I have been dating my Black British boyfriend for a little over a year, and the assumptions that people make and the questions that people ask can get to be pretty ridiculous. I get mad sometimes, but then I realize that media often portrays people in a very limited way (as they do all over the world.) Don’t get me wrong… if given the two options I would always prefer a person to ask a question that is stupid and get an answer than to make and assumption. All of these questions made me wonder what other questions and stereotypes about dating outside of American culture there are.
I asked three of my friends about dating/marrying outside of their culture, and they had the same experiences and preconceived notions for the most part. Of the friends that I spoke to one has a British husband, another friend an African husband, and another a Puerto Rican husband.
- You will be treated better.
My friend who is married to a Puerto Rican said that people often think that she gave up on Black men, which was not the case. People claim that they have a deep love for African American men, but at the same time they correlate not dating them with having a better life or a life of less hardship. In order to get the best of anything (or anyone) you can’t automatically assume the worst. All of my friends that I asked found this to be true about how people perceive their relationships. There is some type of idea that not being an American Black man equals better treatment. I am treated well, but I honestly don’t think it’s because my boyfriend is from London. I have heard that some men think the same about women who aren’t African American. Many men think that dating a woman who isn’t African American will be easier. People are people all over the world. It doesn’t matter where they are from.
- They don’t understand the “Black Experience”
This is an experience that is relevant to me, my friend who has A Black British husband, and my friend with an African husband . There is this idea that being British means being White or proper. In our defense as Americans, this is pretty much all that we saw on television. Everyone that we saw who was a Black Brit was a rich, a butler or a Spice Girl. The idea is that British is very well to do, upscale or “posh.” I not going to lie… for this reason I hate the sound of British rap. It’s ignorant, but I did not grow up hearing these types of people talking about my type of struggle.
Believe it or not, the ideas that Africans have about Black Americans and vice versa causes a lot of tension. Ideas range from being lazy, being uneducated, and not having to deal with “real” racism. People think that Africa is all black, and being African means that you do not have to deal with white supremacy. If you have a similar idea about Africa please check out this book https://www.amazon.com/Europe-Underdeveloped-Africa-Walter-Rodney/dp/1574780484
The truth is that there is a struggle for Black people all over the world, even in Britain and Africa. Many people do not know about how the Caribbean culture helped to form the very foundation that is Britain during The Windrush Era. Here is a video if you would like to learn more about it https://youtu.be/izsLi-FB5Fg Many people have heard of Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, or Atatianna Jefferson but not Mark Duggan. We have a tendency to focus on black people in our nation and not black people globally as a collective.
Upon meeting my boyfriend, I didn’t know some of these things either, but I didn’t think that he was any less Black because he was not American. White and British are not synonymous with each other. Black Brits prefer to be called British and not English. British is a collective of all of the countries that were colonized by England, so they make up Britain. If you look at the English Common Wealth, you will see all out the countries that make up British culture.
- They are Controlling
I have heard the stereotype to beware of African men because they can be controlling, but the truth is that I have seen controlling men of all cultures. America is full of them. Being from one country or another is not going to make you more or less controlling. I think that people forget that Africa is an entire continent. Africa is not a country. There are many different countries in Africa just like any other continent. All of these countries have different religions, beliefs, and customs. Being African is not synonymous with being controlling.
- Sex is different
Whether good, bad, or indifferent I can say that all around the board people think that sex is different when you are talking to someone of another culture. Sex is just different from person to person anyway, so I find this one to be a little silly.
I asked my friends what were some things that people thought would be different that really were and we all agree food! We love having different food and experiencing different cultures. Languages may be different, ceremonies, and some customs, but we are more alike than we are different.