“A decent White guy will never want you if he knows you’ve been with a Black guy.”
Jenna, a gorgeous blonde woman from a small town in the Midwest, took those words to heart. They came from Mr. Right, the White guy she’d been dating not long after moving to the metropolis, and she was head over heels for him. She’d dated a few Black men prior to meeting him and mentioned it in a conversation they were having about their previous dating experiences.
Mr. Right was tall, dark, and handsome with a high-income job that afforded his lavish condo and luxury cars, not to mention his upscale style of dressing. Jenna had finally hit the jackpot and was afraid she’d messed up her chance with Mr. Right, so she backpedaled and let it be known that no sex was involved with any of those Black men; only a few drinks and casual conversations.
But Jenna did have sex with those Black men. I was a friend of her roommate at the time, Karen, another blonde woman who saw no shame in her attraction and desire for melanin-enhanced brethren. It was Karen who’d introduced Jenna to some of her single, Black guy-friends and set Jenna on the path of foreign indulgence.
Karen heard the headboard crashing against Jenna’s bedroom wall and her orgasmic screams from down the hallway of their two-bedroom apartment when the sex happened. She also listened as Jenna boasted about her mind-blowing sexual experiences over their morning coffee together in the kitchen. But when she began dating Mr. Right and he let her know whats to be expected of a woman he’d like to call his own, her taboo past became a forgotten and rejected memory.
Mr. Right’s opinion is one that echoes throughout the minds of many men who don’t want women of their race or culture to be with anyone other than the men of their group, and it’s important for them to shame the ones who do.
I can recall a recent occasion where I was helping a photographer I know search through some equipment to use during his next photo shoot. He told me about a model he was working with who was smoking hot and had a good attitude, but she was kind of ‘ghetto’ and had a lot of Black boyfriends before she became single.
“Those Black boyfriends turned you off, huh?” I joked.
“Nah, it wasn’t that. She just seemed like she’d been through a lot and had a lot of issues,” he replied.
Yeah, she’d been through a lot — a lot of Black dudes, and that was enough to turn him off from pursuing her. I didn’t press him to speak the truth of the matter, but I could read between the lines to see his covert way of disgracing her.
We could chalk it up to insecurity; no man wants to think of his woman with any man before him, but the disgust and contempt rises to another level when its revealed that the previous man was Black.
Labels like coalburner, mudshark, and the timeless-classic, nigger lover, are terms used by some to describe women of other races who’ve dated Black men in the past and serves as a warning for other non-Black men to consider before pursuing them.
This pseudo-ownership strategy of socially disfranchising a woman for dating outside of her group usually prevents them from doing so, unless their rebellion or true desire for another is beyond the concern of what others think or how they’re labeled.
It’s strange that these labels apply to Black men when traditionally a woman desires a man who’s tall, dark and handsome, like Mr. Right.
Dark, yes — but not Black.
The context lies in the historical conception of handsome European men who were builders and soldiers that labored in the sun, and the Italian, Spanish, and certain Middle Eastern men who possessed the same qualities. However, once the genetics venture more towards African traits and the darker skin is paired with coarse hair, large nostrils, and full lips, the more different we seem from the European standards the world has set for male desirability — and the more unacceptable it is to be with someone different than that standard.
A better and more modern wording of the nostalgic phrase would be: Tall, dark and handsome, but not Black.
There are women who’ll ignore the cultural and social stigmas of being with a Black man, but they still get labeled and categorized into specific types:
The women who ‘talk Black’ or ‘act Black.’ These women don’t fit the social norms of an educated and proper woman that Mr. Right would want to have on his arm. Sometimes these women come from places where people talked a certain way and they’re simply products of their environment. However, there are also women who’ve come from exclusive backgrounds yet have an affinity for Black culture (rather, the extreme and negative aspects of it). They emulate unfavorable stereotypes of Black women and believe that’s how they should carry themselves in order to attract Black men. They make it look bad for the rest and become the poster-child for cultural shaming.
The women with low self-esteem. These women can’t get Mr. Right because they don’t look good enough or don’t have the type of body he’d prefer, so they choose a Black man because its embedded in public lore that Black men will fuck any woman, especially if she’s of a different race. As comedian Lisa Lampinelli once joked, “Remember when a Black guy would fuck a refrigerator just because it was white?”
The women who experiment. The curiosity of finding out if the myth is true about a Black man’s dick size and sexual prowess coupled with the arousal factor of doing something taboo is enough to make a woman indulge her interests. But after the experiment is done, she’s back to searching for a proper man to have a serious relationship with, like Mr. Right.
The rebellious ones. This is more common with girls in their teens and early twenties who want to piss off their parents and families. These girls are usually told as they’re growing up not to date or bring home a Black man, and of course the ultimate form of disobedience is to do the opposite. After the rebellious streak subsides and she’s lucky enough not to get pregnant by any of the Black men she’s dated, she straightens up to find Mr. Right as well.
Women in the porn industry can also be stigmatized for having sex with a Black man on-camera. When an actress does a scene with a Black male co-star, it’s immediately labeled as taboo, interracial, or the premise of the film feeds into a negative stereotype (i.e. a Black man brutally dominating a submissive White damsel). Though a large market exists for that type of porn, many adult actresses avoid doing those scenes because it can mean a loss of their fan base — mostly White males who prefer not to see their fantasy girl getting it on with a Black guy.
I’ve also heard it argued from a biological perspective:
Since males are competing for reproductive success in the transfer of their genes within a group, all outsiders are considered an immediate threat. And, being that someone Black is anatomically different in a few ways (hair, skin and facial features), he may as well be an alien from another planet invading the human race to take their women.
For as much as women are demeaned for being with a Black man, the twisted irony lies in the men who do the demeaning — they play the field with all sorts of women, no matter what race, creed or color, but aren’t scarred with the cultural badge of dishonor like the women are. And once they’re done, the women of the group continue to accept them despite their outer-cultural wanderings.
Knowing that I have the power to tarnish a woman by sleeping with her is powerful, yet disheartening. I yearn to adore a woman’s beauty and give her the greatest pleasure possible without demeaning or shaming her in any way. But if society shows us anything other than how shallow we are, it’s that any love, lust, chemistry, and desire beneath the physical shell of a human being means nothing; it’s what’s on the surface that determines social orthodox.
Oddly enough, when I was browsing through words in a thesaurus for a synonym in place of ‘tarnish,’ blacken was one of the choices.
What are your thoughts? Have you been shamed by people of your cultural or social circle because you’ve been with a Black guy?
Are women who’ve dated or slept with Black men considered undesirable?