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The following Featured Post comes from a test Dialogue Group.

1. What do people really think about bi-racial couples?
Fri, Aug 20, 1999 - 5:49 PM/EST
smallone59

I have always been curious - what do people think about when they see bi-racial couples?

My husband is black I am white. I am never surprised to see bi-racial couples, however I always find myself taking a second look at a white man with a black woman.
In my bi-racial world, it is not the norm to see a white man with a black woman. Actually, it is not the norm to see people of opposite races together, period. Why? I donít understand? Have we not gotten past this? I would love to hear your thoughts.

11. Yeah, I look twice! And? ;-)
Sat, Aug 21, 1999 - 1:45 PM/EST
bronzebeauty

When I see a couple in an IR, I look twice. If it's a BM/WW couple I tend not to do a double take. That seems to be the most common pairing. But if I see a BW/WM couple I look twice, but inside I'm thinking "Y'all go with your bad selves" and I'm cheering for them. Maybe because I'm half of such pairing it's the one that interests me.

~BB~

13. small town girl here
Sat, Aug 21, 1999 - 9:04 PM/EST
emerald

There are very few people of races other than caucasion in my community. In fact, those of other races are just about always doctors and their families who are here working off their internships. So I have had very little experience in really getting to know people of other races on a personal level. So I think I can speak from a purely objective opinion about what I think when I see bi-racial couples. My first reaction is to take a second look. It does get my attention everytime. My first thought is to wonder what drew the couple together. Was it a physical attraction or did they become friends and the love relationship bloomed out of the friendship? I have seen a few 'black' (I hope thats appropriate, african american is a long term to write :-) guys who I have found so sexy I couldn't stand it.

But my main sexual attraction is purely to caucasion men. I saw a documentary once that spoke about each person's 'love map'. The ideal mate we all have on an unconsious level, the person who fits the physical characteristics that make you feel that 'love at first sight' phenomenon. Characteristics such as physical stature, hair type (the way a man walks is a BIG turn on for me) those sorts of things. So I always wonder when people of different races have been drawn to one another whether or not the skin color and racial characteristics are the attraction or did the relationship develop for other reasons.

15. Truth
Sun, Aug 22, 1999 - 6:48 PM/EST
joanpi

Like it or not, I am affected by the society in which I live. When I see a black and white couple, I wonder why and question the self esteem of the white person. This has to do with the fact, unfortunate as it is, that blacks are in a definite one-down position in America, so pairing up with one can mean either supreme self confidence on the part of the white or just the opposite. No one is truly color-blind, so there is material for interpretation, though it may be just a happy, healthy coming together of two people in love.

Since in my generation (born in the 30's), the woman took her status via the husband's work and social position, I always wonder why a white woman would chose to marry a black man, unless he were one of those well-educated professional men. Be clear that I think there are lots of interesting, attractive and intelligent black men, I just always avoided getting close to temptation for the reasons stated above. As to white men marrying black women, I have less difficulty understanding that. This might be controversial enough to raise some response, eh?

20. phew
Mon, Aug 23, 1999 - 10:45 PM/EST
sid22

Yeah it's controversial to raise some response. Why do you have less difficulty understanding the pairing of a black woman with a white man? Is it because women marry for status so a BW with a WM is a "step up the ladder" and therefore understandable? Whatever. Most people I know don't date for social status. They date because they are attracted to the person they are with. One does not need to have low self-esteem or be supremely confident to date a BM. And black people are certainly not in a "one-down position" compared to whites.

If you mean that often they don't have the same advantages, you are right, they often don't. This doesn't mean they are any less compared to whites. And I don't exactly know what you mean by "why a white woman would chose to marry a black man, unless he were one of those well-educated professional men," which makes it seem as though well-educated professional BMs are a rare species. The people I know marry because of love, because they are drawn to something in their partner, regardless of what ethnic background he or she has.

21. Supporting Stereotypes?
Tue, Aug 24, 1999 - 4:33 AM/EST
falcon

Joanpi,

Reading your post you sound like an intelligent women so I can't believe you subscribe or still subscribe to these racial stereotypes you've outlined here so what are you looking to have come out the post you've provide?

22. BW with WM speaks
Tue, Aug 24, 1999 - 5:51 AM/EST
jacaden

Joanpi probably speaks for most folks in the U.S. today, regardless of their race. Despite the efforts of Afrocentric scholars/activists, the long history of colorism within black communities/families reigns supreme. Many still yearn for the "good hair," and "honey-toned skin" of lighter-hued black folks. For some brothers and sisters, even this aesthetic is not enough. And in today's enlightened times you don't have to settle for an imitation of white. You can have the genuine article.

Much like the "whitening" policies of the Brazilian government, many of us black folk ingest the value judgements of our families, our media, and our selves to believe that white is best. I believe that many people of color, but by no means all, secretly feel that whiteness is a "step up." Given the vile level of racism in our country today (despite what politicians and right wing types want to tell us), who can blame them?

Yet this is not limited to people of color...White folks, of every class, sexual orientation, and physical persuasion ingest a steady diet of people of color as inferior. Of course there are always the Michael Jordans, Oprahs, or Tiger Woods to reassure whites that neither they nor their culture are racist. But this stuff is everywhere.

Why people cross color lines when it comes to love is just as complicated as the rest of the decisions they make in their lives. But to deny the reality of the racial hierarchies that impact how much money we make, where we can live, the decisions our children will be asked to make, or how our families will treat us is absurd. Any person who is in an interracial relationship has dealt with these questions, even if they do not openly recognize or admit it.

23. so lets understand Joanpi
Tue, Aug 24, 1999 - 2:47 PM/EST
Lynn

Joanpi stuck her neck out and said it like it really is. And if you percieve that your generation is "not like that" than its time to figure out if its really true.

One of the main things I have come to realize is that I must go to battle with the insidious encroachment of prejudice in my own life. There are cultural behaviors which make my life uncomfortable and sometimes scare me.

It scares me when adolescent males gather in a crowd and talk very loudly and play very roughly in the road beside my house. Then cars come playing very loud music that shakes the walls of this old frame housse. Sometimes I hear the words of the songs and they are horrible about women or physical violance to another person.

I know that what is happening is not because these adolescents are black, it is because they are acting out from another culture and from poverty.

(If they had more money perhaps they would be at home playing with computers.)

And I know that black youngsters gather in groups because it is safer! They are right, it is much safer. Read the postings from Falcon.

24. Jacaden
Tue, Aug 24, 1999 - 3:14 PM/EST
smallone59

Jacaden,

I am curious to know what encounters you have had with other people because of your bi-racial relationship. Has anyone from the black community, friends, family or strangers approached you on your decision to be with a white man?

My husband, who is black, had one run in with another black male about his choice in women. This person said that he was a "sell out." On the same note, I have heard black women say, "you stole one of our men." Umm, come again? I don't understand, why the possessiveness?

Until this PBS dialogue session started, I never realized how naive I am about racial issues that saturate this society. I am grateful for all of the insights and point of views given from everybody. I still have a lot more to learn, as we all do, however, I certainly feel more racially sensitive!

26. Advice to WW with BM from BW
Wed, Aug 25, 1999 - 5:10 PM/EST
jacaden

My family has never said anything about my husband not being black to me. My mother always said that she didn't care who I married, as long as I was happy. My father may not be happy, but has never shown displeasure. My grandmother likes my husband very much. But of course they would probably be happier if I had married someone black.

My friends are a wide mixture of "traditional American" (white/white heterosexual), gay/lesbian, and yes other interracial couples. None of them are the "types" that would give me flak. If there is ever any tension it is most often felt when I encounter a black man with a white woman when I am with my husband--usually with the white woman.

Smallone, I think that you have to be aware of the power that you have. Your white skin gives you a status that black women have long been denied. Even if you do not come from wealth, by virtue of being WHITE, you benefit from racism.

I am troubled by your response/reaction to black women who confront you. There are responsibilities that come with being in an interracial relationship, especially if you are white. Maybe you should try to find out more about the past and present histories of black women/white women in this country. Then you might be able to not only understand the race/sexual politics that are specific to white women/black men relationships in this country, but understand why a black woman might be displeased seeing you with your husband. You might be able to think of how you will respond with more than a kind of dismissive innocence and speak from a postion of knowledge. I am not trying to sound harsh, but to give the advice of a black woman who despite being in an interracial relationship is often shocked at the naivete of many white women married to black men and mothers to children of color.

If you would like some suggestions on books.articles, etc. I would be more than happy to pass them on to you.


27. Thank you!
Thu, Aug 26, 1999 - 2:36 PM/EST
smallone59

Jacaden -

Thank you for your advice!

Please, please pass along names of books or other articles that you think would benefit me. By no means do I feel like you are being harsh. I need to understand the racial politics between black and white women. It goes much deeper than I ever thought.

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