More on Black Romance

I went a Google-hunting for a few links to Black romance reviews until I find find time on my tuffet to write some myself, and I found a very interesting article by Gwendolyn Osborne, aka “The Word Diva,” on AALBC.com. In her examination of Black romance, It’s All About Love, Osborne examines the stereotypes and issues facing romance, but more specifically, Black romance and the Black readers of romance novels. In short, Black romance fights the preconceptions about romance, as well as preconceptions and prejudices about Black women, and Black relationships. Note: I don’t know when this article was written, so if these quotes are profoundly out of date, I apologize.

Drawing from quotes from authors like Beverly Jenkins as well as from romance readers, Osborne examines the growth of the Black romance subgenre, and the social realities faced both by readers and by the characters within the novels:

[Renee A. Redd, director of Northwestern University’s Women’s Center, says] “They [romance novels] offer a substitute for those who have resigned to never really being able to find a fulfilling love in their actual lives. The reality of a dearth of available straight Black men for straight Black women is a disconcerting and painful issue before us. For a long time we have lived with the idea of the strong Black woman, who by implication can do without a romantic relationship if she must, but the truth is that she would rather not.”

This acknowledgement the social reality of the lack of marriageable African American men denotes the difference between sister-girl fiction and romance fiction, says second-generation romance reader Jean Dalton of New York City. “In Waiting to Exhale, four educated and successful Black women sat around complaining about Black men who were unable to commit, preferred white women, unemployed, incarcerated, gay, adulterous or sexually inadequate, etc. African-American romance heroines are more in charge of their futures. They aren’t sitting around waiting to exhale.”

Black romance heroines are located within a unique – and important – social and political culture, both in the fiction worlds they inhabit, and as part of the world inhabited by their readers.

While the theme of many contemporary romances relies heavily on the self-actualization of the heroine, Black romances also navigate a minefield as they struggle to portray Black protagonists that are very, very different from the majority of images of Black relationships portrayed in popular entertainment media:

As Emma Rodgers of Dallas’ Black Images Book Bazaar says, “African-American romance novels are so popular because they reflect the values of the majority of the Black community [better] than most other types of media. The men and women are educated professionals, gainfully employed . . . or are entrepreneurs, upwardly mobile. The women are independent, career-minded with goals. Both are law-abiding citizens. Readers seldom see these images reflected on the evening news or in the daily paper.”

But soft! What criticism from scholars through yonder window breaks? It is the critics, and they don’t like the sex. No, seriously: the idea of sexual content in a Black romance is a target of some sharp criticism, because the “the open sexual expression in romance novels can only reinforce negative stereotypes about Black women’s sexuality. Renee Redd says, ‘I think most Black women still believe that the sexual expressiveness allowed the women in romance novels and to women of other races is not equally extended to Black women.’”

Plus, there’s that lovely old romance=porn accusation, which of course raises it’s engorged and stupid head everywhere it goes. Hooray for Shareta Caldwell who, like many readers of romance, can actually tell the difference between romance novels and pornography: “Romances portray love, romance, and sensuality in an positive adult manner.  In romance novels, a man puts a woman’s pleasure first. This is not the case in pornography.”

Jennifer Coates of Chicago enjoys the committed relationships depicted in African-American romances. “In other media, we see intimate relationships being treated casually—like a handshake, but not that personal. The romance, the courting, the mystery seems to have disappeared from contemporary literature.” Coates cites Beverly Jenkins’ Night Song among her favorites because the interaction between the hero and heroine “demonstrates their appreciation and love for one another and solidified their relationship for me, elevating their sharing and mutual respect from a by-product, to the backbone of their intimate exchanges.”

Osborne’s article also examines cover art – a graceful curtsey to Ms. Osborne because, well, that’s just plain awesome and important. Boy howdy, is it important. Black romances not only face criticism as to their content, but also the cover art – whether it’s “Black enough” or “too Black.” One article cited featured a quote from an unnamed magazine publisher who stated that romance covers featuring Black characters in “Afrocentric styles” might make white readers uncomfortable. This same publisher said that covers without people would be preferable.

(White reader Sarah says: “What a bunch of unmitigated poppycock.”)

Readers cited in the article disagree: “Shareta Caldwell says, ‘I like it when there are Black faces on the books, especially if the cover is an accurate portrait of the character in the book. That is the reason I picked up Beverly Jenkins’ Indigo. I loved the picture. And I don’t like the idea of fooling people by not having real Black people on the front. If White readers can’t get past the braids, locks, bald-heads, and Black skin on the cover, then how are they going to get through the book?’”

Osborne’s examination of Black romance ends with an assessment that the genre is evolving as more authors publish in mainstream fiction, and as new authors enter the genre. But the various influences entering Black romance concerned one reader, who is unwilling to see what she views as a more courtship-and-commitment focused narrative become more influenced by “hip-hop values:” “Courtship, marriage, commitment and sex are definitely seen differently by this generation,” says reader Jeanette Cogdell who, according to the article, reviews books at Romance In Color.

Which generation, I wonder. Osborne’s final statement, that “Readers are drawn to the romance genre because the stories provide an escape and are devoid of racial conflict, gratuitous sex and profanity,” undermines and contradicts some of the statements made by readers and writers in the article itself, especially that the stories are devoid of sex or acknowledgment of racial conflict. But Osborne’s examination brought my attention to elements of Black romance that I hadn’t known about. The evolving image of Black in American popular culture is an issue that’s been examined with greater focus, it seems, in the past few years, but is the idea of books focusing on female sexual experience going to underscore or somehow validate negative sexual stereotypes of Black women? If scholars and critics distrust Black romance for its focus on Black female sexuality, what would the appropriate venue be for an exploration of the topic? Already erotica received a big boost in it’s turgid longevity by the strength and backlist of writers like Noire and Zane – I wonder what those same scholars and critics would say about the influence of those writers on the erotica market as a whole.

 

 

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  1. 1
    mcnappy says:

    First off, I don’t think any author should worry about what critics say regarding “reinforcing stereotypes” about black female sexuality. The thing about stereotypes is that believing in them requires no logic whatsoevah. Someone who believes women of color are walking around with no panties on waiting to do what-what at the drop of a hat is not going to believe otherwise because of a few tasteful fade-outs before coitus in Romancelandia. These people would be waiting for a group of nuns to drop it like it’s hot…so it’s perfectly fine for your characters to have sex-even kinkny sex-and like it.

    That said, sex and romance go together like peanut butter and jelly/bananas/honey, et al. Part of love is sexual attraction and fulfillment, people. Unless I’m reading a book with a major plot point that requires no coitus/sexual healing, I’m gonna feel cheated. If one of the things these romances do is to reflect AA people accurately, then I hope good sex would fit in there somewhere!

    Interesting topic, by the way.

  2. 2
    SB Sarah says:

    “These people would be waiting for a group of nuns to drop it like it’s hot…so it’s perfectly fine for your characters to have sex-even kinky sex-and like it.”

    Ow, ow, coffee up my nose. Ow. OW.

  3. 3
    anika says:

    There are quite a few of us out there reviewing black romance and considering the world these romances inhabit and the way they deal with relationships and issues such as infertility, politics, etc. The sites you mentioned are doing it, of course, but I’m also doing it at WriteBlack, as is the smart lady who runs Reading While Black

    Heck, a couple hundred or so fans and authors just returned from the Romance Slam Jam Conference (Google it) in Chicago this past weekend, where some of these issues were addressed.

    I also would argue that black romance readers and critics are as diverse a lot as nonblack readers and critics, so the fact that a few have problems with expressions of overt sexuality is not an indication of such problems on the part of the whole. Some of the most raucous and hearty applause at the Emma Awards banquet came when the winner was announced for the “Favorite Steamy” novel.

    I’m just saying.

  4. 4
    michelle says:

    I’m glad to hear the issue of the lack of “marriageable African American men” addressed. (Although that sounds so very Regency, doesn’t it?) I read some study that said AA women have only a 20% chance of getting married. And I know there are plenty of scary or depressing statistics regarding race in America, but that one just really disturbed me. Not that marriage is the most important thing in the workld. I guess it’s just the idea that if you’re a black woman in America, you get to face all those other scary or depressing things… alone. And sadly, most of my black female friends accept this as reality. (While every one of my white female friends already have their wedding dress picked out, regardless of whether or not they have a boyfriend. The idea that they may not ever get married literally never crosses their minds.)
    Oh, and the idea that stories of love and commitment that happen to include sex will somehow back up stereotypes about black women… you know what? Totally true. It does in fact tell us that black women care about monogamy and love as well as a sexual connection. How terribly stereotypical.

  5. 5

    Great post today!

    I write some IR fantasies. Moon Shadow has a very black heroine in braids and the hero is white. But if you look at the cover, you can’t tell what race the heroine is. In fact, she’s Tina Catanzaro, and she couldn’t be whiter. I hear (and believe) that finding IR stock images is difficult, but one might also ask why that is. If more publishers used IR photos, more photographers would make IR photos.

  6. 6
    Karen says:

    I’m involved in the annual cover contest, and there are always great covers on many of the black romances.  I don’t think one made the finals this year but there was one last year and two or three the year before.  (What makes the finals is always kind of random.)  I like looking at people on my covers, and it seems like many contemporary books don’t have couple covers any more.  I just love to see a beautiful couple on a romance cover – and whether that couple is black or white doesn’t really matter to me.

    On the other hand, I run across a lot of “gangsta” covers, and I always wonder who these covers are appealing to.  They don’t say “romance” to me, especially since the covers often feature two or three women fawning over one man (usually a man with a gun).  But I guess they aren’t aimed at a reader like me.

  7. 7

    This is kind of off topic, but I read Rachel Buttler’s THE ASSASSIN, and the heroine is part black. It’s a terrific book and I wanted to read more like it, so I went to Amazon and tried looking for books related to that kind of suspense. When I visited her Amazon page, nothing came up but multi-cultural books as suggestions for other books to read. Now what the f***? The book can be classified under multi-cultural, sure, but it’s not even a book that concentrates on race at all. THE biggest damn thing for me is that all multi-cultural books should not only be under that category, unless they choose that. They should also be put in the damn category that relates to their book. Suspense, paranormal, women’s fiction, whatever. Don’t pigeon-hole the books. Put them out with the rest of their genre so people can actually see another book is available in the genre they like to read. No matter what the race of the heroine or author is, the book should not be classified by race. That pissed me off to no end. I searched and searched for books like Rachel’s and they didn’t have ANYTHING related to the subject matter. Just categorized by race. That is so wrong.

    Now since then, Amazon DOES suggest other books in the same genre for THE ASSASSIN. I hope someone chewed their asses out and good.

  8. 8
    shaunee says:

    I’m glad to hear the issue of the lack of “marriageable African American men” addressed. (Although that sounds so very Regency, doesn’t it?) I read some study that said AA women have only a 20% chance of getting married. And I know there are plenty of scary or depressing statistics regarding race in America, but that one just really disturbed me. Not that marriage is the most important thing in the workld. I guess it’s just the idea that if you’re a black woman in America, you get to face all those other scary or depressing things… alone. And sadly, most of my black female friends accept this as reality.

    When I first started writing, being unable to visualize myself or my friends (a bunch of who have gone to scary/absurd lengths to find a “good” black man) with a black man due to their scarcity was one of the reasons I chose to write interracial romance.  I didn’t want to give up on happily ever after just because black men were becoming an endangered species and I thought that exploring romance outside a comfort zone would add interesting tension to the h/h relationship.

    I’m wondering if authors who write IR romance do so because it is a reflection of their reality or in response to the dearth of black men that Ms. Redd speaks about or a combination of those two things or for some other reason entirely.

  9. 9
    Kalen Hughes says:

    They [romance novels] offer a substitute for those who have resigned to never really being able to find a fulfilling love in their actual lives.

    Wow. Really? That old tired nugget?

  10. 10
    Mac says:

      They [romance novels] offer a substitute for those who have resigned to never really being able to find a fulfilling love in their actual lives.

    Wow. Really? That old tired nugget?

    Seems backwards, doesn’t it?  I think I would find lack of fulfilling real-life love an excellent reason to avoid romances like I’d avoid stampeding rhinos.

  11. 11
    Jessica says:

    The stealth covers drive me crazy.  Mia Zachary’s 9 1/2 Days is one of those.  It’s a Harlequin Blaze, and it took a bunch of Googling and reading the author’s comments on Amazon to figure out the characters were black.  (It was important for me to know this because I write category and it had been a no-no for so long, I wanted to know how someone slipped one by – and this was before the Silhouette Desire Brenda Jackson debut).
    As a black author and reader of romance since I was ‘introduced’ to them by my grandmother in the ‘70s, I have read black romance on and off for years.  I generally don’t read them now because I feel they stopped evolving, in some sense, in the 1980s.  When Harlequin (and all the subs they subsequently purchased) moved past the bedroom door, the black romances didn’t keep up.  As even NY got into the act with erotica, etc., I feel like many of those books are still stuck in the sweet romance world – which worked for me until puberty.  My preference would be to have all authors no matter race writing for all genres so that my reading could have a little diversity without having to travel hither and yon in the bookstore, and so I could get my sensuality in different colors as well.

  12. 12
    Eva_baby says:

    I’m glad to hear the issue of the lack of “marriageable African American men” … I read some study that said AA women have only a 20% chance of getting married.

    Many black women are quite resistant to marrying outside the race.  But recently there has been a rise in IR marriages bewteen black women and non-black men.  Part of it is propinquity.  Professional black women work with and also socialize with non-black males and thus find themselves more open the the idea.  The other part of it, is frankly, they are becoming increasingly aware of the dwindling pool and are re-evaluating their options. 

    There is a movie starring Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker (hot!) called Something New which could be the template for the perfect IR romance novel and also addresses so many issues that have come up in this forum: it acknowledges racial differences without preaching about it, anyone, white or black, could identify with this woman as she struggles with her professional life as well as her own personal assumptions about what makes the perfect mate, and, sadly, it was marketed as a ‘Black film’ so it didn’t get a big distribution. 

    In the film Sanaa and her friends discuss the very issue of marriageable African-American men.  They are single, professional, upwardly mobile and not close to getting married.  And, true to what I’ve experienced among my own friends, resistant to marrying outside the race.  It takes a change in thinking for her to consider it.  and when she does she falls for her hunky landscape architect.

    The film does a great job of looking at (but not in a heavy way) race but also class.  She is the upper class one.  Her family is educated and wealthy.  He is the blue collar one.  And what is even more awesome when she does meet the perfect mate (she has a list!), the delicious Blair Underwood, she can’t even appreciate him because she’s already fallen in love.

  13. 13
    Suze says:

    I’m forced to comment because my spamword is matter67.  What does race matter in romance?  Everything and nothing, simultaneously.

    I have nothing of substance to add (being fishbelly white, and having my acquaintance of people of African descent limited to people actually FROM Africa or the Carribean, but no anything-American on the mix), so I’ll toss in some trivia.

    I read an interview with Jada Pinkett-Smith about how she chooses roles, versus how her husband does.  I watched Kingdom Come, a movie about a family getting together for their father’s funeral, and it was hysterically funny.  My roomies and I rented and watched it something like 5 times, and it never really registered that it was a Black Film until I read this interview.

    She (Jada) said that she tends to think about (wildly paraphrasing here) the socio-political impact, and looks for Black roles in Black projects, whereas Will looks for colour-neutral roles, like Independence Day or Men in Black.  That is, the roles he played were perfect for him, but could have been played by anyone of any ethnicity.

  14. 14

    I have read black romance on and off for years.  I generally don’t read them now because I feel they stopped evolving, in some sense, in the 1980s.  When Harlequin (and all the subs they subsequently purchased) moved past the bedroom door, the black romances didn’t keep up. As even NY got into the act with erotica, etc., I feel like many of those books are still stuck in the sweet romance world

    I’m not sure what you mean, Jessica. There have been plenty of sexually explicit scenes in the AA romances I’ve read, including those in Harlequin’s Kimani Romance line.

  15. 15
    Jage says:

    I read interracial romance because I can connect with the heroine [who is usually black] and as a young black female [turning 20 in June] I used to wonder what was wrong with myself, and black females in general over the fact that we don’t seem attractive to other races or are looked at as wifey material. I have a cousin who only dates white girls because black girls are loud and brawling and bring drama.

    As someone who has seen girls of every race fight over foolishness or bring drama for no reason I just didn’t buy that, or if black guys do want to date you they never seem to want it to be long term or it’s always the mixed girls that get all the love [nothing against mixed chicks half my siblings are mixed, cuteness all around, lol].

    [Bit of topic] My father has three bi-racial children, has only dated either super light women [my mother is ‘high yellow’ almost hispanic in complexion] or white women but he got on this huge high horse about his daughters should only date ‘African Kings’ and blah blah blah, but we need to keep our temper in check, etc. And it’s real hypocritcal of him I think since he’s dark skinned but he has never evendated someone who is brown, always either mixed looking or white but he would be upset if I dated someone out of my race.

    So interracials are sort of like ‘fantasies’ to me, my favourite ones are the ones were the racial aspect is dealt with but it’s not subtle, it’s mainly the characters [usually the female] dealing with it and coming to terms with having to introduce him to her family and yet they also have other problems that every couple has to struggle through.

    One of my favourite IR books has a line where the male [white] fell in love with the female almost at first sight but she was the one being difficult about it [her black ex-fiance thought she was ugly when she decided to go natural while the white hero adored the texture and the curliness, etc] and there’s a line where she comments on that and he says ‘I love you because the colour of your skin, the way your hair is and everything about you.” and she says something along the lines of ” I love you *despite* the colour of your skin” and I found it really interesting that he embraces her colour instead of pretending it’s not part of who she is but she does her best to ignore it and she didn’t realise until he said that, showcasing the way she felt about herself as a black female and yeah, rambling, lol, but that just hit a chord with me. She’s the biggest block to her own happiness just because she wants to believe he wants to change her to fit a view of the perfect women that she has in her mind he’d want, not what he actually does.

    I also enjoy reading about IR couples from the POV of an Asian girl and a male of another race since there are still racial undertones but it’s more family based and the prejudice can spread to a Korean girl dating a Japanese guy or Chinese guy etc.

  16. 16
    Mac says:

    @Jage—I think I might be in love with your entire post.

  17. 17
    orangehands says:

    I read some study that said AA women have only a 20% chance of getting married.

    I knew that was an issue facing AA women but I didn’t realize it was that horrible.

    While it is completely wrong to not have black couples on a book because they are black, I’m personally not big on people (of any race) on a book. There are a few good cover exceptions, but for the most part…eh.

    Suze: really interesting re: Jada and Smith. Just saw a movie she was in last night for class- Set It Off.

    Jage- what’s the name of the book? It sounds good.

  18. 18
    Jage says:

    I really should’ve read that over twice before posting.

    my favourite ones are the ones were the racial aspect is dealt with but it’s not subtle,

    Not shouldn’t be there.

    By going natural I mean she stopped getting her hair chemically straightened.

    Sorry for the typos, and glad my rambling made sense, lol.

  19. 19
    Jage says:

    @orangehands: It’s an online story, here’s the website for it:

    http://www.bjthornton.com/SUB01.html

    The author has another one up at fictionpress [online review community]:http://www.fictionpress.com/s/2452302/1/Preaching_to_the_Choir

    Second one is basically about a young mixed girl who switches church because her priest betrays her brother’s trust and denounces him when he tells him he’s gay. So she goes to a new church where the pastor’s son[white boy] gets a crush. They’re opposite not just because of the colour of their skin but their values as well since he’s a ‘good’ boy and she’s not ‘bad’ but she sleeps around, drinks, etc. and he’s saving himself for marriage.

    Two of my favourite YA IRs have to be Romiette and Julio by Sharon M. Draper and If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson [though note, the second one doesn’t have a HEA but I love the message and the way it was written.]

  20. 20
    Jessica says:

    @Laura – Maybe I’ll have to give them a try again.

    @Suze – I loved that movie – mostly because of Simon Baker.  I used to watch his TV show – just for him.

  21. 21
    GrowlyCub says:

    Something New sounded interesting to I went to add it to my Neflix queue and lo and behold it was already in it! I’ve moved it to the top.  Thanks for reminding me Eva_baby.

  22. 22
    Leah says:

    I read some study that said AA women have only a 20% chance of getting married

    .

    You know, I’m sure that that study is fine, but I know plenty of black women who have married.  My family is bi-racial (through adoption), and my sisters have been able to find husbands.  Unfortunately, 2 of them are now divorced, but they divorced for the reasons anyone does—their husbands were jerks in the way that men can be, regardless of race.  From what I’ve seen, our society does tend to give young black men a raw deal, and it’s ridiculous.  I’ve been around long enough now to see that any one can get involved with drugs, be promiscuous, commit a crime, drop out of school, neglect your child,or do something violent—it has nothing to do with race—I suspect economic status is more the culprit….although we all know plenty of well-off people who do these very same things.    I had something else to say, but I can’t think while my son is yelling for a popsicle….oh, yeah!  Love (not just lust, or infatuation) is hard for anyone to find, and when we find it, we should embrace it, no matter what color it comes in.  (All those family members will usually chill out, esp when the grandchildren come alone ;) )

    Spam:  looking85—you know, I first dated the guy I was looking for in 1985….

  23. 23

    Jessica, I’m now thinking that different people’s “heat” meters might be set differently, so maybe it would be better to give examples. So, here are links to

    Rock Star Weddingthe mini-sequel to Rock Star by Roslyn Hardy Holcomb.
    A Lover’s Touch by Brenda Jackson.
    Never Too Late, a Kimani Romance short online read by Brenda Jackson.
    Got Milk?, not romance but “Literary Erotica” by Monica Jackson.

  24. 24
    Trash Addict says:

    Jage, I found your comments really intriguing because of how they reflect a reversal in the types of common IR relationships. Back in the bad old days it was much more common for white men to go after black women (and I do mean ‘go after,’ because the women weren’t willing). Obviously those relationships were NOT about love, but about (male) sexual gratification and power. Black men in those days were likely to lose their lives in the pursuit of a white woman, whether she was willing or not. But you see the opposite now and I find that veeeeeeeeeery interesting.
    I’m probably stirring a hornet’s nest with this question, but do you really think that black men are less likely to pursue black women because, like your cousin, they think black women are “loud and brawling?” Or do you think that some kind of “Off Limits” sign has been removed from the pursuit of white women and the novelty hasn’t worn off yet? Your cousin may be dating meek women, not “white” women because women bring drama, period. I don’t care what you look like, a woman who is passionately in love will holler and scream over her man. He may be confusing “white” with “quiet.”
    And just to give the hornet’s nest one more stir, as a member (and by-product) of an IR marriage myself, I know there is still hostility over them. The most vitriolic hate that has ever been directed at me hasn’t come from “good ol’ boys” or “white-power” idiots – it has come from black women. I wonder if I just ran across a few nasty women, because women can be mean to each other over men regardless of race issues. Do you think that black women feel like they should have preferential access to black men, even if intellectually they may not assert it?

  25. 25
    Jage says:

    I just wrote a huge response and the server ate it or something so I’m going to go cool down then come back and rewrite, just felt I should share that.

  26. 26
    Collette says:

    Jage, thanks so much for the story link!  I just read it this afternoon and it was amazing.  Really, really great.

    And yes, I read it all this afternoon.  It was dangerously compelling and didn’t allow me to do much else!  [Sorry baby, I’ll have to change your diaper later.  And don’t worry, Daddy will feed you.  ;-) ]

  27. 27
    Trumystique says:

    Does any one else have a problem with terminology here? I understand that romances about black folks have been excluded from the romance genre. But the term “Black Romance” seems to perpetuate the idea that that there is something essentially different about love stories that focus on black people.

    To put it another way, you dont routinely hear about “black science fiction” or “black mystery”. Granted these genres werent quite as exclusionary as romance. (And I know that science fiction as a genre isnt some wonderful paradise of racial inclusiveness… but still).

    And then there are other terms that might be more inclusionary. Multicultural romance- same problem. Also lacks specificity cause that just means people from different cultures. So conceivably you could have a “Multicultural Romance” with a German and an Australian. “Interracial romance” also suffers the same problem. Its seems so problematic that any of these terms would be used to signify subgenres.

    It seems ass backwards to name a subgenre based on the skin color or ethinicity of the people falling in love instead of naming a subgenre based on thematic differences or elements.

    Also Trash Addict and Jage, I am not even going to address your posts( while interesting) here. It may sound cliquish or elitist but its like trying to explain American electoral politics to a French person in 20 minutes. You need a history lesson. And a much longer and nuanced conversation is needed. If the SBs promised to review more romances featuring people of color then maybe…

  28. 28
    Seressia says:

    Author Gwynne Forster has also done an article on romances with black protagonists, for Affaire de Coeur.  You can read the online version here.

  29. 29
    Suze says:

    Jage, I second the thanks for the link.  That story was all kinds of wonderful.  The present tense made it kind of poetic, and some of the turns of phrase just stopped me dead in my tracks.  I’ll be going back there again.  Holy crap, it’s 4 hours later!

  30. 30
    Jage says:

    @Collette and Suze: I found that link during exam time, lol, it is extremely addictive. I haven’t finished the sequel although I think it’s looking at the issues more from the male view this time.  I wish she had comment boxes although I think I’ll email her just so she knows people are reading it and enjoying it.

    @Trumystique: I understand where you’re coming from but I think people are saying Black romance because it’s considered exotic for someone from say Australia to hook up with a Greek tycoon, any mix of someone who is ‘white’ and another person who is white is relatively mainstream if you look at Harlequin’s past listing but stories with Black characters, or Asian aren’t that popular. I was going to say middle-eastern as well but there seem to be a lot of shieks showing up.

    I think that as long as people are being judged by your skin, if you mention skin colour in relation to your characters it will be assumed to be a part of the conflict. The same goes for some religious stories where the main characters are say Christian and Muslim, it’ll create conflict [obviously]

    And I think here is a good place to start since it gets people who might not have even thought of things from that POV interested or give them enough insight to look deeper if they haven’t already.

    The majority of stories I read tend to IR [black women/white man or asian woman/white man although online hispanic guys are popping up a lot]

    @Trash Addict:
    I don’t think it’s an exact reversal however because girls from other races aren’t really going after white guys or what not, and those who do no matter their race are likely to get labelled as being ‘white washed’.

    The problem is a lot of guys think meek and white are synonymous. Not just black but other races. And if they’re not meek they’re crazy or ‘act black/ghetto’.

    To be honest I’ve never really thought about that ‘off limits’ aspect, but if that’s the case then why hasn’t it occured with coloured females? Or females of any race outside of white? [not saying it’s not frowned upon by some people to see a white female with someone of another race but they do tend to be more predominant to date outside of their race] Sure we tend to be more cautious about entering a relationship with a man outside of our own race based on what we hear, our family’s reacions as well as just the way we feel about it, but shouldn’t they be going after us more?

    While I was typing this I wanted to say excluding the guys who think they’re black and believe dating black girls give them some sort of ‘in’ and guys who have weird fetishes about certain cultures [you have all seen those asian porn pop-ups and pictures when you’re googling something anime related] which probably says quite a bit about prejudices I already have in my head, lol, even though I’m trying to get past it.

    The most vitriolic hate that has ever been directed at me hasn’t come from “good ol’ boys” or “white-power” idiots – it has come from black women. Do you think that black women feel like they should have preferential access to black men, even if intellectually they may not assert it?

    Probably. Or more a case of default [this may come out wrong but bare with me] as in, you know for a fact that you’re attractive to males of your own race and then you see them going out with girls who are able to date anyone they want [in your mind, this might not be the case] it just ticks you off.

    As well, it has to do with the fact that every day you see someone telling you that something about you isn’t that pretty. I know I stopped being friends with one girl because she was explaining to me that biracial people are ‘perfect’ in that they aer attractive to all races unlike others, and that pissed me off but then you hear your guy friends talking and they love so and so because she has ‘good hair’ [curly and soft] or she’s the perfect complexion [light skin] and it’s like, well damn. Or, vice versa depending if you’re light skin in a predominantly black neighbourhood. My sister has been called white n**** before because she’s light by another black girl, it got real heated.
    One time I heard this boy [white] who I was acquantices with make a comment that he didn’t see anything wrong with dating a black girl if she was pretty, but he’d never seen a pretty black girl so …

    And those things build up, and depending on your personality you might start to hate yourself and end up taking out your insecurities on the girls who they see as being competition. Lately I’ve noticed a trend of mixed/light girls lashing out out at darker girls, maybe in response to the negative attention they recieve or because now black girls have started to be considered pretty on main stream beyond the ones that are mixed?

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