Keep Calm and Date Interracially

So apparently Robert Pattinson, the heart throb from the Twilight franchise has been broken up from Kristen Stewart, who played the human-turned-vampire girlfriend in the same movie series. You might say, “Lady, this is old news! Get with it!”

But wait! Plot twist!

Apparently, Robert Pattinson has left his vampire lover boy persona far behind, and has gone on to date another woman, the British singer Tahliah Barnett, known by her stage name FKA Twigs. This has severely upset some of the more ardent “fangirls” out there who cannot conceive of a universe, real or alternate, in which Edward and his human prey/girlfriend/bride do not exchange vows in a nighttime ceremony and make a rapidly growing baby on the honeymoon night. Apparently, I’m not the one who needs to get with it, because some of these women have been lobbing racist insults at FKA Twigs, the singer-dancer who is of Jamaican and Spanish descent. Some of the responses are clearly from people who are off their meds, like this one on TwitLonger. It got to the point where FKA Twigs took to Twitter to decry some of the more detestable remarks.

This isn’t an isolated incident, either. Apparently, when Nicole Beharie and Michael Fassbender were an item (how in the world did I miss that one??), some white women apparently took to the Internet to plead to their comrades in lust to “open their legs and save him” from his current state. So now Black women who date interracially are dealing with open hatred and harassment from two groups of people: Black men who defame us by calling us nothing more than bed wenches (led by like the delusional Rush Limbaugh wannabe on YouTube, who makes it his life’s work to smear Black women every chance he gets). And now, slightly incredibly, white women are in on the IR bashing.

Obviously, there is no way to quell feelings of competition, envy and resentment between women of different races when one of the alpha males from one of their groups goes up for grabs. I remember a similar, but much tamer incident that happened in biology class during freshman year at college. We were assembled in the lecture hall during the first few days of class when a hand-some guy, who happened to be tall, white and blonde, strolled in. Every young woman in the class watched him as he made his way through the room and found a seat. I couldn’t help but look around at some of the girls’ faces, full of longing and admiration. When I left off of doing that, I realized that “Seth” had taken a seat near me — close enough so that when the instructor distributed the handouts and there weren’t enough for everyone in the lecture hall, he moved seats to sit next to me. I have to admit, I thought it was cool. Who wouldn’t want to sit next to a good-looking, confident, laid-back guy? Believe me, I wasn’t confident enough to like, create any expectations. It was just a few minutes worth of a simple pleasure, like watching a pretty sunset. But oh, it meant something to a couple of girls sitting a few rows behind me! As “Seth” and I started following the handout, I realized that a couple of girls — who were not Black — were trying to get my attention. I turned around and — oh joy! — they had somehow scared up another copy of the handout. In a hurried and anxious flurry, they tried to pass it to me so that I wouldn’t have to do anything reprehensible like sit next to one of their hotties and have a conversation.

Some girls are just pathetic and idiotic. It’s not like I wanted to “land” the guy. He was a nice distraction for a few minutes. Why they had to stew about it, I’ll never know. I bet they ate their hearts out while “Seth” cracked jokes with me, and carried on in his friendly, neighborly way. And let me tell you, that’s not the first time I’ve met with girls’ hostile c–k blocking. It wasn’t always interracial, either. Girls in general just sometimes shed their integrity and pride when a cute boy unexpectedly pays heed to another girl. But guess what ladies in heat? Guys don’t like to be hunted, and if a girl makes it obvious that she has designs on him, he is likely to seek a moment’s respite with a girl who is not on the prowl. So you have a better chance of getting his attention — and respect — if you just chill.

The whole college biology class incident was way back in the 90s, before the term “thirsty” entered our urban lexicon. Those chicks were parched, hunny. And now that I look back at my early 20s, boys form other cultures routinely crossed the color line to talk to me. I didn’t think anyone cared about those moments back then, but nowadays? Well, whoa! I’m starting to think passions are likely to go off the charts.

But we can take a few gems away from this recent outbreak of venom against interracial love. If you’re experiencing blatant c–k blocking (as mentioned above) or nasty side glances while out on a dinner date (like I have), here are some tips on how to adjust your attitude and change the situation:

  • If it’s a flirtation, expect some competition. But keep your focus on him. Playing into their insecurities is a sign of weakness.
  • If the nitpicking continues, ask yourself if it bothers you enough to retaliate or flee the scene. If you retaliate, only respond to situations that present an immediate nuisance to you. I should have stuck my tongue out at the hostile onlookers from the other table when I was out to dinner with a guy I dated some time back.
  • If you’re out with your date and a white woman calls you something like “African queen,” and not in a complimentary way, tell her to speak up. “I didn’t hear you, what?” A lot of people back off when you shame them loudly.
  • If the situation becomes harassment, prod your Mister on what he thinks about the whole thing. He might not even have a clue as to what’s been going on. Men don’t always see and hear the details and nuances of situations. In the cases of these celebrities, a few wing-nut fangirls are not worth direct responses. But FKA Twigs did fire back at the women in general who were leaving nasty Tweets and remarks online about her. She seemed like a stranger to overt racism, which is probably to be expected in an age where that kind of hatred has been driven underground. Mr. Pattinson was oddly quiet, though. Like I said: Some men don’t get it as quickly as women do. Still, I know it was important for me that a man acknowledge the racial layer of my total identity. I’m many things: Christian, wife, mother, daughter, kinswoman, friend and writer. But being Black has weight in all of those experiences, and I’ll tell you that Hubby immediately understood that about me. He “got” why a visit to see his family in Georgia took an unsettling turn for me when I saw a white boy wave a huge Confederate flag right in front of me. He knows why I won’t venture out into some of these rural towns without him, his parents or one of my brothers-in-law. All white (or other) men who date Black women need to understand that the woman he likes or loves could come under special and withering scrutiny, harassment and even attacks because she had the nerve to be with him. And I’m old-fashioned: A guy should speak up for his lady. He should be her Boaz, sorry, and people should understand that she is under his protection, and that he is looking out for her best interests. I don’t judge the affection in the relationship of FKA Twigs and Pattinson, but the latter’s lack of a response tells me that he doesn’t know what he’s in for. Maybe it’s because they are both British, and over there Black women date out quite regularly. These crazy American fan-girls are only one representation of the real hatred and disgust that some harbor for his relationship.

The world is a less openly hostile place for interracial relationships, particularly any place outside of the U.S. As Americans, we mainly see the venom and vitriol here, where slavery really pit Blacks against whites. But Black women, and even very light-skinned biracial women like FKA Twigs, still need to know how to spot a hater and deflect the poison darts.