One of the most frustrating things about intra-race conversations around interracial dating, and particularly dating between black men and white women, is that there is this pervasive belief that it is impossible to both be a “proud” black person and date “outside the race.” Or put another way, black people with non-black partners are often accused of betraying the “black family unit” or are portrayed as somehow running away from their “blackness.” Which, you know, is total bullshit. The straightforward explanation for why there is more interracial dating is that more black people belong to the middle and upper middle class, and more black people have grown up in areas where blacks are not the majority. On the whole, there is simply less cultural and economic distance between blacks and whites. And since you’re most likely to date people who are cultural similar and geographically close, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that interracial dating is on the rise.
Now, admittedly, Samuels focuses most of her piece on interracial dating between black men and white women, and I don’t have much of an explanation for why more black men date and marry white women than the reverse. But as Ta-Nehisi Coates noted, it’s worth pointing out that even with the marked rise in interracial dating and interracial marriages, the vast majority of black men are married to black women. If roughly 8 percent of black men are married to non-black women, then 92 percent of black men are married to black women. As far as I can tell, black men still very much want to date and marry black women.
As a final note, you can count me as one of the many people tired of the “black women are having trouble getting married” stories that seem to pop up every month or so. It’s not just that they all seem to rest on two, horribly flawed assumptions — all black women are heterosexual and want to get married — but that they ignore the painful fact that dating is hard. Meeting people ishard. And turning a casual relationship into something lasting and meaningful is incredibly difficult, regardless of who you are or where you’re from. Black women are in the same boat as everyone else, and it’s deeply unfair (as well as a little problematic) to single them out for problems that all of us face.