I noticed it right away — black women in Florida were giving me nasty, dirty looks wherever I walked with my husband. Why? Because I’m not black and my husband obviously is.
This is an attitude I’m unfamiliar with. There are several black women at my church and they love me the same as anyone else there. Trinity’s family likes me as well, and there was never any hint that they resented me for not being black. Is it because California is generally more diverse than Florida? Is that really the case?
Just from my observations, South Florida appears to have more black people than Southern California. Unlike Southern California, where service workers’ ethnicities range from Hispanic/Latino to Asian to white to black, depending on where you are, most of the service workers in South Florida were black — from what I observed. And unfortunately, that’s where I got most of those dirty looks — at Popeyes, at CVS Pharmacy, while walking to a restaurant to celebrate our anniversary (so we were all dressed up), and elsewhere. Forgive me if my perception is inaccurate, I’m going on what I remember.
I asked my friend Belinda, who is half white and half Filipino and whose significant other is also a black man, if this is something she gets a lot of if it was just me. She told me it wasn’t me — she gets also gets nasty looks, but I think she has learned to ignore them because she lives in Florida. Yikes.
What’s the reason? Well, I’m pretty sure the reason is what Wikipedia calls the “marriage squeeze”:
A new term has arisen to describe the social phenomenon of the so-called “marriage squeeze” for African American females. The marriage squeeze refers to the belief that the most eligible and desirable African American men are marrying non-African American women, leaving those African American women who wish to marry African American men with fewer partnering options. According to Newsweek, 43% of black women between the ages of 30-34 have never been married. Several explanations of this phenomenon have been advanced. In part it may be due to relatively fewer European American men being attracted to African American women, perhaps due to differences in appearance or social status, or as a result of the lingering effects of social ostracism, to which past white American men who have historically pursued relationships with African American women were heavily subjected, although today one in five white Americans would seriously consider marrying across the color line nonetheless. It may also be the result of a desire among African American women to marry African American men due to concepts such as racial loyalty, and the internalized stereotypical belief that non-African American men would not find them attractive. There is also the lingering belief that negative social stereotypes preclude them being viewed as anything but sexual objects by non-African American men.  With this comes the remembrance of the brutal and objectifying sexual relationships that white men had with black women during and after slavery. Lastly, there is a desire among educated women of all races to “marry up” or at least within their social and economic class. With the great disparity that exists between African American women and African American men in this respect, black women often face either “marrying down” or not marrying at all, when they choose to restrict their marriage prospects to African American men. Another confounding factor for African American women may be the disproportionate mortality rate between men and women in the black community: there are only approximately 85 males for every 100 females by the time they reach their child-bearing years.
When we (Belinda, Trinity and I) discussed the nasty looks, it came down to this: its a shame these women were so busy shooting dirty looks at us, rather than looking beyond color to enlarge their dating pool.
Trust me — marrying a black man was not easy for me to bring to my Filipino family, especially my mom who wanted me to marry a doctor or the son of a doctor. But before getting married, I never staked a claim on any category of men, much less Filipino men, much less to the point that I would shoot dirty looks at women who weren’t Filipino but were hanging out with Filipino men.