Is “black love” a burden?
The other day, I stumbled upon a Facebook conversation about the television show, Private Practice. The women, mostly black, were talking about how they didn’t like Addison (the primary white character) and Taye Diggs (the only black man on the show) dating. They made no mention of race. Suddenly in the middle of the exchange a black man added his words, “why ya’ll hatin’ cause the brother fell for the white chick? He was already with a black woman and it didn’t work. and you guys wonder why brotha’s treat ya’ll like shit.” Needless to say, I was offended. In part because no one directly mentioned race as the reason they were against the relationship but mainly because he felt their anger was an invitation to be disrespectful. No sir.
Anyway, an argument between he and I ensued. Unfortunately, none of the women felt heated enough to join me (the only lesbian) to tackle the issue of straight interracial relationships. In the end, he and I agreed that the characters’ close proximity as workers, their history as friends, and a host of other factors made it likely they would become a couple. If one could look beyond race (yes, I said it) it even seemed likely they were more compatible than he and his ex-wife (a black woman). But mostly, he was upset that he felt pressured to date black women when he felt like the only thing they had in common was color. He was also tired of black women threatening to “go white.”
Unfortunately, when I took a closer look at the show, the same stereotypes persisted. The black woman was portrayed as strong, perhaps too strong, hell we all know Audra McDonald has some serious guns. The white woman though extremely educated always seemed docile, needy, and confused. And when the black woman and white woman were in the same room, the black one had to tell the white one she needed to be firm with the black man and tell him what to do. “He needs guidance.” In many ways, it pointed to the black woman as overbearing, but it also showed history (literally and figuratively), that she naturally got him and that the white woman would have to learn and perhaps take some pointers from a sista. True? Maybe. Whatever the case, the new multi-culti-we-are-one world may be going over well in the media and to the masses, but a war is brewing between black men and black women with many suggesting that becky (Addison) is the one to blame.