Kyrie Irving, point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, made headlines when a video from his celebration party for his championship win was only filled with white girls. Without hesitation, Black Twitter went in – whether it was black men supporting Kyrie’s “preferences” or whether it was black women and femmes dragging him, the topic of interracial dating and the allure of dating white women came to the forefront.
As we’ve seen in numerous popular culture references – from songs, movies, and advertising, degrading black women and femmes to uplift and justify dating (and/or having sex with) white women is a nuanced and violent reality. We’ve seen that Black men constantly praise dating non-Black women, specifically white women, as the ultimate achievement. In Tyler, the Creator’s song ‘French’, his opening line is, “Got all the Black bitches mad cause my main bitch vanilla.” It begs the question: why would black bitches be angry?
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Under white supremacist beauty standards and gender expectations, Black women and femmes are scripted as hyper-masculine and simultaneously hyper-sexual. This has been evident from the enslavement of Black women and femmes to the current evolution of anti-Black misogynistic culture. Often, Black women and femmes are fighting for respectability and femininity based on standards created to exclude us. Our hair, our skin color, our bodies, our strength, our anger, our pain, and our humanity does not fit within the norms we are trying to subscribe to. Black women and femme’s bodies have always been considered too big, too hard, impure, overly sexual, and beastly.
Even scientists and the study of science has tried to prove Black women as animalistic for centuries. More recently, in 2011, Psychology Today’s Satoshi Kanazawa published his infamous piece, “A Look at the Hard Truths About Human Nature,” which went into detail about why Black women are less attractive than other women. Kanazawa, who is a psychologist at the London School of Economics, claimed that Black women are less physically attractive due to being much heavier, less intelligent, and that Black women have higher levels of testosterone – making us more masculine. White gender norms and inherent transphobic antiblack misogyny makes it that much more difficult for us to navigate love, desire, and relationships – especially with Black men and masculine folks who subscribe to this violence.
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The reality is that the antagonism and power imbalance between black women/ femmes and white women/ femmes is a 400+ year old issue that is based slavery and misogynoir. Black women and femmes are not actually angry because we’re inherently jealous, we’re angry because we’ve been told our entire lives that we’re not worthy, we’re not beautiful, and we are not valuable. We’re degraded by constantly being compared to non-Black women, while being seen as the exact opposite of white womanhood – the epitome of beauty. We spend our entire lives witnessing the world desiring women who have our natural features but are not us.
In Kanye West’s “Gold Digger”, he says, “And when you get on, he’ll leave yo ass for a white girl,” reminding us that even when we hold Black men down, and invest in their growth, we are still not enough. Kanye’s dating history reminds us that Black girls are just a place holders for Black men. Towards the beginning of his career, he dated his long term, brown skin, beautiful girlfriend Alexis (who also taught him how to dress tbh) to then getting on (like he said in “Gold Digger”) and dating the exotified, racially ambiguous yet still seen through a lens of Blackness, Amber Rose, who he ended up leaving for a white girl named Kim Kardashian (a woman who has appropriated Black features and culture). Aside from his dating record, his artistry also tells us Kanye don’t give a fuck about uplifting, dating, or valuing black women aside from his mother.
In the film Save the Last Dance, Nikki’s ex-boyfriend Derrick (Sean Patrick Thomas) began dating Sara (Julia Styles), a white girl who recently transferred to their predominantly black school in the hood, represented violence and the entitlement white women have in the world. During an exchange, Nikki says to Sara, “Its about you. White girls like you. Creepin’ up, takin’ our men. The whole world ain’t enough, you gotta conquer ours too.” This was pivotal in realizing that most of the antagonism within the relationship between Nikki and Sara was based in the reality that white women own everything, and take the men like Derek who are seemingly worthy partners.
The onus must include black men too, though. Nikki’s character said what many black women and femmes think about white women dating black men, but we need to drag the Derek’s and the Kyrie’s too. We must challenge how desire, power, misogyny, and respectability are constructed. Many of us have heard our entire lives that white women are easier to date, and are less maintenance (referring to hair, aesthetic, attitude, and partnership). As black women and femmes, we are not just affirmed in this reality because we see white women dating black men, but rather we hear, witness, and suffer from the degradation and exploitation by the hands of black men everyday.
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In a recent episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Tyga finally spoke on the announcement of Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian’s engagement. He implied that Blac Chyna was solely dating (and getting engaged to) Rob to get back at him, as a way to make him suffer. But the way he went about it in a conversation with Kim, was to silence the acknowledgement of the pain Chyna felt when she found out her ex-fiancé was dating her ex-best friend’s little sister (who is also a white girl). He continued to say that “It’s no one’s business.” and gloss right over the depth level of the public betrayal Chyna experienced.
What happened to Blac Chyna, including the media frenzy in which everyone portrayed her as a crazy, jealous, insecure Black “baby mama” type (not ex-fiance or ex-girlfriend) rather than someone who was heartbroken and betrayed in the worst way, but she is also constantly compared to Kylie Jenner’s white womanhood that she will never amount to within the eyes of white supremacist patriarchy. This personal situation is also very political for a black woman who is constantly seen through a lens of hoe-ness, and limited in her ability to move about the way Tyga does because she’s caged in the title of “baby mama” (which implies antiblack misogyny), but also that she is the crazy ex that has no claim to happiness or retribution for her pain in being left and degraded.
Black women and femmes are not disproportionately attempting to date outside of their race while publicly degrading black men to do it. The power that exists within black men to use us when it’s convenient, and dispose of us when it comes time to commitment and stability speaks to the violent reality that we are not valued or protected. Kyrie Irving’s all white girl pool party reiterates that violence for us by reminding us that we are not the women or femmes to be chosen or prized. But the larger cultural context of hating Black women and femmes reminds us that this is beyond Kyrie. Being that white woman and white femininity is seen as the epitome of beauty standards through racist, anti-Black misogynistic ideology, it only affirms the reality that black women and black femmes are not worthy of loving, desiring, or humanizing. We have to drag the Kyrie’s, the system, and the desire politics that affirm the violence and disposal of Black women and femmes.