Her presence, despite the poor video quality, commands the screen."And I kind of thought about, like, well why is that? The idea that we should travel abroad — particularly to Europe — to find love has a home in online discussion groups, travel websites, blogs, and Facebook pages, all of which earnestly and enthusiastically encourage us to "swirl," i.e., date non-black men (the term is designed to evoke a half-chocolate, half-vanilla soft-serve).And as I started talking to [women] it's like, they're only dating black guys. " she exclaims, pressing her hands to her chest, then throwing them out in a shrug. That's what's happening."She cites her research, 2008 census data that suggests that even if every black man chose to partner with a black woman, there would still be 1.5 million black women left mate-less."That's why I created Black Girl Though they vary in tone — some are celebratory, extolling the joys of finding "Swirling Success in Sweden" while others are bear hard-nosed messages like "The Dating Truth for Black Women: Go to Europe and Don't Look Back" — every site insists that black women in America are better off looking for love in another country.The company, which was originally named Bella Italia before expanding to other countries, arranges tours for groups ranging from fewer than 10 to over 70.She could readily name all the women she's taken to Italy who are currently in relationships with, or married to, Italian men."We say, ' Date all men.'" And her statement was more or less repeated by nearly every one of the women I interviewed who advocate that black women date interracially and internationally.Several added that they tell women to "choose character over color." But it's difficult to scroll through picture after picture of beaming-black-woman-with-smiling-white-man and not feel that interracial relationships are being idealized, rather than simply celebrated, an experience discomfiting enough that it has at times made me question my own relationship with a white man.As recently as 2011, science (or, "science") has been used to claim that black women are decidedly unattractive.
Slapstick mammies made exultant, toothy-grinned claims on the screens of early 20th-century cinema, their large and lumbering figures merely vehicles for laughs.Malika Walker arrived in Rome two weeks ago as Weaver's new assistant.Her boss said she "can't even keep up with" how many dates Walker has been asked on since arriving."I guess you could say my stock is up in Europe," Walker told me, with an exuberant laugh."Once those images are posted and once they're permeating society, then a certain kind of picture is presented and reinforced about who black women should be with," Tiya Miles told me over the phone.Last year Miles, the chair of African-American studies at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and a former Mac Arthur fellow, wrote about the issues facing black women and interracial dating for the Huffington Post.The women who, even if every black man chose to date a black woman, would still be left without a partner.Because it assumes all black women are heterosexual, this figure can't accurately convey the number of single black women seeking a male partner.To get you to start thinking about dating interracially," Weaver says warmly. I first came across the encouragements to go to Europe and "swirl" when I was a junior in college preparing to study abroad in Sweden."There are a lot of incredible men out there, yes, you know you want a brother. Though I cringe to admit it now, I was excited by the possibility of a semester spent flirting with Swedes.And black female sexuality has often only been portrayed in its most grotesque and sensational forms, those of Hottentot Venuses or conniving jezebels.Throughout American history black women were either desexualized or hypersexualized according to the whims and anxieties of whites in control of their images.