Within this racialized landscape in which whiteness has reigned supreme, the line between white and black has been the starkest marker of racial difference, with the white side of the line representing all that is positive, and the black side of the line representing all that is negative. I recognize that many people form loving relationships across the black-white color line.
Whiteness has been a privileged and prized identity in the U. So when black men select white women and de-select black women, they are doing so in a context of charged racial meanings. Some of the people I admire and respect most in my professional life are black men married to white women and white women married to black men.
White women are less willing than white men to date outside of their racial group, but heavier-set white women are more willing to date black men, because, researchers Cynthia Feliciano, Belinda Robnett, and Golnaz Komaie of UC Irvine posit, of "racial-beauty exchange theory" -- the notion that a white woman who is less attractive by the measure of dominant Euro-American beauty standards is willing to "trade down" on the racial hierarchy by dating a black man.
By the same token, black men who date white women are "trading up" on the American racial hierarchy.
Once I overheard my black boyfriend telling his buddies how he preferred white women; on another occasion (with a different black boyfriend) a guy told me he didn't care that I was breaking up with him because he could go out and get a white woman, which was what he really wanted anyway.
For both these men (and to be fair, they were not much older than 20 at the time and thus had plenty of maturing to do), white women were the pinnacle of womanhood -- the prize that they secretly coveted, the emotional weapon that they knew they could wield.
This is due in part to the unsettling evidence that many groups of men do not prefer black women.