Good question. One day I’ll spend time talking about Halle Berry and the tub of looney (apologies! Ableist language) that beautiful woman who sold her soul to the devil to never age past 30, is swimming in. And why she’s Tina Turner 2.0–but not in the ways you think of course–well, we’ll get to that.
Firstly: HELLO Y’ALL. It’s Easter! Not only did Jesus rise from the dead (but he’s not a zombie dammit.) but so did DBW…er…metaphorically speaking. Who’s bringing me some big ass ham?
After requests and promises to find Stephen Amell if I wrote a new blog post, after hearing the new JT album and both liking it and feeling like it sounded too close to Robin Thicke, DBW is here again answering ALL the damn questions. In response to my last post on Zooey and Idris, and why the possibility of that interracial romance made DBW want to consider life inside padded cell, a reader asked:
Why are people so uncomfortable that I, as a black female, have an attractive, loyal, and loving white boyfriend?
First of all, Good for you. No, seriously. Putting the “white” descriptor aside for just a moment, that you have attractive, loyal and loving boyfriend is enough to take a moment of applause.
In an age where the news media and Soledad O’Brien are so concerned about the lack of BW getting married that they devote whole new shows to the fact that we are not the chosen people, it is a testament to your loveliness that you’ve been dealt a winning hand, lady friend. Now: bringing back into play the “white” descriptor, clinching for yourself a white man with all the qualities you’ve ascribed is to many folks akin to winning the Golden Ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s not so much that folks are uncomfortable; it’s probably more likely that they’re surprised because as much as the idea of interracial romance has become a norm, it still takes some getting used to visually. And then: Okay, DBW is just gon get real real here for a minute. I can’t speak for the white ladies but I can tell you that the BW are totally examining YOUR look because, well, I think there’s a certain kinda BW we expect to be with a white man–a good looking white man to be more specific. Oh, oh…you want some examples?
But those are just the real life couples we stare at a little too closely. We haven’t even begun to touch the few fictional examples on television and at the movies.
Okay, I’ve got a point coming that you might have anticipated but lemme first stress: DBW does not have an issue with light skinned BW. Not at all. The stereotypes and tropes that circulate around all of us are terrible and force us into foolywang we would rather not endure.
Still: Hollywood Logic has a type of acceptable looking BW for an interracial romance. And I’ll be damned if in most cases, there’s a paper bag test. Nevertheless, there are a few notable exceptions.
But that’s not all! There’s also a very weird power dynamic that guides these mediated representations of BW/WM romances. Let me give you the first one DBW noticed: QUEEN.
This miniseries was terrible and honestly, once Halle Berry ran away from the plantation my interest dwindled to non-watching status but this first half? The illicit “romance” between Jasmine Guy and Tim Daly (my feelings about this man have no expiration date)? Oh my word, DBW watched that over and over again on the VCR.
So problematic. So problematic. But gaaah.
Oh what a “meet cute.” But these unequal power relations in concert with the visual expectations of what could acceptably play on television make the place of the BW/WM romance a very tricky place to be in.
Fast forward 16 years and what have we now? Frakkin SCANDAL.
Power differentials: Check. Visual expectations: Check.
This relationship is highly predicated on sex and while I’m not here to investigate that (they like it, I love it–no, really) it does feel a little bit like this:
Ahhh Grace Jones. Always a game changer.
Anyway, I know that this season Colorblind Producer Extraordinaire Shonda Rhimes wrote a scene between Fitz and Olivia where they sorta have it out about the power dynamics in the relationship and the question of “ownership.” At one point, Olivia Pope even compared herself to Sally Hemings. Yep, she did.
Fitz rebutted in the rose garden and told her that she in fact owned him. Yeah. That…that’s not problematic neither improbable.
I have long since promised y’all a full vetting of Scandal and Olitz (Olivia + Fitz) here at DBW. I will do it one day. I will.
But not today. Suffice to say: all the tears Fitz is crying now need to stop.
And Olivia needs to woman up and stop making that cry face that Kerry Washington relies on MUCH MUCH TOO MUCH.
Enough already! Make a new cry face of something because:
And that’s just like the tip of my endless WHY THE HELL AM I STILL WATCHING SCANDAL rant. I haven’t even started on the hair politics on this show. Not..not gonna do it. Y’all got stuff to do and it’s Easter and Jesus and ham and chocolate bunny rabbits and eggs and shit.
Back to the point:
In the end dear readers, it’s not that people are uncomfortable. It’s just that there’s a history that produced a set of ideas and expectations for that kind of romance–particularly amongst BW. If the reality doesn’t match that expectation, folks look confused. But I mean, we’re all happy for you, chile. Don’t worry.