Help me welcome S.M. Dahman to the blog today. She’s the author of the current thriller novel I’m reading: Twisted Greens. We met on Twitter one day, and we’ve been “hanging” ever since.
Without further ado…
“First and foremost, thank you Dicey for inviting me to be a guest on your blog! I’m honored you’ve asked me to blab about a topic that has many tongues wagging. Hopefully, I won’t disappoint. 🙂
Now, with the salutation and disclaimer out of the way, it’s time to get to the juicy stuff; the stuff Dicey brought me here to talk about: interracial relationships. This is a subject that hits close to home. Obviously, dear observant reader, I’m sure you’ve figured out from the photos that I’m in an interracial relationship. It wasn’t until I started dating my then boyfriend that I realized that there aren’t many depictions of interracial couples in the media. It was also during this time (roughly early 2012) that I stumbled upon a little niche in the romance market that has since exploded. Interracial romance (IR) novels, particularly those that have black women/white men protagonists (BWWM) and that are authored by black women have really carved a space out for themselves in the market. Go to Amazon right now and type in BWWM in the search bar and look what pops up. Go on. I’ll wait…
Ah! You’re back! Were you surprised by what you saw? There’s a plethora of BWWM novels out there. Some are good and others are downright terrible. The good IR novels encompass realistic mixing and matching of different races and cultural backgrounds. Although the characters are physically and/or culturally different, they are still people, meaning they don’t fall victim to narrow stereotypical archetypes. The novelty of it is downright enthralling! I’ve tried seeking out other genres that encompassed mixing different races or cultures, but to no avail. That sucks because it’s nice to read positive representations of diverse people. Hell, you may even learn something.
Whether they’re good or bad, IR novels are definitely popular. Hmm. But, why have they become so popular? Is it because black women want to feel just as desirable as their white counterparts in novels? Maybe. However, that still doesn’t explain why it’s particularly BWWM (there are some authors who are expanding this to include men of all races now). Is it because authors want to write what they know? That’s plausible. In fact, that kind of served as the catalyst that got my own words flowing. But statistics show that interracial couples are still in the minority when compared to overall couples. Regardless to whatever the reason may be, I’m happy that these novels exist, primarily because they help open a dialogue about interracial dating and it’s nice to see reflections of other shades of love in literature.
Perhaps the most asked question that most “mixed” couples hear is “what’s is it like to be in an interracial relationship?” It’s even a question that pops up in IR novels, usually from the plucky BFF of the black female protagonist. Frankly, I find the question annoying, but I get what people are asking. Most people tend to date within their own race. That’s understandable since relationships are founded on common ground and sharing the same race (and everything that it encompasses) is one such commonality. However, if you look beyond the exterior, you may find out you have more in common with someone who looks nothing like you. That’s what I found out in late 2011 and I haven’t looked back since. Being married to my husband is great! He’s sweet, thoughtful, considerate, giving, loving, affectionate, patient, encouraging, etc. I could go on forever with the adjectives. With that being said, he’s not all those things because he’s white, but rather it’s because he’s a good man. Period. Don’t get it twisted y’all. There are some douchebag white guys out there just as there are douchebag dudes of any other race. Peep out Investigative Discovery and you’ll see plenty. But, I digress. If we return to the original question posed earlier in this post, then my answer is that being in an interracial relationship with my husband is like being married to a great man that I vibe with on many levels.
Now, I’m not completely blind, deaf, and dumb. I know that we don’t live in a post racial society (although some disagree and they get the side eye) and that there are some out there who don’t condone interracial relationships for various reasons (whether they openly acknowledge it or not). If we’re being completely honest, there are probably more who fit the latter category than we’d care to admit. For instance, I’ve heard people express concern over potential children having an identity crisis (the dreaded “who am I” question). I’ve also heard about black men complaining that black women must not think black men are “good enough” and so they’ve dated or married outside of their race. Both of these assertions are utter bullshit and they both say more about the person making the comment(s) than about the people in the relationship. While it’s true that biracial children may more so identify with one of their parents’ cultures than with the other, I don’t think that classifies them as having an “identity crisis.” In fact, many other factors play into how one chooses to self identify, both extrinsically (e.g. socioeconomic strata) and intrinsically (e.g. inherited personality traits). As far as the comment about thinking black men aren’t good enough, I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that’s not how I feel. The last guy I dated before I met my husband was black and I’ve dated many other black guys throughout my late teens and 20’s. I don’t think less about any of them. We just didn’t work out for a number of reasons. I mean, that is the point of dating, right, to find out if you’re compatible?
Anyway, with all that being said, people are diverse. As such, shouldn’t our books reflect that diversity? That common notion is how the universe introduced me to the Awesome Dicey and her work (Best Friends, Fantasy Lovers and Shameful in particular). What are your thoughts? How do you feel about interracial relationships?
If you’re looking to diversify your reading tastes, I suggest you check out Dicey’s work or check out my own little novel, Twisted Greens. If you’re interested in finding out more about me or my book, find me on social media (Twitter, Facebook) or on my blog!”
“…people are diverse. As such, shouldn’t our books reflect that diversity?”— EXACTLY. That’s what I keep saying, man. Thanks for reading my books, S.M.! And thanks so much for opening up and discussing something so personal–your relationship–and something so important–diversity! Your post wasn’t disappointing at all. Come back and post again any time.
Now…I have to get back to finishing your book.
Let me go see what AJ is up to now. 🙂