While many black women cope with psychological or social hurdles in their path to dating interracially, one of the most potent barriers is the claim that black woman are unattractive, to non-black men and/or to men generally. This claim is generally hurled along two dimensions: (1) that black African characteristics such as kinky hair, dark skin, full lips and broad noses are simply unattractive on women and/or (2) that black women are more prone to obesity and less likely to properly care for themselves physically, and that it is this "self-neglect" that makes black women less attractive than other women.
Historically, the first level of prejudice was most likely to be openly displayed: black women were generally invisible in mainstream culture unless relegated to sexless mammy roles, but when they did appear as in anyway attractive, they were invariably light skinned, with narrower facial features and straighter hair than other black women, a phenomenon that continues to this day, though it is rarely explicitly acknowledged. Within the black community, black people also openly embraced the European standard of beauty, with elite black men almost invariably marrying light-skinned women, and all black women utilizing whatever tools they could find, from lye to skin bleach, to emulate the appearance of those women who were clearly most preferred.
In a post-"black is beautiful"/paper-bag test world, it is considered unacceptable to state openly that one considers blackness ugly. White people fear that making such statements publicly would result in them being called racist, and black people fear that making such claims would result in them being viewed as self-loathing. Unfortunately, merely because people stop saying things aloud does not mean that they have stopped believing them. Thus, a consistent riposte aimed at black women who express an interest in interracial relationships is the threat that non-black men will not find them attractive. The potency of this threat can be measured not only by the absence of black women from most mainstream images of feminine beauty, but even more so by the limited experience that many black women have had with being approached with the same assertiveness by non-black men that they have experienced with black men.
Obviously, the fact that I and many black women like me have happily dated, partnered, and married non-black men makes it clear that there ARE non-black men who find black women attractive, and the fact that so many mixed race people, most of whom are the offspring of black mothers, have existed throughout history is a testimony to the fact that there always have been. Nevertheless, I have been hesitant to write about this issue, even though I have seen it repeatedly come up in posts here and at other blogs. This is primarily because, in many ways I fit neatly within our society's parameters of "conventional beauty": I'm fairly tall, a size 6, with biggish breasts, a small waist, and curvy hips, with smallish, even facial features. Probably more importantly, I went to private, highly desegregated schools for most of my life, and my parents made a point of exposing me to a variety of people and cultures. This has given me a certain "social ease" with a variety of people that may not come naturally to those who have been socialized in more segregated environments, even if they don't have segregated attractions. The result has been that I haven't had a particularly hard time meeting men of different races--picking up on social signals, displaying interests in recognizable ways, shared interests in music and popular culture, etc. What I want from this post is for other sisters to share their own experience on this topic, especially the sisters who have also managed to date men from across the racial spectrum, and believe they have some tips to share with sisters who have the inclination, but aren't sure they know exactly HOW to actually meet the interesting, worthwhile men that they're interested in. Please share!