So back in the day, when kids used to still play with toys and didn’t ask for expensive electronic devices,
(I mean seriously my nephew just got a tablet for his 6th birthday, I’ll probably buy myself one for my 26th, I’ll be 26 next year…I’m old.)
Anyway, around this time many moons ago we would tell our parents and Santa what we wanted for Christmas
(Another sidenote, how do kids still believe in Santa when they are getting iPads and PlayStations for Christmas, are elves Japanese now? Is that racist to say, Idk maybe I’ll get an email)
My older sister and brother usually asked for whatever new tech was out, pagers, CD players, I got whatever toy was advertised during Saturday morning cartoons, my other sister would ask for whatever new Barbie contraption was out to slay on deez heauxs. My sister had a serious Barbie phase, but my mother always made it a note to buy black dolls, because sistas could have all pink everything dream houses and convertibles too. She never could find a black Ken doll and every year Barbie got her house, car, summer home, career but no man (there’s a stereotype here but I won’t go there). Eventually my father finally found a black Ken (how much easier it would’ve been with the internet) and finally Barbie got chose. My mother wanted my sister to have some semblance of black love, even with something as simple as Barbie and Ken. You could point out the double standard that if white parents returned a barbie because it was black, black people would probably have something to say about it, and by something to say I mean make fun of them for a few hours on Twitter.
I thought about this when I was talking to a friend and she asked, “why is there still so much emphasis on ‘black love’?” Fair question, in this day and age when interracial relationships are becoming more commonplace, shouldn’t THAT be considered progress? My short answer was that it was because it just isn’t portrayed as much as it should be. As I thought more about it, I’m still half in half out. As a black man, I like to see black love depicted in my entertainment. However, if I were to marry a white woman, would our love be looked at with the same adulation? I think back to even recently after “The Best Man Holiday” was released, the sequel to a romantic comedy featuring a predominantly black cast, the first thing that came out was that out of the four male stars (Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Harold Perrineau, Morris Chestnut), only Chestnut is married in real life to a black woman. The trolling went so far that a bogus quote from Diggs circulated that “black women are less submissive and harder to deal with” and “No offense, but the only black woman I ever loved is my mama”. Of course none of this was ever credited or proven but it was accepted as true not just because people on the internet aren’t always too bright but that’s the mantra attached to black men who do date/marry white women.
I’ve spoken on that before and that other time, so I won’t repeat myself on that subject but again it brings me back to the original point, why is black love still important to people, because for one, there’s so many others trying to tear it down. Namely, people who do date outside their race and look at it as some sort of blanket statement. Black women don’t do this, black men don’t do that, yada yada yada. You found someone who loves and respects you, goodie goodie now please be seated and spare us your failed sociology thesis.
Another reason is because it’s simply fading as a whole. 50 years ago, the percentage of black people married were about 60%, it’s closer to 30% now. Blame shacking up, co-parenting, all that jazz. To admire black couples like Jay-Z and Beyonce or our President and the Flotus Flower Bomb, it’s by no means to offend IR couples it’s just so damn rare to see now. I appreciate love in all forms whether it’s The Best Man Holiday or a Nicholas Sparks movie (okay I’m lying I hate them all), but as a black man I can’t help but feel a little extra happier for the couple who looks more like me. I can’t help that other black people might smile a little wider if my wife happens to look a little more like me because it’s a feat, one that shouldn’t exist in the first place but a feat nonetheless. That’s why black love still matters, at least to me.