K.Michelle, singer and a reality TV star on the VH1 show ‘Love and HipHop,’ has done an interview in which she said, among other things, that she currently prefers dating white men. I’m not surprised. But then again, I’m one of those people that doesn’t get surprised no matter who a person tells me they prefer to date–“I prefer white men” or “I prefer black men” or “I prefer white women” etc.,–because it all pretty much sounds the same to me. You would have to tell me something truly weird, like about some fetish you have, if you wanted to raise my eyebrows.
But still, in today’s social climate, for a black women to openly admit that she prefers to date any group of men besides black men is going to cause some waves. And if that same woman has also alleged that she was physically abused in the past by a black ex-boyfriend then you can expect for some people people to insinuate that the only reason said woman dates white men is because she had a rough time dating black men before. Truthfully speaking, that is why some black women choose to date non-black men: They have had it up to here with black men and have found that non-black men treat them better. Whether or not ‘having it up to here with black men’ is the reason why K.Michelle has chosen to date non-black men hasn’t yet been revealed, so for the moment I’ll refrain from speculation on her motives.
In a piece titled “White Men Are Not Your Only Dating Solution,” writer Demetria L. Lucas questions how women like K.Michelle could claim prefer one race/ethnicity of men over the other:
So I’m clear, there’s nothing wrong with having preferences, and certainly nothing wrong with liking white guys or any other color guys. And do I appreciate that unlike so many conversations on interracial dating, K. Michelle’s didn’t devolve in an opportunity to throw another group of men under the bus to justify what she “prefers.” Still, I find it troubling that K. Michelle and women like her tout a preference for a trait so general that it tells you little to nothing about the actual subject. Is it white swimmers that she likes? White junkies? White republicans? White hipsters? Or is it just the “White” in whatever form it comes that she “prefers”?
Would such a series of questions ever be asked of a Japanese women if she had said she preferred to date Japanese men? Can you imagine a black women being asked to explain why she prefers to date black men? Or can a Muslim be questioned regarding their preference to date other Muslims? “Muslim,” “black,” and “Japanese” are all very broad categories, yet I don’t think that anyone would find it curious that a Muslim wanted to date a Muslim or a black women preferred to date a black man.
Anyone who had dated people from a multitude of backgrounds will find that certain groups do have tendencies to behave in certain ways. Trying to pretend otherwise is an attempt to ignore reality. Yes, men are men and women are women; there are good people of all races, colors, and creeds, but if a women realizes that she has better luck in the relationship department with a particular race, color, or ethnicity of men, then it would completely understandable for her to develop a preference for that type of man.
Off of this blog, I have had black women who date non-black men tell me–point blank–that they received better treatment on average while involved with non-black men. Back in the 90’s it made waves when singer Madonna said that she had never been treated more dis-respectfully than at the hands of the black men she had dated–yet, Madonna kept right on dating black and Latino men, two groups that she seemed to prefer, despite marrying two white men. I also know of a woman who is mixed–black mother, Latino father–who prefers dating black men because she feels that they treat her better than Latino men.
Personally, I like ’em tall, dark, and handsome. Sure, that’s a pretty broad physical description of what I prefer in a man, but at the same time is it specific enough to almost certainly exclude large blocs of men from consideration for my affections. But at the same time there is always room to make exceptions to the rule.
At the end of the day we all have our preferences when it comes to what we want in a person whom we date. And preferring a certain set of physical characteristics over another is no more valid or invalid than any other choice. As long as the contents (i.e., the moral and personal characteristics you seek) are present, the packaging is a matter of personal taste.
Jamila Akil is a senior editor at Beyond Black and White. Follow her on Twitter @jamilaakil or email her at jamilathewriter-at-gmail-dot-com.