interracial dating

Maybe it’s time to get my swirl on

As we get older and (hopefully) become more self aware, we start questioning some belief systems that we’ve held on to for seemingly no reason. And this can’t be more true than my feelings for white men, well let me say ‘non-black’ men.

.             .            .

Like it is in many aspects of my life, when it rains, it generally pours, and the idea of being open to non-black men has been pouring down like Accra torrential rains.

Comments far and wide:

Sometimes Afua you have to just choose happiness, even if it comes in a different package pigment.

Sometimes you can’t wait for the black man to get their act together, there’s too few of them to choose from.” See interesting clip from the show Being Mary Jane on why even the ‘good’ brothers can be problematic. But I digress, let’s keep going…

“For what you’re looking for, you’re probably going to have to cast your net wider, and by wider I mean… Non-Ghanaian, scratch that, non-African, scratch that, I mean non-black.”

…hmmm that’s awkward.

So you don’t think I can get my ‘unassuming thoughtful gentleman, progressive in thought about gender roles in the house, Jesus-loving, Bawse in the board room but isn’t afraid to let me shine and is supportive’ man in the same pigment as I?

*Long Deep Sigh*

.             .            .

If we take a little trip down memory lane,  pre-college era, I was all about non-black men. Blame it on my surroundings (much of that time was spent growing up in Canada… eh), but there just weren’t many black men period. Think about having five black kids in my school at one point, two being me and my sistren sigh. Now add in having a connection to them. So to say it was slim pickings would be the understatement of the century. Moving to the US in the middle of high school and then going to college in the US opened my eyes to a whole new world: Black men ‘like me’! As in coming from a similar background… Whether African or not, they had similar family values and educational consciousness. Eureka, I had struck gold! However, as time has gone by I’m realizing this pool of men are still… Just. Men. And that ‘gold’ still needs refining.

Even moving to the continent now. One would think I would have struck even more gold, particularly among the returnee crowd, but Lord only knows what’s been our My Experience. So the million dollar question becomes ‘what happens if what you’re looking for ISN’T looking for you?’ Whether it’s because they’re already married, they don’t actually exist, or are attracted to a different type of woman (white women, less career-oriented women, more traditional women, younger women? [slot in any and everything else I’m not]). Welt, if you’re not the person the person you’re looking for is looking for then perhaps it could be time to change what you’re looking for *shrug*. And I think we singles have heard this general piece of advice several times over (particularly as we inch closer and closer to 30). However, I think we’ve always assumed this means scaling down on the character asks, and not changing the color of a person’s outside shell.

.             .            .

I love black men. And if y’all have any doubts from my posts, let me say it again: I. Love. Black. Men. I don’t think there’s anything more sexy than a strong black man taking care of his business, loving his family and serving his God. However, if *that* man isn’t checking for me, maybe it’s time I switch out the packaging and maybe get my swirl on! eyes-emoji cheese

Now there are so many considerations while making this sort of declaration (publicly).
Image result for swirl interracial dating

First off: I must admit I do not even know the first thing about being with a white man Raise-Your-Hand. Yes yes, I’ve had this conversation with a few ppl in the last few weeks, and the first response is ‘duh men are men, it’s the same as being with a black man’, but hold up one minute. Hold on. It’s NOT the same. Can me and a white guy talk about the same stuff, freely? Listen to the same things, go the same places… freely? Hmmm, honestly speaking I don’t even know anything about the initial step: how do you flirt with a white man? And I know y’all are laughing (or completely side-eying me), but I’m dead serious. How do I know if a white man is flirting with me?!? *eyes look left, eyes look right* I mean I’ve met white guys that I found attractive inside and out, but I never really knew what they thought of me. It’s more so because every positive vibe I get from a non-black man is cataloged as friends-vibe. Maybe it’s because my eyes aren’t even open to the possibility that a white man would be checking for me mixed with a combination of me not putting out (non-verbal) vibes that I’m into white men.

And this is all just real talk, RR.

Some other serious considerations include: ‘How do I know it’s not a weird black girl fetish thing that’s going on?’ point Remember, I live in Africa and the pool from which you’re working with in terms of white men generally goes as follows: “the short term contractor; the short term or (sometimes weird) long term development type- who lives a transient lifestyle…” Overall there’s a general ‘passing through’ or I’m a little-off vibe I get with them here. You don’t just get your regular ol’ guy living and working in Africa, but I just happen to be white- vibe. no offense.

Another consideration is family and culture. And I’m not talking about mine, because Praise the Almighty on High that I have a progressive family who even for the majority of my life thought I would end up with a white boy. They don’t see any issue with marrying outside of ones race. However, it’s the general culture here that poses issues. One, when you see a mixed race couple in these parts, with the woman being black, it’s a certain type of relationship… Of more the transactional nature than true ”mutual’ love. Secondly, I’m outsider. And I’ve been fighting it forever ‘me y3 ghanaiani!’*, but I’ve now come to terms with it that I. am. culturally. an. outsider. Even though my name is Afua, my default thought process is not that of a typical Ghanaian. As such, I’ve desired to marry someone who isn’t a complete outsider like me. It’s stupid and probably childish, but I’m just being real…. Sue me.

I’m not sure if y’all watched the Being Mary Jane season 3 finale [Spoiler Alert Ahead]. However, when she breaks up with her white boyfriend, she says the ultra real words of: “I don’t want to have to explain everything to you.” And that is so real. And for me we’re not just talking about ‘black issues’, we’re talking of the African/Ghanaian ones too. I remember a few Christmases ago we were at a family friend’s place and their daughter, a woman with a very similar profile to me, had brought home her white husband. Cool. He was chill. We had no issues with him as he tried his best to welcome all aspects of our Ghanaian culture. But I distinctly remember a conversation everyone was having in the living room one day and I remember every few seconds she having to whisper some subtle explanation of what was going on. It’s whenever I think about that, that I’m just like…

… I… Just…

…  …  ….  I…  … Just

                                              Can’t.

Chale… Me sef**… Half the time I’M the outsider needing explaining of why this is rude in Ghana; why we have to do this as protocol, even though it makes no God awful sense; why respect and traditionalism is more important than efficiency or doing the most logical thing… #butthatsnoneofmybusiness …
So to now come bring you an outsider into my plight. …I …Just… can’t… *deep sigh*
I mean is it wrong to want to be with someone who doesn’t need explaining along with me?

I think I’ll stop things here for now. I want to know if y’all have any thoughts for me, RR. Do you agree with anything I’ve said, or do you have advice on how all my insignificant items of concern are probably holding back my entire quest for true love? Or perhaps you want to tell me that I should move to Europe, which apparently is the new mecca for black girls wanting good white men… and I’m not joking, see here, here, and here.

*Translation of twi phrase: I’m Ghanaian

**Translation of pigeon phrase: Me myself

That moment you realize you’re down with the swirl- I love this clip from Facebook.

 

The Plight of the Single Returnee Woman [Dedicated to Komla Dumor]

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Some of you may or may not know that on Saturday we lost a great journalist, Komla Dumor. Komla was most recently a presenter on BBC’s World News and Focus on Africa, however most Ghanaians remember him as host of the Super Morning Show on JoyFM (a popular radio station in Ghana). Komla was host of the show for many years before he left for the BBC in 2006. He was a breath of fresh air when it came to journalism about the continent (not shying away from asking tough questions, but also bringing a balanced story about the triumphs and tragedies of Mama Africa); and he was a symbol of hard work and dedication to one’s craft- and I’m not just saying these things because he was also a fellow alum of the Harvard Kennedy School! Apart from Kofi Annan, I cannot think of a better ‘ambassador’ for Ghana in the last few years. If you haven’t seen Komla’s TEDtalk on Telling the African Story, I would encourage you to take a few moments to watch it.

I know you’re probably wondering what the passing of a journalist has to do with this blog. Well, about a week and a half ago Amma and I had a discussion with Komla on twitter. We discussed (along with several other people) the plight of educated African women and how challenging it is to find an African man to date and marry. I told Komla that I was working on this precise blog, and he told me to forward it to him once I had finished writing it. Though I cannot do so anymore, I will dedicate this blog to him. R.I.P. Komla.

Komlar-Dumor

I’ve included snippets of our twitter discussion below. If you want to see our full interactions on the topic please visit here, and scroll to Jan 7th.

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I wrote a blog back in August, and for reasons unknown I didn’t post it. It was a self-pity blog, and I knew it. A couple (brief) moments of Woe Is Me, which I (knew I) didn’t need to share with our readers. Amma also agreed: “OMG Afua, PLEASE don’t post that!”  Yes, thank God for co-writers/editors.

There are a few things that I hate to be labeled in life; other than being labeled as the type of woman who can’t cook/won’t take care of her man and home/ won’t be a good mother / and someone who has high standards, what I think I hate most to be labeled is ‘the angry single black female (blogger)’. I hate this label so much that I often censor posts about my relationship status and other topics that might make me come across as angry/bitter or having an attitude problem. At the very least, I DO NOT post things like the blog I wrote back in August. However, I stumbled across this blog over the holidays and re-read it, and Amma and I came to an agreement that perhaps we COULD share the blog (that was written in a momentary lapse of judgement that does not in any shape, fashion or form portray my general positive/all smiles outlook on life and love) and discuss it, because there are a number of interesting things that arise from it. What I discuss in the post is the plight of most some single returnee women, and I’ve come to the realization that whether I discuss it or not the world (and you our readers) have already formed opinions of women like Amma and I… So chale, #girlsabr3 paa… I’m posting and we’re going to discuss it. Medase [which means Thank you in Akan twi]. Enjoy the read!

What’s Dating like in Accra?

It’s a plane, it’s a bird, no it’s thirty I see on the horizon.

Le sigh. It’s my birthday. And though I am not 30 yet, I’ve now reached the humble age of being just as close to 30 as I am to 25.

One inch closer to 30, and one step deeper into the bottomless pit of harassment from everyone I know about marriage:

‘What about that one guy from…’  Nope.

‘Or that guy at church that…’  Notta.

‘Or the one friend which…’  Never.

‘Well, I swore that you had that one that…’  Well, you swore wrong.

Usually a cloud of silence looms following the above, and then comes: ‘Well how come [you’re single]?’ Though I’ve never understood this question in the past, it’s irritation increases to new bounds with age. As if picking a man occurs on my Sunday grocery run, where he’s sitting on aisle 9 between the milk and cheese. What this question is really meant to do is to provide agreement to an unstated yet painfully obvious statement: ‘It’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with you, Afua’. It’s usually here that I’ll indulge in the conversation for the sake of the other party, because obviously the conversation is not meant for me, but for their confirmation that there still exists some order in the world: ‘You know, next time you go to The Lord in prayer, please do bare me up‘ / ‘In your next round of fasting, remember me kra… For I know it’ll come, he’s on his way, in due time’ *rolling eyes*.

In these types of conversations, the grande crescendo takes place with the full on questioning of how I stack up (compared to other ladies who are in relationships and/or are married already): but are you cooking for them? Are you dangling that feminist thing in front of them or talking too much? And then the icing on the cake is the definitive statement that the other party is not worried about me: ‘Because beh you’re pretty, and smart and not crazy, so most definitely you’ll find someone.’ Depending on the audience, I either stand with an innocent smile to join in their dumbfoundedness, feign state my confidence that I am indeed not worried because at any moment in time I could meet the man of my dreams, or unleash my semi-feminist attack that men don’t necessarily want these things they have listed out/ these things don’t mean anything these days because look at all the amazing beautiful smart black single women around the world *shrug*. The latter happens less, and usually only towards family to put the fear of God in them…

A couple weeks ago, a group of six of my girlfriends had a lunch to celebrate the return of one of our dear friends. A couple hours and a couple bottles of wine later came the dreaded discussion, the topic we love to hate, The Inevitable:

“Lay it on me girls, what am I really in for now that I’m back?”

Five of the six present are for all intents and purposes single, including the recent returnee herself. The one who isn’t, is dating a black American living in Ghana.

“Well,” One starts: “Hoes be killing the game.” I laugh, but she is dead serious.

Another chimes in: “If they’re not into their careers and still sowing their wild oats and surveying their options, they’re with some hoe, some white girl (white includes everything non-black in this case), or they’re douchey and not what you want. The few that are wifed up already with sensible girls hold down the rest.”

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After a few more comments of a similar nature, the guest of honor brings it home: “So essentially our men don’t want ‘us’. Great. Welcome ‘home’.” – And by ‘us’, we mean our prototype:  Ghanaian, but not. Feminist, but not. And definitely Too-Known. It was interesting to then collectively list out all the women killing the game in ‘our’ own country: the born and bred Ghanaian, the basic chick, the hoe, and the foreigner… hell, the foreigner is even killing the game from outside Ghana we conclude. From here we list out the number of guys we know that have met their significant others outside Ghana and have brought them back to the country to live with them. Let me interject here that the recent returnee’s own brother is seriously dating a ‘white’ girl who he has moved to Ghana. [SPOILER ALERT: Since the writing of this blog in August, the serious girlfriend has now become his fiancee].

Rest assured, it wasn’t an all male bashing session that followed, but it was funny to have things come full circle in my mind, because when I moved to Ghana from South Africa a little over a year ago (save a 3month dip out/dip in), I had a long conversation with an earlier returnee and fellow love/sex blogger, Nana Darkoa, who flat out told me: ‘Afua, there are no eligible men in Ghana… For your purposes, those men are all married.’ And then here I am a year later co-signing to a similar message to another returnee. Hmm. At the time I moved from S.A, I was less worried about this because I thought I was in a progressing situation, but a year later… a few abysmal first dates (actually a little more than a few), a lot of new ‘friends’, and a few okay guys… singledom still looms. Although I don’t think Nana’s assessment of Ghana is entirely correct, I do see her point. Even while at lunch my group of girlfriends tried to come up with five names of returnee women who had come to Ghana single and met men that they were now happily married to. Five. That’s less than 1 person per attendee (note that we disregarded women who ‘knew the guy in primary school’ or ‘the guy was a family friend’). Needless to say, we couldn’t come up with five women. Sigh.

The truth is I know why I’m single,  it’s quite simple actually: I haven’t found anything that has stuck [on both sides]. The reasons that follow really are inconsequential because they vary from guy to guy (so contrary to popular assumption, it isn’t about having high standards). I am of the belief that when it’s supposed to stick it will, even if that means that this happens on the other side of 30, to the horror and chagrin of my relatives… when it’s supposed to stick, it will. So until then, another year, another step into the bottomless pit.

Happy birthday to me.

– – –

Ya, I wrote that. *shrug* Don’t judge me.

So it’s six months later, how do I feel about this post and the things that I said in it. I won’t spend too much time here, because this blog is just a conversation starter to the general topic of ‘Dating in Accra as a Returnee’. However, I will say this: my situation may not have changed in the last six months, but my attitude definitely has. I’m in a place of ‘Whether or not my situation changes, I do not want to get tied up in knots about things (or allow others to tie me up in knots about them).’ I have life and health, I have great family and friends, and I like my job. I like where I am in life… I’m growing and learning a lot about myself, and until a man comes alongside me to join me on this ride, I should not be downcast and distraught.

Amma, thoughts?

Read Amma’s Response: No One is Entitled to a Relationship

Speak on It – A Reader’s Take on Black Love

tumblr_mdzds0HlxG1ravrcso1_500A while back, when this blog was the official bandeka blog, I told a reader that I would post her response to a blog that I did. In getting caught up with the move to Rambling Roommates, I never did. Although we’ve moved on from the topic, I still want to honor my commitment… so see below for the thoughts of one of our readers. She is responding to this piece that I wrote, which was a response to this previous  guest post.

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Thoughts from one of our readers (Anon).

I think more than anything this black man/white woman thing is a phase/status thing. In my observations (based on family members and two exes who married out of the race) black men actually want black women (and vice versa) especially the older they get. No one wants to grow old with someone who has foreign customs and culture and they also want their children to grow up with their culture and learn their values. When we are young we are open and flexible to life but the older we get, the more we experience the world and try to make sense of it and find our sense of belonging which makes us want to retreat to our cocoon of comfort and what we know, namely our customs and culture. Also, there comes a stage in a man’s life where he expects/looks for a woman who “is like his mother” because again that’s what he knows.

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Where (in my opinion) we “fail” as African women:
1.We forget who we are and get so caught up by the blinding and false promises of Western culture that we shun our customs and norms and name call them names in our bid to be white sorry I meant Western there I go again, I meant to modernize ourselves.

2.Ladies, yes we are very capable of anything a man is capable of; in fact anything a man can do we can do a hundred times better (sorry brothers but it’s the truth :p) that being said we should not try compete with our men. A man needs his place to be recognised, he needs to be honoured and respected (WOAW before you come baying for my blood ladies and reminding me of women who fought for my rights please listen with an open mind). Fact: men are stronger than women (but that does not make a woman any less of a human being) and as the stronger sex they should be the protectors of a home and that is what African culture (as well as other cultures) dictates. I’m not saying the man has to be the sole provider and the woman has to be subservient to him just that men and women are different and not just anatomically. We each have different strengths and roles we bring and play in a relationship. Yes, be ambitious but do not try to dictate to your men and STOP trying to be a man in the relationship. There’s a saying in my culture that you cannot put two bulls in one pen it’s the same with a relationship you cannot have two men in a relationship (unless it’s a gay relationship but even then one acts the role of a man). If you honour your man he will honour you back and support you and your ambitions.

3.In response to Lady B’s song: one, Beyonce was just selling a song. Secondly, none of us knows what Beyonce does behind closed doors. We don’t know tumblr_m6orvq5HlS1rn4d10o1_500what she had to compromise and put up with to get that ring.

How the white woman hook our men in:
1.They are light skinned, have long silky hair and colourful eyes

2.They give them the honour they are looking for and make them feel like a MAN

3.They are open to compromise and are willing to do whatever to please them (e.g. move across oceans)
But they also end up messing it up in the end, when they’ve secured their place their true colours come out and they start dictating, demanding and become less compromising and that’s when our brothers come back to us by that time we’re willing to try anything and are more open to compromise. (LoL)

Last bit: I once shocked my white colleagues when I told them that I want a bride price to be paid for me, I’ll never marry an uncircumcised man and when I get my husband shall be KING of my household. They were shocked that an “educated and independent” woman like me would think like that. But I told them that in my culture that is how it is and I know when I make him my KING he will make me his QUEEN. I’ve seen it, I come from a family of strong, educated and working women (mother, grandmother and even great-grandmother) they honoured their husbands and they had successful marriages and I’ve had three marriage proposals before so I guess I must have done something right. In conclusion, compromising and bending for our men is not an off-set of giving up our independence.

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Now the only few words I (Afua) will say about Anon’s piece stem from this article: Below are some interesting facts and statements from the article, which lend to what our reader has noted above. The article is quite on the money, minus the ridiculous amount of underlined, italicized and bold font… and this is why I’ve taken the liberty to separate out the interesting points for you. Although the article is about black relationships in the US, I think some of it applies to Africans in the diaspora and on the continent too… sometimes we get disillusioned with what we see (cough…the guest blogger), and forget the entire picture.

  • The interracial genocide of Black love is a FALLACY… When news organizations put this garbage out, we eat it up

  • 95% of Black males marry Black women

  • We easily believe all the negative and depressing commentaries about the state of our community and our inability to LOVE one another, even though the FACTS prove otherwise

  • Eighty-three percent of married Black men with an income of more than $100,000 put a ring on a Black woman

  • Black men with college degrees also overwhelmingly marry Black women to the tune of 85%

  • By 35, 75% of Black women are experiencing bridal bliss, and have headed down the aisle at least once

  • All this BS about the Black man’s exodus from educated, successful Black women is FALSE and unsubstantiated

  • When you look at the percentage of Black men out there who comprise interracial marriages, the reality is that those men most likely did not EXPLICITLY choose a white woman over a Black woman, they choose what was most available to them

5fe9fad192294febefd267b7fc032698Also, some wise words to all black female bloggers were included in the article- we must be responsible in our speech: “Stop propagating falsehoods because you are NOT adding intelligent and intellectual commentaries on a “serious problem””.

Thank you, author. Your words are noted… (hence the ridiculous number of black love pics in this piece 🙂 )

On another note, if you want to have your say on Rambling Roommates, let us know: ramblingroommates@gmail.com.