Sunday, July 24, 2011

The interracial romance

We have been discussing as a theme “Vampires and human” love stories. The thread that seems to be recurring in the discussion is the issue of the forbidden love. I want to deviate and write a little about romance in a more realistic sense: The interracial romance. In this context I am talking about love between two human beings of different races or ethnicities appearing in books and on TV.

I was recently working on a manuscript where a white female of a deeply religious sect living a 19th century lifestyle in distinct colonies, falls in love with a black man. Of course it is a forbidden love, much like the Vampire human love stories. As I began looking at publishers and their submission guidelines, I realized for African American romance, several publishers place a stipulation that both the hero and heroine had to be African American. In fact Genesis press had this as a guideline: “The heroine in romance and the protagonist in fiction must be black (African-American, African, Caribbean etc). The hero in romance must also be black....”
Are we saying love between a white woman and a black man cannot be considered “African American Romance, even if the man and just about every other character in the book are African American? Mainstream romance is not much different either. Even if the guidelines don’t specifically say it, in most mainstream romance both Hero and Heroine are of the same race. Therefore interracial romance, especially if it involves a white woman and a black man, neither fits into African American Romance or Mainstream romance.

That prompted me to look around on television for interracial romances in the primetime series. I examined the last two seasons of primetime shows on ABC, simply because it’s the television station I watch the most. I found while many of their primetime shows had at least one gay couple, only one show, “Modern Family” seemed to have a stable interracial couple. It was the marriage between an older white male and a young (really sexy) Hispanic female. Consequently, that couple also embodied the May/December relationship and the multicultural relationship. And though I am not much of a movie buff, I’ve seen very few recent movies with interracial romances.

Apparently while Vampire/human romances are gaining popularity today, the interracial romance, especially between black and white are becoming a relic of the past, at least on television. It is not a true reflection of today’s society where there is an increase in interracial marriages. According to the PEW report, 20 years ago only 6.8% of marriages involved couples of different races. Today, that number has more than doubled to 14.6%.

So why don’t the romance in books and on primetime television reflect the trends of today’s society in terms of interracial romances? I can postulate a few reasons:
 Interracial relationships are still uncomfortable to many viewer/readers?
 Too many complicated societal issues?
 Writers/producers fear offending particular races by having stereotypes?
 Or is it because fiction simply lags behind reality?
What’s your take on it?

26 comments:

Tom Doolan said...

"Writers/producers fear offending particular races by having stereotypes?"

Personally, I would say this is pretty close. It seems that, in these days, being PC and not offending someone has become more important than anything else, including telling a good story. There are so many ways to tell a good interracial story, regardless of genre. And really, avoiding stereotypes seems to be the norm. I would think that having a stereotyped character in a story would be a death-knell to begin with.

I also think people need to lighten up about race and racism. It will only go away when we stop giving it power. And that includes trying so hard to avoid it. But, I'm straying into more volatile territory here, so I digress. :)

KeVin K. said...

Tom: The heartfelt belief that lightening up on racism would take away its power was my credo for a very long time. White guys like us tend to think that way, with all the best intentions in the world. Unfortunately, it's like saying that lightening up on schizophrenia or HIV will rob them of their power and make them go away. Took me a long time to figure that out and adopt a more adversarial approach.
(For those of you not white in our audience, white guys see white culture the way fish see water: not at all. What may look like deliberate malice is all too often oblivious inattention.)

KeVin K. said...

Jewel, I published my response to Tom before I remembered to comment on your post.

I can't post an image in comments for some reason, so I'll have to refer folks back to my post of July 18 and the photo of Valerie and me in 1981. We've been together 31 years and married 30 and --perhaps not surprisingly -- interracial romance has figured heavily in our lives.

In the mid-90s Valerie and I wanted to collaborate on a series of interracial romances. (There were a few out there at the time, but the values and motivations of the heroines struck Val as false and stereotypical. She developed some terrific plots and characters and writing those books together is still a goal of ours.) Unfortunately, the editor I corresponded with told me their primarily AA imprint was backing away from interracial romances because of market backlash. From that point on their "multicultural" line was going forward without white protagonists.

Valerie has been accused of betraying her people and I've been called a "race traitor." We've gone to black churches where the sermon became a tirade on whites destroying the black family and I've had the pastor of a white church less than a mile from our home counsel me on the "fact" that I cannot be truly married to Valerie. I could fill several columns with the complexities of our children's lives.

I just Googled "interracial movies" to find the title of a recent romance Valerie loves and made the horrifying discovery that search leads to pages of pornography links -- an indicator of public attitudes I'm thinking. Using "interracial romances" I found it: Something New from 2006. For interracial romance in TV, I could only think of "Lincoln Heights" but Valerie says "Gray's Anatomy" "Private Practice" and "Parenthood" (shows I've never watched) all had interracial romances.

I think the reason publishers won't take a chance on interracial romances is tied to both the statistics you cite and the editor from the 1990s. Interracial couples do not make up a big share of the market and the majority of readers on both sides of the color line do not want stories about heroes and heroines who turn against their own kind. If you're goal is to make money, there's no upside to the risk.

G said...

I actually have no problem in reading interracial romances. As a matter of fact, one of the first ones that I've read when I decided to explore my horizons was called Whiskey Road.

Another good one that I read was Feminista.

Writing one can be a bit tricky if you haven't either had the exposure or the experience (not trying to be insulting here and I apologize if some feels that I'm insulting them). I find that I'm a bit more comfortable in writing about interracial relationships than a traditional relationship.

Not sure why that is but one of the reasons I've come up with over the years is simply observing friends and co-workers of color who are strong and independent women.

Delaney Diamond said...

Jewel, I write interracial and African-American/multicultural romance. I do think there needs to be a distinction, if only because some readers look specifically for IR romance. I, myself, am sometimes in the mood for an IR, and labeling every romance with an African-American character an AA romance makes it difficult to find what I'm looking for (even if the love interest is of another race).

There are tons of IR romances, but they may not be classified as such. Nalini Singh and Suzanne Brockmann come to mind. Kimberly Kaye Terry and Rochelle Alers have written IR for Kimani Press. Then there are the many authors who write in the genre and have found success in e-publishing, writing about latinos, Native Americans, Asians, etc. I happen to be one of those authors.

Slowly, but surely, IR romances are becoming more mainstream. A lot of it has to do with changes in society. As people become more open-minded about those types of relationships, romances that reflect IR relationships will continue to grow in demand.

Anyone looking for IR can take a look at a post on my blog where I list MC and IR resources, including where to find lists of books with multicultural characters and romance.

http://delaneydiamond.com/2011/07/18/ir-mc-resources/

Charles Gramlich said...

My first novel, Cold in the Light, had an interracial romance. At the time I wrote it, that hardly seemed to be done. now it actually seems very common to me, although admittedly I haven't made any kind of actual count. I don't watch a wide spectrum of TV though so my experiences may be biased.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Tom, I agree that subscribing to racial sterotypes would be a death knell. The thing is, a good story depends on building strong likeable characters. That can be done without racial stereotypes as long as we treat all characters like human and think of how they would react given a particular set of circumstances.

No racial or ethnic group is a monolith of personalities. Every member of every race is an individual and as long as we write their characters as such it should help us avoid the stereotypes associated with certain races.

Jewel Amethyst said...

KeVin, "Something New" is also one of my favorite movies.

There was a big deal made of a superbowl commercial about a black couple sitting on a parkbench. A white woman came running across and the black man looked at her flirtaciously. The black woman threw the Pepsi can to hit the man and it hit the white woman instead. People were overanalyzing it saying it was pandering to black women because black women thought white women were taking away their men.

What I'm trying to say is, there is a common feeling (not sure if it is a misconception or not)that black women are threatened by white women taking their men.

I am a black woman, I don't have that perception, nor do I know any other black woman personally who share that feeling. But then, I was not born and raised in the American culture. Where I come from, class plays a bigger role than race in relations and relationships.

As for those preachers you spoke of, they are unenlightened and insular and need to see people for what they are: people.

Jewel Amethyst said...

G, my first book was a multicultural romance between a Ghanaian and an African American. They were both black, but I had to look at them in light of their culture, their experiences and their backgrounds. I have never been to Ghana, but have been exposed to some elements of the culture by being around Ghanaians.

I think the same can be said for people writing interractial romance. We don't have to live the experience. We just have to 1) treat the characters like human beings and 2)observe the culture and people around us

Mimi Tremont said...

Jewel,

I moderate IMRR Bookclub and for ten years we've been discussing interracial books featuring heroes and heroines all ethncities.

And if we've been discussing IR books for ten years, it isn't because fiction is lagging behind society. In many cases, it's as Delaney stated. A good number of books that we consider IR aren't labeled as such by the publishers. (Ex: The Berger Mitry Mysteries by David Handler, "Naked" by Megan Hart, "About A Dragon" by G.A. Aiken)In some cases, the ethnicity of the characters have been incidential and had no bearing on the plot. And in other cases, the genre (ex: sci-fi, fantasy or erotica) was more of a focus than the color of the characters skin; so those titles were never pushed as being IR, they were simply sold for what they were...a great story that happened to feature people of different races as the hero and heroine.

Genesis Press does indeed publish Interracial Romances. In the past, the ethnicity of the heroine mattered little to them. Off the top of my head I can think of four titles they've put out featuring white heroines and heroes of other ethnicities since the late 90's. "My Buffalo Solider," by Barbara BK Reeves, "Meant To Be" by Jeanne Summerix, they opened the millenium with Kei Swanson's "Words Of The Pitcher" and later published "Shades of Brown" by Denise Becker.

However, a few years back they did begin to restrict the ethnicity of the heroine for all their imprints.

Why?

Most likely because black women are the vast majority of their market. It's only smart for a business to go where the money is.

Currently, as in the past, they have a host of interracial titles featuring black heroines with heroes of every possible ethnicity, covering a wide variety of genres through their Love Spectrum imprint.

You can find Genesis Press books in virtually every bookstore and Walmart in the world.

http://www.genesis-press.com/owListProduct.asp?sSort=&bSpecials=&sAccountUnq=0&bSub=&idCategory=72&iTtlNumItems=48&iDBLoc=12

Years ago, we could complain about the lack of stories featuring characters willing to cross the color line for their happily ever after. But today that can't be said.

Not realistically.

Interracial romance IS part of the mainstream. Most publishers, mass market and electronic, are looking for well written interracial romances/fiction. They're just having a difficult time finding authors capable of writing what they're looking for that doesn't sound like someone they're currently publishing or that's one racially charged stereo type on top of another.

Thankfully, the number of books and authors writing across the color line is growing by leaps and bounds on a daily basis....and the readers are eagerly waiting for every book they can get their hands on...of every genre.

To see what IMRR's been up to for the past ten years, especially our most recent addition of a book database, you can check us out our new site here: http://www.imrrbookclub.com and our growing database of IR books here: http://www.imrrbookclub.com/resources/reader/bookdatabase.html

Anonymous said...

I think with both mediums, tv and fiction the discomfort level by viewers does exist, but it is much less than producers & publishers actually believe.

Studies have shown that younger people are a lot less concerned by IR romance than older people. If you go off network to cable and especially cable networks that skew younger, you''ll see more IR relationships. CBS, ABC and NBC are tied ad revenue and for them it is a lot more frightening to try something new.

ABC of all three networks does at least try. Flashforward had the most rare of all IR romances Black woman/Asian male. Yeah, it got cancelled but not because of the romance.

It also has Happy Endings a sitcom that was a mid-season replacement and didn't get a lot of fanfare but had good enough ratings and word-of mouth buzz that it got renewed. It is a Friends-like sitcom that features an IR couple, WW/BM. I recommend it because it is funny and the actors sell the hell out of their characters.

Regards books. Publishing, imo, seems one of the most insular, most controlled areas outside of maybe the fashion industry. I love reading IR romances, but the romance industry which is a billion dollar industry and controls the lions share of paperback revenue is incredibly conservative. There is a huge perception, aided and abetted by many readers that white women, who are the overwhelming consumers of the genre, simply are not interested in IR. Yeah, they'll embrace vampires but it is liek having their cake and eating it too. They are taboo because they can figuratively stand in the place of Otherness. But racially speaking they are safe because they are still white.

Luckily, more and more readers who do want to read IR romances are getting more vocal about it and showing there is a market there. The explosion of e-books and more epublishing venues has shown that. Sure the quality can be iffy sometimes, but I am convinced it is a niche that is growing. I try to do my part and buy, review and recommend as many IR romances as I can.

and FYI, regards Genesis they have an imprint called Love Spectrum that is specifically IR. Although the stipulation there is that while the hero can be any race other than black the heroine must be black.


Tina

Jewel Amethyst said...

Thanks Delaney, and welcome to Novel Spaces blog.

You do have a great point about the genre distinction. Unfortunately, the lines are still very blurred. I find some African American romance publishers consider romance between a black woman and a man of any other race as AA, but not a romance between a black man and a woman of another race. I guess that may be because romance is primarily written from the POV of the female.

I also find that when the story describes a romance between two ethnic minorities (eg. African American and Hispanic)it is less likely to be considered interacial and more likely to be considered multicultural. Correct me it if I'm wrong.

Delaney Diamond said...

Jewel, I haven't found that to be the case. My heroes are Hispanic, and my work is classified as IR. I also see IR classifications for Asian/Black, Native American/Black, etc. couples.

MC is sometimes used for IR pairings, but it's also used to categorize black/black pairings or pairings where one or both black people are from another country/culture.

I guess one way to look at it is to say MC is the genre, in a broader sense, but subgenres or groupings under that would be African-American or IR romance.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Point well taken, Delaney.

Charles, I would definitely like to see a lot more IR romance relationships make it to prime time television and the big screen.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Mimi, I will definitely check out the website. You guys have given me really good information on IR and MC publishing. You are right, publishers' primary goal is profits. They will publish what brings the most money and will pander to their major market.

Tina, I looked at the love spectrum from Genesis submission guidelines and they do limit their lead female character to being African American, though the male character can run the whole gamut.

Young people tend to be more open minded to "different and new" than older people. Why that is, is probably a whole new blog topic.

Angie said...

Another point to consider is marketing and the vendors. If white women don't read many romances with characters of color, it's often because those romances aren't in the Romance section at the bookstore. I'm ashamed to tell you how many years it was before I even knew there were romances with characters of color, because they were shelved on the other side of the bookstore, in "African American Studies" or "Black Literature" or whatever else the bookstore decided to call them. I've bought some Kimanis recently, and hey, they're good! (No kidding, right?) I'll bet a lot of white women would enjoy them if they knew they existed, but even now, too many bookstores shelve only romances about white characters in the "Romance" section and put romances featuring characters of color in other sections, where the bulk of the romance readers don't know to go look for them.

Another example that makes me want to smack some people is the online e-book vendors. Fictionwise, for example, puts its CoC romances as a subshelf -- "Multicultural-Interracial Erotica" -- under the "Erotica" heading on its navigational sidebar. "Romance" has its own heading on the sidebar, but that's not where the MC/IR books are. Even if you write a sweet AA romance with no sex at all, it'll be filed under "Erotica," which is pretty darned offensive IMO, as though the fact that it's AA means it's inherently problematic and has to be hidden away in a sub-section. (GLBT romance, which is what I write, is also stuck under "Erotica," again regardless of actual sexual content.)

Ideally all romances should be sold as Romances, with subgenres within that heading, not hidden off in a dark corner somewhere. I think the same issues that make so many romance publishers reject IR and MC romances out of hand (unless they're written by a proven bestseller like Ms. Singh or Ms. Brockmann) also make so many vendors segregate the books once they've been published. It's a systemic problem, and the publishers are only one component of it.

Angie

Jewel Amethyst said...

I am with you on That Angie. There has been quite a bit of discussion on shelving on this blog in the past year or two. That had been Farrah Rochon's (one of the writers on the blog) pet peeve.

If readers can demand that AA, IR, and MC romance be shelved with mainstream romance (and I don't know why romance with characters of color isn't considered mainstream), even if they are grouped together, it would make a difference in the readership.

Somehow I thought E-readers would have eliminated that problem, but from what you're saying it has not. I think it's up to readers, writers and publishers to demand different categorization for the books.

X. Dell said...

You might want to check out a book titled Sex and Racism in America by Calvin Hernton, former professor emeritus of sociology at Oberlin. His thesis was that American racism has always had a sexual component. Ergo, it's difficult to explore the topic of interracial romance (esp. between white females and black males) without exposing the latent and hidden real prejudices that never went away.

BTW, I don't think a good number of cultural producers are worried about offending people or stereotyping. I can show you abundant examples of each. Perhaps that could have been true in the 1960s, but broadcast marketing since the 1980s targets very small demographics. Who cares about offending people when provocative material stokes the perspective and prejudices of the target audience?

Liane Spicer said...

Maybe it's because I live in a truly multi-racial, multi-ethnic society (Caribbean) but I find the race issue in the US - especially as it impacts publishing - somewhat incomprehensible. It boggles my mind that there's a default race for the romance genre and all others are segregated into various subgenres - and into special niches in bookstores.

My own novel is marketed as African American romance even though there isn't a single African American character in it. Since the main characters are people of colour the (US) publishers obviously felt it had to be marketed to African Americans hence the AA appellation. It's all about marketing and is based on so many ludicrous (to me) assumptions about white readers and about black readers that I won't even try to go into that here; I'd want to begin with the 'African American' label for starters. Why aren't all Americans Americans? How is it that some have to be identified in terms of their race/ethnicity but not others? And so on, and so on, interminably.

Jewel, maybe AA-Hispanic romances aren't considered interracial because 'Hispanic' is not a race, but a culture and language. Hispanics run the spectrum from white to black to Native Caribbean, South and Central American and every possible mixture of these. So, multicultural is in fact an appropriate term here.

Angie said...

X.Dell -- Ergo, it's difficult to explore the topic of interracial romance (esp. between white females and black males) without exposing the latent and hidden real prejudices that never went away.

Very true. The US has a long history of WM/BW couples, although for most of that history, "polite" society pretended it didn't notice. BM/WW couples are seen by white racists as intensely threatening, though; the idea that black men are "after" white women was and has long been used by rabble rousers as a provocation to get white racists worked up to the point of violence.

Steve Barnes, a black man who among other things does TV and movie writing, has pointed out that there's never been major, mainstream movie where a black man was shown having sex, even to the extent that's very common for white men on TV. It's like the white majority film-going public is afraid of being confronted with the reality of black men's sexuality or something. Or Hollywood is afraid they are, at least. Even Will Smith, the single biggest actor in Hollywood in terms of box-office, hasn't gotten a sex scene. Why might that be, if not racism and fear of offending the people who might be offended by such things? :/

BTW, I don't think a good number of cultural producers are worried about offending people or stereotyping.

I think it depends whom they think they'd be offending. There are plenty of shows and movies and books where the only black character is a prostitute or a drug dealer, the only Latino is a gang banger, the only Asian is brainy geek. They're less willing to offend people with privilege, though.

Frex., getting back to romance novels, RWA has been resisting the addition of "Erotic" categories in its RITA awards for many years, despite the fact that erotic romance sells well. (And despite the fact that vendors are selling non-erotic titles as erotic, inflating the numbers even further.) Don't want to offend the pearl-clutching conservative ladies of the organization, after all. (Note that there's a special RITA category for "Inspirational" romances which cater specifically to the ultra-conservative evangelical Christan market -- talk about a small demographic! They're a privileged and influential demographic, though.)

GLBT romances have also been doing nicely for pushing ten years now, but you won't see one of those on the RITA finals ballot either, and in fact just a few years ago the RWA rewrote their bylaws to specifically define a romance as being between "one man and one woman," to leave out M/M, F/F and all menage books. Props to the rank-and-file membership for protesting, and getting them to remove it, but the fact that their leadership did it, that they even wanted to, says quite a lot.

Angie

Angie said...

Liane -- Why aren't all Americans Americans?

Because of a lot of very nasty, violent and vitriolic history. Slavery, and the Jim Crow era after it, and the institutional racism left over today, all combines to make the distinction between white and African American very important in American culture. This isn't a good thing, but it's there, and I don't expect it to go away in my lifetime. Same for the other races; white Americans have a very bad history of dealing with Latino/Hispanics, with Asians, with Native Americans -- lots of nasty history there which has driven wedges. They all have their impact on modern society here.

because 'Hispanic' is not a race, but a culture and language.

You're right of course, but here in the US it is considered a race by the vast majority of the population. I'm not willing to give the publishers so much credit as to assume they're not considering Hispanic as a race when they're categorizing their books. See above for the reasons. Hispanic people are being particularly targetted right now and over the last few years; conservatives are scapegoating them for the bad economy, because clearly people sneaking into the country to work as day laborers or in agriculture or as maids and nannies is why so many American citizens are out of work. [eyeroll] Logic doesn't enter into it, though, as with most demonizations.

Angie

PS -- sorry for going on and on, but this is one of my soapbox issues. :(

Jewel Amethyst said...

X-Dell, very interesting point and I will be sure to check out that book. However, I think romance and sex are not necessarily one and the same. Though these days romance novels have a requirement of either actual or implied sexual attraction (inspirational the exception), romance should showcase the love between the two main characters.

However, A very common notion (misconceived or not) is that the problem with WW/BM romance is not from the white community, but the black community, because of a percieved threat (real or imagined). Another is the notion that a BM with a WW demonstrates that man turning his back on his people and trying to be what he is not (I guess this is where class and socio-economics come in). Then of course there are those who consider it mental slavery and a demonstration of an inferiority complex among black males.

The movie "White Chicks" with the black athlete "Latrelle" was a distinct exxageration of that stereotype. In that flick, when Latrelle found out the white woman he was interested in wasn't a woman but a black man, his response was disbelief that he wasn't white, rather than that "she" was a "he".

In terms of offending, publishers will push their limits within a certain boundary. It's whether the cost of the negative publicity would outway the sales generated by it. For producers/publishers, it's all about the bottomline.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Liane, coming from my small Caribbean island which has basically one race, I had a hard time understanding why everything in this country was tied to race. While I was growing up, social class was the major distinction and by the time I was a teenager, the classlines were blurred to the extent that it was hard to define.

In the US class and race tend to be interrelated because of the socio-economic issues that plague the US.

I find in many of the Caribbean countries that I've been to, when other ethnic live in the islands, they integrated into the culture, adding their own little flavor.
In the US those cultures still remain distinct. I have been to areas in New York where people who'd lived there for 40 years plus still could not speak English. I went through college in NY and did not have to neutralize my accent because so many Caribbean people were around and understood me. Quite a different scene when I stepped out of that culturally diverse environment.

Some non-black ethnicities are also described by their ethnicities too. Irish as well as Polish to some extent are recognized by their ethnic origins in the US. But I see your point. Unfortunately the US is not a melting pot, but groups of distinct people co-existing in a relatively non-cohesive way.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Angie, this being your "soapbox" issue has certainly made this discussion are much more interesting won.

In terms of RWA and RITA awards, I was at a black romance writer's conference recently where a veteran of black romance was talking about how few black writers ever win an award. In fact, she mentioned that the only time a black writer one the award, she wrote mainstream romance where the characters were white. The year after they required a photo of the author be sent prior to the nominations for the award. Since then, no blacks have one.

Now I can't verify that observation, nor is it my observation (I've never been to an RWA meeting). I am just repeating what an AA romance author said.

Angie said...

Jewel -- Some non-black ethnicities are also described by their ethnicities too. Irish as well as Polish to some extent are recognized by their ethnic origins in the US.

True, although the use of European-based ethnicity is mainly social these days; it rarely becomes political or economic -- although it certainly used to be -- unless you're talking to someone who's extremely hidebound.

There's also an assumption of citizenship, of being a "real" American if you're white. When speaking socially of ethnicity and family origin, I just say "I'm Italian." The "American" part is assumed, which is one of my privileges as a white person, despite the fact that a century ago Italian (and Irish and Polish) immigrants were at the bottom of the pecking order among whites, and suffered discrimination relative to white people of English or Scottish or German origin. The Swedes and Norwegians and Danes were sort of in the middle, if I remember correctly. Although all of them had more status and privilege than people of color.

The year after they required a photo of the author be sent prior to the nominations for the award. Since then, no blacks have one.

Wow. :( I've never heard that before, but although I'm surprised, I'm not shocked, if you get the distinction. That's really depressing.

(I've never been to an RWA meeting)

That probably doesn't matter. I know GLBT romance writers who are RWA members and who say that the members of their various local chapters are wonderful people, helpful and supportive. That hasn't improved the chances of a GLBT romance appearing in the RITA finals, though. It wouldn't surprise me if there are quite a few black writers (regardless of what kind of romances they write) who are RWA members and are happy with their local groups for other reasons, regardless of the national level issues with the awards. The fundamental problem really does seem to be at the national level, with the people who run the umbrella organization, rather than with the membership as a whole.

Angie

X. Dell said...

I agree wholeheartedly between the distinction you draw between romance and sex. While I can think of love without sex, love without romance, and sex without romance, I'd be hard pressed to think of romance without sexual chemistry (not necessarily the physical act, but the desire). Otherwise, I'd call that a friendship, or family narrative, while romance wouldn't necessarily cross my mind.

I also wholeheartedly agree that African American women have been unfairly singled out and demonized as the main bearers of this sort of bigotry. While the prejudice exists across the board, most black women I know just aren't guilty of it. And I suspect that it extends far beyond my inner circle of friends and family. To me, this stereotype smacks of psychological projection. (Perhaps they all do.).

Fascinating post. Thanks for putting it up.