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I’m Not Down With The Swirl (Yeah I said it)

You’ve heard the term “Down With The Swirl” many times I’m sure. As an interracially married woman, I hear it a lot. (I’m Black, my husband’s white.) I am not down with the swirl despite our marriage and here’s why.

OMG Girls, I just found this in my drafts from FOUR. YEARS. AGO!  (I didn’t edit it except to add gifs and links) I’m going to have to do a follow up to this soon! 

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The worst pickup line I’ve ever received was from a middle aged ginger dude who looked me up and down slowly, licked his lips and leaned in to let me know that he “goes wild for dark chocolate.” I was on the subway, alone, wearing my engagement ring, my wedding band….and eight and a half months pregnant.

While I probably should have been more offended that this man would hit on a married woman whose water could break at any moment, my angry texts to my friends were ranting about his tacky, fetishy come on. As if letting me know he likes black women was supposed to make me jump into his lily white arms with gratitude that he finds my skin color worthy of his lust.

 as if

My cousin recently told me that I was a “tumblr celeb.” ….that my maternity photo shoot images were plastered all over “interracial tumblr” blogs. A short google images search later, and I was staring at me, my husband, and my huge belly all over people’s blogs and pinterest boards. I also found a huge world I never knew existed. A swirling world of interracial relationships. Not a variety, mind you, it was namely, black women trolling for non-black (mostly white) men.

tanesha-bad-girls-club-gif

At my ripe old age of 31, I didn’t realize what a “thing” (read: fetish) interracial relationships, and marriages had become. Yes, I know there’s a “black girl fetish” and have dealt with come-ons from my share of guys wanting to “try a black girl” (barf!) in the past. But now I’m learning that there’s a growing “white boy fetish” that is spreading like wildfire.

“Swirling” seems to be a term that is used to describe any interracial or intercultural relationship, but all around the interwebs when I see “swirl” used, it’s regarding a black/white mixed race couple. My husband is white, I am black, my son is biracial, however, I am not “down with the swirl.” This term is almost as annoying to me as “jungle fever” though it’s much less racially insensitive.

For a black woman, “swirling,” as opposed to just simply “dating” makes the priority finding a partner that is not black. Maybe I’m out of touch but shouldn’t the priority be with finding a partner that is awesome… no matter what shade of skin?

nikki shrugging

My husband is not a trophy. He’s not my prize. He’s a man, who happens to be white, that I love and am choosing to do life with. (I’m the effing prize, btw! *smile*) We’re raising a family together and our son is not a “swirl baby” as a woman in Penn Station recently called him, with a nod of approval. (Why couldn’t she have just called him a cute baby?) He’s simply a biracial boy.

I’ve been asked numerous times (even by my blog readers) how to “get a white boy” and asking me what I did to attract him. Because, of course, all caucasians are the same, just like all Black people are the same. And whatever I did to “get” my husband is what they must do as well. Seriously? How small is your mind? “Oh, just say ‘like’ a lot, eat sushi and listen to rock and roll, sis. He’ll pop right up.” lmao

c'mon son

I love the idea of black women, well, all women really, dating outside their race. I love that a person’s color doesn’t automatically determine their mate’s color. It’s great! It was illegal for my husband and I to be married, not so long ago. Being open to different races and cultures should just be the norm. Who we marry should be determined by our values and what we deem important in our relationships. The color of their skin, and the country their parents came from should be an afterthought, not part of the equation.

With this whole “swirling” movement, the fact that a person’s color is now the major factor is unsettling. Some argue that it’s no different than having a “type” preference like blondes vs brunettes. Um no. Because of how deep the race and color issues go (in America and abroad) there is a huge difference in the two and we’d be naive to pretend there isn’t.


Which is why the intentional “swirling” movement rubs me the wrong way. It turns the Black woman into a hunter, and the white man into the prize. Feelings of pride are being placed on being “chosen” by the white partner. Black women viewing interracial dating and marriage as a “come up” shows the deep rooted, unsubtle belief that white is better than Blacks are “less than.” A notion that is consistently reinforced by our society – but I digress.

oprah says don't go there

I wish interracial dating and interracial marriage weren’t even terms. I get that they “have” to be, with how our world is with the need to label every damn thing, but I wish it was just simply: dating or marriage. Why are interracial couples “swirling” instead of simply dating?

I’m pro interracial everything but I’m not down with the “swirl” and I never will be, no matter how Irish my husband. I encourage all women who’ve emailed me about the topic to drop the label as well. Just find a great guy….not necessarily a great non-black guy. 

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I found this old post yesterday and wanted to edit it immediately since it felt unfinished. Plus… it was SO old, and I had just learned about “swirling” being a term.  And now it’s commonplace. I’m glad I didn’t though. I’m glad I just left it alone.

I’m still not a fan of the term and my disgust has actually grown over the years as my children have been added to the mix and I’ve been exposed to other women who date and marry interracially (or want to).

I think I’ll eventually write a piece on how creepy people are about mixed race children and an update to this piece on swirling at large, and what I’ve discovered about majority of the black women “swirlers.”  Stay tuned. 🙂

Here are some other interracial relationship / marriage posts you may enjoy: 

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Erin

Sunday 15th of September 2019

Thanks for your insight... stubbled on your post because I am writing about interracial relationships from the perspective of my children... ( I am a black woman who has known my white husband for 21 years and married 12. Yes, we are not something to be gawked at or fetishized because love is just that love...and what draws us to someone should reach far beyond the exterior if it is true and real... for me it was my husband’s creativity... it strikes me that something that should be so simple is yet so complex because we our socialized as to what “true love” should like from the moment we come into the world. Whether the descriptive term “swirl” or not is something we should truly adopt I do not know because what may be comfortable for one is not for the other. I will say this in watching my babies grow... when I listen to my daughter nearly 11 she has been given what I consider a unique gift in her perspective of the world and for that my husband and I are thankful.

Surina

Friday 6th of September 2019

I just discovered there is such a term as "swirling", its disturbing. I love my fiance becuz he's a good man NOT becuz he's white. There are plenty of good black men out here and if i would have met one of them before I met him i would be just as in love and happy. Ita not about race ita about the love between 2 ppl Nd thats it

Melanie

Thursday 28th of February 2019

The term "swirling" is just for black women (like me) who prefers non-black men. We have the right to our preference. Who says we can't promote this couple if black men promote themselves with non black women constantly? You don't have to use the term for yourself, but others do so let them.

Starlight91

Saturday 12th of March 2022

@Melanie,

Lol girl you slow and missed the whole point of the article. You’re a shining example of the type of people who fetishize other races since you clearly disagree with this article lol.

$2pac

Saturday 15th of December 2018

I agree the black woman should be seen as the prize as the trophy ImI am married to black queen and trust and believe she is treated as that, royalty I’m the lucky one

Jemimah

Tuesday 3rd of October 2017

This is a wonderful piece Dani, I was looking for inspiration to do posts on interracial marriages/relationships on my site without coming out as rude. You put it just right, people perspective of interracial marriages and dating has to change. I am happily married to my soulmate who happens to be white. When we are together I hardly see him as white but once you are outside,the public occasional looks and fake smiles remind you that it's still not 'normal' to everybody.

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