Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Juneteenth is Not Just for Lovers

Fresh off the heals of Loving Day, comes Juneteenth -- a holiday commemorating the abolition of slavery in the United States. While this holiday's beginnings stem as far back as the late 1800s, observances have decreased since the early 20th century and this holiday now goes unrecognized by much of the American public.

Photo courtesy of juneteenth.funmunch.com

African-American women who have decided to date and/or marry outside their race are often called traitors to all that black Americans have had to overcome. They are decried as polluters of the race, gold-diggers, and shallow individuals who use procreation with white men as a way to whitewash their offspring.

Naturally, Sisters and White Misters does not share this viewpoint. Just as slavery regulated one's actions and took away the right to freedom, a demand to "maintain the race" is just as shackling. No, we aren't comparing slavery with being married to a black man, that would be ludicrous. But Juneteenth represents freedom, and with that comes the freedom to love... well... whomever one loves, regardless of the color of his skin.

Many black women who chose to be with white men don't do so out of a desire to elevate themselves to some higher status. After all, to proclaim such a thing implies that black men are unworthy as they are. Statistically speaking, black women marry outside their race less than black men do, and we must question why disparity exists. Is it because black men are more naturally attracted to white women than black women are to white men, or is it because our allegiance to a perceived racial duty keeps us from looking outside the box?

Juneteenth celebrates one of the biggest victories in American history and we are proud to stand alongside our black brothers in this first giant step toward racial equality. We can all holds hands together, while choosing our own paths to love. Bob Marley said it well: "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery / None but ourselves can free our minds."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Celebrating Loving Day One Couple at a Time

Marquisa and Jesse didn't plan to wed near the unofficial holiday dedicated to Mildred and Richard Loving, but this picture of them picking up their marriage license would sure make that historic couple proud.

Most are familiar with the Lovings -- the Sister and White Mister whose interracial marriage landed them behind bars. Their 1967 supreme court trial Loving vs. Virginia decriminalized interracial marriage throughout the United States on the grounds that the former 1924 Racial Integrity Act was unconstitutional.
Though the books weren't changed in Alabama until the year 2000 (the final state to do so), and though there are still those who question the legitimacy of marrying outside one's race, many of us can't fathom a husband and wife jailed for their union simply because of the color of their skin, especially in such a recent decade as the 1960s. Loving Day's purpose is to remind us how far we have come, and to celebrate those who enabled us to enjoy the rights we currently possess.

In just five days, Marquisa and Jesse will wed among beloved friends and family with a marriage license that won't be questioned in any state. Thank you Mildred and Richard. We know you didn't set out to change the world, but your refusal to back down did just that for this couple.

Yours in Love,


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Four Things to Do with Your Honey This Summer

1. Stray off the beaten path.

Summer is the best time to break free from the scheduled monotony rut. Depending on your level of adventure, you can take a day trip to somewhere new, backpack in a remote location, or just go for a nice walk after dinner. The important thing is that you and your partner are experiencing new scenes together and taking the time to appreciate what’s beyond your previous horizon.

One of our Sisters once broke up her routine by meeting her husband after work and walking the entire way home. Her half hour commute turned into a 3-hour adventure where she and her husband were able to take in the minute details of the main road through town in a manner that one often misses behind the wheel.

2. Embrace a body of water.

You may not be able to swim with the sharks, bathe under a tropical waterfall, or surf in an iridescent ocean (or maybe you can!), but everyone one of us lives close to some sort of body of water. Water can be sensual, soothing, and even powerful. So take that trip to the lake, walk along the creek, or even just fill your bathroom with candles and experience a nice bubble bath. 

3. Take an iFree day.

Take your iPod, your iPad, your Mac and your iPhone, and put them away for a full 24-hours. You and your partner will be able to focus time on each other in a rare but much needed distract-free way. Can’t last that long without being connected to something other than your partner? Shoot for 12 hours, or even 8. Listen to the sounds around you now that your device is not humming in your ear. Or allow yourselves a shared iPod but nothing that connects you to another human being.

4. Dream big.

Remember the carefree summer days of your youth, when the next school year was always going to be the year? Maybe it was going to be the year you talked to your crush, or the year you got a killer wardrobe. Perhaps you looked forward to improving your GPA or applying to college. Even though you and your partner are now adults, don’t let go of your summertime dreams. Brainstorm your futures together and help each other achieve those dreams. Nothing builds intimacy and a sense of connection like having someone root for—and believe in—your best self.

Yours in Love,


Friday, May 4, 2012

Interview with a Southern Sister and White Mister

Mr. and Mrs. A have been happily married for over 10 years. Read their story, struggles and advice below in this exclusive interview.

How did you and your husband meet?
Him: The first time I saw her I thought she was amazing and way out of my league so at first I didn’t even try. But later on I moved in with one of her friends who was dating one of my friends and once we got to talking I felt very comfortable with her. She was smart and in school. She was funny and very beautiful. I felt pretty fortunate at the time just to know her.

Have you always been attracted to white men?
Her: Yes, I haven’t dated a huge variety of men though because my husband and I were young when we started dating at ages 19 and 20.

Has he always been attracted to black women?
Him: I have always been attracted to most all women. I don’t really remember race ever factoring in that decision, but my wife was the first biracial women I ever dated. 

What difficulties have you had to face as an interracial couple?
Him: Several of my family members had real issues.  I stopped speaking to one of them and never was able to reconcile with him before his death. The fact that we didn’t end on good terms has seemed to upset other members in my family. They don’t understand that he never loved me or he would have been happy I found love in such a loveless world. The rest of my grandparents did eventually accept our union, maybe reluctantly, but they did just the same. That has been the hardest and most personal part of this journey for me. A man that played a key part of my life and for a time was like a father to me turned his back on me and it broke my heart and it still hurts to this day. But I have no regrets. The hate in my family tree ends with him. I thank God for the opportunity and will actively pursue this goal as long as I am breathing.

Her: The harder parts were being on the same page about bad things that happened more than the bad things themselves. We have to work at understanding each other’s perspectives.  For instance in terms of family, sometimes it hurt his feelings when I didn’t want to attend a family event of his.  He didn’t realize how uncomfortable I was feeling while there until I explained, and I didn’t understand how important it was to him that I be with him.

Sometimes, something happens and one of us isn’t affected at all while the other is more offended, so when that happens, we try to talk about it instead of saying something hurtful like, “I wish you’d get over that” or “you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.”
What is it like to be a black woman/white man couple in the South?
It is hard for us to compare because we haven’t lived anywhere else as a couple. For us, this is home, and we are used to it.  In general, we are cautious when visiting areas we don’t know, particularly rural areas. This is not because we fear being physically harmed (we do not think it is dangerous to live here), but because it is not fun being stared at or pointed at. Mostly, it’s just unfriendliness we might experience but just the same, we prefer to avoid it if possible.

What is it like having a mixed race daughter?
Him: It’s wonderful, I have so much to learn about children and girls and racial identity issues; it’s so freaking complicated. I lean heavily on my wife, maybe a bit too much so.

Her: Being biracial myself, I thought it would be no trouble at all, but I’ve been proven wrong. Strangers sometimes ask me if she is even my daughter, which is both hurtful and angering because I don’t appreciate people questioning my relationship to my family, especially my child I carried in my womb for nine months, but luckily, this only annoys me, and doesn’t have too much of an effect on her.  I try to remain very cognizant of her environment, and I keep in touch with friends, read books, and seek knowledge from families similar to ours. I just want to make sure I’m doing everything possible to raise a healthy and happy child.

Do you ever think that interracial unions shouldn’t exist because of the effect it will have on the children?
We think that’s a ludicrous argument.  In fact, it could be argued that multiracial children would help bridge gaps and bring more people together therefore bringing about a more peaceful existence.

What words of advice can you pass on to other interracial couples of your race/gender?
Him:  What took me forever to understand is how race factors into the very fabric of my wife’s existence. She has been the “black kid” since the beginning of her life. She was never given the time to find her humanity before she was confronted with her skin tone. It is hard for me to even comprehend what that must have been like for a child. It just isn’t fair that in the eyes of most, she was the black kid before she was an American. She was the black kid before she was considered a woman. She was the black kid before she was a human. Thus, race is always a consideration, especially subconsciously. 

So, husbands have to understand that skin color is just a fact. It isn’t an excuse or a reason. It’s just a fact, and that has to be considered in many decisions you make as a couple. 

Her: Always communicate and explain. Don’t assume he’ll always understand everything that happens. Even though he may “get it,” he doesn’t live in brown skin, so that means he will not automatically understand when I come home upset about an ignorant comment or some other related problem.

Is your marriage just like anyone else’s? How so?
Mostly, yes. In some ways it is easier and in some ways harder. Perhaps the easier parts are because of our emphasis on communicating with one another.  

Interviewed by Shannon

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Interracial Love on Parenthood

WARNING: This post contains small spoilers.

I just started watching Parenthood a couple weeks ago through Netflix instant streaming. While I haven't yet finished season 1, it looks like baby mama Jasmine (Joy Bryant) and baby daddy Crosby (Dax Shephard) will be adding their burgeoning relationship to the small list of interracial TV couples. Or, as revealed through skimming headlines in search of a photo, will at least provide and on again off again pairing, which will no doubt result in a steady relationship by the end of the series.

Jasmine, Crosby and Jabbar in Parenthood
  As Parenthood opens, bachelor/player Crosby finds out he has a son named Jabbar (Tyree Brown) when Jasmine suddenly appears with child in tow after their brief fling five years earlier. So far, the storyline is relatively race-free aside from first meetings between the characters' families. Crosby's parents experience five seconds of surprise quickly followed by insistence that Jabbar refer to them as Grandma and Grandpa. Jasmine's family exhibits thinly-veiled hatred toward Crosby (which Crosby's father announces is most surely due to his race) until Jasmine informs everyone that she had pretended Crosby had left her and the baby even though in reality he had never known about Jabbar. Crosby's mother Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) wins over Jasmine's family by knowing that Jasmine's brother was named after a black political figure. In response to their surprise she asserts, "Berkeley in the 60s, baby."

Black women who are attracted to white men--and vice versa--are often deprived of seeing those same pairings in healthy relationships on TV. Parenthood seems to do a good job of creating a realistic (if not slightly utopian) interracial duo to fill this void. Additionally, if my knowledge of TV-land and its story arcs does its job here, I can go so far as to say that Jasmine and Crosby will be the Ross and Rachel of Friends, the Big and Carrie of Sex and the City, and the Luke and Lorelei of Gilmore Girls. Perhaps not in such an iconic fashion, but at least in terms of a popular story device in which the pull and push of the character's affections continues throughout the series.

Yours in Love,

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sisters and White Misters in Movies and TV

Black women attracted to white men, and vice versa, are very hard pressed to see their attraction played out in the big screen, especially in positive, successful relationships. These four movies (and one show) help break down stereotypes and confront the black woman / white man taboo.

Bridesmaids (2011)

Lillian (Maya Rudolph) gets engaged to her boyfriend Doug (Tim Heidecker), and it's the five bridesmaids who have personal problems, not interracial couple themselves.


Boy Meets World (1993-2000)

Angela Moore (Trina McGee) and Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong) were one of TV's first teenage interracial couples.


Christmas Cupid (2010)

Sloan Spencer (Christina Millian) and Patrick Kerns (Chad Michael Murray) make one hot P.R. and doctor duo.

The Bodyguard (1992)

Sure, this movie has its stereotypes (impending death if they stay together, as just one example), but the pairing of Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston was quite revolutionary for 1992.

R.I.P. Whitney... We love you!
Something New (2006)

A romantic comedy about a successful control freak who can't find love isn't new, but a successful black control freak who finds love with a white man sure is. This movie stars Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker.

Yours in Love,


Friday, February 3, 2012

Let Us Introduce Ourselves

People ask why we’ve created an exclusionary dating site. This is a valid question that deserves a valid answer.

“Why limit the dating experience to only certain races? Isn’t that, in itself, racist?”
Sisters and White Misters doesn’t discriminate on the basis of color. Anyone is welcome to join the group. However, we offer our services primarily to these pairings because it can be difficult for black women and white men to connect through more generalized dating sites. 

Black women who are attracted to white men are often criticized both by black men and by other black women. They may have a difficult time finding a mate, as racial preferences often go unanswered on dating sites. When preferences are disclosed, they’re often at the bottom of the profile and can thus provide a hurtful realization to a sister who has already read through it and felt a connection. Sisters and White Misters offers a space for black women to converse with white men without having to wonder if the men will discredit them based on their race.

White men who are attracted to black women face equal difficulties. Going into a dating situation, a man doesn't know if a black woman prefers men of her own race, and a white man interested in black women may be considered “creepy” or of having a “Massa” complex. While same race dating is a completely valid choice, interracial dating is just as valid. In fact, we question whether innate attraction is really a choice at all.

“What’s the big deal? Interracial dating is so common now.”
At our first event, an African woman came on her own. “Mrs. X”, as we’ll call her, met Mr. X at a gas station in Central California. She is very dark with beautiful dreadlocks that cascade down her back. Mr. X is a light-skinned white man from Germany. The two fell in love, but their journey has not been without prejudice from others. 

Mr. and Mrs. X often receive disapproving glances from passersby. Sometimes black men will come up to Mrs. X and call her a traitor to her race. Mrs. X joined the group because she wants a safe place where her choice of partner is not a subject of speculation or ridicule, and where she can simply be one of the crowd. After the first event, Mr. X joined her and they’re able to be physically affectionate without wondering if those in their company will be offended by their relationship.

“What if I’m attracted to all kinds of men/women?”
Our site is for certain races of certain sexes to find each other, but we know that attraction often exists on a broad spectrum. Sisters and White Misters helps facilitate one kind of connection, but it does not propose that black women / white men pairings are better than any other type.

“So what’s the bottom line?”
 Sisters and White Misters brings together people with similar interests, just as many other dating services. There are groups for outdoor enthusiasts, wine tasters, and gamers. While Sisters and White Misters was designed specifically for white men and black women to meet, it is not an exclusionary group. Our mission is to bring people together, not to alienate them. Through creating a space for interracial dating without judgment, we’re supporting integration, not exclusion.

Check out our group here.

Yours in Love,