Written by Zamara Perri
As black lesbians live, love and nurture in the age of Alton Sterling and Orlando, we find ourselves in a difficult situation: belonging to three oppressed groups. Being a triple minority means that no matter what direction we turn, we have the terrifying honor of living our lives as daily targets.
That made me wonder how black lesbians in interracial relationships handle race and racism especially as police continue to lynch or um execute black men, women and children in cold blood.
Several women in the Black Lesbian Love Lab Facebook community, black and white, shared their experiences:
Taylor said, “I was in relationships with white women. Never again. I found myself being broken down and manipulated so they would have power. It wasn’t love.”
Shannon said, “I was in an interracial relationship years ago. During an argument, she called me a black bitch. I thank her now for that awakening. The moment those words flew out of her mouth, she catapulted me to only being with brown women.”
Abigail, a white woman chimed in with, “I’m in the United Kingdom and have been in a couple of long-term interracial relationships, and we had none of the issues mentioned [above].”
Shane’s response I think closely explains the frustrations and fears that some black women may face when dating interracially, “An interracial relationship was the most frustrating thing to be in because she assumed that we were all equal, especially in reference to justice.”
The Flip Side
And as we were all saying our “uhmm,” “yassss” “preach it” and “that’s why I only date dark chocolate, natural queens,” the same woman who said she would never date a white woman again, said:
“It’s not like dating women of color has been any easier.”
And I couldn’t help but agree.
Black lesbians can’t claim to be better at loving each other than racist white women when our actions don’t prove it.
I could easily point fingers at the tons of black lesbians who lie, cheat and abuse the very same black women they claim to love. But that would be too easy.
All of my girlfriends have been black, and to be honest, there are times when I was not the lover that my partner deserved.
Toxic Relationships Are Normal
I’ve been that woman who was so afraid of being alone, that I couldn’t see that my partners were toxic and that I was toxic. We were too toxic to even see what we were doing to each other. If I were to be completely honest, I remember when:
- I’ve said I wanted a ride or die chick, yet when I gave a woman permission to love me with all her heart, I couldn’t give her back any of the loving that she needed.
- I’ve been the woman who said, I want to build trust and safety in my relationship but regularly broke her trust.
- I’ve said I wanted a good woman, but when she came around, I judged her for all this superficial shit that she didn’t have.
- I’ve said I wanted a woman who had my back, but when she was sad, depressed, sick and in pain, I didn’t have her back.
- I’ve said I was tired of dating angry black women, but I didn’t even realize that there was nothing wrong with being angry, what mattered was how I used the anger. I took out my anger on a sweet-natured black woman and soon, she too became angry and we took out our anger on each other.
I could go on and on because I’m definitely not perfect. The problem was that while I was in those relationships, all the toxic stuff I said and did was so normal to me. I figured I was truly loving my partner and that relationship drama was normal.
It took me years to realize that love and drama don’t have to mix.
What We Owe Each Other
Some of us can be so hard on our partners. Why? Because most of us have never been taught to love ourselves making it difficult to love each other.
We’ve been conditioned to question and hate everything about ourselves (see Azalea Banks, Lil Kim and Nikki Minaj). However, when it comes to black women, society has been especially vicious at making sure we have no models for healthy relationships.
The truth is that in a society like ours, black lesbian love IS revolutionary.
In a country that hates black skin but profits from our culture, black women owe our partners our tenderest compassion.
The Gift of Real Love
Having sex is easy, but making love is the hardest thing most people will ever do.
The truth is that many of us are not prepared to truly love someone else.
And because of that, I think it would be better if more of us stayed single and focused on getting to know and love ourselves.
It’s a radical idea that’s not popular with most people. It wasn’t popular with me. When I met Coach Maq, an awesome life coach who recommended that I stay single for two years, I thought she was crazy.
Looking back now, I see that Coach Maq was right! I didn’t deal with my baggage and insecurities and dragged them into my next relationship. So of course we had problems. Fortunately my partner is a kind woman who was willing to work through those issues with me.
Believe me sistas, the best gift you can give to your partner is your whole and healed self. So, if you care about loving any black woman right, start with the one in the mirror.
Feature image by Steven Cooper IG (@Mr_Konceptz) – CK Photography