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Weaver is speaking to what she calls "the 1.5 million": the number of black women in America who outnumbered black men in 2008 (now 2.5 million according to current census data).
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.
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.
She could readily name all the women she's taken to Italy who are currently in relationships with, or married to, Italian men.
But she insisted that Black Girl Travel's purpose isn't to convince black women that Europe is the solution to their singlehood."I'm not saying it is the promised land; I'm just saying you have more options," Weaver said.
"I have done a lot of research and talked to a lot of women in this country, and what I'm hearing is: You can't find dates, you can't find mates, you can't find husbands."Weaver, a statuesque black woman flanked by two chic employees on either side, is all long lithe limbs and wavy hair. "What you gotta do is open your mind." Weaver's not alone in her exhortation to black American women.
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).According to some advocates of interracial dating, unlike black men, black women face a unique pressure to date within their race."Black women are the community," said Christelyn Karazin, founder of Beyond Black White.com, author of Swirling, and creator of a new interracial dating show Swirlr, told me via Skype. ' Meanwhile, so many of us are so miserable and unhappy and think that we don't even deserve to be happy — that it's about being black first and a woman never." Karazin, who also spearheaded a controversial movement advocating against single motherhood in the black communtiy, describes tangled and knotted long-standing ideas about black desirability and femininity — or, the supposed lack thereof."It's like what Alice Walker said: We're the mules. The slave trade turned black bodies into objects of toil and labor, and made black women's bodies desirable largely in the context of rape, which allowed slave masters to exert further control over them.Throughout American history black women were either desexualized or hypersexualized according to the whims and anxieties of whites in control of their images.In America, with the exceptions of nearly exclusively light-skinned celebrities, to desire a black woman is to reach your hand into the bottom of the beauty standard barrel.She's a former Los Angeles socialite who ran a once-popular site for affluent African-American Angelenos: