Interracial dating

QUESTION: I'm a black woman, 38 years old, professional and well educated. I've been spending late nights reading blogs lately and that's how I found yours. The subject of my blog inquiries has been "black women and white men" and there are a million opinions. I'm having some problems finding a good Black man that is interested in getting married and raising a family, and last week I found myself sitting across from a man named Dale in a very beautiful Italian restaurant. I was having a nice time, laughing and talking and it just felt great to be out with someone who didn't clam up when the "M" word came up. What is my issue? Dale is white. When did this happen to me? When did I, Miss Spellman University, Miss Morgan State University, Miss 12 years of Jet magazine and 8 years of Ebony magazine subscriptions, decide to go out with a white man? What in God's name is going on? Come on and tell me What are men thinking?

CHUCK: I'll go you one better: I'll tell you what YOU'RE thinking. You're thinking, "I'm tired of being by myself, and waiting to find a man with the same background as me who's willing to open himself up to a relationship. I'm willing to give Dale a chance, despite the differences that we may have." And there's nothing wrong with that. Nobody's gonna show up and confiscate your Ebony magazines.

Forgive my generalities (of course, Black women have dated White men before today), but there is a sea change going on in the world of interracial relationships. Or maybe it's been something gradual and we're just noticing the results now. Stated plainly, Sistas Ain't Havin' It No More. For years and years, Black women have watched their men go to jail, go to the grave, just GO. Sometimes go to White women. They toughed it out, raised their kids, waited for that Black Man They Loved to get hisself straight. But rarely did they even consider moving on to a man of a different race, let alone a White man.

Maybe that Tom Jefferson/Sally Hemmings type baggage was too much for them to bear. I understand. But if you decide to continue to see Dale because you like him, and despite whatever barriers society is (still) gonna put in front of you, well, everybody else is going to have to get used to it. It's the 21st Century.

Maybe Garland disagrees with me. Let's see.

GARLAND: N0, I don't disagree with Chuck.

I think you are facing the same issue that a lot of black women are facing when it comes to the dating scene. The brothers are not always making it easy - we've got too many in jail, too many in the graves, too many with rainbow stickers on their cars, too many on the DL and too many just trying to run game. I'm not saying all brothers are like that, and I'm not even saying the majority of brothers are like that - but it's enough to make the black y black dating scene hard for a sister.

I think you're tired of waiting for that handsome brother on the subway to ask you for your number. I think you've given up on that cute brown-skinned fellow you always see at the gym asking you out. I think you've had enough excuses from the guy you went to grad school with as to why you can't call him at home. I think you're simply human and I think you're ready to put yourself first - which is where you should always be.

A lot of people worry about the perceived 'stigma' of dating someone of another race - to me, if someone is sincere and they are treating you with respect and honesty and they are not dating you BECAUSE you are the color of coffee, or tea, or they've always wanted to 'do it with a black girl'... then relax and enjoy yourself with Dale or anybody else you want to be with. All I say is, don't slap a color resrtiction on your heart - don't run to the brothers because they're black and don't run to the white guys because they're NOT.

And Chuck is also right when he says, "Nobody is gonna confiscate your Ebony's."


Letting Skinemax Raise Your Son

QUESTION: I'm a 40 year old mother of a 14 year old son. We have cable tv in all of our bedrooms including my son's room. I recently discovered that Cinamax shows porn [my husband calls it soft porn!] after 11PM every night. When I discovered this I wanted to either get rid of the Cinamax all together or at least block it from my son's room. I know he stays up late sometimes watching TV after I've gone to sleep but I don't know what he looks at. I do not want him looking at porn, soft or hard. My husband doesn't think its a big issue, I actually think he hopes our son is looking at it. He thinks its normal for a boy to see naked women and sex. Am I out of my mind or is my husband? One of us is crazy, who do you think it is?

GARLAND - Uh, I think your husband may be the screwball.

I'm sure many fathers think its no big deal for their sons to see naked women. It's kind of like a right of passage thing for some dads. They may even feel like they don't even have to have the "birds and the bees" talk now, since Junior has seen the business going down for himself.

But this is wrong and dangerous. Sex is a powerful thing and if young boys go out into the world thinking all there is to sex is putting a penis into a vagina, then they are heading for trouble with the quickness! Having no guidance to sex will lead to STD's or HIV or unwanted pregnacies or serious emotional and psychological problems - OR all of the above!!!

I think you need to get that Cinemax out of his room and sit down and make him talk to you about what he may have seen. I think there is a good chance that he has either discovered it or his friends have told him about it. And yes, the porn is classified as 'soft,' but there is plenty of nudity to keep your son pitching a tent under the covers for hours. Try to make sure he understands the complexities of sex, before he goes out and ruins his life.

PS. Please go smack your husband for me!

CHUCK: First of all, I want to say that this country is one of the most hung-up, repressed, and hypocritical places on the subject of sex in the entire world. The Department of Justice investigates and prosecutes pornographers, but Fortune 500 companies (like Time/Warner) make a mint on it. Janet Jackson's still wearing a scarlet letter after her (remarkably stupid) Superbowl flashing of a few years ago, but Justin Timberlake was allowed to grovel his way back to respectability. Endless acts of violence are no impediment to a PG-13 rating in the movies, but the merest implication of an adult sexual relationship can get you banned. And furthermore...

Let me get off of this soapbox.

Of course, all of my arguements stated above are voided where children are involved. Children should NOT be exposed to explicit depictions of sexual conduct until they are of legal age. Like Garland, I agree that discussions of sexually transmitted diseases, sexual responsibility, and the emotional/psychological toll of the sex act are subjects that should be confronted by parents as their children mature. Unfortunately, some children will never have these discussions, which brings me back to my initial argument (repression, hypocrisy, etc.).

Anyway, your husband's apparent approach to sex education, passing your son on the way to the bathroom in the morning, and saying, "Enjoy Lord of the Thongs last night, son?" and winking, isn't very responsible. And by irresponsible I mean that he is expecting those cheaply-made, poorly-acted, Eurocentric pieces of drivel to do the work helping him grow up that you should be doing. He's not crazy, just irresponsible. You don't need your husband's permission to block Cinemax on your son's TV. You can do it with a few pushes of a button or a phone call.