll see. But I totally understand what you mean. Thanks for writing.

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