Interracial Politics of Pro-Blackness

When K Dot stepped out of his private lockbox, and announced he was engaged to his high school sweetheart, a rightfully deserved congratulations was not had all around. Some, like Rashida Marie Strober, a self proclaimed “Dark Skinned Activist,” took to Facebook to express her discontent.

I’ve written about Kendrick’s interpretative erasure of Black women. It began with his odd defense of Iggy Azalea. Then, I interpreted his To Pimp a Butterfly cover art as a mark of misogynoir. And then there’s the Rolling Stone cover, where he sat in regal fashion before a white-appearing or racially ambiguous woman — rumored to be his girlfriend — braiding his hair. Together (along with his inexplicable embrace of respectability politics), led me to question his regard for Black women.

But his personal engagement to Whitney Alford didn’t rattle me because, ultimately, it’s none of my business. Unlike his lyrical agency and creative work, his romance is not for the masses to consume or unpack.

To be pro-Black does not mean to be anti-white. To be pro-Black means to be anti-white supremacy.

The pro-Black politic advocates for the immediate end to those socioeconomic institutions that unravel Black families and communities. Pro-Blackness enraptures an unapologetic love for Black heritage as a mark of resistance to a centuries-long white supremacist regime that tries to rip that heritage from us. Pro-Blackness is an enduring statement that the entire global corporate welfare system operates on the unpaid and unheard labor of Black bodies. Pro-Blackness demands that true histories are taught — not the diluted half-truth peddled through outdated school books in dilapidated classrooms.

Pro-Blackness views white supremacy as illegitimate, unnatural, and unsustainable.

And Pro-Blackness is not exclusive to Black people. Anyone can be pro-Black so long as they prescribe to the view that white supremacy is virulent in nature and deadly in practice.

White supremacy is not a person or a people, it’s a parasitic culture expansive across many ethno-religious, racial, and class groups. This in mind, it’s difficult for white people to be pro-Black, considering the benefits that white supremacy gives them. But it’s not impossible.

Hence, interracial dating. To prescribe to the belief that Black folk dating outside our race is harmful or not pro-Black is downright silly and limited in thought. Interracial dating, in of itself, is healthy. Dating and loving outside one’s own lived experience can be fulfilling, and not at the expense of one’s own heritage.

Interracial dating is only unhealthy when done for three motives: power, rebellion, and fetishization.

For example, those Black folk who exclude other Blacks in their romance in favor of white, non-Black, and/or racially ambiguous people in order to achieve social ascension and cultural credo, are victims of unhealthy self-hate.

White, non-Black, and/or racially ambiguous folk who only date Black people to rebel against the status quo are unhealthy in that their primary concern is not the welfare or safety of their Black partner, but a personal gratification rooted in inexplicable self-righteous irony.

Fetishization of all bodies — especially Black bodies — is unhealthy in that it strips one of their humanity in sexualized predatory fashion.

Interracial dating beholden to any of these malignant motives is unsafe.

I’ve dated white cis-gendered men on both ends of the spectrum — those who cared for me deeply and were amenable to pro-Blackness. In between very difficult dialogue, was the acknowledgement that white supremacy as a power system tries, every day, to invalidate my body, my spirit, and lived experience.

And then I’ve “dated” those who found my Black female body dispensable for ephemeral sexual gratification. With no pronounced understanding of pro-Blackness, they enthusiastically invested in white supremacist authority. It was worse that I noticed their anti-Blackness during the heat of Mike Brown’s death, when they publicly expressed their disdain for #BlackLivesMatter, impugned the idea that race was an element in his state-sanctioned execution, and berated Black folk who said otherwise.

For me, interracial dating has been traumatic, only because my pro-Black politic wasn’t yet whole. But now, after performing years of intellectual labor, my self-esteem is the bedrock of my racial heritage, and any partner — Black or otherwise — who can’t understand or respect my roots or my work isn’t worthy of the strength of my love.

I don’t know what my eventual partner looks like, but I know what they’ll believe in. They’ll will be pro-Black. They’ll have performed labor towards racial equity, and will support my work and my politic with no hesitancy or compromise.

And that’ll work for me.

I have no idea how politics pass between K Dot and Whitney. Only they know the socio-political crevices of their relationship. And it’s not for us to try to gauge or ascertain those personal nuances without their express consent or their public approval. So let’s focus on ourselves — who we love, and how we love them — while uplifting the pro-Black politic in the manner such a framework deserves.

Editor’s Note: Many believe that Whitney Alford is indeed Black. From my knowledge, she did not confirm or deny her racial heritage (and she certainly isn’t obligated to). I don’t enjoy speculating on the racial identity of others, hence why I included the element of racial ambiguity within the framework of interracial dating.

 *Feature Image Credit: www.celebrity.yahoo.com

photo 1Arielle Newton, Founder/Editor-in-Chief. Get at me @arielle_newton. Get at us @BlkMillennials.

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21 responses to “Interracial Politics of Pro-Blackness

  1. I’m not down for the whole light-skinned vs. dark-skinned civil war and that tweet from ‘ol girl was too — no, three — much. So what he is engaged to someone who, although very much lighter than he, is still clearly BLACK?? For crying out loud, all black people are not “dark skinned” and I, who am of lighter complexion, do not consider myself any “less black” (that phrase in itself bleeds ignorance) than my darker skinned counterparts (which includes my biological parents…go figure). The Black community really needs to move past this field vs. house slave mentality. It is unsettling and extremely disheartening. Did I already say ignorant?

    As far as my views on interracial dating, a different comment for a different day.

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  2. And btw, I’m all for pro-Blackness, but like you said, that doesn’t necessarily anti-white. Or in this case, “light skinned.” Btw, I enjoy your writing.

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  3. How come I’m the only person who post first? lol. Love is a give or take. Race, however is about survival. It’s two different worlds, two different beliefs and two different mentalities of how they were raised. I wish for me that I could met some one of my own race, but reality hits hard as many black men and latino men are in and out and in again on the penal system. They’re spirits are broken, their goals crushed, while women doesn’t have no other choice than to get an education, or be the single mother they didn’t want to be while being on welfare. What Black women choices they have in terms of finding a mate? They have to go for interracial. But still, they have a lot to lose in terms that some white folks believes that Black women are just as disposable as a used condom, in terms that they just for sexual gratification, not for marriage. But on the other hand a Black guy having a relationship with a white girl, it seems like getting a trophy wife, it seems like winning a car or an award. I don’t know about Kendrick, but if he wants to be happy with that, let him happy. Only time will tell.

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  4. Always find your stuff interesting and thought provoking but I found these words particularly powerful and well-phrased.

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  5. Oooh my black sisters, we are going to have to be real about this! Even in black communities we all know that the darkest brother will always head for the lightest sister in the room. I’m one of those dark girls and light skinned men love me. I don’t purposely pick them out its just that I have learnt that a man as dark as I am is unlikely to approach me. I write it all off to balance. Very dark meets very light and we blend in the middle, no biggie.
    I think we are making leaps and bounds in the assumption that the dude does not like Black women. If he doesn’t its his choice. I’m sure no one expects him to sleep next to a woman he is not attracted to every night just so that he will not offend his fellow Blacks. Let him have what he wants, its only fair (a pun).
    I love the fact that I’m Black, but I’m not going to push it down any mans throat. In the end the man who is with me as to love me, not my blackness.

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  6. This is so well written, i come from a family where half of us are very dark skinned and the other half very light skinned, since we generally look alike people have no problem telling we are related, this is why i found this dividing people by shade so revolting, where i live skin shade is really not important, though i have to agree with eternianetta most couples seem to be a light/dark combinations, however we have our own legacy of Belgium divide and rule tactics, more than a million people died over the Hutu/Tutsi divide.
    At this moment, Dinga and Nuer are killing each other in South Sudan, yet they look exactly the same.
    I hope this light vs dark skin matter will be history soon, but going by my country’s experience it will take years upon years of hard work and reeducation.
    Omay Farlane, did you know the USA has a bigger incarcerated population than Rwanda, yet Rwanda suffered a genocide in which at least 10% of the population participated in the killing of the other 10%, shameful for the “leader of the free world”. And to think most of them are black/brown men… keep fighting the good fight Ariel, if not men, God will thank you for it.

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  7. First of all, there is no “interracial component” of “Pro-Blackness.” Being Pro-Black means that one is of the belief that both white and non-black supremacy is the enemy of the black race and that the solution to the problems of the black race is BLACK EMPOWERMENT, wherein black people pool both their talents, labor, money and resources to build a BLACK ECONOMY to meet the needs of our people. Notice how I did NOT include white, Asians, brown or Latinos and more importantly I did not nor will ever include biracials who are the offspring between a black parent and any of the fore mentioned groups. One of the biggest mistakes that we as black people make on our road to empowerment is that we have to include non-black people and that we are just not good enough to do it on our own. Meanwhile we fail to realize that time and again, these individuals merely use black peoples and black issues as a stepping stool to get what they want and when they get it, they are among the first to kick us in the face when white supremacy hands them a token of appreciation And to makes matters worse, there is STILL a contingent within Black society that continues to promote this madness.

    Thus, I would love to express my unending support for the likes of Rashida Stober, Tariq Nasheed, Dr. Umar Johnson, Dr. Claude Anderson, and Jason Black aka theblackauthority, who are individuals who take an UNCOMPROMISING stance on blackness and the importance building solely among ourselves. Integration has been a 50+ year failed experiment that was born out of the need for white acceptance and the traitorous generation of the civil right generation has not only committed the great sin of not growing and building a black economy in favor of integrating into a white one but they have committed the unforgiveable sin of raising their children and grandchildren with the belief that it is only to fight to work in someone else’s plant rather than build our own. Thus the fruits of that treason are baring today in the form of record unemployment of black youth (because there is no black economy for them to work in), black neighborhoods are being gentrified out of existence (because their are no black banks to protect them or a black code of ethics to prevent black owners from selling to white people), an achievement gap in education (because they are not enough black owned and controlled schools where our children will to taught to engage the world as proud black people, but to build and grow a black economy),etc. Thus, why we of a new black empowerment movement have emerged, to correct these wrongs and purge those who will continue to perpetuate them.

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    • @Ramal Davis “First of all, there is no “interracial component” of “Pro-Blackness.” Are you serious? I have a white parent and a black parent i am mixed/biracial and view myself as a Black man. In addition, i am Pro Black. IMO there is an “interracial component” in “Pro Blackness” and I’m an example of that. I also am not looking for cosign from you and yours, i’m straight.

      I am trying to help as many brothas and sistahs as I can to get ahead in any way that I can. Do you know why? Because as a light skinned Black man there are privileges (unearned) that I’ve received b/c of the complexion of my skin. It has been easier for me to get ahead in this country b/c 2520, in most instances, can’t figure out what I am. As a result of this it’s incumbent on me to give back b/c life has not been as difficult for me as it has for more distinctly looking Black brotha and sistahs. Have I experienced racism? Yup but not as much.

      Along with helping Black folks I GOT anyone who is being oppressed in this country due to race, gender, sexual orientation etc… . As a person who has experienced racism it would be hypocritical for me to not support someone who is being judged based on something that is out of their control.

      All the best to you bruh.

      d2

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  8. “To be pro-Black means to be anti-white supremacy.”

    Statement of the year.

    Like it or not, you have taught and are continuing to teach this stupid white girl to come out of her “My Quaker ancestors didn’t own slaves, therefore I am better than the white people whose ancestors did” mentality. I no longer think the *problem* is over. I no longer think I am not a part of the problem.

    The value I have to the Black cause is to shout it out to the white people who think there is no longer a problem. Right now, I’m new, and I’m mostly listening – to how little they know – and how little I know. But I know a little more than them, like it or not, because of you.

    It is easier for whites to look at light skinned Blacks. Easier and more “pleasant.” These days, light skinned Blacks are like tanned white girls, so we’re “okay” with them, especially if they talk like a white person, too. It’s sickening. That has been the same for hundreds of years. But I had no idea, in my ignorance, that it was like this within the Black community. White bullshit is far-reaching. What a mess we’ve made of the world.

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  9. “To be pro-Black does not mean to be anti-white. To be pro-Black means to be anti-white supremacy.” Brilliant. I have often thought this but didn’t say it as well as you.

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  10. Pingback: 5 terms about race that news media should know: Part 1 – Black Narratives Matter·

  11. This article just details exactly how I feel about this whole situation. I love Kendrick and his music speaks to me on a different level but he constantly pushes us back in his music and as you said he’s a man that clearly thinks out his every musical move so what is he trying to say? Once again hip hop shows clearly how they have no regard for the black woman

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