According to the 2010 Census, interracial partnering in the United States has increased as people of different races are committing to marriage or co-habitation. Among opposite sex married couples, one in 10 (5.4 million couples) are interracial, a 28 percent jump since 2000. However, when it comes to Black women, the statistics have been grim when it comes to the prospects of dating and finding a husband, so much so that the term “Black girl curse” is now part of the vernacular. Stanford law professor and author Ralph Richard Banks made headlines last year when he revealed that 70 percent of professional Black women are unmarried compared to 45 percent of comparable white women — largely due to the fact that the majority of Black women choose not to date and marry outside their race, while waiting on that “good Black man.” It’s an ongoing debate which has many Black women wrestling with their long-held fantasies of whether to hold out, give up on or move towards the idea of dating men who are not African-American.
For those considering the idea of an interracial relationship, journalists Christelyn D. Karazin and Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn have come to the rescue with their guidebook, “Swirling: How to Date, Mate, and Relate Mixing Race, Culture and Creed” (Atria Books; $15). Karazin, who is known for her popular blog “BeyondBlackWhite.com” (and is married to a non-Black man), and Littlejohn, a journalist for more than 20 years, write candidly about the personal journeys of interracial dating and marriage.
The duo also discuss why it is increasing important for more Black women who are interested in having a male partner to look outside the limited pool of Black men for mates. “The lamentable truth is that at least two million of us are in jeopordy of never experiencing that kind of love, especially within our own race. The shortage of Black men is real—and Black women are fighting like alley cats for the half a handful of eligible and marriageable brothers,” writes Karazin.
So, where does it begin for Black women when it comes to interracial dating and finding what the authors call a “rainbeau”? First, the authors suggest getting rid of the mythical “Strong Black Woman” mentality because it jeopardizes Black women’s dating prospects. Next, Black women can love a non-Black man and still uplift and represent her race. Third, she should know that just because she wants a man who is equally successful or exceeds her income does not make her a gold-digger. And finally, it’s okay for her to have a preference, whatever that preference is.
“Swirling” is filled with honest, straightforward and practical tips and personal stories from the authors and hundreds of Black women interviewed. Karazin and Littlejohn explain that Black women should not wait for the “Black community to give them the green light to swirl” because it’s never going to happen.
“So, as the world swirls, Black women are stuck in lives filled with made-for-soap-opera drama and settling for less than they deserve,” notes Littlejohn. “It is telling when a woman with her masters degree and making a decent amount of money decides to steal a car with her man just to prove she loves him, or a Christian woman and mother of four opts to marry a man serving a three-strikes sentence in prison because she doesn’t want to be alone anymore — and all because Black women fear cultural isolation from their own community when the mix date and marry.”
In addition, the book is chock-full of resources that offer the names of blogs and books, tips to finding a partner and the best U.S. cities to swirl, which further explore the concept of interracial dating.