Black man raised “white” can’t relate to black women

| 03/26/2011 | Comments (28)

Dear Ms. HeartBeat:
I am a black male in an interracial relationship. I am caught in-between: a son to black parents but raised “white.” My family lived in a white community and I attended “white” schools. But for athletics and church I would have had little contact with my own race. I, therefore, talk “proper,” listen to some “white” music, and have lifelong friends that are white. I also embrace my black roots, have black friends, and value “black” culture. I live an integrated or fence-straddling existence (if viewed along color lines). I expect the occasional prejudice but it has been painful and disheartening to suffer that prejudice from my own race.

To be sure, I have sought a sister with a background like mine unsuccessful; she exists but she is rare and often dates “white.” So I am caught: to foreclose the “white” aspects that have influenced my life seems unnatural; to not “offends” the expectations attached to my black heritage. As blacks we have fought for racial non-discrimination only many in the black community perpetuate interracial segregation in most poignantly in relationships. My only desire is to love and be loved. Where is the harm in that?

Caught Between Two Worlds

Dear Two Worlds:
The harm in that is that you are uncomfortable with your choice. Something is wrong and you know it. You are apparently so uncomfortable that you have taken the time to voice your discomfort in written form and express it to a complete stranger!

So I have a few things to say to you.

#1 You have not been raised “white.” White folks do not hold a patent on education, proper pronunciation of the English language (think of all the black folks in the UK!), nor on certain hobbies and interests. What often happens though is when Blacks, Latinos and Asians get “whiteundated” they begin to believe in some way that they are above, separate, apart or better than others of their own race. There is a sense that since you are “whiteundated” that anyone that looks like you that does not have similar levels of education, those social or economic or educational advantages, or those leisure time opportunities are less.  But the reality here homey is that you may speak slightly differently and you may have more or a better education, but you are still Black and you know it. And so you write.

#2 Instead of thinking of yourself as a bizarre anomaly to me you are just a middle class black man. Standard issue. Hundreds of thousands more just like you. You are NOT the only one in this dilemma. By your own words we know that traveling in your circle, you are not very likely to meet this black woman you speak of. You used a lot of words which to me just mean you are defensive about dating white girls. You don’t need to justify your choice to date white to me. I don’t know you and don’t care who you date or sleep with. I just know that it isn’t the choice for the majority of Black women, who strongly prefer to date and sleep with and have children with BLACK MEN. Statistics (which you can look up) bear this fact out… Black men date and marry outside of the race at more than 5x the rate that Black women do. Perhaps slavery has a lot to do with it – the pure white flesh that was kept from you, that you lusted over?  That is what white men though was going on, which is one reason why so many black men got lynched. We know that Black women have always been something sexually exotic for white men to have; white women think the same about Black men.

#3 Not all Black women raised in that manner are dating white men. And not all Black people that know how to speak properly choose to do it all the time. I know slang and I use it whenever I get ready. Though I possess an extensive vocabulary, I will still cuss when I feel like it. I’ve known black rappers, hung out in clubs, learned the latest dances. But I’ve also known politicians, attorneys, doctors, and dot com millionaires.  I played tennis, went to a college prep high school with 1% black student enrollment, drink Mojitos, love Sting and Michael McDonald, read books written by white authors, recited Shakespeare, etc. But I can also throw down a pot of collard greens, make the best smothered chicken and sweet potato pies you ever tasted, and play Dominoes and poker like a shark. Does that make me any less of a black woman?

Please allow yourself to grow comfortable with the man you are now. All your background and experiences come together to make you YOU. All of us black folks have to fit in, mix and mingle and occasionally hide parts of ourselves in public to get along in the White dominated society in which we live. But when you go home, when you are with your folks, when you can “exhale,” please take off the mask. Relax! Allow yourself to soak up the energy, revel in the uniqueness, glory in the vibrancy of spirit and take pride in the strength which is the Black man.

In closing, if you want your life to be different, you and you alone have the power to change it. As the saying goes the true definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing the exact same way, yet expecting a different result. I hate to see you cross over when there are so many young, educated sistahs looking for a man like you. But I am sure that at some point you will come on back home. Most Brothas do. 🙂

However, if you are indeed content with things the way they are, then do us both a favor and stop writing to busy advice columnists about your “problem” that doesn’t exist.

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Dating expert and advice columnist since 1993, writing as Ms. HeartBeat. Author of the hilarious street smart dating guide "Sucka Free Love - How to Avoid Dating The Dumb, The Deceitful, The Dastardly, The Dysfunctional & The Deranged."

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  1. tina says:

    I really don’t care who people date. Why are we still making a big deal out of this? People will date who they prefer and there is no about of force and control you can impose. My thing is, I really don’t care who black men date. I’m more concerned with moving on. The BW who care about this are losers. Pure losers. Get yourself in shape, get some style, learn some cultures, and branch out either in the U.S. and/or abroad. There’s more to life than black people. The only reason why you care about black men is because you don’t want to put in the work that will increase your options. You would rather stay fat, ghetto, out of shape, and desperate. You ladies embarrass me. Stop talking and start moving.

    • Raz says:

      Tina: “I really don’t care who black men date.The BW who care about this are losers. Pure losers. Get yourself in shape, get some style, learn some cultures, and branch out either in the U.S. and/or abroad. There’s more to life than black people. The only reason why you care about black men is because you don’t want to put in the work that will increase your options. You would rather stay fat, ghetto, out of shape, and desperate. You ladies embarrass me. Stop talking and start moving.”

      I don’t care who black men date either Tina. But it’s the black men who care about tossing white women in black women’s faces as if their choice to date nonblack women makes them somehow ‘better’ as if nonblack women are ‘better than black women. They tout who they are dating in an effort to belittle black women as a whole. The same as you are doing with your asinine comment about black women. Most black women only care about the man they are involved with and how he is treating them. But black men in cyberspace and in media (check out rappers like Kanye West etc) continually put black women down for shallow negative reasons.

      That mess you just said puts you right in the same category as the misogynistic assholes who talk negatively about black women as a whole. You act as if black men are dating a prize just because she happens to be nonblack. What are you basing this on? Last I checked these brothas dating nonblack women, most are not getting the cream of the crop prize white women. Those women don’t want black men, they still date white men within their socio-economic circle.

      Black men tend to date the trailer trash, you know the ‘ghetto equivalent, bottom of the barrel type of white woman and the foreign women who just want to get into the US and will marry to get there so she can bring the rest of her family here. Black men ain’t hardly pulling white women who are CEO’s, Executives, partners in Law Firms, doctors, account executives business owners, wealthy white women etc. They are more likely going for white women purely based on looks,how easy she is to manipulate and many will date and marry white strippers, etc.. white women with a colorful background that they would turn around and condemn black women for having. It’s the old double standard niggaology in place when it comes to black men dating white women.

      Because they have such low self esteem anyway, they only value themselves by who they have on their arms and other brothas they can impress, so to them a white woman beats a black woman any day no matter how accomplished the black woman is.

      And Tina, you need to get ‘your facts straight. I don’t know what type of black women you are hanging around, but the women on this site are not fat, ghetto nor desperate. Black women are out numbering black men in attaining higher education by nearly 5 to 1 and in 2011, you have more professional, independent, financially successful single black women than ever before. These cream of the crop black women don’t want a knucklehead as a partner, they want someone worthy who is on their level. Black men who ain’t worthy and don’t have what it takes to get and keep these women turn bitter, then they go date the nonblack woman who has achieved less but he claims that she suits him better because the black woman he wanted is too: [fill in the blank].
      Bottom line men who think just like you are poisonous to black women. We don’t need more of your type spreading negative lies and imagery about black women. You call yourself trying to deliver a message but all you did was just jump right over in that bucket with the rest of those men who put black women down as a whole then turn around and act as though there are no fat ghetto out of shape white women and that nonblack women have culture. So on the one hand you put down black women while uplifting nonblack women. Get the fuck outta here with that BS talk.

  2. surgerychick says:

    My brother says the same stuff, and we were raised in an “Urban”(read Black) neighborhood, which was pretty middle class. Teachers and lawyers on the block (including our parents. Nearly all of the kids on the block went to college/gradschool. We went to “Public” (read Black) schools. My parents CHOSE to move into that neighborhood when we were small so that we could not be the only Black kid on the block.

    He is an aspiring classical musician and complains that the sistahs “don’t understand where I am coming from/don’t understand classical music” which is just BS.

    I have seen him with his white friends and white girlfriends. The truth is, I think he enjoys being the token black person in the group and unchallenged when he talks about his “hood.” Any black person from our city would totally check him. Our parents are lawyers.. how “street” can you be pushin’ a mini-van???

    Also, he doesn’t treat his girlfriends all that well, and the black girls he did date just wouldn’t put up with his bullshit. Which is probably also the case with the dude in question. However, my brother’s relationships don’t ever really last because even in 2011, most of these white women have families who would rather not see their “pure” daughter with a black man.

    The thing that really pisses me off is that if I can’t even get my own brother to like professional black women, I have absolutely no hope.

    • Raz says:

      Surgerychick: “….and the black girls he did date just wouldn’t put up with his bullshit…The thing that really pisses me off is that if I can’t even get my own brother to like professional black women, I have absolutely no hope.”

      Black women who have their ‘ish’ together won’t put up with a dude like your brother who sounds like a major jerk. Only low self-esteem women who are desperate to have a guy… any type of guy would deal with a dude like him and even then they will eventually wise up once they get a clue (as you’ve said his relationships don’t last long). Your brother sounds like the epitome of the type of male that Ms. Cooper spoke about in her video ‘Why Black women put professional black men on ‘Nignore‘. You should share it with your brother maybe he’ll get a clue. It’s not so much as he was raised ‘white’…whatever that means, it’s because of his funky attitude/arrogance that is a turn off to any woman of any race. Check out her video on men like him.

    • lm says:

      It’s total BS. I was raised by my black professor father and black teacher/administrator mother and I was classically trained as a pianist and oboist.

      I wonder if that siditty man — ’cause yeah, I can “code switch” too — even knows whether the instrument of which I speak is a single- or a double-reed. *smh*

      Like Ms. Heartbeat says, just sounds like somebody’s trying to give mo’ excuses to me.

  3. Mocha_Yo says:

    I interpreted his letter in completely different way. I didn’t read that he has a problem with himself. To me the conflict stems from his community’s rejection because he’s acting “white”.

    I grew up in a similar environment and I never thought myself better than anyone else(honestly, until it was pointed out that I was acting “different” that I truly noticed). Rather it was other blacks harassing and rejecting me because I spoke properly, like rock music and my parents dressed me conservatively.

    When you were raised that way and spend your adolescence being mocked and having to fight with your own because of some “perceived superiority”, you’re probably going to have issues dating the very people who hurt you. When you do meet someone of the same race who shares your experience, they’re in the same boat, so you end up being rejected or ending up in the “friend zone”. No one should be surprised that he dates out.

    I do know black couples like this who have met and married (I was one of them), but their social circle tends to be white because they have been rejected by other black couples for being “too white”.

    It’s more the problem of the black community trying to define what is a “black” lifestyle versus a “white” lifestyle. We should embrace the individual freedom to define who we are for ourselves. Funny, a lot of the things we reject as “white” were things we were instrumental in creating…

    • parker143200 says:

      I was raised a military brat I lived in Saul St Marie Michigan and my best friend was a little white girl with ice blond hair and crystal blue eyes no one would ever believe this little girl was half black. But my brother and I spoke very proper we had black parents and then we got stationed in Boling Airforce Base in Washington, DC no housing was available on Base when we arrived so my family had to move to the ghetto. Culture shock at age 5. We had no experience with black folks like these. We didn’t fit in and we spoke like little white kids and got laughed at but eventually we adapted to our environment and I can speak proper when it is advantageous to me and speak not so proper when I am around my brothas and sistahs. Why didn’t you learn to adapt? Actually most middle classed black folks know that you have to adapt to get the job or the promotion. Middle classed black folks adapt to the black culture everyday they go to work. It seems you never took the time to adapt to the culture of the black community. But let me also say the black community is not just the ghetto scene that every media outlet likes to portray but the black community is very diverse. Not all black folks speak using ebonics and even among black folks ebonics is not appropriate. My mother for example. 🙂

      • TBH says:

        So you’re saying the poster had to ‘adapt’ to fit in? Trust me I was in the same boat as this person and I did try to ‘adapt’ and fit in and yea after awhile I got the hang of it, but my self esteem and my ‘identity’ suffered as an adolescent. It started in middle school and got worse as high school rolled around.

        I grew up in middle class neighborhood with ‘country/southern/redneck(however you wish to view them)’ whites and some blacks. However my family was also DEEPLY involved in our Pentecostal church, all black. That was the life that I was accustomed to. We were all taught how to present ourselves, respect ourselves and our elders and how to be good workers and members of society. Our Bishop felt it was important because he went through many struggles as a black man in the 50s- present day, so he made it a point to teach us to be the best we could. (And btw I wasn’t completely sheltered, I had family members who weren’t exactly like us and also I was involved and learned some street realities from my mother who worked with homeless people)

        Anyway,I went to middle school and received a culture shock. It was apparent that if I didn’t change I would be eaten alive and I began to change the way I spoke and how i presented myself. What made it even worse was that even the TEACHERS (most not all) either ignored ignorant behavior OR even joined in! (I had on many occasions teachers ‘joke on me’ in front of the class. That affected how viewed young blacks who were my ‘superiors’ ) Eventually as high school hit my grades slipped and I was indifferent to pretty much anything and everything. I didn’t know who I was. No matter how much I tried to identify and learn from them, I was never accepted. Any friends I had were either geeks, white, outcasts or the ‘brains’. People would make it a point to publicly embarrass me when I had done nothing to them. And I do mean nothing, minus my different presence.

        It was hard figuring out WHO I was because my roots were combating with the culture that I was experiencing outside of my upbringing. They were telling me that I was wrong, that I was a self race hater and all of these other things. I began looking at the way black women were portrayed and wondered how did I end up so wrong. I was overweight and learned that being loud and comical is what my role was supposed to be (and to just accept it/being fat). To get a point across i had to be loud, disrespectful or just over all abrasive. Any music outside of hiphop/gospel/R&B was white and you were a poser. That girls who didn’t have sexual experience or boyfriends were just kids and immature. Black boys talking smack about you while at the same time trying to get into your pants. And the list goes on, ranging from silly things to serious wth ideals. Luckily as I got older I turned my back on those silly notions, however the terrible habits I ‘learned’ back then are haunting me now. So yea adapting sounds like a ‘smart’ thing to do, but for a child adapting can easily turn into CONFORMING.

  4. ddking says:

    While I agree that the most important thing is to be comfortable with yourself and embrace your heritage. Ms. Heartbeat just glosses over the sentence “it has been painful to suffer prejudice from my own race” and assumes that the main problem is that Black people who are raised in predominantly white communities think that they are “better than people of their own race”. Does this happen? Yes. Do some Black people show prejudice toward and exclude THEIR OWN people based on preconceived notions of “authentic” Blackness? YES!

    I am a Black woman with a similar background to the author and Ms. Heartbeat and have experienced this many times. My first week of college (at a predominantly white school) I went to the Black Student Union, and someone on staff whispered, “There’s another Incog.” Meaning = IncogNegro. The pejorative and hurtful term given to Black students BY BLACK STUDENTS who supposedly don’t know they are Black or pretend to be White. Apparently another student could tell I was an Incog based on how I dressed and how I spoke. Yet I was coming to the BSU, one of the FEW places I was supposed to feel safe and accepted on campus.

    This kind of treatment from your own people causes real and lasting pain that should not be ignored or glossed over. Should you have to wear a mask with White people AND Black people? I will not. I am who I am and people can take it our leave it.

    • Raz says:

      ddking: “I went to the Black Student Union, and someone on staff whispered, “There’s another Incog.” Meaning = IncogNegro. The pejorative and hurtful term given to Black students BY BLACK STUDENTS who supposedly don’t know they are Black or pretend to be White. Apparently another student could tell I was an Incog based on how I dressed and how I spoke. “

      At that point, you could have turned around and gone ‘straight up ‘ghetto on them fools and let them know you can speak nikaology‘ and smashed those idiots down and that would have taken care of that little Incog comment.

      • Why let the words of idiots go to your head? They are stupid. Just because someone is in college does not mean they have a lick of intelligence or a modicum of social skills.

        • Raz says:

          I agree with this as well, especially since I’ve run into a lot of so called ‘edumuncated fools’. But since the poster was talking about InCog whatever, nothing wrong with her smashing them heffas/jikkas that said that dumb shit and see how they like incog. lol. I wonder if they would say some shyt like that about Oprah, then if she heard it, turned around and smashed on they azzes ghetto hood style. Them fools would be rolling. lol. Black folks kill me with this one dimensional thinking. They get brainwashed by the white media just like white folks do and start to believe the hype that black folks are ‘supposed to be, look, act and think a certain way. Ugh!

    • Andrea says:

      “Should you have to wear a mask with White people AND Black people? I will not. I am who I am and people can take it or leave it.”

      Could not say it better myself. This is the main reason many American “Blacks” who don’t take their behavior and language cues from Blaxploitation films and rap videos date out. If I have to pretend to be someone I am not to please you, I can do without your company.

      As an African-American woman who has mostly dated and been (physically and emotionally) attracted to White men, I feel completely at “home” with all of the men I have dated seriously (3 to be exact), including my current boyfriend. Why? Because he accepts and loves me for who I am, not for who he thinks I could be if I only watched enough BET and learned to “keep it real”, by pretending to be someone else.

      He doesn’t criticize me for being well educated, adventurous, and interested in the world at large. I have been ostracized most of my life by other “Blacks” for all of those things and more. And even though I don’t feel caught between two worlds, I understand why the author of the letter feels it would be difficult to date another “Black” American.

      Until a majority of African Americans learn that it is more important to be their authentic, individual selves than to meet the expectations of racist, supposedly cool, yet damaging stereotypes this will always be an issue for those of us who refuse to “fake the funk”.

  5. Danta' says:

    Pat: You hit it right on the Head, if people can really vibe with each other,whether they from the same background but raised under different circumstances, or different areas it shouldn’t matter. We supposed to appreciate our differences, as well as similarities that’s what I thought. the job is to understand where each other is coming from, and most people ain’t into that. To act a certain way is always based off how people are portrayed in media usually a TV show, or a video, or a movie that gives people those ideas. To be Black always means to be negative but Hip on stuff that means nothing, to Be white is just have no clue about anything or not in touch cuz you out of your environment, latino you gotta have a mixture of both, and be down. it’s all
    just wrong state of mind. Game is basically gettin’ someone interested in you as a person, and then for that person that’s giving you interest to see what you about. Charisma is what Wrestler’s, and Politics have. SilentBro anything you write will be held against you by Raz. You know this already. Raz whether the Dude was Real or Not do you have to insult him? or the person who made the reply have to insult him? He say he can’t relate to the Black Women, Hell Black Men not raised like him can’t relate to Black women not matter how they were raised! I hope the man finds what he’s lookin’ for, as well as Sistas that grew up like he did cause Lord knows they ratio on picking and choosing the wrong men is outta control.

    • CDF says:

      Good point. Dude should just be himself and date whoever. It doesn’t have to be a black woman, but if that’s his goal, he shouldn’t give up, regardless of upbringing.

  6. Mina says:

    That dude used a whole lot of words to basically say, He is rejected by the black women he wants to date, therefore he feels justified in dating white women. All that other stuff about being raised ‘white’ is irrelevant. He, like a lot of black men love to run to white women when they are rejected.

    What they don’t realize is that ‘running to a race’ to solve your personal issues in dating is not confronting what the real deal is. It’s not your race that’s the issue, it’s your attitude, how you come across to women, if they find you attractive etc.. All women no matter the race want to be attracted to the guy they choose. If that’s not you, running to another race won’t change that.
    Work on yourself. And as far as talking ‘white’. What does that mean? This guy kinda sounds dumb.

    • moses says:

      I agree with your comment. I can also identify with ‘caught between two worlds’. Sometimes I feel pressure from friends ‘to keep my options open.’ As. Ms. Heartbeat mention, I think that caught between two worlds should recognize that he is a middle class black male. Perhaps, he is looking at the wrong place for black women. He should find activities, events, and groups where black women share similar education, values, beliefs, and lifestyle choices.

      The biggest reasons I prefer black women is that they can identify and relate to the struggle of being black in America. Because of that reason, I think black women would be more supportive. In addition, I want to be a role model for the successful black family , when statistics say otherwise.

      • Raz says:

        Moses: “The biggest reasons I prefer black women is that they can identify and relate to the struggle of being black in America. Because of that reason, I think black women would be more supportive”
        I wish more black men would identify and relate to the struggle of what black women have to go through being a ‘black woman’ living at the hands of not only America, but religious patriarchy rules that keep black women under and double-standards that judge women based on ‘what men think’. I wish black men would empathize and support black women on this issue. But black men want the ‘support’ of black women but they don’t even realize the support they deny black women.

        • moses says:

          Good point, Raz. Your response elevated my awareness.


        • Rose Marie says:

          Great point Raz, I agree, had a similar discussion with a female friend just the other day. I also pointed out that I think the women in our circle and yes church should discuss the whole notion of how in the African-American community, we tend to raise our daughters (to be functional, responsible, independent, educated, moral, etc..) but love our sons and in a lot of cases that means that aren’t taught to care for themselves (including washing a dish, picking up a sock or making a meal) but to be catered to and done for and I even went on to list how some of us (not me) rave about if are men are or if we raise men who turn out to be: straight (because we are one of, if not, the most homophobic cultures on earth and have scriptures to prove it)college educated (especially), crime or drug free and hasn’t had a bunch of so-called stray kids out of wedlock before 18 and finally goes to church on the regular, we-some of us women- somehow rant and rave about how we have won the “man lottery” but yet we feel unappreciated, over-worked, resentful, unloved, disatisfied and honestly and truly not equally supported or given back to. I could go on but I would give too much of our conversation away and wanted to give more of a general overview of sentinements that I tend to hear from women across age, educational level, and economics (sometimes even ethnicity and culture). I hear some many stories about over-functioning black female to underfunctioning black male relationships even those that have married that I am almost tired of hearing the discussion, I am like surely everyone I know can’t be in one of those type of relationships something has seriously gone wrong in our socialization as African-Americans that we allow this dynamic to continue to play out for generations.

  7. SilentBro says:

    I think he needs to read about more about our/his rich cultural because without a historical perspective it is easy to believe that blackness in males is confined to the thugs and low lifes we see on the corners and in the media. He is indeed black but is suceeding in an arena that blacks aren’t represented. I congratulate him on his success and encourage him to keep searching for the woman who is right for him.

    • Raz says:

      SilentBro: “I think he needs to read about more about our/his rich cultural because without a historical perspective”

      Apparently if he was alladat, he would be familiar with his rich history and know about all the men before him who are well rounded, cultured and innovators. This is just a dude who is a snob and trying to justify his fonky snobby attitude. Get the eff outta here with that BS. This sounds like some corny dude with no game, probably unattractive and unable to attract the attention of a sistah who is educated, attractive, successful and can pick any man she wants, so why would she settle for him. He can’t pull a woman like that so he is just trying to justify dating a Becky who he feels he could attract because the black woman he wished he could attract has put his butt on nignore.

    • CDF says:


      Good points!

  8. Raz says:

    I say let Becky have him. Based on his convoluted writing, his azz is way too corny for a sistah to want ’em. LOL If he is anything in person like how he comes across in writing, then he has no charisma at all. His whole comment was a bunch of hogwash! Look at President Obama, a brother who was raised in a white world, who still managed to snag a sista from the south side of Chicago. So jikka pluueeze, you ack like you alladat when really I see right through all this writing.

    You just another corny dude looking for a scapegoat and an excuse to why you want to date Becky. As if black women care.

  9. Pat says:

    Why is it a problem for a black man raised in a white society to know who he is? Is he not a person? If I am white, raised in a black society, do I go through life not knowing who I am? My question is this? WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL AND DIFFERENCE? And what is this attitude of betrayal when someone does not act as ‘black’ as others. Exactly what is this line not to be crossed, like way of talking, etc. Does anyone know, or is it a cultural illusion made out to look like an unspoken understanding? Does it seem silly to anyone else but me? Doesn’t it seem that this is the attitude that keeps segregation alive?

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