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In the racial politics of the United States, I have been involved in a good portion of them that centered on the Civil Rights Movement. During that time, there was great solidarity among all African Americans, although at that time we were designated black or Afro American by the mysterious group that hands racial naming conventions.

There was a question that came up constantly during that time and, surprisingly, it persists today. I can't count the times this question came to me. “Do you prefer white women more than black women?” First, a black woman raised me. Secondly, I grew up in a neighborhood dominated by blacks, Mexicans and a small number of whites. Finally, like Perry Mason, I find the question “incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial.”

Nevertheless, I’ll answer it, but only as it refers to me. I have never been “color struck,” a term used in the black community to signify one that chooses a companion based on the color of their skin. Historically, instances of the phenomena demonstrated itself in various forms among African Americans. During the 40’s and 50’s, there were black sororities and fraternities that had unwritten rules regarding the “paper bag” test, meaning that anyone darker than a “paper bag” would not be accepted. It was also demonstrated among black men and women preferring lighter-skinned African Americans as opposed to the darker hues.

Of course, the ultimate disregard for blackness came almost exclusively with black men dating only white women, which was difficult in those days, but is common today. However, in today’s world of diversity, there are black men who date only white women.On the other hand, for black women, it is an unwritten taboo to date outside the race. Now, back to my dating preferences.

First, I prefer that that those I date be attracted to me for me just as I am attracted to them for the same reason. Second, no disrespect intended, all my dates must be female. Weight wise, I prefer athletic women within 30 pounds of my weight. Height? I have no limits, although I am aware that tall women usually like tall men. I’m 5’9” and women shorter than me told me that I wasn’t tall enough. For what? Now, on to the original question: “Do you prefer white women or black women?”

Growing up in a neighborhood dominated by African Americans and Latinos, it is easy to figure out who I dated. If I was partial, it was to what I considered good-looking girls (they weren’t women—yet). Dating white women in those days, was not only difficult, it could be dangerous. However, by the time I was forty–years-old, I turned out to be an “Equal Opportunity” dater. That’s an answer that doesn’t tell you a thing other than I like all women. So, let’s be a bit more specific.

As a qualifier, I’ll admit to liking all women that meet the rather non-specific physical requirements I listed above. So, at the risk of being an asshole (which I am), I’m going to fudge just a bit and list only those who I have dated most frequently. Obviously, African American and Latino women top my list simply because of where I grew up. Next, Asian women (Vietnamese, Korean, Malaysian, Philippine, Indian, etc.), white women and two aboriginal women from Australia fill out my dance card.

Although, I am married to a black woman, I could just as easily be married to any of the women I dated. Of the women I dated, the biggest problem I encountered was cultural, especially with Middle Easterners. The only women I would never date have character flaws I cannot tolerate like racist, sexist (yes, sexist), intolerance, ignorance and ass-holism. There are others, but you get the idea.

Finally, I imagine that of the women I dated, more than a few didn’t find me all that great either. As I said, I have a streak of ass hole in me also. No matter, when it comes to women, I am a connoisseur or just a sewer, depending upon your point of view.

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Comment by Luara on March 18, 2014 at 5:40pm

Sorry, on that basis I don't think you qualify as an asshole :)

My father could've taught lessons, though.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on March 18, 2014 at 5:06pm
My parents were typical parents in that time. Dad was the undisputed head of the household, Mom was second in charge and were children. Family life was good, until I grew olderand found that my parents had feet of clay.
Comment by Donald R Barbera on March 18, 2014 at 4:08pm
In the business world, I was often called on or found it necessary to do some things that I was personally against, but for business reasons has to be done. I had to fire people. Choose who to layoff and reprimand in clear and business based expression. I never did anything unethical and never would. However outside of business, I can be quite acerbic and unusually competitive, which often makes it unpleasant for others to be around me. Nevertheless, I do try to stick Hippocrates maxim to do no harm. Maybe it's because I tend to blame myself when things turn to shit. Since I am the first to volunteer to lead, I feel that as leader it is my job to take the flack. What concerns me is that I may have stepped, over and on someone's ambition because of my desire to be first.
Comment by Luara on March 18, 2014 at 5:21am

You are different from either of my parents, in calling yourself an asshole.

Neither of my parents said anything negative about themselves when I was a child.  They never showed any remorse.  They didn't seem to realize that us children really existed, as beings that could be hurt or helped.  They didn't seem to regard us as human. 

When I was a child and for a long time after that, I saw my parents as demons.  Demons don't apologize, demons don't try to do better.  Demons don't accuse themselves, they are like an impersonal force of nature. 

Comment by Luara on March 17, 2014 at 3:45am

believe me when I say I'm an asshole.

I was wondering because you seem like one of the nicer people around here. I don't see you being an asshole at all, and I have seen assholish comments here, including directed at me.  You actually seem to avoid conflict, around here.  Maybe online isn't "real life" to you. 

I guess business competition can be genuinely ugly, but I don't know how that relates to women?

My sister only has black boyfriends, although maybe that's changed in recent years.  I asked her once if that was because they were very unlike our father - like perhaps black guys tend to be less identified with our father in her mind, so she's more free to have a relationship that doesn't replicate how she was treated by our father.  She said she didn't know. 

Our father did treat women very badly - had a low opinion of women, expected to dominate, expected to be served, all that shit. 

Comment by Donald R Barbera on March 16, 2014 at 8:40pm

Sentient--Like you, I am pretty much the same in the view. Nearly every relationship I've had has been based on mutual attraction. Of course, I don't do much dating anymore except for the standing Wednesday night date I have with my wife. We take in a movie, go to the jazz lounge, restaurant or just walk. My sons have helped me maintain my point of view with their dating preferences. I never know who is coming to my house, so, it wouldn't be too cool to have preconceived notions. I never want my kids to think they can't bring their friends to my house or even worse, not come to my house at all because of some warped attitude I might have. I have been the same with religion. I have never encouraged them one way or another, although, I have schooled them well in the importance of thinking logically and reasonably.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on March 16, 2014 at 8:33pm

Luara,  believe me when I say I'm an asshole. I usually keep it to myself because it tends to chase potential friends away. In many ways, it has led to my success in business, but I can admit it to myself and that is why I try my best to tone myself down at all times, except when it is beneficial to me. Maybe, I shouldn't call it assholism. I should say that I am competitive to a fault.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on March 16, 2014 at 8:23pm

Luara,  believe me when I say I'm an asshole. I usually keep it to myself because it tends to chase potential friends away. In many ways, it has led to my success in business, but I can admit it to myself and that is why I try my best to tone myself down at all times, except when it is beneficial to me. Maybe, I shouldn't call it assholism. I should say that I am competitive to a fault.

Comment by Daniel W on March 16, 2014 at 8:17am

Interesting to hear your perspective.    Each of us lives in our own skin and experience.  I think the young generation is different from the older generations when it comes to racial issues and intercultural relationships and marriage, but there are still many points of view.  Not all are open and accepting.  More, probably a lot more, but not all.

I'm guessing that since you are married, the concept of dating is theoretical, but I know never to make assumptions.  Life is what it is.

I grew up in an almost entirely segregated white community and only knew about 3 people who were not white - all 3 black - until I left. Maturing, I went through several moves.  Far flung places, so not restricted to my original local attitudes.  In addition, having myself felt like an outcast, I felt attracted to the people who were excluded where I was raised.   Also, bigoted people just seem so abysmally stupid, incurious and dimwitted, they are best avoided.

That attraction led to relationships that have enriched my life tremendously, and I hope that worked both ways.  I know the differences from your experience are significant, but over the time I dated, I enjoyed being with American black, Jamaican, Mexican, and Chinese partners.  And white, but once the "interracial door" was opened, I didn't date much in my own race.

All of which led to my marriage.  My partner for 18 years  is Chinese-born Chinese.  I hope this lasts the rest of my life.  I couldn't bear the loss otherwise.  So the discussion of dating now is just reminiscence and  theoretical.

One thing I found dating outside my race, was feeling welcome and embraced in ways that did not occur within my race. I imagine there are many causes - the openness of the people involved, probably also responses to my own white privilege, and maybe I project an attitude that varies depending on who I am with.

I didn't care for deceit, narcissism, drugs, drama, ignorance, or laziness, but preferred to focus on positives.  If someone thinks outside the box, there are common interests, eye opening experiences, and some passion, life is too short not to experience what there is in the world.

Comment by Luara on March 15, 2014 at 1:44pm

at the risk of being an asshole (which I am)

what do you mean, you're an asshole?


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