Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jungle Fever, Jungle Love?

Colleague: "So Mo, would you ever date a white guy?"
AAW: "If the guy is as cool as Jon B. or has the soul of Michael McDonald I'll date him. You?"
Colleague: "Do I have to go out (literally) with her?"
AAW: " That's not nice . . ." He shrugged.

That was 10 years ago as a young college student when I first had the conversation about interracial relationships with a colleague struggling to have me "pegged." He was the type of guy who really wanted to figure out my "blackness" and because I said I had no race preference in my dating relationships, he made it known I'll end up with a white guy. Well his bet is still lingering and I still hold the same principles. I'm like Chris Rock on interracial dating: "brothers have been using their equal rights for years, what are sisters waiting on?"

But a certain brother (Joseph Williams) at the Boston Globe still has an issue with catching the jungle fever in a recent piece. Seriously! How long do we need to keep having this discussion? But calculating his age (about 46), he's of a different mindset than many of my peers. On my college campus, interracial dating was so prevalent that a couple of my friends who transferred from another state university told me they've never seen anything like it - a bit of culture shock for them. I digress.

Back to this buzz-generating column, the writer asked these questions: Is an attraction to a white woman a form of racial self-hatred? If I flirt with her, does it mean I've rejected my African-American sisters? Answer: To the former, No; It just means you're not totally free yet to think dating a person of an outside race means you don't like yourself. And to the latter (eye rolling), I say PUH-LEAZE get a grip!

How ridiculous does that (second question) sound? Just because I find "McSteamy" (Eric Dane) drop-dead gorgeous doesn't mean I won't melt if I see the hot chocolate Morris Chesnut - I'm just saying. I appreciate beauty and rugged good looks any form it comes. So if I pick a real-life version of McSteamy, it doesn't mean I reject my African-American brothers. And if I date a prototype of Chesnut, it doesn't mean I'm proving my "blackness."

Could it be I find something in common with a person regardless of race? Perhaps his faith, intelligence, wit or humor? It is quite simple; too bad this writer (Williams) should make it complicated by talking about "echoes of history impossible for him to ignore." I say life is just too short.

Tag: Interracial relationships