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Black Gal on White Guy Drama

Black Man/White Woman couples, as portrayed in the media, are going to face taboo and historical connotations, whether played for comedy or drama. This trope has greater historical connotations; these can be seen in antebellum and slavery films such as Queen and Roots.

When these relationships are portrayed, two issues may work their way into the narrative:

  1. A black woman may be accused of "selling out" by dating white men. It is expected that black women will only be attracted to black men. If her lover is wealthy in addition to being white, she may receive accusations that she's a Golddigger.
  2. A white man may also encounter derision. In some circles, black women aren't seen as attractive or desirable partners so a white man may be seen as "trading down" or deviant for not wanting to date a white woman.

Another possible issue that might pop up is the idea that there are few available black men (because they are in jail, dead, gay, or dating white women) and so white men are all a black woman can get. Apparently other men of color are not an option for some reason, which has its own Unfortunate Implications.

See also Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow for a similar trope involving Asian women and white men — which often meets with better acceptance, at least from white men — and the gender-inverted version Where Da White Women At?. But Not Too Black can play into all these tropes. The Chief's Daughter is also a common trope in Black Gal On White Guy Drama. See Maligned Mixed Marriage.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • One story arc in Billy Bat revolves around a kindly taxi driver trying to reunite a black girl and her white fiancee who've been driven apart by racial strife between their families and civil rights protesters and counter-protesters on their wedding day.

    Film 
  • Subverted in The White Man's Burden, in the race flipped society, Thaddeus' wife shows obvious discomfort when her daughter brings home a white prom date.
  • The 2005 remake of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (titled Guess Who) reversed the roles with a young black woman surprising her family by marrying a white man.
    • Also inverts aspects of the trope with the white man having a Disappeared Dad and being raised by a single mother while the black girl has two successful, loving parents.
  • A scene deleted from Death Proof explains that Stuntman Mike only kills women he is sexually attracted to (Jungle Julia in the first group?) Later, the feet he plays with belong to Abby, played by Rosario Dawson, who herself is Afro-Puerto Rican.
  • Something New starring Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker also has this as a main plot point with the woman's family looking down on the relationship.
    • Also a case of class distinctions with the wealthy black family looking down on the blue collar white man.
  • In Monster's Ballnote , this is not only a source of conflict, but the main one at that.
  • The movie Lakeview Terrace deals with an interracial couple of the combination described by this trope, who get terrorized by their black neighbor. It eventually comes to light that a good part of the neighbor's motivation comes from his wife (also black but now deceased) having had an affair with a white man.
  • The Wedding, a 1998 Oprah Winfrey presented movie, also features a wealthy black (well, mixed) family on Martha's vineyard strongly objecting to their daughter marrying a white man, especially since he's a struggling musician.
  • This is an important subplot of A Bronx Tale. Calogero, a teenager from an Italian neighbourhood in the Bronx falls in love with Jane, a black girl from his high school. Their relationship remains a difficult topic; C keeps it a secret from his friends because they're all viciously racist, and he gets a bottle thrown at his head by a black teenager when he ventures too far into Jane's neighbourhood. C's father is an old-timer who professes more of an indifferently segregationist than openly hostile attitude towards interracial relationships, but C's mentor Sonny, a mob boss, never sees any problem with it and encourages C to pursue it.
  • A lesser known aspect of Jungle Fever. As a result of the main couple's Where Da White Women At? relationship, the white woman's former boyfriend is left single. He wants to date a black woman but is beaten up by a group of white men for it. He still goes on the date anyway, though. The trope is discussed at length after the black woman in question leaves a store full of white men and one of them says that she's attractive and he'd definitely have sex with her but he would NEVER be in a public relationship with a black woman.
  • In Dark Blue, police officer Bobby Keough strikes up a relationship with Beth (unbeknowst to him, also a cop), which his racist partner Eldon Perry harasses him over.
  • Played for Laughs in National Security, where Hank (Steve Zahn), a former cop, and Earl (Martin Lawrence), a security guard, team up (reluctantly in the former's case) to take down the bad guys. Their rivalry stems from the fact that, the first time they met, Hank thought that Earl was a car thief (Earl locked his keys in the car), which resulted in Hank being falsely accused of beating Earl (he was swatting a bumblebee, and Earl's swelling was due to his allergies). Earl agrees to help Hank get his ex-girlfriend back, who broke up with him because of this. However, when Earl finds out that Hank's ex is black, he immediately goes back on his deal. When Hank confronts him, Earl explains that he is strictly against interracial relationships. A little later, Hank witnesses Earl hitting on a white woman, causing Earl to amend his earlier statement to this trope (i.e. it's ok for a black man to date a white woman but not the reverse). In the end, though, Hank ends up proving to his ex that he's innocent (well, Earl does by freaking out over a bumblebee in her presense) and gets back with her.
  • Seems to be a fascination for Martin McDonagh, especially when the black woman gets tragically murdered. In Bruges has Brendan Gleeson's character still mourning the years-ago death of his black wife (a deleted scene has her being murdered by a corrupt cop), while Seven Psychopaths has Christopher Walken's character married to a black woman (who gets murdered over the course of the film by Woody Harrelson, who makes racist comments about their marriage) and they're both mourning the death of their daughter, who was raped and murdered by a white guy. Finally, Tom Waits' character from Seven Psychopaths is trying to reconnect with his long-long girlfriend, who is black, and whom he rescued from a Serial Killer. Interracial couples do not have it easy in McDonagh's films.
  • In Belle, fear of this trope is what leads Dido's parents to dissuade her from marrying at all.

     Literature 
  • A variation in Lawrence Block's Me Tanner, You Jane: Tanner figures out that his fellow American agent has been replaced by an ousted African dictator because the man finds a girl of mixed race exotic — she's very attractive (although only fourteen), but an American black man would be used to seeing mixed-race girls, while the locals in this part of Africa aren't integrated.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird: Dolphus Raymond is a white man who has children with a black woman - although he has to pretend to be the town drunk so that the town can deal with it. Note that, as the trope description says, a white man fathering children with a black woman was unremarkable (although this was less the case as slavery shrank further into the past and near-total segregation of the races became the ideal scenario as far as genteel white society was concerned). What the other white residents couldn't forgive him for was actually acknowledging his children and living with his family in the black part of town.
  • In one of the Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry novels, the protagonist (a young black girl) gets a little bit of Ship Tease with a white boy in town, culminating in the boy giving her a picture. The girl's father flips out and destroys the picture when he finds it, telling her it will put the whole family in danger if anyone finds out. Sadly this happened to be true, given that the novels were set in the South during Jim Crow.
  • Jacky Jakes and Greg Peshkov from The Century Trilogy.
  • Detective Andrews ends up with this dynamic with Rosalie in White Lightning since he's successful at passing for white after years of practice at it. When her family learns he's half-Korean and he's built his reputation and friendships on a 'bedrock of lies', they go from telling her she shouldn't be with a white man to telling her she shouldn't be a liar of that caliber, which he himself admits is 'much sturdier ground to stand on' when they next voice their objections. Bearing in mind that it was the Roaring Twenties, Andrews encounters this from his colleagues when word gets around the precinct he's dating 'downwards'. Since they think he's white, he views their reactions as a way to gauge their possible reactions if they knew about his mixed ancestry.
  • Referenced in beginning of the God Inc. series by Jack Chalker. The protagonists are a white man and black woman married couple, and discusses some of the problems they had finding anyone to socialize with. Quickly becomes a moot point in the stories, although not necessarily for the reasons you'd expect from a Jack Chalker story.

     Live Action TV 
  • The Jeffersons. The Willises get no end of derision from George, who calls their daughter a "zebra".
    • Roxie Roker, who played Helen Willis, married a white man. Said marriage produced Lenny Kravitz.
  • In House, an interracial couple faced opposition from the (white) male's father and they interpreted this as the dad being a racist jerk. He was, sort of; just not in the way they thought. He didn't want him to date this particular black girl. House deduces that they share a rare genetic illness, meaning that they're actually half-siblings, resulting from an affair the father had with the woman's mother. It's implied that the relationship doesn't survive this revelation.
  • The MTV telefilm Love Song starring singer Monica combines this and the Uptown Girl trope.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Will's aunt marries a "tall" man in a Very Special Episode. Most of the family is surprised, but don't know quite how to approach the issue; Will's mother is directly against it.
  • In a Very Special Episode of Moesha titled "Reunion," Moesha meets up with an old white friend (played by Andrew Keegan) and they really hit it off. Her father has a problem with the potential relationship and Moesha is accused of being "too good for the hood." In the end, they decide not to get together.
  • In Soap Danny begins dating Polly and both families accept the relationship but Danny becomes extremely paranoid that everybody is judging them when nobody is.
  • Not exactly a "lust," but in an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati Venus is interviewed by a reporter from a black magazine, who it turns out is white (and played by Tim Ried's former comedy partner Tom Dreeson). They commiserate over being the only person of X color in an otherwise all-Y company, including wanting to ask out some female coworkers but being gunshy because of how the women might react due to their race.
  • Liberty and Ray-Ray on My Name Is Earl. They seem to be expies of Joy and Darnell, which makes sense considering that Liberty is Joy's half-sister, due to their father's philandering with black women
  • In a rare aversion, Boy Meets World had Shawn and Angela, treated the entire time as being meant for one another.
  • In one episode of the hidden camera show What Would You Do?, two actors pose as a white male/black female couple in a bar. A black couple, also actors, come up to them and criticize their relationship, accusing the black woman of being insecure for dating a white man. The onlookers are not amused.
  • On an episode of The Golden Girls, Dorothy's son announced his surprise engagement to a black woman, who also happened to be much older. A lot of comedy was mined from Discriminate and Switch - it at first appeared Dorothy might take issue with the interracial aspect, but she was uspet at the age difference. Dorothy assumed the fiancee's family would have a similar problem with the age difference, but nope, they were more upset their daughter's fiance was white.
  • Reenacted on I Married A Mobster, where despite no previous attraction to White men, Dion falls for Italian-American Angelo Nicosia, who's a mob hitman and married with the latter case obviously being the bigger issue before and after his divorce as they marry and initially live the good life with a daughter, Gia until he's caught, leaving them in debt, but they stay together and she still waits for him to come out of jail as a reformed man.
  • In A Different World, Kim briefly dates Freddie's (white) cousin Matthew. Kim has no problem being with him, she just doesn't want to be judged by her classmates at her all-black school so she avoids being affectionate with him in public. Matthew points out that they're going to get looks regardless of where they are or what they do so they should just focus on being together and not worry about what other people think.
  • The ENTIRE point of The Feast of All Saints, though in this case most of the women had white ancestry as well.
  • During the '80s, General Hospital had Tom and Simone. Her mother disapproved.
    • Ten years later, Keesha Ward and Jason Quartermaine. Their respective grandparents disapproved. His because of the frequent clashes that the two families had had over the years, hers because she feared that his family would eventually put their collective foot down and forbid Jason from seeing her. This never happened and both families warmed up to and accepted the relationship once they realized that each was a lovely person that anyone would want to be part of their family.
  • Averted with Olivia and President Fitzgerald in Scandal. There are a million other reasons other than Olivia or Fitz's race for other people to frown upon them.
  • On one episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, Robert starts dating his black coworker. When he brings her home to meet his parents, his mother Marie is speechless. Later on his family is annoyed because he starts acting Pretty Fly for a White Guy.
    • Actually, Robert and his police partner, Judy, were just hanging out, though it initially fit the trope when Marie assumed they were dating. And Robert's family weren't the only ones his new 'tude irritated; Judy had to break it to him gently that although she and her friends at first enjoyed his company, his new "ethnic" attitude was annoying. So it ended up a subversion, playing out as black gal (platonically) on white, wanna-be-black guy comedy.

     Music 

     Theater 
  • Inverted by Patrick Stewart, who played Othello as a white man, with the rest of the cast being black.
  • The whole storyline of the musical Memphis revolves around a white man falling in love with a black singer. Being set in a period racial segregation, this is played for drama.
  • Showboat. White man is married to a mixed race woman who is considered black by the "one drop rule," so white man pricks woman with a pin and swallows a drop of her blood, making him black too by that standard.
  • Half of the song "Black Boys/White Boys" from Hair is about black girls and boys lusting after white boys. The other half is white girls and boys lusting after black boys.
  • The Dion Boucicault play The Octoroon explores the challenges an interracial couple encounter in the pre-Civil War American south.

    Webcomics 

     Web Original 

    Video Games 
  • In the first level of BioShock Infinite, you witness a black woman and white man be led onto a stage to be executed. Their crime? Being romantically involved.
  • Several Nord/Redguard (Vikings and North Africans/Middle Easterners, respectively) couples in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim probably count as an aversion of this. Said relationships raise no eyebrows whatsoever, in spite of the fact the Redguards got dealt a pretty crushing series of defeats by the Nords over a border dispute some time back. The fact that both are Proud Warrior Races with a mutual dislike of Elves probably makes such unions work, though.
    • The closest thing to 'drama' that occurs is of one Redguard woman Happily Married to a Nordic blacksmith in Dawnstar, who complains of the biting cold of Skyrim, expresses concern that their child will be unable to receive any of her culture being raised in his father's land, and finally fears the Civil War Skyrim's currently embroiled in coming to their town. Oh, and she also tries to convince her husband to take them back to Hammerfell, to which he replies he'll think about it.

     Western Animation 
  • Lampshaded in The Cleveland Show when Rollo (during a black supremacist phase) asks his sister why she's going out with a white guy.
    Roberta: Do I look white or Asian?
  • Averted in Danny Phantom. Danny's brief relationship with Valerie Gray raises no eyebrows because Danny's white and Valerie's black; rather, the source of conflict is that Danny's the half-ghost Danny Phantom and Valerie is a ghost hunter who thinks his ghost self is the enemy.
  • The off-again on-again relationship between Lana and the title character in Archer. Even when they're apart, he's constantly hitting on her. He even has a very a tactless ringtone about it.
    • Lana is also in a relationship with Cyril, is the only female agent to mistrust Conway Stern rather than being instantly attracted and mentions multiple time her taste for interracial porn.
  • In the X-Men episodes based on The Age of Apocalypse, Wolverine and Storm are a couple in the alternate timeline. When they travel back to the 50's, they face persecution over their relationship. Coming from a future where all discrimination is based on whether a person is human or mutant, they find discrimination based on simple race to be ridiculous.

     Real Life 
  • Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple whose marriage was annulled when they moved to Virginia, ultimately leading to a Supreme Court case that ended laws against interracial marriage in the United States.
  • The late Roxie Roker who was married to Sy Kravitz, resulting in the birth of singer Lenny Kravitz.
  • Mostly averted in the case of an interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series. According to an interview with Nichelle Nichols, they only got one negative letter and it said "I don't believe in the integration of races and the fraternization of the races, but anytime a red-blooded American boy like Captain Kirk gets a girl in his arms that looks like Lieutenant Uhura, he ain't gonna fight it."
  • When Michael Fassbender expressed his preference for dark-skinned girls, some of his white female fans were not happy.
  • Black female/White male marriages, though still considerably less common than the inverse are narrowing the gap. In 1981 the ratio in the US was 371:100 (that is 3.7 Black male/White female pairings for every 1 Black female/White male pairing.) By 2009 the ratio had become 181:100.


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