To Chase or Not Chase a Man: Dating Rules for Black Women

Where does the line blur?

A black couple wearing semi-formal attire for a date. The man is wearing a black outfit with a white, flowered bow tie. The woman is wearing a white, flowered dress.
Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

While browsing through YouTube this week, I came across a few videos that talked about actor Joshua Jackson’s comments on his marriage to actress Jodie Turner-Smith. According to entertainment news outlets, Jackson shared that Turner-Smith proposed to him and was “adamant” about it. The bloggers accused him of shaming her dignity by letting this secret out. Jackson is white and Turner-Smith is black.

Many women in the comments section seemed to agree that a woman should not propose to a man nor chase him. They also agreed that what Jackson did was wrong, even spiteful, by airing his relationship dynamic with Jodie seemingly unprovoked. A few amounts of women in the comments did not see anything wrong with what Jackson said and believed people were reading too much into his comments.

From YouTuber Paris Milan

I watched the interview and did not find anything wrong with what he said. He told the truth about how they got married and he did not sound malicious to me at all. Jimmy Fallon asked him how he knew she was the one and he replied that she proposed to him and was direct about it. He then followed up, saying that it was the “best decision I ever made.”

I found myself agreeing and disagreeing with the points raised in the videos about Jackson’s comments. However, I ultimately came to the conclusion that dating sucks and it sucks even harder for black women. According to reports from dating apps, black women are the least desired by men of all races, including their own. In media, black women are portrayed as mammies to jezebels. Then there’s colorism, which pits black women against each other all because of the shade of their skin.

As a young, black woman, navigating the dating world constantly leaves me both afraid to find love and want to explore it –– especially in interactions with non-black men. I am proud of my skin tone, 4C hair, and African heritage. Yet, I oftentimes feel insecure about myself when surrounded by my white/non-black peers or even fellow black women who are flawless.

In college, I was in two interracial relationships and never quite felt at ease. I had pursued both guys and in the midst of an argument, I was reminded by both guys that I chased them. They both tried to soften the blow and said it was “brave of me” to do that and they admired me for it, but I felt humiliated. I had and still haven’t been chased by a man who took an interest in me and feel that maybe I’m not good enough.

In this new feminist movement of women taking control and going after what they want, I’m constantly torn on how to approach the dating scene as a black woman. Should you show your feelings to your crush or play hard to get? If you do, does that make you desperate? If you don’t, does that make you difficult? I don’t get it. It’s even harder when you’re dating a person of a different race/cultural background than you.

I don’t think black women will ever have the right answers about dating and relationships, but the conversations will continue. We have so much to offer and deserve so much love, regardless of the unwritten rules.

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