Contributed by: Melissa Mansfield Baker
Founder/CEO The Purple Factor
Do you date outside of your race? Have you ever considered it? What is holding you back? Have you had a string of relationships that just don’t “click”. Is there always something missing?
I have said for the past 6 years I do not date my own race and some people get offended. This was not an easy decision. There are moments of backlash. I live in the South! Depending on where I am with my partner I am either judged or rejoiced. It doesn’t matter to me though, it is what I have come to understand I NEED for me to fully feel safe, comfortable and be myself. The qualities necessary in a person to be part of a healthy relationship.
I’m used to speaking to women about confidence, healthy self esteem and healing what can I tell you about interracial dating that really gets into your inner core? What could help people realize making the decision to date outside their race might be one of the best decision they ever made. Sometimes it’s simply what you NEED to be the best you but all I can do is tell you my story.
I have dug deep and far back to try and figure out what initially started me on my journey interracial dating and I was blown away at the self discovery about my decision. When I was a young girl in late elementary and early middle school I was sexually abused by my brother and sister’s father, who was a white man. There are so many different stereotypes regarding how women deal with that when they get older and I looked at all of the stereotypes and I didn’t fit into any, except for the one, my need to be in control.
I grew up in Maine, that’s not a very diverse territory so my son’s father is white and my three long-term relationships in my twenties and thirties were all white. The biggest common denominator amongst those relationships was my need to be controlling. I now know that I subconsciously chose men that were not as socially successful as I, had not accumulated the financial stability that I had as well as were not as mentally strong as I was. When I met my husband one of the first things that was evident and drew me to him, was there would be no possible way I would have any control over this man. For the first time in my life I could be a strong independent woman out in the world and come home and be his protected girl without feeling overly vulnerable. What was so different about him? He was black.
From the moment a black man wakes up in the morning and puts his feet on the floor he’s fighting a battle that many cannot relate to just because of the color of his skin. That creates a certain assertiveness and aggression deep inside creating a man that is NOT controllable. For me to be the best woman I can be, for me to feel safe and for me to have comfort in a healthy relationship I need that. So it’s not always about even what you find attractive because I find Channing Tatum extremely attractive but I guarantee I would try to control him.
One of the beauties of interracial dating is the mixing of cultures. There are things in the black community that I get to experience now that I didn’t get to when I was growing up. Some examples are the unconditional closeness of family, the relationship with God that starts at such an early age, constant humor and the food. Wow, the food. It was also fun for me to have shown my husband things about how I grew up and our culture as a white woman from the Northeast with roots back to the Netherlands.
I lost my husband to an acute asthma attack four and half years ago but learning in that relationship what I did about why I am attracted to men outside of my race has helped me now that I have committed to someone else. I understand what I need and can openly communicate to him about his strengths that assist in making me an even better person…an even better woman. For him, that allows him to be the man he needs to be without feeling like I will push back on every decision he makes. He feels appreciated. We are a team. The best part? The children in our lives are learning it’s not about race, it’s about who helps you become the best person you can be. That’s love. Healthy, wonderful, LOVE.