Note from BW of Brazil: It always amazes me how often people spew quick, knee-jerk reactions when a topic arises that they disagree with. Often times, in these debates, said persons will completely ignore the depths of analysis made in original comments or positions and instead delve into personal aspects of the issue while totally disregarding the often well-thought out conclusions that initiated the debate. In recent years, the question of influential factors involved in the formation of interracial unions has become one of those push button issues.
This writer has has seen the same thing happen in too many debates on the topic. When persons or groups question the rise in such unions or the idea that black/interracial couplings being directly connected to the complex issue of black identity, said persons/groups are immediately labeled “Nazis”, “segregationists”, “racists” or “Hitler”.What I often notice is that in these debates, these emotional reactions immediately descend into accusations of things that were never stated in the original opinion. “I’m white, my wife’s black/mixed, what’s wrong with that?”, “you’re saying that whites should be with whites and blacks with blacks, that’s racist”, “we are all equal“, “love has no color“, “so whites are the racist ones, right?”, etc.
But when one goes deeper into the question, there is often silence. No one wants to deal with the facts and often can’t go much beyond the reactionary response. Today’s post is simply another in a series of analyses on the topic. So, I advise, if you’re willing to check your emotions at the door and consider what the author is saying from a more critical perspective, please proceed. If you cannot, perhaps this post is not for you. But again, it is simply not possible to get a full understanding of racial issues, black identity and the historical quest for a whiter population in Brazil without approaching this issue.
The post below was inspired by the text “28 QUESTIONS FOR BLACK MEN WHO ONLY DATE WHITE MEN” by Viktor Kerney on the site Mused Mag Online. The article approached the trend of African-American gay males who seem to only date white men. The article was subsequently translated into Portuguese (“28 QUESTÕES PARA NEGROS QUE SÓ SE RELACIONAM COM BRANCOS“) and posted on the Revista Fórum website. Leopoldo Duarte approached the issue from the Brazilian perspective without any particular focus on sexual orientation thus bringing an Afro-Diasporic dynamic to an issue that can be applied to numerous black populations throughout the world.
Do blacks prefer blond people?
By Leopoldo Duarte
Sunday before last I published here a text whose author, a Yankee brother and gay, problematized regarding the discriminatory attitude of other black gays who, reportedly, only have relationships with white men. No Indians (Native Americans), Asians, Indians or other melaninated groups as well. “Whites only”! And as might be expected, the text was not attacked in its content but in its alleged attack on white men. White and some black gay commentators, in the absence of counter arguments, label the questions raised by the author as impositions and harmful to the individual tastes of those who simply don’t find it possible that there is some black person – worldwide – interesting enough for any kind of involvement. Without prejudice, of course …
In addition to those comments as always, that allege being, yes, possible to find happiness in interracial relationships – something that no critical afrocentrada (African centered) person categorically denies – what else amazed me in this case, however, was the comment from a reader, theoretically black, who blamed his indifference to the fact that other black men are all equally unable to waken his desire. In other words, he summed up a plural group of individuals to their skin color and refused to recognize the inherent racism in this. Sad, to say the least…
Despite this stance not being anything new, it’s always shocking when a black person adopts a racist discourse in order not to let the white people around uncomfortable. It seems we keep trying to prove ourselves useful and faithful to the convenience of those who continue to oppress us. Even at the cost of self esteem itself. Even at the expense of their black sisters or their black gay brothers.
Although no one recognizes themselves as racist, in Brazil almost no one disagrees that we live in a country founded upon racism. Black children don’t simply decide to detest their hair and noses. The world teaches them to hate them. And not just to blacks, but also it teaches whites, Asians and Indians that the black body is inferior to the others. It’s enough to ascertain our view for us to identify the missing part of most of our cultural products. The media, as a whole, strives to represent more eurodescendant (European descendant) population than the actual tupiniquim (1) diversity. A reality that reflects itself well as even black adults become capable of seeing branques (white persons) as preferred candidates for emotional and sexual involvement.
Unfortunately, many of the black men seem oblivious to the preponderance of the dominant aesthetic standard in the fashion industry, pornographic etc. Probably because, different from his irmãs negras (black sisters), after the abolition, they had as a choice someone that “amarra num negão” (tie up a big, black man) or “adora a mistura” (loves the mixture). But, even during slavery, there were always white people wanting the same beings whose humanity they subtracted. So the issue here is not what makes black men attractive to white people, but why so many black men choose to involve themselves with them.
Being a black man, I can exemplify this cultural influence citing the many times people I didn’t know and even friends demonstrated the tacit existence of some kind of imperative on the black male libido. There were many times when someone emphatically expressed surprise at my disinterest in white individuals. More specifically, with my usual apathy for the Nordic phenotype idealized around here: pele “branquinha”, cabelos loiros e olhos azuis (white skin, blond hair and blue eyes). Generally they argued that “opposites attract” or that mixture “is a pleasure to see,” but the fact is that only these three features never filled my eyes. However, I confess that, as many children, I had come to believe that this triad made any human being beautiful. One assumption I abandoned with puberty, when I identified that the streets and the internet offered more attractive specimens than those offered on TV and in magazines.
I bet at this point someone will say: “See?! Taste is a personal/innate/ biological question.” To which I respond, “Since when is preferring something the same as deleting the whole range of options?”. When someone says that they LOVE chocolate, no one will find it strange if one day this person comes up smearing himself with dulce de leche. Or will they?! Nor will they judge as incoherent if that same person says he prefers dark chocolate to white chocolate. Preferring never was synonymous with excluding other options. The word for this is discriminating – separating, establishing differences and treating in an unequal way. And when this discrimination uses racial criteria, there is no other word for it but racism. Is that so hard to understand?!
When black activists problematize interracial relationships, there is no intention of rejecting or condemning these couples. Those who forbade this kind of pairing was the white ruling class, so please don’t confuse it! What one intends to discuss addressing this issue are questions such as “Why are couples composed of two black people so uncommon?”; “If a black person is unable to consider another of the same color attractive, how can she expect anyone to consider them?”; “If the ideal romantic partner is a white person, should blacks wait for defective white traitors?”; “Because when a white person claims not to be attracted to a black person it’s a matter of taste, but when a black person decides to pass over his/her equals are they labeled as radical?”. Anyway, this topic is relevant for a multitude of issues that should be blackened by the black community itself as it deals directly with the individual and collective consciousness of this demoted minority even among its own.
We need to get rid of the romantic view that ennobles relations judged as prohibited and that generally revolve around a couple where one of the interested parties has more powers/privileges than his/her partner. So, before you slander this critical position, make sure that the shoe (that fits) wasn’t ordered.
Finally, It’s worth rectifying that when a black person decides to afrocentrar (afro-centralize) – give priority to other blacks – it doesn’t erase all the years of cultural incentives that lead them to deify whiteness, he/she simply chooses to follow the opposite tide. For to him it seems more sensible, since every white person is inevitably racist, and almost none of them is willing to rethink critically about this.
Source: Revista Fórum
- Tupiniquim refers to indigenous peoples of Brazil. Historically, the Tupiniquim inhabited a large tract of land along Brazil’s coastline from approximately 200 km south of Salvador down to the São Mateus river. Their tribe was one of the first to meet Portuguese colonizers in April 1500 at Porto Seguro, Bahia. In Brazil, the term “Tupiniquim” has come to mean “Brazilian” or “national”. Source