The Huffington Post recently posted an article on Romeo Miller, hip hop artist and No Limit Forever record label founder, entitled, “Romeo Miller Can Teach Us All Something About Interracial Dating.” The article highlights Romeo’s new relationship with Toneta Morgan, a blonde haired white girl from God knows where, and goes on to talk about the backlash Romeo received from the black community on Instagram for being with a white women. Romeo responded to this backlash in foolishly colorblind fashion saying, “Love is colorless at the end of the day,” a quote which the Huffington Post just praised.
“In other words, love has no limit,” Taryn Finley wrote to close out the article. But the fact of the matter is, Romeo’s statement proves the complete opposite to be true. Advocacy for colorless love implies that love’s limit lies within the confines of blackness as a significantly, recognizable aspects of a person’s identity and personhood. Romeo’s will to colorlessness negates the fact of blackness and anti-blackness that manifest within the social and private sphere of black social life. Love doesn’t render Romeo free of the white gaze that imparts criminality onto him regardless of his status and celebrity. Love doesn’t render Romeo free of the unconscious and preconscious racism that will find itself conscious and distinguishable the moment the “Negro” attends the first white family dinner. Love doesn’t render Romeo free of white murmurs that will forever question the integrity of the relationship as a relationship consummated by affection and tenderness first, and sexual phantasms of the “animalistic black phallus,” second.
Love is full of color, struggle, and power dynamics. The interracial relationship is not exempt from that, on the contrary, the interracial relationship is permeating with the socio-political context of race and gender. Whereas the black man (and it is different for a black women), being a man, may dominate the private sphere with physical prowess, the white woman, being white, dominates the social sphere by being the institutional queen of white supremacy. Her position as queen in the systemic structure of white supremacy will become known when the police stops you on the highway and wants to ask her and her alone if she’s “okay.” Your position as dominant in the private sphere will become known when her Aunts, friends, and cousins want to know if, “What they say about you [the black] is true.” It is this fact of blackness that made Fanon say, “Whoever says rape says black man.”
Interracial love is a power struggle built on an asymmetrical racist, patriarchal foundation. But to love and love truly is to love the struggle you’re engaging in. For Romeo, a black man, and Toneta Morgan, a white woman to be involved romantically they can’t ignore this crucial part of the struggle. They can’t cast color to the wayside as if anti-blackness doesn’t cast a question mark on Romeo’s entire existence. The problem has to be faced head on. It has to be discussed, argued, disagreed on, and solidified as part of the communicable discourse in the relationship. Race is as significant, perhaps more significant, as the rest of the discourses that make the struggle in love worth the struggle of love.
As a black man, in an interracial relationship, I’m not here to say whether or not you can be pro-black and date a white women. Personally, I love black people, and I love my white Hispanic girlfriend from the Basque Country. But what I am here to say is that interracial love is not and cannot be colorless. It has to be as color-conscious as the world is, and this consciousness need not be an obstacle. To love and love conscious of color is to love the person as the person is in their fullness, whether it be black and ostracized to the margins of civil society, or white and postured as the symbolic beacon of civil society. And truly, if the person you love can’t love, can’t handle, or won’t attempt to understand your blackness, then that person loves a false imago of you that’s neither helpful nor honestly loving.