Interracial dating between

White women are less willing than white men to date outside of their racial group, but heavier-set white women are more willing to date black men, because, researchers Cynthia Feliciano, Belinda Robnett, and Golnaz Komaie of UC Irvine posit, of "racial-beauty exchange theory" -- the notion that a white woman who is less attractive by the measure of dominant Euro-American beauty standards is willing to "trade down" on the racial hierarchy by dating a black man.

By the same token, black men who date white women are "trading up" on the American racial hierarchy.

Race and the characteristics that have come to represent it -- like skin color, eye color, and hair texture -- would not be factors in matters of the heart.

This is the way things would be if our love lives actually mirrored recent scientific findings, which tell us the human family is so genetically close that we share more than 99 percent of our DNA.

Try as I might to suppress the reaction, I experience black men's choice of white women as a personal rejection of the group in which I am a part, of African American women as a whole, who have always been devalued in this society.

Certainly my reaction links back to a few bad apples in my own young dating years.

I wish my male relatives luck and joy in their relationships, but I also feel a pinch when I watch them with their girlfriends.

For both these men (and to be fair, they were not much older than 20 at the time and thus had plenty of maturing to do), white women were the pinnacle of womanhood -- the prize that they secretly coveted, the emotional weapon that they knew they could wield.Within this racialized landscape in which whiteness has reigned supreme, the line between white and black has been the starkest marker of racial difference, with the white side of the line representing all that is positive, and the black side of the line representing all that is negative. I recognize that many people form loving relationships across the black-white color line.Whiteness has been a privileged and prized identity in the U. So when black men select white women and de-select black women, they are doing so in a context of charged racial meanings. Some of the people I admire and respect most in my professional life are black men married to white women and white women married to black men.Another of my male relatives brought home a woman for Christmas who seemed like a modern-day, socially progressive southern belle.She was blonde, full figured, outgoing, and outspoken with a saucy southern accent and friendly, expressive manner.

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