Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Interracial Relationships In Sports Evoke Various Reactions

I'm not a sports fan but this article intrigued me. About mid-article, the writer gave away that she was African-American, which had definite relevance to the perspective of the article. The author more or less identified with what she felt were a majority of African-American women who feel "like they have a better chance of hitting the lottery than finding a black man to marry."

The author is very frank and honest when she states the following:

The root of our discomfort with black athletes and white women is multi-layered, but it's a result of both sides allowing statistics and fear to play on prejudices.

For African-American women, every time we see a black athlete with a white woman we feel like the Bellagio in Ocean's Eleven - as if something just got hijacked from us.

That sentiment seems twisted, but it's based on the fear that all the good black men are marrying white women.

I have heard this sentiment often, in casual conversation but moreso in television and film. I wonder where the line is between the reality behind the fears and the tensions the media can spark by pushing paranoia (as the media well knows how to do)? A problem I saw in her methodology, however, was depending entirely on statistics. Statistics, especially those derived from surveys, have a tendency to be, well, inaccurate. It's best to match real-life experience with any statistics and see if the two concur.

Taking that into account, the real issue here seems to be a much deeper one, one that has nothing to do with interracial relationships. The issue seems to lie with the declining numbers of African-American men marrying, staying married and taking on the mantle of the head of the household.

If this is so, then perhaps something could be learned in studying why IR marriages of Black men (athletes or otherwise) with White women work and why these men are more likely to step up to the plate for an IR relationship and not for African-American women. I certainly don't have the answer to that complex social issue. According to the article, I was fortunate enough to marry one of the 10% of African-American women who marry outside their race. That is, if you believe the statistics (and I'm not sure I do).

One thing I did take issue with in the article, though, was this remark:

Interracial relationships don't just make black people uncomfortable, either. Several conservative whites have expressed concern over the high rate of interracial relationships because they have this crazy fear it will lead to end of the white race. H. Millard, a columnist for the ultra-racist New Nation News, wrote, "Call it what it is: Genocide and the extinction of the white genotype."

Why, oh, why does the author have to resort to using the racist stereotype of White conservative racist nutjob as the only other opinion besides that belonging to Black people? For an otherwise well-written article, this stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb... As a person who happens to be White and happens to be conservative, I can vouch for the fact that I am neither a racist nor a nutjob. In fact, I've had the displeasure of dealing with people who hold such views (over the internet and not in person, thankfully) in the past and it was extremely unsettling; I'd really like to avoid being lumped in with them and I know I'm not alone in that.

The author finishes on a mixed, biased note:

Chapman should be saluted for speaking out against his former university and having the guts to date who he wanted despite what officials thought about it - and in Kentucky of all places.

But real progress won't be made until there is no worry about who white men date or who black men choose.

I'm not sure if the author intended this but she seems to assume that white men only date Black women and thus, don't marry them but Black men will always "choose" (i.e. - "marry").

I guess my final thought on this article is that maybe we need to confront prejudice in every community before we start judging IR relationships and looking for faults in them.

Best Wishes,

1 comment:

yellowrose said...

Oh of course this would come from a white man. You all think you know it all-even more than a black woman who was born and raised in black culture. I don't even understand why you felt the need to write about this??

I can tell you that it is true, every word that she said. What is also true is that not ony is the white race facing a genocide, the black race is too. However, at a much more rapid pace.

The point you raise about learning why IR marriages of Black men (athletes or otherwise) with White women work and why these men are more likely to step up to the plate for an IR relationship and not for African-American women is something we have asked for some time. (especially the last five years) We can place alot of that mentality on slavery, hence the White Man who enslaved black people and made us believe White is better and white women are better. That is why IR marriages work because it has been engrained that white is better. white women are better than there own and there mixed babies won't come out with negroid features like theirs. I am sure you this is all new to you but I am also sure that you think you know everything and that you can sum it all up with statistics.

When you combine the number of black men in prison, dating outdside of their race, homosexual-and just not being committed-what do questions do you think black women should be asking.....It's the one thing we do have left-our opinion. It would be great to let that one thing remain OURS.