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30-Sep-2019 00:17

"Are we going to start talking about some of the issues going on in America, why there's not so many black female couplings ... We'll just go to Europe and find a white guy.'" "That's not what we're saying," Weaver told me via Skype from Rome.

She's a former Los Angeles socialite who ran a once-popular site for affluent African-American Angelenos:

As much as I wanted to believe in sites that told me differently — that men across the pond were just waiting for my arrival — I felt like I also knew better.

And while these sites say they intend to expose black women to a world of possibilities, the "possibilities" seem to predominantly feature black women with white men — a move that, intentionally or not, presents interracial dating as aspirational.

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"Once those images are posted and once they're permeating society, then a certain kind of picture is presented and reinforced about who black women should be with," Tiya Miles told me over the phone.

Last year Miles, the chair of African-American studies at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and a former Mac Arthur fellow, wrote about the issues facing black women and interracial dating for the Huffington Post.

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The practical, not the political, was certainly the driving force for Weaver when she founded Black Girl Travel.Her presence, despite the poor video quality, commands the screen."And I kind of thought about, like, well why is that? The idea that we should travel abroad — particularly to Europe — to find love has a home in online discussion groups, travel websites, blogs, and Facebook pages, all of which earnestly and enthusiastically encourage us to "swirl," i.e., date non-black men (the term is designed to evoke a half-chocolate, half-vanilla soft-serve).And as I started talking to [women] it's like, they're only dating black guys. " she exclaims, pressing her hands to her chest, then throwing them out in a shrug. That's what's happening."She cites her research, 2008 census data that suggests that even if every black man chose to partner with a black woman, there would still be 1.5 million black women left mate-less."That's why I created Black Girl Though they vary in tone — some are celebratory, extolling the joys of finding "Swirling Success in Sweden" while others are bear hard-nosed messages like "The Dating Truth for Black Women: Go to Europe and Don't Look Back" — every site insists that black women in America are better off looking for love in another country.As a painfully self-conscious biracial woman, I had struggled to date at an Ivy League school, and studying abroad was as much an escape as it was a necessary academic endeavor for an international relations major.

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But I am also a European Union citizen, born in Hungary to a Hungarian mother and Nigerian father, and my optimism was tempered by the reality of my experiences living and traveling in Europe, experiences that taught me I was both Other and object.

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