A Good Thing, Maybe; True Love, Maybe Not
Where I live, the sight of a black guy walking with a (usually blonde) white woman is no longer startling, although many are not at all happy about it. The media celebrate interracial dating as A Good Thing, showing that irrational prejudices are at last dying out and a better world is coming into existence. The national problem is finally going away.
In the long run they may be right. More is involved, though, than boy-meets-girl.
Black men in this country have always been fascinated by white women, at times almost obsessed, because of the forbidden-fruit principle. Until recently, the social message, often explicit, was that blacks weren't good enough to touch a white woman. Bitterness runs deep in black men over this. (This is hardly a secret. Read the first chapter of Soul On Ice.)
The social order is now changing. While black men enjoy a new world, black women (if the television specials are right) don't much like it. Although blacks oppose discrimination by color, they have always held to a color code among themselves by which lighter women were better. This preference by their men angers black women -- dark women who get overlooked, light ones pursued chiefly for their color, and black women in general, who resent losing, every time. (White women, incidentally, at least some of them, similarly resent Asian women, who charm white men by virtue of their femininity and looks. Asian women, however, are few enough as not to pose a real threat.)
The media and advertising industry understand the color code perfectly. Note how often, when you see a black man and woman on a magazine cover, the woman is lighter. And how few dark women show up at all.
Hostility arises that doesn't meet the eye. On average, white men hate to see black men dating whites. (So do a whole lot of white women.) In places like Washington people won't say so publicly. Privately they do.
Human behavior usually consists of rational justification of limbic instincts. A powerful instinct of all males is to protect their women from outsiders. People of other colors are outsiders. In slave days, black men were furious that they could not prevent sexual access to their women by white men. Today, the role is being reversed. Black guys know it, and revel in it. White men don't like to admit their resentment because to do so underlines their inability to do anything about it.
It's more than dating. It's potentially explosive sexual competition.
Instincts involving sex aren't always obvious, but they are there, and powerful. An example: I like the Japanese, have great respect for their intelligence individually and for their society (extraordinarily productive, unfailingly courteous, almost free of crime.) Yet if my daughter told me she planned to marry a Japanese boy of impeccable credentials, I'd nonetheless feel a visceral resentment. I wouldn't act on it, but I'd feel it. By contrast, if my son told me he planned to marry a similarly admirable Japanese girl, I'd think he was one lucky guy. The instinct is to protect the women, not the men.
Sex as a weapon of conquest, of struggle for dominance among males, is a dark corner of human behavior that we don't talk about. It exists. Raping the women of one's enemies has been a common military practice until recent times -- American armies have done it -- and still is if one believes reports from Yugoslavia.
White men regularly had their way with slave women, and you can believe that dominance, as well as sex, was involved. Dinesh D'Souza,* the Indian-born scholar now at the American Enterprise Institute, noted in his The End of Racism, (page 408, from FBI statistics) ". . . in 1991 there were 100 cases of white rapists assaulting black victims compared with more than 20,000 cases of black rapists attacking white victims -- a result that is especially remarkable considering that rapes are usually perpetrated not just for sex but in order to control, dominate, and humiliate women." And also, he doesn't add, their men.
Where white women fit into interracial dating is less clear. Black men are physically more attractive than white, being better built and more muscular -- and usually able to beat the stuffing out of white men, which whites of both sexes know. They are also unapologetically masculine (and misogynist, but that can be played down when useful), more assertive, and often charming. White-collar Caucasian men these days tend to be neutered, carefully inoffensive, and in general browbeaten by militant feminism. It is easy to see how a white woman who wanted a masculine man would find a good-looking black guy appealing. Also, given that white women today seem to dislike white men almost as much as blacks do, dating a black guy may be a way of getting even.
There's a whole lot more going on here than boy meets girl.
The media, particularly television and the movies, have recently begun vigorously promoting interracial liaisons. The number of blacks on television in general has risen sharply. Why, I don't know, not being privy to the councils of Hollywood. Perhaps it's just political correctness.
On the other hand, a lot of folk believe that the only way out of our racial impasse is to breed ourselves into one in-between race. Blacks are not going to go back to Africa, say these folk correctly, nor whites to Europe. Therefore we either blend or stay forever divided. The logic to this point is hard to refute.
Our customary division on racial lines isn't satisfactory, runs this argument. It promotes injustice, and may be dangerous: The country really could go up in flames. Therefore the sooner we intermarry, the sooner our racial antagonisms will disappear. The truth of this theory is much less clear, but is not insane by any means. It seems to be what's being promoted.
Where are we headed? Certainly toward a whole lot more dating and intermarriage: This is a cork that won't go back into the bottle. In the long run, if no explosion occurs, the country will probably evolve toward the example of Brazil. Whether the consequence in the short run will be improvement in racial relations is far less certain.
The effects for a long time will be mainly psychological, as statistically significant blending won't occur soon. Too many blacks live in insular ghettoes, speak Ebonics, and are barely socialized. For them, the prospects of intermarriage are small. The better educated and well-spoken may marry whites, but the vast urban enclaves will remain behind, slowly growing.
Maybe things will work out well. I hope so. But it ain't just true love.