Serena Williams engagement breaks the internet and my heart


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Last Thursday not only did Serena William’s engagement break the internet, but it also broke my heart. Now before you think this is another post bashing Serena for finding love with a man who isn’t black, in my Kevin Hart voice, let me explain. At first, I too, like many black women across the globe, rejoiced that another sistah had finally found a man who would honor and cherish the love that she had to give. And in that moment I sent up a heartfelt prayer that her fiance not only basks in all of her glory, but showers her with the love that she deserves. Not just because she’s pro athlete Serena Williams, but because she is also a black woman. And the media has selected her to be an example of why black women are not “lovable”. Her full lips, dark skin, mixed with her athletic and statuesque physique has caused her to be ridiculed time and time again by the media, who had the audacity to call Serena unfeminine! However, Caitlyn Jenner, who was born a man, can be named as woman of the year. But I digress.
As people of all genders and races took the internet to express their congratulations, as well hatred, towards the happy couple, I was too busy processing my own thoughts and emotions about the plight of my own love life. To put it plainly, Serena’s engagement was a reminder that my search for love may not end with the black king that I long for. It made me ask myself the hard question of what’s more important: finding love, or finding love with a black man?
I’ve noticed a shift in society where more black women are finding love with men of different races. We’re encouraged by family, friends, and even strangers to be more open minded when it comes to finding a suitable mate. Interracial couples pop up often in my timeline on social media expressing their undying love for one another. Which is all well and good because love is a beautiful thing, but again, I can’t help but wonder what that means for me, and women like me, who desire to experience love and marriage with a black man.
The rational part of me knows that Serena’s decision, along with all the happy couples splashed across my timeline, should have little to do with my love life. But the other part of me, the irrational part that I keep buried deep down inside, clawed its way to the surface last week and spilled over onto the page before you. So often I hear black women and men say that we don’t owe each other anything and that we definitely have no claim to one another. I may one day birth a black son who will grow up to be a black man. For me, that reason alone justifies my loyalty to black men, and surpasses any reason one can come up with to not have a deep and undying love and desire to marry one. Plus, what if we did feel that we belonged to one another? Would we treat each other better and not play with each other’s hearts? Would we fight harder to make our relationships work? Would we become each other’s keepers? Our fates are tied together whether we acknowledge it or not.
In theory, I know that love should be color blind, but I want my spouse to see the color of my skin. I want him to be as fascinated with my different hues, as much as I revel in his chocolaty goodness. I want him to know that we share a common experience that only he and I will ever truly understand. On a daily basis, this world reminds us that no matter how much money a black person makes, they are still black. Yet somehow we are supposed to be color blind when it comes to love.
So, to answer the question that’s plagued me for the past week: there is nothing wrong with my desire to marry a black man and that the swirl just isn’t my cup of tea. I will stay in my lane and I will always celebrate when a sistah finds love, even if it’s not with a brotha. Most importanty, I will keep my irrational side at bay, knowing that somewhere out there my husband is making his way to me and that he will be every bit as chocolaty as my heart desires.

From my heart to yours,

Ariel

20 comments

  1. Why is the level of outrage and anger not the same for Serena and her engagement as it would be for a black man dating a woman of another race?

    • Because black men have been marrying women outside of our race way longer than black women. This is new territory for black women and because we are deemed so unloveable, even by black men. I get so tired of hearing about our attitudes as though we don’t carry the weight of the world on our shoulders too. Black women have to go where we are celebrated. No one talks about the black men who encourage us to date someone other than them because there is no chance at love with them. Trust me, black men are giving Serena props and high-fiving one another hoping they are finally free to date women of other races without ridicule.

      I took a different approach because I want to mend the rift between black women and men. Tearing each other down won’t do that. But as a black man, I encourage you to spread the word to other black men that their women are waiting for them to love us the way we deserve. That the attitudes will fade once we feel safe. And that we need each other now like never before.

  2. Those are the views of a relatively small subset of black men who have their reasons for feeling that way, no matter how flawed their thought process may be. But those views in no way should be attributed to black men as a whole.

    Statements such as, “Black women have to go where we are celebrated.”, seem extremely one sided as if to say black men don’t have to do the same. For every black man that foolishly finds a black woman unlovable or their attitudes unbearable, there is a woman saying that there are no good black men and men are dogs. I would dare to say that those groups are about even.

    By no means am I advocating for Serena Williams to be ridiculed for her decision, but my confusion lies in the lack of equal amounts of “hate”, vitriol, and disdain for her decision as that that would be spewed towards black men for dating white women. If a black man choosing to be with a woman of a different race is somehow a slite to black women (which contrary to popular belief is not always the case), then how is Serena (the prototypical, most celebrated, unapologetically black woman of our time) marrying a white man not a slite to every black man that loves and appreciates black women. I don’t know how one can be celebrated (or in this case choruses remaining strangely silent) yet when Mike Colter or Omari Hardwick step out with their wives the proverbial pitchforks and torches come out.

    I say all of that to say, the situations should be treated the same. Either we can be irrational and feed into the outrage of black men and women dating outside of their race equally or we can celebrate people finding love. Mending rifts can’t occur if hypocrisy and single sided views are allowed to live on.

    • I agree with you wholeheartedly that the double standard needs to be done away with. However, black women were not the ones that created it and therefore are not the one that can do away with it. I say this because not only do we live in a patriarchal society, and because I have experienced this same double standard since I was a teenager. I remember being in high school, as well as college, and my black male friends taking issue with me whenever I hung around or entertained a male who didn’t look like them. But they were perfectly fine dating/sleeping with any woman that they wanted, whether she black or not.

      You want black women to be upset at Serena just like they are upset at Mike Colter or Omari Hardwich, but are you taking into consideration why black women are upset at these particular celebrities? Studies show that once black men reach a certain status within their careers that they are more likely to marry outside of their race. But let’s take Omari and Mike out of the equation for arguments sake, and address the small subset that you referenced. I have been in conversations with said subset in mixed company and this subset had the audacity to say that they no longer wanted to date black women. The same black man who made the proclamation was not checked by any of the other black man involved in said conversation. Instead of asking him what brought this decision about, they simply said they understood his decision and stated that was more black women for them. I blame society for their reaction though. Men are taught not to address their emotions head on, but to bury them, and blame others for their lack of judgement. If one of the men had asked him what brought his decision about and what caused his pain, then perhaps he would have been able to come to a different decision. Or better yet, I would have felt more empathetic to his plight. But when I did inquire, he dismissed me with anger. So again I ask that if we were each others keepers, would we as a people understand one another more when it comes to dating/relationships? I have no issue checking a black woman when she says that all black men are dogs, but I wonder if black men check their brothers when they make such statements?

      If we want to get rid of the hypocrisy, then we need to make an effort to understand one another better. I don’t feel that as a black woman, black men truly make an effort to understand why we are upset when black men marry women of different races. You say that black men have to also go where they are celebrated, I understand that. But I also know for a fact that there is no woman that will go harder for a black man than a black woman. But again, our men are not taught to process there emotions in an effective way. Men are taught to move from woman to woman until they find peace, instead of actually taking responsibility for their choices. Case in point, my previous post: Dear Black Men, I was made to love you, where a friend confessed to me, it was easier to be with a woman of a different race because of the experiences he’s had wit black women. Never once did he acknowledge his part in the failure of the relationships he’s had with black women. He also consists of that small subset that you referenced along with the majority of his friends.

      In addition, pitchforks were hurled at Serena by black men when she announced her engagement. Should they have been hurled by black women too, well, there were feminist who were also upset by her decision. But even they understand the importance of black women finding love. Because in the words of Malcolm X, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” So I stand by my opinion, that I will always celebrate when a black woman finds love with someone other than a black man and when men are ready to open up about why they seeks out other races, I’ll be open to listening to their reasons as well, and check my sistahs when they feel otherwise.

  3. Ariel, I can’t express to you how much I relate to this post. You’re right…this IS new territory for black woman and its interesting to watch how the world is responding. Black women have been expected to stay loyal to black men, regardless of their lack of interest in or respect for black women.

    Now…one thing I’m learning is that the media helps create and sustain a bigger agenda that supports those feelings. When in all actuality, there is much more love in our community than what we are being shown. I truly believe that agenda setting plays a big part in why you see so many interracial couples in social media.

    Being black in America is not something that someone can just escape or coast through. It takes work along with many other things. Unfortunately, no other race can teach a black (wo)man how to survive, exist, and love self. No other race can teach a black (wo)man how to make sense of their experiences and emotions. This is the reason I feel that I can’t truly be with anyone other than a black man – whether I like it or not. I too hope that Serena’s fiance is fully equipped to love a black woman in her position. I hope he understands the importance of her existence in the black community because she is to be handled with care. You need different tools to care for a black woman in America.

    But you raised a good point…what if we did feel that we belonged to one another? I definitely feel that we would work harder to make our relationships work. Absolutely!

    Out of everything that you said…this moved my heart the most – “I know that love should be color blind, but I want my spouse to see the color of my skin.” Don’t be color blind with me…my color is nothing to ignore. Rather you should revel in its history, present and future.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this post that was particularly hard for me to write. I agree with all of your points, especially that an agenda is being pushed within our community. It’s cool on some level to fantasize about being with men of different races. I think Chris Pratt is extremely funny and handsome, but even then I find myself returning to reality and hoping for a Jesse Williams, Idris Elba or Denzel Washinton lol. There is definitely more love within our communities that we don’t get to see in the media, and even on social media we’ve had to create pages and groups promoting our love so that we know it can withstand the rest of time, and to combat the negativity that is forced upon us on a daily basis.

      • This is part of the reason why I push for us to stop watching TV and engaging in their forms of media. It brings so much confusion into our lives. Plus it is clinically insane for us to watch something that constantly and consistently degrades us.

    • As you said Josie, this is the media and it is an agenda. First and foremost if you have never looked a person in the eye (Serena Williams for argument sake) then you don’t know that person. Why would her engagement be of any concern. The media makes it a concern because the goal is to divide and conquer the black man and woman. Make it seem like Serena has finally found happiness in her white counterpart, but in actuality none of us know what goes on in their lives. I can go on for days about this but to you black women looking for black men. We are out here. Don’t believe the hype!

      • So glad to hear another black man’s perspective! And you’re so right, we can’t buy into the hype. I’m thankful for the plethora of examples that I have in my life from family and friends that have found happiness with black queens and kings. I truly do believe that mine is making his way to me as fast as he can.

        As a screenwriter and producer, I definitely want to use my platform to show more positive images of black relationships. Not all television is bad lol. We just have to monitor what we watch and even disconnect from
        social media when necessary. We must learn to practice self care.

      • You’re right it’s not all bad but the majority of it is trash lol! I’m glad that you had examples because a lot of us don’t and they do end up believing and falling for the hype, so they switch sides only to realize that the grass really isn’t greener. I think the love of your life will come in due time. Keep working on yourself and your goals and in due time the right person will come. He will be doing the same thing as you and you two will share the same vision and aspirations. Don’t settle for less.
        We need more producers such as yourself that will put more positive images of us in the spotlight! Keep doing your thing and I can’t wait to see what you have in store.

      • You’re spot on! The media definitely wants to drag down our black men, discourage our black women and rid of black love altogether. Planting the idea that we won’t ever find happiness with our own and that black men aren’t capable of loving us right. I won’t lie – I too have been impacted by that agenda but I’m working hard this year to break myself of it.

      • The agenda is strong and it’s world wide. Ariel bought up that not all TV is bad but for the most part most of the shows have a hidden message in them. Whatever that message may be, you won’t know but your subconscious will have picked it up. That’s the biggest reason I push for no TV. Because if we truly want to heal we HAVE to break aways from their forms of media. And Ihave freed myself in more than one way. As you know I have paid off my schools loans. I am saying that to show that the extra time I have I used to get myself free mentally and financially. When you break away from their agenda, YOUR agenda (vision) becomes so much clearer.

  4. Reblogged this on mind JO business and commented:
    Support “REBLOG” Sunday Ep.26: I know that its not Sunday but seeing how much this piece moved me (and I missed my last Support Sunday), I decided to share. I can’t recall the last time I read such a down to earth post that addressed so many deep rooted issues at the same time. Please comment on this bloggers post with your feedback because I’m extremely interested in your thoughts. Enjoy!

  5. You want what you want. NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Are you attracted only to your race? Are you attracted to another race? Or are you just attracted to the race to be in a relationship???? Don’t get me wrong. This Carmel Cutie is good eye candy! As I have my pleasure of eye candy as well. So question. Should I? Shouldn’t I? One Latin gentleman showed interest in me. I use to believe everyone deserved a chance. So, I acknowledged his interest and engaged him in a conversation. In that conversation, I discovered he recently separated from his wife. I began to think I was a rebound ( in addition to wife-drama). Hmmm. Thank you, but no thank you. I always believed carmel & chocolate was a 🎵 perfect combination, love plus you and me! 😍And that’s how I like it. I say don’t settle; be selective. 🎵 hold on to your love. You want what you want and absolutely nothing wrong with that desire. 😄 It’s okay.

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