A good year for women on film, as exemplified in new releases The Eyes of My Mother, Miss Sloane, and more
Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., Dec. 9
Josh Board wrote an article entitled, “Kissing Cousins (errr, mothers) and Interracial Dating.” In that article he discussed oddities and extremes. He moved from talking about families and inappropriate displays of affection to interracial dating. This piece is in reaction to the latter part of his writing.
To summarize, Board discusses a letter written to Dear Abby in which a white woman was set up on a blind date with a black man. She was uninterested in him because she was “just not into” black guys. This woman was criticized by her friends. Dear Abby agreed with the criticism, Josh Board suggested disagreement and sundry bloggers and loyal readers of the SD Reader disagreed loudly with Abby. I also weighed into the discussion, citing the feelings of the African American man, “What if you told him to his face, ‘I’m just not into black guys.’ Is it appropriate then?”
Two readers/bloggers retorted that black women “smell musty” and they are just not attracted to them. Josh Board brought up the case of Halle Berry and how he doubted these readers would reject her under the jurisdiction of mustiness and course pubic hair.
This article and the reader responses put me in a funk for about a week and a half. I am a brown woman. I am a good looking woman. Many people have even called me beautiful. Am I simply not an option if I’m “just not your thing”?
My friend and I had a discussion in our carpool about the dangers of having any kind of type. She asked, “What’s you type, anyway?” “I don’t have one…yeah…I mean I guess I like nice strong arms. Is that a type? A beautiful man is a beautiful man. To be honest, I rarely see a truly striking man.”
She and I decided that you essentially paint yourself into a corner when you have a specific type. What is going on with humans that we won’t have sex with one another for so many reasons when we are also desperate to hook up?
When I was a young girl of about seven or eight years-old, other children alerted me to the fact that I was different. One day in the school yard a group of six surrounded me and inquisitively asked, “why are you a different color, why are your eyes so big, why do you speak in such a sing song voice, why is your lunch so different, why is your hair so long, etc, etc.” My eyes growing even larger, I answered every question, wondering why in fact these things were true. I began to wishfully imagine that I looked like the other girls. I wished I had blond hair, bangs and blue eyes. As you can imagine, this created quite a self-esteem and self-image issue.
Joseph, the second grade letch, confirmed it when he refused to chase me around the yard. He tried to lick all the other girls, why didn’t he attack me? Was this luck or something else? The evidence mounted as I hit junior high. I wasn’t a nerd. I had friends in all groups, yet other girls were getting first kisses or at least first dances. All the boys said hi and were friendly, but no one danced with me.
I did not let this follow me into high school. It was the age of grunge. I donned a uniform of black anything and combat books. I looked like MTV’s Daria (the cartoon). I purposely made myself ugly in order to not continue to explore the question of “many people think I’m pretty, but I seem to not be datable, why is that?”
When I got to college I put two and two together to find that our loyal San Diego readers are right. Many people just don’t even consider brown as a possibility unless it is a fetish. I rarely meet the man who sees my skin and sees that it is a part of my attractiveness, without fantasizes about every brown girl whether haggish or gorgeous.
The Undeniable Evidence: For a while, there was a mysterious other brown girl that roamed the streets of OB. Everywhere I went I was mistaken for her. People would begin talking to me then realize I wasn’t her. I was so curious. Was there another girl who looked exactly like me? Was I about to have a lifetime special about my separation at birth? I was so excited. I looked high and low for my doppelganger. I tracked her through the people who thought I was her. I investigated where they usually saw her and at what time and could they tell her I was tracking her.
One day, as I walked past the Chicken Kitchen with my friend Comic Boy. We finally spotted this brown enigma. At first I thought it could not be her. She was downright scrawny. She had curly hair where mine was straight. She was half naked in a pale pink sports bra and bootie shorts, while I would never be caught dead in such an ensemble. She looked like a shower was in order and her face was…damn, this girl was tore up. I had Comic Boy verify my assessment before I lost it. This girl looked nothing like me. The only thing we had in common was skin tone. Before you roll your eyes, this was not the last time that I was swapped for some rando brownie who looked nothing like me!
This causes me to conclude that since I am not your thing, you don’t see me. You don’t even really look at anything but my skin before you discount me. You glance my way and decide it’s a no, thus you miss any distinctive features or qualities that might make me attractive or even unattractive. Is this a type or a conscientious edit? I suggest this is an edit. I know you look at white women and decide what parts of them are attractive and which parts are not.
“I hate her red hair, but she has a hot body.”
I challenge you to not rest on laurels of ease, status quo and ignorance. Yes. I said it, ignorance.
You have every right as an American to do what you want at the end of the day, but accept what it is and don’t validate yourself by excusing it as “natural” or “not your thing”. That’s too easy. The dear Abby woman should have said, “Yeah, I know it’s ignorant, but I don’t like black men. I only date white people.” If you can’t proclaim something loudly and proudly without apologies or excuses, perhaps there is something slightly odorous about it.