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.The video is a defense of the company — directed at "haters" who have criticized Black Girl Travel for encouraging black women to date men in other countries."The heart of what we do is about empowering African-American women with options," says Fleacé Weaver, founder of Black Girl Travel, in the clip."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.
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."We say, ' Date all men.'" And her statement was more or less repeated by nearly every one of the women I interviewed who advocate that black women date interracially and internationally.Several added that they tell women to "choose character over color." But it's difficult to scroll through picture after picture of beaming-black-woman-with-smiling-white-man and not feel that interracial relationships are being idealized, rather than simply celebrated, an experience discomfiting enough that it has at times made me question my own relationship with a white man.To get you to start thinking about dating interracially," Weaver says warmly. I first came across the encouragements to go to Europe and "swirl" when I was a junior in college preparing to study abroad in Sweden."There are a lot of incredible men out there, yes, you know you want a brother. Though I cringe to admit it now, I was excited by the possibility of a semester spent flirting with Swedes.And black female sexuality has often only been portrayed in its most grotesque and sensational forms, those of Hottentot Venuses or conniving jezebels.Throughout American history black women were either desexualized or hypersexualized according to the whims and anxieties of whites in control of their images.While "in a perfect world love would be blind," she wrote, in the United States — and its polarized racial landscape in which black is essentially bad and white is essentially good — our romantic decisions are also political ones, whether we'd like them to be or not.The practical, not the political, was certainly the driving force for Weaver when she founded Black Girl Travel.At first glance, Black Girl Travel seems to be like any other American international travel club, just one that caters exclusively to black women.But buried toward the bottom of its About Us page is a fuzzy You Tube video that indicates a wider problem.