Black Love: Overrated or not?

Shortly following valentine’s day, Jordan Peele’s iconic movie Get Out hit theaters. Audiences around the nation have many questions for the director and his vision for the film. Is this film discouraging interracial relationships? Are majority of white people really that racist? And most importantly, why the hell did the main character take his black ass to the middle of nowhere with that woman?

After seeing all the beautiful black couples sprawled down my timeline during valentine’s day, and all the questions viewers had after seeing Get Out I had a few questions of my own. What is black love and is it overrated? The following excerpts are from interviews with four individuals who have been in interracial relationships describing their experience with the term “Black Love” and what it means to them.

What does black love mean to you and how important is it for your partner to share cultural similarities to you?

Female, w/partner for 1.5 months: As a black female I am not sure how to answer this question, sadly enough. sharing cultural similarities is probably not that important as long as my partner understand, and is not extremely judgmental on why black people’s reactions and customs.

Female, w/partner for 2 years: To me, black love is the appreciation for the determination and dedication that defines black culture. I don’t necessarily think that that appreciation has to happen between two black people either. I think the presence of the appreciation and understanding of black people and their culture is enough. Honestly it isn’t that important for me to have someone with the same cultural background as me. I come from a large strong family where I know my child would be surrounded by my culture and I am open and welcoming to other cultures romantically because that’s how we progress in our acceptance and understanding of others. I’ve never felt the obligation to seek a partner based on cultural similarities but rather emotional and character similarities and the aspect of my partner that draws me to them.

Male, w/partner for 2 years: Black love means black couples, successful black families both father and mother together with a child, whether Asian, Arab, European, African, or Latino. It is not that important for us to share cultural similarities as long as we have some similarities.

Female, w/partner for 4 years: Black love to me means first off loving the skin I am in. Understanding and appreciating my culture and carrying that within me. Also, acknowledging and accepting my brothers and sisters positively, especially in these times is important to me. It’s not important to share the same cultural similarities but it’s important for us to know about our differences and be accepting of them.

Do you consider your romance a form of black love and what factors influenced you to date outside of your race?

Female, w/partner for 1.5 months: I don’t feel educated enough on what black love could mean to confidently answer this question.

Female, w/partner for 2 years: I do to a lesser degree. I have a partner who is white and he has immersed himself into my black culture. It’s never something that seems forced or transparent but rather seemed to be an attempt to understand something different but equally as good as his own culture. He has always blended seamlessly and recognizes black culture for what it is. I would say my environment played a huge role. I grew up in suburbia in a predominantly white neighborhood going to private schools until I switched to public in the 2nd grade. In high school I attended an academically intensive school that had a total of 12 black people in the entire school my freshman year. I would also say that the idea that my parents telling me it didn’t matter who I loved but what was important was that they treated me right. I’ve never looked at who the person is racially or ethnically. I’ve looked at people who are supportive and make me happy and push me to be better.

Male, w/partner for 2 years: Yes, and no based off my explanation of black love… yes because her family acknowledges their African roots as Latinos. No because she is Latina and not really a black Latina. My neighborhood crush was the first girl I ever liked and she happened to be Latina and I mandated in my heart that I will have her or something close to her as a wife one day.

Female, w/partner for 4 years: I believe my relationship is definitely a form of black love. Just like I have learned a lot from my boyfriend over the past 4 years, he has learned a lot from me. From me explaining my weaves to him, his support of me when I cried chopping all my hair off going natural, all the way to fighting against racial injustice-those are just examples of the black love in my relationship. He knows our kids will identify as black, he has the same mindset when it comes to ensuring black love in our lives. The only factors that led me to date outside my race was my boyfriend asking me out, being a wonderful person and accepting me for who I am. I don’t think we even spoke about race until about a couple months after we started dating. It wasn’t really a factor.

What are some of the challenges and benefits of interracial dating?

Female, w/partner for 1.5 months: People are very opinionated with their assumptions as to why I am not dating someone within my own race and I’m still searching for the benefits.

Female, w/partner for 2 years: There is a definite challenge with being in public. There are lots of stares and micro aggressions that occur and we even are wary of places we travel because of it. Additionally, we often think about the social atmosphere that our children will grow up and the potential identity issues that they may run into. We want our child to embrace both sides of their genetic makeup but without knowing what they’re going to be subjected to we worry about that. We both have lucked out extremely supportive families who accepted both of us right from the beginning. As for benefits, definitely the new experiences. I have been put outside my comfort zone multiple times in this relationship but it has brought new memories and fun activities that I get to do now. Also because you’re constantly adapting and learning the different way people can do things you definitely get a novelty feeling with each other. It’s just a constantly evolving learning experience that really helps develop a strong connection. It’s wonderful.

Male, w/partner for 2 years: This current relationship benefits me as she supported my business and she encourages me to save money.

Female, w/partner for 4 years: The challenges we have had with interracial dating mostly hit us when we first started dating. Starting out, the biggest challenge was our friends. We both have tight knit groups and both sides were definitely accepting but they operate at different dynamics. Over time it definitely smoothed out. We sometimes get weird stares from people, some people have asked me if I no longer like black people, etc. You get some crazy questions from people, but over the years it’s gotten a lot better. The only questions we get now is when are we getting married and having kids. I am not sure we get any perks as an interracial couple, bedsides a good laugh at some people who swoon over us-it’s pretty weird. It’s also funny sometimes when people don’t know we’re together when were in line or something. We make jokes out of everything so good stuff to laugh about is a perk I guess.

Is “Black Love” overrated?

Female, w/partner for 1.5 months: I don’t think anything concerning blacks is overrated.

Female, w/partner for 2 years: I do not think black love is overrated. I think it is something important that always needs to be highlighted because of the perspective it provides.

Male, w/partner for 2 years: Not at all. UNDERRATED!

Female, w/partner for 4 years: Black love is not overrated, it is necessary. We have grown up in a society that tells us our skin is not enough to be smart, beautiful or equal. If we don’t have love for ourselves and uplift each other, who will?

While the collective experiences of these four individuals is different they share one common theme, black love has never and will never be overrated.

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