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#1
Old 09-04-2011, 02:09 AM
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Re "Marriage is for White People" what is the "swag" that black men have, and white men do not?

Per this article

What precisely is "swag"?

Quote:
Then there are the other pressures: Does going white mean betraying black men? Selling out? Weakening the black familial institution? These are women who’ve beaten the odds to attain education, power, and capital. Who wants to admit she can’t get a man—or that she even needs one? “My two sisters, both college-educated, both single, were very opposed to me even writing about this, to the point that it strained our conversations for some time,” says Banks. “I think there’s a sense that this hits too close to home, and many women don’t want to hear about it.”

There are also those who do—and many of them confide in Banks their own fears that come with dating “outside.” There’s the worry that white men won’t be attracted to black women; and, in turn, black women aren’t attracted to black men. (People like people who like them.) That white men lack swag: Barack Obama has it, George Bush does not. (You get the point, right?) There’s the worry that a nonwhite man won’t understand the most basic parts of black life and culture: things as seemingly mundane as hair (extensions, straightening, putting a scarf on it at night). Or that the children won’t be “black enough.” “These are all issues that black women confront,” Banks says.

Last edited by astro; 09-04-2011 at 02:10 AM.
#2
Old 09-04-2011, 02:17 AM
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My guess: It's short for "swagger."
#3
Old 09-04-2011, 02:18 AM
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It's typical racemongering nonsense, as is the entirety of the article. People are people; men are men.

Comparing an immensely popular black president with an immensely unpopular white proves nothing other than that the author sucks at making comparisons.
#4
Old 09-04-2011, 02:27 AM
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I'm going to vote for "both answers above me"--it's swagger, and the article's tone is disturbing.
#5
Old 09-04-2011, 04:21 AM
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If white men don't have swag, then how come all the pop singers keep saying Mick Jagger has it?
#6
Old 09-04-2011, 04:31 AM
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Swag is short for "Scientific Wild Ass Guess." That's the only way I have ever heard it used, at any rate. I've never heard anyone use any sort of contraction for "swagger." But what do I know? I'm not ruling out any slang that might be used to denote swagger; I just don't know of any.
#7
Old 09-04-2011, 04:45 AM
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I find that article, and the comments after it, quite depressing. My best friend is a well-educated black woman, divorced from a black man who wasn't happy that she continued on the career track after having their daughter. Now, he sure wasn't ambitious, so it wasn't like he would have picked up the slack should she have desired to stay home with their daughter. Naturally, there were many complicated issues beyond these things, but as it is she is single now and becoming quite frustrated with what she feels is a lack of black men at the same educational and socioeconomic level.

She's not snobby, as the comments after that article seem to accuse black women of, but she does have certain standards and is not willing to settle for a man who doesn't fit with her current lifestyle and interests. She would prefer to date black men, and has been doing so since her divorce, but hasn't met anyone who suits her as a long-term mate. She is beginning to consider dating outside her race, but feels like white men are either intimidated or not interested, and isn't really sure where to go from here.

She's an amazing, beautiful, and well-rounded woman, and it upsets me that she feels like there's a good possibility that she'll end up alone, and that will be that. I admit I don't have a handle on this issue, in fact, the information seems to be conflicting and the opinions seem very testy when this topic arises. I can see why that might be, but for her sake and other women like her, I think it's an important conversation that needs to happen.
#8
Old 09-04-2011, 06:14 AM
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From what I can tell, everybody has a hard time hooking up. The OP covered so many things it's hard to get a handle on it, but I just know that you can't settle and expect to be happy. Your feelings (& beliefs) are what you're going to live with your whole life (maybe tweaked here & there, but basic.) If you have to wait, it's better to wait. Sometimes a person can come to the realization that that friend they really care about is actually The One. And sometimes you meet somebody & it's like you've been struck by lightning. Either way is good; you just need that mix of passion and respect. The outer wrappings don't matter---like if they're outside your culture or race, whatever. It's the insides that'll sustain you thru the years, even while their outsides are breaking down.lol Love somebody you can talk to. And a little "swang" has never hurt that "thang."
#9
Old 09-04-2011, 08:08 AM
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I'm still trying to figure out what "going white" means. Marrying a white person? Or some other cultural change?
#10
Old 09-04-2011, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Becky2844 View Post
The outer wrappings don't matter---like if they're outside your culture or race, whatever. It's the insides that'll sustain you thru the years, even while their outsides are breaking down.lol Love somebody you can talk to. And a little "swang" has never hurt that "thang."
Just curious, are you a black woman married or otherwise involved outside your race?

I think it's easy for me, as a white woman married to a white man, looking at the world with my particular view, to say what matters for ME, or what I could get past, or let go of, etc. But I wouldn't be so arrogant as to tell my bff that "outer wrappings don't matter" while she's having a sincere, heartfelt struggle in her life that she never expected to encounter.
#11
Old 09-04-2011, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Indygrrl View Post
But I wouldn't be so arrogant as to tell my bff that "outer wrappings don't matter" while she's having a sincere, heartfelt struggle in her life that she never expected to encounter.
Well, yeah, tact is never out of style.
#12
Old 09-04-2011, 10:24 PM
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Seems to me that black women bring a lot of racial baggage to relationships that white guys might not want to deal with, especially when combined with the stereotypical outspokenness of black women.

Oh... white men can have plenty of 'swag', but we're typically not as macho like black or hispanic men. There's a fine line between macho and sexist/misogynistic, and most white guys don't want anywhere near that line- white women don't like it.
#13
Old 09-04-2011, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by pullin View Post
I'm still trying to figure out what "going white" means. Marrying a white person? Or some other cultural change?
Having a romantic relationship with a white person. It includes marriage, but I think dating falls under that header too.
#14
Old 09-04-2011, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
Seems to me that black women bring a lot of racial baggage to relationships that white guys might not want to deal with, especially when combined with the stereotypical outspokenness of black women.

Oh... white men can have plenty of 'swag', but we're typically not as macho like black or hispanic men. There's a fine line between macho and sexist/misogynistic, and most white guys don't want anywhere near that line- white women don't like it.
Someone didn't grow up in a football town!
#15
Old 09-04-2011, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
Seems to me that black women bring a lot of racial baggage to relationships that white guys might not want to deal with, especially when combined with the stereotypical outspokenness of black women.

Oh... white men can have plenty of 'swag', but we're typically not as macho like black or hispanic men. There's a fine line between macho and sexist/misogynistic, and most white guys don't want anywhere near that line- white women don't like it.
Swagger is one of those things that's hard to define, but I know it when I see it, and it's true that not as many white men have it, but some sure do. And I can only speak for this white woman, but I liiiiiiiiiiiiiike it. Actually, so do all of my girlfriends, so I guess I can speak for some of them as well, lol. There's a big difference between being a misogynist or a sexist and being a sexy, confident man who has................swagger.

Also, that about "racial baggage" might be true to some degree, although your stereotyping tells me you probably don't know nearly as much about it as you think you do. Of course, it's not surprising that a guy who doesn't like outspoken women also lacks swagger.
#16
Old 09-04-2011, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Indygrrl View Post
I find that article, and the comments after it, quite depressing.
It is a bit depressing. A few years back I was eating at a Chinese restaurant when a black woman and white man holding hands walked past the place. Two black males made some snide comments like "I bet he has money." So apparently interracial dating is a big deal for some people regardless of what some might think. I suspect a similar problem will affect white women in the near future. white women are more likely to graduate high school and college these days. There may be a point where a lot of them don't marry because they can't find a suitable mate.
#17
Old 09-05-2011, 01:28 AM
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I believe 'swag' is this cockiness that some minority men carry; a mixture of confidence and machismo that women respond to. Its a very fine line; some guys are too afraid of pissing off someone they're interested in and end up coming off meek and wussy, and other guys are simply so full of themselves/narcissists nobody can stand them.

Guys with swag can balance these two extremes. Something I've noticed is that 'Nice Guy'-types (you know the kind I mean ) are overwhelmingly caucasian. I've never heard of a black or latino guy complain women only want jerks, etc. I think this might have to do with the concept of privelege; a white guy can get/get away with a lot more because he's white, but he might interpret his status as due to 'being nice'. So he thinks women will be attracted to 'being nice'. But minority guys may be under more pressure to have something to bring to the table, and society isn't going to simply reward them for 'being nice', they have to try harder than a white guy in a lot of ways just to be seen as equal.
#18
Old 09-05-2011, 01:32 AM
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Machismo. Blech.
#19
Old 09-05-2011, 02:26 AM
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I read an article that proposed that "swagger" was a form of hyper-masculine posturing commonly adopted by certain black men to compensate for their low socioeconomic status. The author claimed that studies typically demonstrated that black American men tended to have lower self esteem than white American men. I'll try to find the article, but the fact that I can't remember its title may thwart my Google-fu.

On the surface, that seems to make a bit of sense. I've noticed that poor white men appear to exhibit similar behavior more often than wealthy white men. However, I also think claims like that are incredibly broad. Swagger is a word like cool. It can mean different things to different people. In addition, not all black people or all white people do the same things for the same reasons.

It goes without saying that it sucks that prejudiced people find it necessary to make it difficult for two consenting adults to engage in a relationship. A friend of mine has to pretend to her parents that her boyfriend doesn't exist because he's not a Muslim. I can't imagine what that must be like for her.
#20
Old 09-05-2011, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
If white men don't have swag, then how come all the pop singers keep saying Mick Jagger has it?
He's an honorary black man. So it's honorary swag. Good enough, though.
#21
Old 09-05-2011, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Incubus View Post
I've never heard of a black or latino guy complain women only want jerks, etc.
There are plenty of black "nice guys". Trust me on this. Enough of them exist that its unwise to consider this a white guy trait. Commonly, the complaint from black "nice guys" is that black women only want thugs. They also feel entitled to a woman's affections because of what they aren't (not in prison, not unemployed, not free loading from their mother), not because of what positives they might bring to a relationship. These also are the type of guys who attempt to coerce black women into doing what they want by shaming them with comparisions to white women, who as a group apparently know how to "treat a man".

It's kind of silly to read a lot into what swagger means. It's like overanalyzing the word "hot". To me, swagger means understated confidence that speaks of the kind of competence typically associated with masculinity. I do not think of machismo when I think of "swagger". I think of Denzel Washington in Malcolm X, when he silenced the crowd simply by raising his finger. The idea is hilariously captured in this pic of Obama as well. Idris Elba had it in the Wire. Plenty of white guys have it too. Bruce Willis, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Mark Walberg usually play men with swagger.

Anyone who thinks "swagger" is a black thing is probably stuck on stereotypes.
#22
Old 09-05-2011, 10:30 AM
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I always took "swagger" to be either macho or "cool".

Like in the case of Obama. Watch him when he goes running down the stairs. In those moments, he's the coolest cat on the planet. I'm as indifferent to masculinity as they come, but even I see it.

Thing is...I can't describe exactly what it is about it that makes it cool. I just know it when I see it.

When white people date inter-racially, they have difficulties to contend with as well. Peer pressure, familial pressure, and insecurities about their own identity that they may not even be conscience of. But it's also not a big thing for them because the numbers are stacked in their favor. They have more same-raced applicants to choose from.

Not so much for black women. And in addition to the pressures above, they have to think about cultural stuff. Minorities are way more familiar with white people's culture (the dominant culture) than vice versa. There are still plenty of white people who don't know that black women chemically straighten their hair and what that entails, for instance. Or it comes to a shock that a black person can speak one way at work/amongst white people and speak a totally different way around black people (I had a co-worker gripe to me about how a certain black radio personality with a humongous following doesn't speak correct English and how it annoyed him that he was even on the radio).

There are hundreds of other things that your typical white person does not know about black people. It's not white people's fault. It's just that they have the advantage of not having to know.

So if you're a black woman and you're considering "going white", you have to consider how much of a teacher you're willing to be. And not only a teacher to your man, but also his family and friends. Do you really feel like having explain to your future mother-in-law how your little girl's hair and skin will need to be groomed when she spends the summer with her? Do you really feel like dealing with your husband's discomfort when you take him to visit your parents' Pentecostal, writhing-in-the-aisles, Holy-Ghost-possessed church? Are you ready to feel like a sore thumb at his all-white, different-worship-style-than-you're-used-to-experiencing church? And not only that, are you prepared to be the ambassador for black people at your in-law's get-togethers? Prepared for racial tension at his family reunions as well as yours? What if your children do not want to see themselves as black? How will you handle that?

Are you prepared for training yourself out of "code-switching" when interacting with your husband, his family, and yours? Are you prepared for the identity crisis that this might cause?

These questions are not trivial, and people who are acting like they are need to get a clue. Yes, it's easy to say "love knows no color". I believe this is true and if I found love, I wouldn't let other's opinions on the subject slow me down. But love, in itself, is not what makes a relationship last. Mutual understanding does.

The swagger stuff is out of my department, but I will say this. People like what they like. White guys are just as cool as black guys...but it's not the same kind of coolness, on average.
#23
Old 09-05-2011, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Incubus View Post
I've never heard of a black or latino guy complain women only want jerks, etc.
There's a ton of misogynistic rap out there complaining that women are just gold-diggers, though.
#24
Old 09-05-2011, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
There's a ton of misogynistic rap out there complaining that women are just gold-diggers, though.
Well...she aint messin' with no broke niggaz.
#25
Old 09-05-2011, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Becky2844 View Post
From what I can tell, everybody has a hard time hooking up. The OP covered so many things it's hard to get a handle on it, but I just know that you can't settle and expect to be happy. Your feelings (& beliefs) are what you're going to live with your whole life (maybe tweaked here & there, but basic.) If you have to wait, it's better to wait. Sometimes a person can come to the realization that that friend they really care about is actually The One. And sometimes you meet somebody & it's like you've been struck by lightning. Either way is good; you just need that mix of passion and respect. The outer wrappings don't matter---like if they're outside your culture or race, whatever. It's the insides that'll sustain you thru the years, even while their outsides are breaking down.lol Love somebody you can talk to. And a little "swang" has never hurt that "thang."
Interesting. However, to me what you call the outer wrappings (culture & race) are so intertwined with what you're calling the inner parts (attitudes, life style, outlook), it's not possible to separate the two. I can't conceive of being able to have succesful marriage with someone who doesn't share my same culture. Sex and love are possible, but that's not going to keep a marriage stable for the long haul.
#26
Old 09-05-2011, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ZPG Zealot View Post
Interesting. However, to me what you call the outer wrappings (culture & race) are so intertwined with what you're calling the inner parts (attitudes, life style, outlook), it's not possible to separate the two. I can't conceive of being able to have succesful marriage with someone who doesn't share my same culture. Sex and love are possible, but that's not going to keep a marriage stable for the long haul.
To put it very mildly, your perspective on the meaning of culture isn't even in the same galaxy as most people in this country at this time.
#27
Old 09-06-2011, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro
Minorities are way more familiar with white people's culture (the dominant culture) than vice versa
Why? Because they think we all watch Seinfeld and listen to John Mayer while driving to Applebees in our pickup trucks?


Quote:
Originally Posted by you with the face
Plenty of white guys have it too. Bruce Willis, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Mark Walberg usually play men with swagger.
Yeah, but nothing like Samuel L Jackson, Denzel Washington or Laurence Fishburne.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Incubus
. Something I've noticed is that 'Nice Guy'-types (you know the kind I mean ) are overwhelmingly caucasian. I've never heard of a black or latino guy complain women only want jerks, etc. I think this might have to do with the concept of privelege; a white guy can get/get away with a lot more because he's white, but he might interpret his status as due to 'being nice'. So he thinks women will be attracted to 'being nice'. But minority guys may be under more pressure to have something to bring to the table, and society isn't going to simply reward them for 'being nice', they have to try harder than a white guy in a lot of ways just to be seen as equal.
What people typically describe as "nice guy" is more often than not "typical, polite, law abiding, educated, middle class American with a regular boring corporate office job". A lot of people, both black and white, think that isn't "cool". And it may not be. But it pays the bills.

And women don't "like jerks". They like strong, dominant men. Guys who just seem to be in control whenever they walk in the room. That is the "swag" that many, if not most, white men don't have. It is a lack of toughness that comes from growing up in a safe, middle-class suburban environment where their "worth" is determined by how well they fit in with their peer's pop culture consumerist interests, their ability to play organized sports and the aptitude at completing the institutional demands of school and evenal corporate work.

IOW, most white guys are pussies.
#28
Old 09-06-2011, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
IOW, most white guys are pussies.
Maybe, buy they're responsible pussies.
#29
Old 09-06-2011, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
They like strong, dominant men. Guys who just seem to be in control whenever they walk in the room. That is the "swag" that many, if not most, white men don't have. It is a lack of toughness that comes from growing up in a safe, middle-class suburban environment where their "worth" is determined by how well they fit in with their peer's pop culture consumerist interests, their ability to play organized sports and the aptitude at completing the institutional demands of school and evenal corporate work.

IOW, most white guys are pussies.
One out of five black guys are incarcerated. If that's a tradeoff, I suppose I can live with it.

It may be boring and pussified, but seeing my kid in the evening after working all day to try to make sure she can go to a decent college is worth a lot more to my wife than "swag," I suspect.
#30
Old 09-06-2011, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Koxinga View Post
One out of five black guys are incarcerated. If that's a tradeoff, I suppose I can live with it.

It may be boring and pussified, but seeing my kid in the evening after working all day to try to make sure she can go to a decent college is worth a lot more to my wife than "swag," I suspect.
That's the whole point. People are attracted to the trappings of success - big house, fancy cars, drinking Crystal. They aren't so much attracted to long hours of work and study.
#31
Old 09-06-2011, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
So if you're a black woman and you're considering "going white", you have to consider how much of a teacher you're willing to be. And not only a teacher to your man, but also his family and friends. Do you really feel like having explain to your future mother-in-law how your little girl's hair and skin will need to be groomed when she spends the summer with her? Do you really feel like dealing with your husband's discomfort when you take him to visit your parents' Pentecostal, writhing-in-the-aisles, Holy-Ghost-possessed church? Are you ready to feel like a sore thumb at his all-white, different-worship-style-than-you're-used-to-experiencing church? And not only that, are you prepared to be the ambassador for black people at your in-law's get-togethers? Prepared for racial tension at his family reunions as well as yours? What if your children do not want to see themselves as black? How will you handle that?

Are you prepared for training yourself out of "code-switching" when interacting with your husband, his family, and yours? Are you prepared for the identity crisis that this might cause?
But don't all interracial marriages have these issues? I fail to see how this is only inclusive to the black/white relationship. All of this is happening in my SO's family in a white-Asian relationship, and there are shades of all of the above, right up to the slight racism and tension at family get-togethers, and the children growing up with very little Asian identity.

Hell, I'm in an interracial relationship and we have had to deal with a lot of this. We don't have kids, so we were thankfully able to skip a lot of that.
#32
Old 09-06-2011, 11:05 AM
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You don't even need race to get this.

My wife is Ukranian, from a deeply religious immigrant peasant family, whereas my background is a mix of WASP and Jewish atheist urbanites. The colour of our skin is the same, but our family background couldn't be more different, which has indeed created some issues.

Is that more or less different than a Black family of athiest urbanites? Who can say? Though the racial historic legacy is rather different up here in Canada.
#33
Old 09-06-2011, 11:18 AM
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Interesting... I talked to Banks just before the book came out as he caught my NPR appearance about Black Marriage Day (and oddly enough, he was the guest that I was bumped for on an earlier appearance on Talk of the Nation). I'm happy to hear it's out and I will track it down for a read.

It's a very real tension for Black women. Every year I hear Black women graduate students complain that the dating pool is so limited - and I think that's the issue, the limitations. As you with the face notes, there are Black men - in much smaller numbers - in the dating pool for professional, well-educated Black women. But I will note anecdotally that they tend to be... well, nerdy. Like me. (I don't think of myself as extremely nerdy, but I don't think I have the "swag" that the article alludes to. Not in large quantities anyway.) I guess luckily for me, I met my wife a loooooong time ago when whatever swag I had was sufficient to trap, er, convince her to marry me.

The thing about "swag," is that it has its upside and downside. From my experience, guys smooth with the talk, athletic, and good looking are well aware of their assets, and often exploit their prowess... and thus the line between "swag" and "dog" can be quite blurry. If you add education and money in the mix, it's even more tilted in these guys' favor. So a lot of these guys get around quite a bit and don't want to settle down.

I think one less discussed, but very real phenomenon among Black men, especially those who are professionally and educationally advanced, is the fact that many are conflicted about their sexuality. Because of cultural and familial expectations, it's very difficult to be an out gay or bisexual Black man. So a lot of the eligible guys are in fact either gay, or bi, or confused in some way but don't feel they have the space to explore who they are - so they date women and do jacked up stuff so the relationship ends unhappily. I know many guys like this. Some are semi-out to close friends, and others are living in deep denial. I'm close friends with two out gay Black men - and one is out in his city, but not back in his parents' hometown in rural Texas.

All that is to say is that the dating scene for Black women is pretty complicated. There's another angle to this, and that is that a lot of successful Black men tend to be in athletics and entertainment. Indeed, if you look at many college campuses like mine, the ratio of Black women to men is around 3:1. A lot of the Black men on this campus are athletes... and I'm not going to stereotype as I know many upstanding Black male athletes, but I also know of many who behave very irresponsibly in their romantic/sexual relationships. I realized this when I moved to Atlanta, where virtually every Black woman I knew was either dating, or had dated a professional or semi-professional athlete.

I guess what I'm saying is that for Black women, there isn't this broad swath of guys with college degrees handling their business to choose from. And some guys are not marriage material and others are "undateable." I had a former student who was set up by a well-meaning (but clueless) White female friend, and both attempts to set her up ended badly - in fact, the relationship between the two women nearly ended over it. The guys were nice but not her type, and she started resenting the friend's efforts as she had not asked her to play cupid.

monstro makes a great point that in thinking about a long-term relationship with someone outside of your race/ethnicity/culture is a massive undertaking that comes with considerable baggage. One has to be willing to deal with it, along with all the other crap that comes part and parcel with marriage, and frankly, that's often too much.

I've had a number of differing opinions over the years about interracial relationships - at this stage in my life, I'm of the opinion that it's hard to find happiness, and if you find happiness, you should go for it, to hell with the racial/cultural aspect of it. If two people want to be together I say more power to them both. But it's also much more complex than that. There are families to contend with. There's the enduring stigma of racism that Black men in particular contend with - microaggressions - that even the most aware White people sometimes overlook or don't see. (The same is true of Black women who often deal with the intersectional double whammy of being Black and female in settings where both identities are seen as liabilities.) Sometimes you just want someone to "get" you without having to explain why you put grease in your hair, and any one of the umpteen million things Black folks do that White folks generally have no idea about.

I know both White guys (well, one) who exclusively date Black women, and Black guys who date exclusively White women. I've never broached the topic but when you've had three consecutive girlfriends of one race I think something's going on. Which again, is fine. I admit I'm a little more comfortable with the White guy than the Black guys (though I admit there's something a little unnerving to me about both categories).

Just my $.02, I'm sure I'll think of more as folks respond...
#34
Old 09-06-2011, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Anaamika View Post
But don't all interracial marriages have these issues? I fail to see how this is only inclusive to the black/white relationship. All of this is happening in my SO's family in a white-Asian relationship, and there are shades of all of the above, right up to the slight racism and tension at family get-togethers, and the children growing up with very little Asian identity.

Hell, I'm in an interracial relationship and we have had to deal with a lot of this. We don't have kids, so we were thankfully able to skip a lot of that.
I think it's a little different because of the long history of Black-White racial tension in this country. My mom is Jamaican, and I come from a long line of mixed marriages, which is fairly normal and mundane there. Not just Black-White, but Indian, Lebanese, and a whole lot of other mixes. In America, though, our history is imbued with Black-White tensions, from Sally Hemmings to the one-drop rule to Jim Crow to lynchings... all focused on the fear or fascination of Black-White sex.
#35
Old 09-06-2011, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by PlainJain View Post
Maybe, buy they're responsible pussies.
I prefer a responsible non-pussy. I'll take a bit of swag on my man, please.

We didn't call it 'swagger'. In my day, we called it 'steeze' which was a play on the word 'style'.

It just meant you had style. It's a part of black culture that comes along with slang and hip hop and...that walk. The way a man stands. Or licks his lips. Hard to put your finger on it.

Prisoners can have it, teachers can have it, ball players, drug dealers, A students.

White men can have it too.

There are so many different kinds of black men. The idea that the ones with swagger are all criminals or dead beats or whatever is crazy. And I raise a cocked eyebrow at any black woman who claims she can't find a man because they are all in prison, or all with white women or any other such nonsense. The statistics don't bear that out. Nonsense, it is.

If one doesn't have swagger, it may be easy to say, "Black men have it because they aren't responsible working family men" but that just aint so, in my opinion.
#36
Old 09-06-2011, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Hippy Hollow View Post
I had a former student who was set up by a well-meaning (but clueless) White female friend, and both attempts to set her up ended badly - in fact, the relationship between the two women nearly ended over it. The guys were nice but not her type, and she started resenting the friend's efforts as she had not asked her to play cupid.
.
Without even knowing the specifics, I can relate to this story. My parents has gotten on my nerves by hinting that I should hook up with men that only a moron would consider to be a good fit for me. One of them was a former tenant of theirs. I say former, because they just evicted him from their rental property because he was several months behind on the rent. Now even though I'm sympathetic to people having hard times in this economy...come on now. Why would my parents be trying to recruit me to date a guy in his position, when he can't even afford a roof over his head? Aside from this, he's a devout Muslim and I'm a heathenous agnostic. But he's black, you see. And I guess that means we're supposed to overlook petty trivialities like socioeconomic status and religion, and let the power of love set us free. Reality doesn't work like this, though.

I can't even talk to my parents about this area of my life anymore, because I know they prioritize race above me actually being attracted to or having anything in common with a guy.

Last edited by you with the face; 09-06-2011 at 11:53 AM.
#37
Old 09-06-2011, 11:56 AM
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Apparently black guys get lots of free merchandise at conventions.
#38
Old 09-06-2011, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
Yeah, but nothing like Samuel L Jackson, Denzel Washington or Laurence Fishburne.
Even if this is true, so what? Why is Denzel's swagger any better than Bruce's?

Again, it's quite silly to read anything more into "swagger" than just a word to describe a certain kind of masculine attractiveness. Bringing trappings of wealth, irresponsibility, and criminality into it just screams sour grapes projection. It would be like a woman going out of way to suggest that to look "hot" you have to conduct yourself like pinhead bimbo or prostitute.
#39
Old 09-06-2011, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by you with the face View Post
Even if this is true, so what? Why is Denzel's swagger any better than Bruce's?

Again, it's quite silly to read anything more into "swagger" than just a word to describe a certain kind of masculine attractiveness.
Speaking as a guy on the other end of the comparison being made here--I'm white, and I'm pudgy, and I'm sporting a full beard. Normally I wear jeans and a polo shirt.

Uniformly, when I am dating, I get negative to neutral responses to pictures of me from women.

Uniformly, when I am dating, I get good to wildly positive responses regarding my attractiveness from people who see me in person or in motion. I have been described, by a black woman even, as having "swagger".

It seems to me that it's primarily (if not solely) based on how one moves and carries himself. What matters is that you're comfortable with yourself and the position you're in, not what that position is. I don't even want to speculate about the perceived color bias, but I expect it has something to do with a concept I've heard from a lot of guys--"I don't have to brag, I know I have it." Yeah, but you still have to brag a little, or no one knows you have it.

Last edited by Zeriel; 09-06-2011 at 01:07 PM.
#40
Old 09-06-2011, 01:30 PM
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There’s the worry that a nonwhite man won’t understand the most basic parts of black life and culture: things as seemingly mundane as hair (extensions, straightening, putting a scarf on it at night).
Shouldn't that say "white"?

And, if this white man could confirm the stereotype for a moment, why do black women have to put a scarf on at night? Is it to stop the straightened hair from getting messed up?
#41
Old 09-06-2011, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Zeriel View Post

It seems to me that it's primarily (if not solely) based on how one moves and carries himself. What matters is that you're comfortable with yourself and the position you're in, not what that position is. I don't even want to speculate about the perceived color bias, but I expect it has something to do with a concept I've heard from a lot of guys--"I don't have to brag, I know I have it." Yeah, but you still have to brag a little, or no one knows you have it.
So it's a bit like being Steve?
#42
Old 09-06-2011, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Nzinga, Seated View Post
We didn't call it 'swagger'. In my day, we called it 'steeze' which was a play on the word 'style'.
Style - any kind - has been devalued as a marker of a dominant man. It probably picked up bad associations because of the metrosexual phenomenon.
#43
Old 09-06-2011, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Swords to Plowshares View Post
Apparently black guys get lots of free merchandise at conventions.
I agree. Bumper stickers, t-shirts, tote bags, ID lanyards.... all that stuff.

Chicks love lanyards.
#44
Old 09-06-2011, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Swords to Plowshares View Post
Apparently black guys get lots of free merchandise at conventions.
No, no. It's white people who just give each other things.

Last edited by Tom Tildrum; 09-06-2011 at 06:04 PM. Reason: old Eddie Murphy line from SNL
#45
Old 09-06-2011, 11:17 PM
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I mentioned that my best friend and I were talking about this the other night. She's an amazing woman, and I respect her opinions a lot, and this is what she had to say in response to the article:

Quote:
I don't know really how to articulate how I feel about it other than frustration, sadness & anger. This article is based on the professor I mentioned who wrote a book on the subject. I agree with everything he's saying, but agreeing does ...not bring me to a solution. The solution seems unreachable to me. The solution in its simplest form is for the availability of more black men who are on the "level" of the middle/upper class black women dying for a relationship or marriage. The problem is a chronic one with the jail and education statistics and other things. To me, until those issues are solved in the black community, spawned & spearheaded by the black man himself, then we stay at square one.

I would have less anger about it if it wasn't suggested that a white man (or other non-black man) is the only option or saving grace. I think if black women felt they had ALL dating options available to them - as it seems white women/men & black men themselves do -it wouldn't feel so hopeless. It's like saying "black men are not available to you, so cut your losses & go for the next best thing." Being forced to accept that notion is infuriating. Imagine going to the store for chocolate ice cream, and they quit making it at every store, only offering vanilla!? We'd all be pissed. That's what the undertone of these ideas feels like to a black woman.
#46
Old 09-06-2011, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
So it's a bit like being Steve?
Yeah, pretty much. Pretty much exactly.
#47
Old 09-07-2011, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Indygrrl View Post
I mentioned that my best friend and I were talking about this the other night. She's an amazing woman, and I respect her opinions a lot, and this is what she had to say in response to the article:
Interesting. But I can't quite relate to her anger at being advised to expand her choices beyond black men. If I wanted chocolate ice cream, but stores only sold vanilla, I would be sorely disappointed. But I wouldn't get pissed at anyone just for suggesting that I buy vanilla. It's either buy vanilla and try to like it as much if not more than chocolate, or sit at home pining away for chocolate...and possibly going without any ice cream at all. Is the latter scenario better?

I get more more pissed when people suggest that vanilla and other flavors aren't even an option for black women. It's chocolate ice cream or nothing.
#48
Old 09-07-2011, 02:48 PM
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Do I have to do everything around here?
#49
Old 09-07-2011, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
I agree. Bumper stickers, t-shirts, tote bags, ID lanyards.... all that stuff.

Chicks love lanyards.
Shouldn't that be "Bitches love lanyards."?
#50
Old 09-07-2011, 06:21 PM
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What an awful article. As for swagger, it's not a black thing or a white thing but a cocky thing. I've seen CEO's who are old, white men with more swagger than Michael Jordan (and I've met Michael Jordan).
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