Hodes provides details of the wedding of a white servant-woman and a slave man in 1681, an antebellum rape accusation that uncovered a relationship between an unmarried white woman and a slave, and a divorce plea from a white farmer based on an adulterous affair between his wife and a neighborhood slave.
Drawing on sources that include courtroom testimony, legislative petitions, pardon pleas, and congressional testimony, she presents the voices of the authorities, eyewitnesses, and the transgressors themselves--and these voices seem to say that in the slave South, whites were not overwhelmingly concerned about such liaisons, beyond the racial and legal status of the children that were produced.
The concept of a black man in a relationship with a white woman is a "thing" that people have an opinion on, and that opinion comes with an entire set of stereotypes, fueled by racist ideology, a complicated past, and sometimes even pop culture.
Kanye West once rapped about how successful black men will "leave your ass for a white girl," and then put himself into that box by marrying a white woman, furthering the pervasiveness of flawed, generic ideas about interracial relationships.
They're so upfront about their exclusive attraction to white women and they'll give you a list of reasons why. They smugly go out of their way to put down black women based on stereotypical notions about their attitude, or hair, or something equally stupid and it's corny and disgusting.
That's one of the issues with interracial dating.
I started to see what it really meant to be in an interracial relationship.
Sometimes white girls hid me from their family, especially their father. I had one girlfriend in high school who strictly forbade doorbell ringing. She was not going to go through the trouble of calling attention to the fact that she was going out with a black guy.
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This book is the first to explore the history of a powerful category of illicit sex in America's past: liaisons between Southern white women and black men.
Martha Hodes tells a series of stories about such liaisons in the years before the Civil War, explores the complex ways in which white Southerners tolerated them in the slave South, and shows how and why these responses changed with emancipation.
Any time a black man walks around with a white woman he's giving off the impression that white women are his specific preference and that he has a problem with women of his own race, and because that applies to some black men who date white women, it becomes a label that all of us are subjected to. I totally get where black women are coming from, too.
It's nothing to walk past a random black woman on the street and get a death glare and maybe even overhear something like, "They're taking all of our men." I was out with my white girlfriend at The Graham in East Williamsburg sometime last year and a black woman came up to me and asked me why was I dating a white girl when she can't even get a man. Truth be told, it's important to me that they also get where I'm coming from and know that I'm not one of these sellouts who views them as undesirable.
I was taught the story of Emmett Till by my mother at a young age.