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Penny For Your Thoughts: Can You Be Pro-Black In Life And Pro-White In Love?

Credit: AP Photo/Jonathan Shor

You probably know more about Azealia Banks than I do.

However, I’ve done my homework, and in the process, learned a lot about her. I learned that she’s incredibly feisty and outspoken on social media. I learned that she’s not shy about discussing her sex life. I learned that, despite frequently spouting coarse invective (“fa**ot,” “ni**a” and “b**ch”) about other people on Twitter, she proudly calls herself a feminist and pro-black.

I also learned this: Azealia Banks dates “lots of white guys.”

Now, from what I’ve read, she hasn’t said that she only dates white men. The “only” seems to be implied, and it’s an assumption she’s okay with, especially since someone recently asked her on Instagram why she “dated white dudes with money,” to which she offered this response:

“Because black men take black women for granted and I’m too busy with music to be fighting for my rights at home. I already have to fight for respect with the black men in hip-hop so When I get home I like things to be nice and easy. Make sense?”

Azealia Banks probably meant “Make sense?” as a rhetorical question. But “Make sense?” is something I’d like to attempt to answer here.

Or, better put, it’s something I’d like to hesitantly attempt to answer here. I say “hesitantly” because I know Banks is a lively debater and I would be nervous to actually tangle with her in verbal conflict.

My hesitant response to Banks’ “Make sense?” question would be, “Um…no. Actually, it kind of doesn’t make sense.”

To be clear, in my book, people can and should date whomever they choose. My editor Victoria likes to say, “Love is love,” and I wholeheartedly agree with that declaration. Personally, I have dated all across the rainbow. If you saw the last handful of guys I went out with, you might even think I have a singular preference for white men. But many people hear “I date white men” or “I date white women” and they insert an “only” where it doesn’t belong.

Do I date white men? Yes.

Do I only date white men? No.

If someone were to ask me, “Why do you date white men?” My answer would vary, depending on my mood and my audience. I might venture a humorous yet thoughtful response, like,“I grew up as one of only a handful of black kids in a white school. Several of my beloved family members are white (my stepmother and my stepsister). So, hey, what do you expect? An interracial relationship was kind of inevitable.”

Then again, I might act offended at the question itself, and shoot back, “Really? Are people still asking that in 2015?”

But whatever reply I’d give (if I even bothered to give one at all), I’d hasten to avoid what I call, racially escapist reasoning. Meaning, I wouldn’t say (or even imply) that I date white men because there’s something about black men that I don’t like and want to avoid. I wouldn’t make any comparisons about what white men like/do/are/say vs. what black men like/do/are/say. In fact, I wouldn’t bring up black men at all when talking about my decision to date white men. Because frankly, black men have nothing to do with it.

Which is why Banks’ racially escapist reasoning (she basically said, “Black men take black women for granted, so I date white men because they’re nice and easy”) doesn’t make sense to me.

I mean, I get it. But I only get it because I’ve heard it before. The racially escapist explanation for interracial dating is nothing new. For years, people have been similarly defending their relationship choices with some version of “I date white men/women because black men/women are too ____.” (You can fill in the blank with any generalization, like black men/women are too selfish, too aggressive, too mean, too arrogant, too needy, too nagging, too broke, too unfaithful, too untrustworthy, too stingy, too shady, etc.)

There are myriad reasons why one would date outside of their race–from the torrid (exoticism, curiosity, fetishism) to the meaningful (genuine and mutual attraction).

But my question is: Why are we still asking people who date outside of their race to explain themselves in the first place?

Then, my next question is: Why are some people’s explanations for why they date outside of their race based upon broad generalizations and blatantly dogging the so-called unsuitable mates within their race?”

Maybe I’m the only one who’s tired of the lame rationale that if you date a white man (or woman) it’s because you’ve

got something against black men (or women).

I generally don’t agree with dating any type of man/woman simply because he/she seems like the antithesis to another type of man/woman. That’s not just racially speaking, either. That goes for the guy who chooses to date women with afros, only because he thinks their natural hair means they’re cooler and freer than the so-called stuck-up women who have relaxers. That also goes for the woman who chooses to date guys with a traditional 9-to-5, only because she thinks they’re more financially reliable than, say, writers and musicians who supposedly don’t pick up the check.

I don’t date one type of person simply for the sake of not dating another type of person. If I date guys from Brooklyn, it’s not because I don’t like guys from Harlem. If I date guys with beards, it’s not because I don’t like clean-cut guys. I don’t date someone because he’s the right to someone else’s wrong. I date a guy because I like him. Not because of who he’s not (not broke, not clean-cut, not black). Just because of who he is.

As a black woman who dates white men, I wish Banks had chosen another way to answer the “Why do you date white men?” question, besides reverting to racially escapist logic. So, that’s one reason why I’d say, “Um…no” to her rhetorical question of whether or not such statements “Make sense?”

The second thing is this: All black men do not take black women for granted.

Actually, no. It’s two things: 1) All black men do not take black women for granted. 2) All white men are not “nice and easy.”

I have dated a lot of black men. I can’t think of one of them who took me for granted. (Not to mention that there’s no one word or characteristic that I could summon that would accurately apply to all black men I’ve dated and/or all black men who roam the earth.)

I have dated a lot of white men. I can’t think of one of them who was unfailingly and unremittingly “nice and easy.” (I can’t think of any person or group of people on the planet who are “nice and easy,” in fact.)

There is no one way to describe all people. Period.

Giving Banks the benefit of the doubt, she may have been using a racial generalization simply as a way of being incendiary, controversial, or even artistic. But Banks’ generalizations about black men have raised eyebrows because of her self-professed “pro-black”-ness. Her outspokenness about dating white men has some people thinking that Banks is a walking contradiction.

I enthusiastically support a black woman who call herself pro-black choosing to date white men. But I’m less supportive of a black woman who calls herself pro-black bashing black men when explaining why she chooses to date white men, and vice versa.

But you tell me: What’s the most pressing matter here? Is it about whether a black woman or a black man has the right to be pro-black in life and pro-white in love? (I’m using both “pro-” terms somewhat loosely, of course. But I hope you know what I mean.) Or is it about whether or not a black person can be “pro-white” in his/her love life without being anti-black?

For me, it all goes back to Banks’ rhetorical question, “Make sense?”

“Love who you love” will always make sense to me as a way of explaining interracial relationships (if they need any explanation at all). But the “I date white men because black men…” thing? Well, that will always leave me scratching my head.

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Comment by eollis on May 26, 2019 at 7:05am

Crazy rhythm of life, work, friends, gym, again work. How to get some time among all these to date with a girl? Where to meet her, what to say, how to say it? It may consume so much energy, that many men just stop to bother about it and continue to live without a wife. I am almost become like one of them. I think the last chance is Internet datings. Who found a great love on the Internet?

Comment by Big Shot... on May 29, 2015 at 1:07am
This is a very well written, well rounded post. Great job...

However to answer the question, for the most part, no, not in America. Not knowing the plight of the Black American in this country. The on going history, to the present, of inequality. How can someone knowingly disrespect their themselves, their own people including their recent Ancestors by chasing and mating with the very ones that slaughtered/brutally murdered (burned alive/castrated/hung), raped, forced to mate, abused, whipped, starved, sold (even babies straight from the womb), and to this day have never gave equal rights nor the promissed 40 acres and a mule? (Yall know what I mean). Ex-Pres. Bill Clinton was the only President to even acknowledge it enough to at least appologize for slavery of the African American in this country. So actually, things are different, much better then they were for sure, but there are still many problems that cant be ignored. We are not on the same playing field, and until its much better, I cant just agree with this 100%.. I dont care how many movies they feed to us about black women in relationships with white men, its still a lot of work to be done 1st. (most are whorish, slutty and scandalous parts too, does anyone see that?) Ever ask yourself why they never have movies or sidcoms with black-men dating white women all over the place? Huuuuuuuuuum, I'll let yall ponder that thought. Theres a reason for everything, just like force feeding us homosexuality in every show. (huuuuuum, think some more) Like I said, theres a reason for everything, nothing is done just by chance or coincidence when your dealing with these people and these are more then just TV shows and Movies.

As for Banks, shes scum. A big contridiction, those are the worst, she plays a two faced position, a "Benedict Arnold". She paints all Black-men with one stroke of her brush as if shes dated most blackmen abroad. What the hell can she really know about most black-men or even about seriously dating at 23yrs old? This is a scorned little girl that hasnt grown to a women yet but has a little attention and attacks instead of thinking logically. (Idiots on camera and on a microphone is most damaging, the combination is deadly).

Some dude hurt her feelings just the way most people (males & females) get theyre feelings hurt in dating/relationships, especially when your young, but she isnt big enough to move on. Her style, attitude over this time shows what type of guys shes into and tried to keep, but of course, their NOT gonna put up with her big nasty filthy mouth (which is common). Thats why she acting up, thats why shes trying to put white guys on a higher level (& bring the brothers down), its all a stab in the back. This is her wanting to abuse a a guy (have a floor mat) do and say any reckless idiotic thing she wants to, and expects him to back her up no matter how silly, stupid, embarrassing or dangerous it may be. (Ive dealt with this type before a few times. Out the door they went too.) Your not supposed to speak on the issues in her mind, just roll with her as if shes above you or something. NO "real" man is gonna put up with that. There must be a reasonable balance and common sense.

She makes African American people look bad. She makes African American women look confused and lost. She wants a slave boy that will just throw money at her and take orders from her, but even the white-boy that will do anything to get next to a black-woman gets tired of that crap too. Funny, she even says that in so many words because shes talking like shes had several. Interesting. Shes only 23, is she their whore now? Wheres all this knowledge and experience coming from? If shes dating white-men like its her new religion, and everything is great, then whats the problem, why is she talking plural? Why havent she held on to one if theyre so great and so much better? Why is she rotating them? LOL, sounds like a lost gold digger. Shes a bubble head, she needs to just clam up.
Comment by Loveli on April 27, 2015 at 9:37pm
Comment by CHIQUITA on April 24, 2015 at 10:16am
I think Ms Banks probably gave the response she gave because it really is ignorant to ask someone why they date people of other races. So I figure she answered an ignorant question with an ignorant answer....and I'm not saying she's ignorant at all. Remember tho' when we were little, we always said..."If you ask me a stupid question, I will give you a stupid answer!" Ba-da-bing!
Comment by Dj G-LOK on April 20, 2015 at 10:34am

Ms. Banks makes sense. I've dated other races including white and to be frank, they're a whole nicer than my OWN race. I don't have to put up with the seemingly limitless sarcasm and the attitude which speaks " my ass got you, and you'll put with my bullshit"  There's also the other thing of speaking to people .. The tone, totally disrespectful especially when they get into a comfort zone in the relationship. White women on the other hand ( and I mean every single one I have dated ) put work into a relationship. I agree with you Ms. Banks, go with the ones that appreciate you.

Comment by rashid rourk on April 17, 2015 at 7:13pm

Comment by Al3x on April 17, 2015 at 1:28pm

This stupid ass blog. shes entitled to her freaking opinion and choices. Who ever wrote this blog need a life. Leave the woman alone..She like white men but she don't only date them. that's simple as f*c*. Shut up already and address important issues.

Comment by Jessy on April 17, 2015 at 9:58am

I've met quite a few black people that I work with who are so Pro-black,they are heavy into the black culture, read black books and everything, do things for the black community and all, but date white people, have white spouses and have children with white people.  And there are white supremacists who strongly believe in segregation, but would sleep with a black person or have a child by a black person.  It goes both ways.

Comment by Sh Miller on April 17, 2015 at 3:04am
From watching of society and personal experience, a man, especially a black man, when it comes to love,you aren't the chooser, but the begger. And only time you ain't is when it comes to sums of money (which means it ain't no real relationship, just the fling or another mother of another child added to the list). Sorry to say the truth, you want to get angry, get angry.
Comment by vaughn mitchell on April 16, 2015 at 11:17pm

she has issues. Not all black men take black women for granted, and she date white men that have money, date a white man that is not rich? date a black man that is not rich, its about the money, and not about skin color, but if a successful black man who has money is dating or marry a white woman or light skin woman, she is against it, she is a damn hypocrite, and two face. its okay for her to date rich white men but when a black man who has money date a light skin or white woman, she is against it. I would rip her to shreds in a debate.

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