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 Pro-Blackness demands that true histories are taught — not the diluted half-truth peddled through outdated school books in dilapidated classrooms.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