Should Black Women Travel Outside of the U.S. for Love?

Should black women travel outside of the U.S for love?

What dating Abroad Taught Me About Stateside Racism

Jihan Crowther
2/10/16 3:10pmFiled to: RACE

By the time I hit my mid-twenties, after years of dating both inside and outside of the United States, I came to a terrible, lonesome conclusion: American men don’t find me attractive.

The first time a guy actually asked me out, I thought he was messing with me. I was studying abroad in London, and years of steady rejection, along with daily reminders from my male bully that I was “too dark,” or “too black,” ensured that I would never believe this guy when he said I was beautiful. I was inoculated against compliments. So I told him to fuck off.

What I didn’t know then, and wouldn’t understand until I returnedto London for an internship after my college graduation, was that he hadn’t been playing a cruel trick. After spending some time abroad—following my semester in London, I bounced back and forth for vacations, an internship, and graduate school—it began to dawn on me that while I had been made to feel like a hideous, lumbering monster in the United States, as soon as I left the country I became interesting and attractive to men.

Life in London was a revelation. It sounds kind of ridiculous, but I can’t imagine who I would be or what I would think of myself if I hadn’t been lucky enough to travel overseas. Kelis’ Milkshake could have logically provided the soundtrack to my entire trip; it was like an eighties movie montage where the dorky girl finally takes off her glasses and makes all the boys sweat. It’s likely that my experiences were just a regular Tuesday to other twenty-somethings, but for me they were life-changing—for example, one time I met a guy at a party and danced with him all night. Pretty un-extraordinary, right? We later dated until the romance fizzled for very normal reasons. It was a radical experience.

When I left the U.S., it felt like someone had turned on a light switch; it felt like the switch was flipped off the second I returned. On season 2 of Parks and Recreation, there’s an episode in which a delegation from Venezuela comes to visit; all of the men start lusting after Donna, which confuses her co-workers. Donna says to the camera: “I’m not surprised. I’ve been to South America, I do verywell there.” I felt the truth of this acutely. Before my first trip abroad, I asked a longtime crush to go to the movies with me. He enthusiastically agreed, and I was thrilled. But soon he told me that he was being harangued by his friends for agreeing to go out with me, and he called off the date. He joked that he wouldn’t be able to find me in the dark, anyway, since I was so dark-skinned.

The more I traveled and lived abroad, the more the contrast was amplified. From Scotland to Italy to the Dominican Republic to just across the border in Canada, I was met with the same positive reaction. It was the inverse of my experience in America, where, from east to west coast, cities to suburbs, men treated me with indifference. After each trip, I’d return to the United States confident, excited and determined. I imagined that I’d cleared an imaginary hurdle, freed from the nun’s life I’d resigned myself to. Things will be different now, I’d tell myself. But they never were.

I was naive, and yet I was determined to figure out what made my dating experiences in America so different from my time abroad. I knew Americans could be very specific about our dating preferences, in the same way we are about everything else we consume. It seemed likely that the U.S. has a more narrow view of what’s attractive, exemplified by a British cousin of mine who looks like me and is rarely boyfriend-less. “What’s your type?” is often the first question you’ll hear in the U.S. when someone wants to set up a friend; a question I have yet to encounter elsewhere. What took me longer was to understand how often the answer to that question includes racial preferences and biases.

I was reluctant to fully accept what I subconsciously knew was a huge problem, but this willful ignorance couldn’t stand for long. I read the OKCupid study How Your Race Affects The Messages You Get, which plainly stated that “men don’t write black women back” regardless of much they responded to others. One of my best friends, who is also black, called me when she read the study, nearly giddy. “Finally! This is what I’ve been saying, but nobody believes me,” she said. “Now there’s proof! If anyone asks me why I haven’t met anybody yet, I’m sending them this study.” She closed her OKCupid account. Her glee at finding evidence was understandable; it’s incredible, though, what counts as good news when you’re dealing with something painful. Soon, I closed my account, too.

I also read the Psychology Today blog post that claimed to scientifically prove that black women were less attractive than other women, and along with the rest of the country, I read John Mayer’s bizarre Playboyinterview in which he dismissed black women as partners because of his “David Duke cock.” The Psychology Today post was eventually removed from their site, but its defiant, almost celebratory bigotry was a product of the same broken system that would allow Mayer, whose work is rooted in black culture, to feel comfortable referencing the KKK to express his aversion toward black women.

By the time I hit 30, I felt resigned to this state of things. A few months ago, I found myself back in London, briefly, for a close friend’s wedding. It had been years since I’d visited, and I was so deep into American mode that I didn’t recognize when men were flirting with me. When a guy asked me to get a drink with him, I was startled, then delighted—then crestfallen that I’d have to return home the next morning, where the light would promptly switch off again. There is, of course, no single solution to any puzzle this complex, but what’s undeniable on a personal level is this: American men don’t find me attractive. Like the HP face-recognition program that didn’t recognize black faces as human faces, I, too, am generally not recognizable as a romantic option.

While I remain stateside, dreaming of my next trip abroad, I’m happy and lucky to have other types of love in my life that are just as important as romantic love. But like anyone else, I want companionship, or at least a random make-out. It smarts to think that my chance of having that is dramatically diminished while I stay within these borders. And no shining memories of a London internship can temper that fact


Most Helpful Guy

  • You need to find a white boyfriend like my black girlfriend did!

    Once you go white, you be sain' ... a'ite! TRUST ME!

    • All I can tell you is I am white as snow... and American to the core. ... and my black girlfriend is not only the hottest girl I have ever seen, but the most beautiful too... did I mention what an incredible person she is? I love her like crazy. So it can definitely happen! I came from an entirely different background too. Me, upper middle class suburban... not one black person anywhere around where I grew up... her, inner city ghetto one of the poorest and most dangerous slums in the country... all minority. Go figure! So yes... you CAN find someone. I don't believe that. Racism is not a factor when it comes to attraction.

      PS: I would never go back to a white girl. For me, it's always black from now on. That is probably the ONLY racist thing about me. ;)

Most Helpful Girl

  • America is very racist and colorist against dark skin black women, I see it all the time here in America.. the only time a black woman is seen is if she looks like me: light skin or racially ambiguous. I don't believe that " it has nothing to do with their skin color, I just don't find them attractive and it's a preference" so many people preach here, a lot black or white men will date every woman under the sun as long as she's close to the European standard of beauty but if she's too dark then a lot of them don't want anything to do with her.

    • I'm also tired of hearing the "it's not skin color, it's the attitude" argument. As if they met every black woman across the entire world to say we're all the same, no it's just a excuse they use to make black women, especially dark skin black women, seem like awful women.

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    • @WesleyPullen

      He could've put a stop to it as President, because he wanted to magnify a racist platform toward the Pubs, even though Pubs platform is anti-racist. All Republicans including Trump hate the Neo-Naxis beliefs.

    • @Catskills The more you speak, the better I feel.

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What Guys Said 40

  • too long; didn't read; am nitpicking. :P
    "I also read the Psychology Today blog post that claimed to scientifically prove that black women were less attractive than other women,

    First of all, bullshit.
    Second, if true, then it's not about looks. Black women are the MOST beautiful women in the world, which is why all races are trying to copy them, from the ass and lips down to the dance moves!!!

    If anything it's personality, Black women have some of the strongest personalities in the world. They are TOUGH!!!
    Other race cultures are used to their women being push overs
    As a man who likes conquering challenges, Black women are the best challenge. lol.

    Also, I know which cultures loves Black women: Russians (love strength), Middle-Easterns (their women have booties too), Eastern European,(same as Russians), Koreans (surprisingly) and generally Hispanics (their women are tough too).

    Which makes sense since they are cultures that are NOT weak.

    I'll tell you the best sex I had was with a Black woman.

  • You know, I've done a lot of traveling and from my experience, outside of the US (especially Europeans) people are even more umm... particular... about race. But if you've found things to be different, then absolutely go out and seek happiness.

    I think OKCupid's analytics were fantastic and I think that the most important part about them was what they told us about ourselves. A lot of times, these were things that we already knew but weren't willing to say or weren't sure about (e. g. black women don't seem to be desirable) and by couching it in numbers, they were able to get the issue out in the open. But the numbers you talk about tell another story too -- the male side. The guys who get the least love are Asian males. Everyone loves Asian females, everyone loves white anything, everyone loves black men... but Asian males and black women get left on the plate like a pile of brussel sprouts. To me, the solution is obvious -- black women and Asian men need to date each other way, way, way more often.


    Perhaps. There are plenty of guys like me that find black chicks really hot. I mean like insanely hot. Just keep your eyes open and focus on being the best person you can be.

  • If you would calm down with the emasculating attitude, decent black men would be interested in you. But that's the problem isn't it? 🤔

    Black women reject black guys for the same reasons other men reject them, but when the others do it then it's a problem...

    • Wow ur ignorant

    • Now how the hell am I ignorant? 🤔
      I stated something very true about black girls and I can drop links to dozens of Qs on this very site which prove exactly what I said. BEGONE!

  • Whoever is in that pic doesn't need to go overseas to find a man. It's more based on looks and body than skin color. I think when ugly women are not very popular on okcupid, they just blame racism or their dark skin. That girl right there with an okcupid profile pic would get 1000's of messages. People just believe what they want to believe. A country of 310 million people, and no one wants you cause you're dark skin. Yeah, I'm sure that's what it is.

  • Allow me to share my thoughts as a BLACK MAN.

    Honestly, love is what you make it. Your ability to find a partner depends on you and solely on you.

    Please don't think I am attacking you personally, because I am not. As a man, especially an educated, well dressed, good job-having, articulate BLACK MAN, it's hard to find good women out there. Notice how I said GOOD women.

    Back in the day, it was easy for me to meet women. It was easy for me to get numbers, go on dates, etc... but women would never want a 2nd date with me. Ever. It took a lot of sorting through different women, but I finally have a girlfriend now, and she is black, and I love and treat her with the respect she deserves.

    Now... let me to the meat of what I am trying to say. Of all those women I had to sort through, I still have them on social media, such as SnapChat, and by looking at their posts, it's no wonder why they are single. It''s their ATTITUDE!

    A lot of women feel like they are entitled these days. Again... I am not talking about you personally, because I do not know you. I am just speaking from my experiences:

    Women act like they DESERVE a good man, just because they have their sh*t together.

    Women act like they deserve a good a man, just because they are pretty and in shape

    Women also go around calling every single man that comes across them "lame" "unworthy" "not good enough" and complain about how they are single.

    I am 26, but I have women on my social media who are in their 30s (early, mid and late) and they are still single, moaning about being single and wondering why they are still single. It's the attitude.

    As a black man, here is what I experiencing from women (before I had a girlfriend):

    • I mean... if you want to travel outside the United States for love, go for it. I've done travelling as well, and foreigners were always attracted to me more so than women in the United States. It doesn't have anything to do with color... it has to do with you coming from a different culture. That is what fascinates people, and that is what makes it easier for you to attract people outside of the states.

      If you want to find love, you need to put effort into it as well. You need to go out there and invest in yourself. Go out and meet people, take classes (cooking, boxing, art), go to meet ups... put yourself out there.

      Sure... statistics say that black women have a hard time finding love... but you only enforce the statistic if you don't go out there and do some of the work yourself :).

  • That's probably not a bad idea, given that black women only want to date black men, and there's such a shortage of successful black men who aren't total players.

    • Who told you that lie? I know plenty black women who are interested in white guys.

    • There's no clamoring among black women to date white men. Even this question confirms it. The whole gist of it is that black women would rather go to another country than date white American men.

  • I have to disagree. Lots of white guys approach black girls and just get shot down for trying. I have a VERY hard the believing that the girl in the picture above has any trouble getting dates.

    In fact in Massachusetts lately, the number of bf/wm couples pushing baby carriages is just ridiculous.

  • Funny, I found women much more friendly abroad. And I'm a white male. Maybe there's just something wrong with the US.

  • Well, I don't blame you for thinkin that way especially does on yo experiences.. I know how racist and particular Americans are.. It's not always easy for the Brothas either.. You should have seen a poll on here askin if people would date a "Black" guy.. Tss.. Most of them said no.. LOL.. Go figure.. But, don't give up or give in on Americans just yet I guess..

  • Sounds tough, I've rarely met a black woman face to face but I've never considered them unattractive in any case. Though keep in mind I live in an Asian culture so we aren't as exposed to it. From the few that I met, their ability to be direct is probably one of the key points in their attractiveness and they are quite friendly as well.

  • Lose the self pity. 90% of black men are with black women. Be humble, be kind, be respectful and you will attract decent men that will show genuine interest.

  • 1|1
  • Of course! Broaden your horizons, date who you want. The genepool needs a little refreshing to say the least, otherwise we will be all inbred yokels. 🕊❤️

  • That is a very interesting experience... there is a whole world to explore... why subject yourself to a life lesser than what you can be 😀

  • To be fair, you just happened to travel to countries that were even more liberal and multicultural than the US themselves. (London, Canada)

    I reckon your experience would be dramatically different if you went to any of the mainland European countries or anything in East Asia, countries which are still extremely homogeneous, both ethnically and culturally.

    • mainland Europe being homogenous? East Europe, okay. But Germany, France... anything but homogeneous.

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    • @MarcoIsAFailure According to most recent census, 82% of Berlin population is European of which 71% are ethnic Germans.
      9% Middle Eastern, 3% Asian and 2% of African descent.

      It's higher than the country average, but significantly lower compared to London for example.

      That being said, population censuses don't get updated until every 5 or so years.
      If your experience is different, I suppose the population statistics haven't been updated to reflect the recent immigrant influx, and it's most likely refugees aren't even counted in official statistics anyway yeah.

    • In the census, refugees aren't. That's why I asked were you got your statistics.
      At least where I live it's incredibly diverse. It always was (at least 20% turks) and the recent influx of refugees changed quite a bit. Now, most of the time I get asked for directions, they do not even speak a word german.
      Naturally, refugees are more likely to ask for directions, as they are new here. Still.

      Also, when it comes to diversity, I feel like the subjective impression does count even more then statistics. You can't go anywhere without comimg across people of different ethnicities. That's what shapes liberalism towards ethnic diversity.

  • Maybe it's that they feel intimidated, in the sense that, they don't think they are good enough. Men look at a beautiful woman & think, why would a woman like that be interested in me. I think you feel that you are not good enough either. Try not to look too hard & it will ( love ) bump into you one day. Good luck. x

  • Not to be the bearer of worse news but post 30 odds are even worse. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Least you don't have kids and a nasty attitude ( I assume).

  • Black women have a few issues here, including the shortage of black men interested in commitment, the refusal of black women to date men of other races, and the us-against-the-world mentality that makes so many black women seem hostile and unpleasant.

    Y'all have got to get over this who conspiracy theory that this country is so racist. White people elected a black man as president--twice, so that's over. You're not a slave, your dad isn't a slave, and your grandparents weren't slaves. Move on.

    • what an idiot! same mindset as trump

    • lol be careful, you're triggering all the snowflakes. Unless you agree completely with their whining and self-pity, your point of view isn't welcome, dude.

  • I'm proud that my countrymen know how to treat a woman well, and very sorry that you have to travel so far to find it.

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What Girls Said 15

  • I totally agree. Most of the black guys in my area (southeast US) will go for the lighter skinned blacks (which are not always better looking). The shade variations are very minute, but the are classified in a very anal, hierarchical way. It makes me sick.

    I feel I'm qualified to answer this question because I'm half black, and half white/Swedish. I was born in Sweden raised there/raised here. I understand both the American culture and the European one equally well. When I was of dating age in school in the US, I thought only black guys were interested in me, so that's all I wanted. I can't remember being catcalled or flirted with ONCE with a white guy in school. At 18, when I went to France, I was shocked at all the catcalling from white guys and it actually changed my preference.

    I'd suggest trying to find a metropolitan/open-minded European. It's true, they are often color blind to the point where it's unbelievable but it doesn't mean you'll mesh well in other areas like, only speaking their native tongue/eating their food/watching their sports/enjoying their hobbies. They can be a real pain the butt when they take little interest in other things, and especially when they don't understand American mentality regarding humor, calling someone out for their crap, or being cool (the opposite of lame), or dressing fashionably. And don't get me started on customer service with people looking like they want to cut you up or getting yelled at multiple times in a day by service professionals at the train station or airport or wherever just bc of small misunderstandings. The young people are more eclectic, laid back, and seem open to anything, but if they grow up in their countries, they'll eventually be sucked into the European our-way-is-the-best mentality, especially in smaller towns.

    Get someone open-minded over there that is willing to move to a BIG CITY in the US or in Europe where diversity of opinion is celebrated. Oh, and depending on which country it is, you may have to be more proactive about dating, cause the guys are super shy - like Sweden or whatever.


      I am a black man, and I have done a lot of traveling. Of course people from different cultures will show more attraction to you. It's not about skin color. It's about you being from a different culture. They see that as sexy. When I traveled to Japan, for example, I had no issues meeting so many women.

      And I always here this arguement:
      "Most of the black guys in my area "

      Great. Most of the black women in my area love white men. Yet, here I am dating a black woman.

      Women can sit here and blame men for their issues or blame black men, but the truth is, it all falls on you.

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    • Whenever I met a black woman, they would either tell me I am different from other black men and it's refreshing... but continue to date the low class black men, then they would complain that all black men are the same, then they would go and date white men.

      Hence why I showed this video (this is a steretype that black men deal with... that we "hate dating and we only want to fuck" :

      Point I am trying to make is that... it all depends on the person and their perception. Yes, I will say that black people have a harder time dating, I cannot deny that. However, your mindset with dictate your relationships.

      Statistics say that black women... blah... blah.. blah... but how was that sample taken? Did they take 5 black women off the street and do a survey and determine that since 4/5 of those black women had a hard time dating... 80% of black women have a hard time dating? They never specify the actual sample size.

    • I've also noticed 2 types of black people:

      There are those that are successful in life because they don't let race define them. Yes, they acknowledge racial issues, but they keep going and pushing ahead.

      There are also those who are not successful in life because they let race define them in everything they do.

      If you want to find love, whether you are a black woman, a black man, etc... etc... you need to put yourself out there. Go to a cooking class, a gym class, a dancing class, meetups (meetup. com), meet new people! That's how I met my girlfriend, we met at a cooking class.

  • You guys are always thinking things are racist... and you guys seem to chastise black men for the same thing you guys dream to do, which is to successfully date outside your race. From what I've seen, it's not about your race... it's your attitude

    • Okay, you need to sit down. You don't know shit about black women, men, or the black community so stay in your lane.

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    • Ok... I am a black man... and I am dating a black woman. I do agree with one point you made:

      "it's not about your race... it's your attitude"

      When you're in your 30s and still single, it's not the man's fault. It's just all about how you present yourself and your mindset.

      Like, I know this woman who is 35 and still single. All she does after work is sit inside all day and then she hangs around her nieces and nephews on the weekend, and she keeps wondering why she is still single... lol.

    • xXiTacoXx I see you. And a race of woman can't all have the same attitude, that's a gross generalization and xXiTacoXx is right and you need to find a stadium, and sit in each and every seat.

  • i'm not sure why a black woman would need to do that. yes colorism and racism exists, but i see a lot of black women being highly sought after.

    as long as you are not fat and have good hygiene and present yourself well, you shouldn't have trouble getting a decent man's attention. i dont see the need in traveling looking for a mail order husband. plenty of men stateside appreciate black women.

  • As a black girl I personally have already said "fuck it", and decided to do what I want since I wouldn't have to worry about impressing anyone since people are low-key racist when it comes to dating "preferences". I dress how I want, eat what I want, and don't worry about what anyone thinks of it. Since people don't often see me as a proper woman (even though I am) why should I have to put in 4x's as much effort into being seen as one? Instead of trying to impress assholes I decided to focus on the things I like.

    • That's a good mentality. I think it'll pay off and make life less stressful.

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    • @sedrftvgyhujik Exactly, and if someone can't accept me because of my blackness, then I don't want 'em.

    • @xXiTacoXx I know exactly what you're saying because I used to be the same. Always trying to impress women. Now I don't really care as much anymore. So yeah, I truly believe if you focus on yourself first everything else will come later.

  • U know I've always liked white boys... Let's say white guys are heads and black ones are tails, I flipped on heads a lot. Like A LOT. THen I realised I liked boys with hair, cute lips, and lighter eyes and such. Lol

    • Are you a black woman -_-?

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    • You should never be ashamed of your skin color. It's all about perception of self. If you think your skin color holds you back, it will.

    • I thought black men loved dark skin and nappy hair

  • If ya want to! I'm gonna stay here and see if anyone likes me. I heard that European men are crazy about black chicks and other races though.

    • also be careful were you go in Europe, they keep getting bombed and raped over there. It's kinda dangerous

  • Sure, as long as they accept my nappy hair and that our children might be cross eyed that's fine.

    • What do people over seas think of kinky Afro hair

  • I think we should live our lives and focus on being the best versions of ourselves. Take vacations wherever you like but don't relocate *just* to find love. What if you don't? You'll feel real silly

    • I agree with this. Too many people focus on love instead of focusing on their selves. People need to learn to invest in their selves before they invest in love.

    • @fashionguy17 what if you're at yhe point where you have a great life and want to add love to the equation? Get married, start a family?

    • @LoloWaye Everyone wants to get married and start a family at some point (well... not everyone... but you get what I am saying). If you focus on love and trying to find someone, you will lead a miserable life, because you will be miserable that you can't get a relationship. However, if you live life to the fullest, go out and do things that you are interested in, go out and take new classes, travel, do new experiences... you will eventually meet someone who shares the same interests as you. It's all about investing in yourself first... because when you put yourself out there and invest in yourself, others will invest in you as well.

  • tl; dr but I will say that I have traveled to other countries and some of them are MUCH worse for sexual harassment.

  • To me, the opposite happened. I grew up in Europe and nobody wanted me there. As soon as I moved to America, I had men's attention. So, I relate to that proverbial switch you were talking about but probably for different reasons. I think there are several elements that play into this phenomenon, though. One, it's the exoticness of the foreign girl, and two, the fact that Europeans tend to find Americans more attractive/impressive in general, despite of all the hate you hear from them. I know where I grew up tons of guys loved black girls and I knew several black women married to white men. This whole scenario seems to be the other way around in the U. S.
    What startled me a bit is what you said about random make-outs. I'm trying not to judge, but is that really the measure of attractiveness to you? I would think that guys randomly make out with girls they don't consider very serious. So, I don't know if that's a true compliment.

  • As they wish

  • People should date who they want.

  • I work with quite a few black women - most of them dark skinned - and all but one are in serious relationships or are married to black men. And I'm in the Midwest, not some cultural center. So don't give up hope!

    Though, travel abroad and meet the man of your dreams if you want to! Jamaican guys are suuuper fine, imho.

    • "I work with quite a few black women - most of them dark skinned - and all but one are in serious relationships or are married to black men."

      Exactly. It's all about attitude and how you present yourself. Anyone can find love, and statistics are bogus, in my opinion. Statistics are mostly in regards to urban areas.

  • You should try Russia. Apparently they've got too many white women, because they are mailing them all over here.

  • In my experience it's the same everywhere. BW are discriminated against worldwide -_-

    • Many places in Europe are racist against Africans because of the recent wave of illegal immigration and the crime that has come along with it.

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    • @HikerDude The only way I could agree with you is if slavery did not exist.

    • Uh... it doesn't exist in Europe. Not sure where you're thinking of...

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