“Don’t Bring Home a White Boy”

February 27, 2010

The full title of this story could be “Don’t Bring Home a White Boy: And Other Notions That Keep Black Women from Dating Out,” the title of a recently-published book by Karyn Langhorne Folan.

Ms. Folan’s thesis is simple enough: Urban black females are three times as likely to have finished college as their male counterparts. If we assume that parity in education is an important element in finding a boyfriend, if not a husband, educated black females are at a distinct disadvantage.

Ms. Folan’s book is an attempt to offer educated black women an alternative to the shortage of available black men: date white men.

This, she says, is not easy for most black women because racial bias is a two-way problem. Educated black women, she says, are going to have to get over some old personal and family prejudices if they hope to find a man who is simpatico.

Folan, who is married to a white man, said it wasn’t easy when she first started dating her husband, Kevin. He was “so white.” Friends and family didn’t help much with their comments, either. Even black men she didn’t know would chide her in public for being in the company of a white man. “Come back, sister. Come back,” one of them yelled at her.

Lorraine Spencer of Arlington, Virginia says she still gets snide comments from friends and relatives, though she has been married happily to a white man for fifteen years.

But I wouldn’t bet too much on the notion that educated black women are going to find lovers among the white population. Among white Americans, the proportion of female college graduates already exceeds that of males by 22.6 percent. That’s a long way from the 200% disparity in the black community but it still doesn’t bode well for either black or white educated women. Since white women outnumber black women by a ratio of about eight to one, there is going to be a lot of competition for college-educated white males from overwhelming numbers of white females.

Some women, black and white, are going to have to “trade down” and settle for a man with considerably less education (and probably less earning power) or simply decide to get along without any men in their lives.

This is either good news or bad news for the lesbian community. I’ll get back to you.