D. Barbara McWhite
D. Barbara McWhite
D. Barbara McWhite
D. Barbara McWhite

When “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts recently announced that she is in a lesbian relationship, I wasn’t shocked. After all, the rumor mill was rife with speculation. So when she finally confirmed her sexuality and identified her partner, my first thought wasn’t, “Wow, she a lesbian!” Instead, my reaction was, “Even our lesbians want white women. “

So let’s talk about it.

What is it that causes so many African American men, when they achieve fame, power or wealth, to seek partners of another races? What is it that causes young black men in local malls to partner with white women and raise children with them while, all too often, they flee attachments to black women and the black children they father? Why are so many black men willing to pass over beautiful and accomplished black women to form relationships and marriages with white women, many times, less conventionally attractive or as accomplished.

As the mother of two sons, both of whom have formed decade-long relationships with white women, I have many times asked the question “Why?” And admitting the fact that both my sons chose white women is a “coming out” of sorts that leaves me vulnerable to criticism on how we raised them.

Though my husband and I intentionally raised our children to see and honor the best in all people, regardless of race, we never expected that they would both chose partners of a different race. We never expected that we would have to look beyond the fair skin and blue eyes of our grandchildren to see our family similarities.

As an African American woman and mother, seeing my sons choose white women has felt like a rejection of my own beauty and caused me to question my role in their decisions. Did I turn them off with the boldness of my mother-voice, making the often softer-seeming white woman’s voice more appealing? Am I not beautiful in my sons’ eyes? Did I fail to present or portray the beauty of our race, allowing them you buy into America’s definition of beauty? Maybe I should have sent them to schools where blacks were predominant. I don’t know. Maybe I should have bought more black art.

It’s hard to miss the number of prominent African American men who, having the ability to choose virtually any woman, choose women of other races — Michael Jordan…Robert Griffin III…Tiki Barber…Tiger Woods…Kanye West…Quincy Jones…Michael Jackson…Charles Barkley…Ice T, to name a few. I have to believe that the rich man who enters the candy store picks the kind of chocolate he craves most.

It is likewise hard to miss the young black men, seemingly without even a car., walking beside the roads of any city while holding the hand of a white woman or walking the local mall pushing strollers holding café au lait babies. Then you walk a few steps and see the young black girls, with or without babies, and no man in sight.

I can’t honestly say that I oppose interracial relationships. Skin pigmentation should not be an impediment to love. But as a black woman, it’s hard to not feel resentful that our men are choosing women of other races while white men, for the most part, marry within their own race, leaving too many black women without partners.

And though there are may claims for why black men bypass black women, I don’t believe many of the reasons suggested — that white women are more agreeable; that white women are aggressively going after black men; that white women are more sexually liberated. Nor do I believe that black women are too loud, too materialistic or too dominant.

Still, I’m tired of seeing my black, beautiful and accomplished daughter, my nieces and the daughters of my friends left partnerless, while their male counterparts chose women of other races. And though I have advised them to cross color lines, should love come calling, I realize that the pool of white suitors is still limited by entrenched prejudices.

So, perhaps it’s time to ask the hard but obvious questions of our men. Honestly, brothers, what are black women doing wrong? What more do you want and need from us? Why are we losing your love and attention? Let’s talk about it.

D. Barbara McWhite grew up in York County, S.C., and now lives in Orange Park, Fla.