The average Nigerian girl, living in the country, does not grow up imagining marriage with a Caucasian spouse.
The ones who end up with such dreams or who develop a preference for these men who originate outside their race probably got exposed to ideas that fostered such desires long after their formative years…and that is okay.
In the past actually, interracial marriages and dating was a rare occurrence, and it was mostly considered distasteful. Families forbidding dating outside the clan is a story much older than Nigeria’s independence.
However, thanks to globalization and the beauty of migration, you can now find a number of Nigerians marrying not just citizens of foreign countries but people of a different skin colour.
The most popular is the match between the Nigerian man and a white woman. However, while people tend to accept these unions these days with wide open arms, there seems to be some intense controversy surrounding white male – Nigerian female relationships.
The same grace that is extended to Nigerian men who date or marry white women is not as easily extended to Nigerian women who do the same with white men.
There is this belief, largely perpetuated by certain Nigerians that Nigerian men are somehow owed the companionship of a Nigerian woman.
That Nigerian woman ought to be with men of their own country and race, if they truly feel Nigerian pride. They rant that their “Nigerian sisters” shouldn’t propagate the white men’s fetishes nor allow themselves to be paraded as “prizes” in white men’s parties…as though these Nigerian women who chose these white men are nothing but objects and have no choice in the matter.
No doubt, white culture has long fetishized African women, long held them up as exotic trophies to be won by white men, ergo the jungle fever. But this argument forgets: Nobody owes anybody marriage or partnership, and just as falling in love with a white person does not erase a Nigerian girl’s race or her past, it does not affect or remove her impact, her value, her pride and her stature all together as a Nigerian.
Even more, there is the discourse that says that Nigerian women who date and marry white men are opportunists trying to elevate themselves one way or another – perhaps the opportunity for a green card matter or the chance to birth beautiful bi-racial children; and another that says that Nigerian women who date outside their race do so because of internalized self-loathing – somehow they think the approval of a white man makes them more valid in a society that traditionally glorifies anything white.
While there may be some truth to these assertions (in some cases), it is not entirely always the case.
I have a number of friends in Nigeria who are either dating or are married to white men, and their partner’s whiteness has not prevented the micro-aggressions and presumptions they face daily. For instance, any of them who have been given unrealistic KPIs by her boss wouldn’t be appeased by knowing that her boyfriend is white.
My point is, Nigerian girls are socialized early on to look for a good Nigerian man, better still, from the same tribe. A majority of Nigerians girls grow up narrow-minded, believing the definition of a good man to be “responsible Nigerian man”.
They get old and bitter searching for this “good man” because Nigerian men or Nigerian boys, on the other hand, are socialized to just look for a good woman, no matter who she is or where she is from, so they are harder to pin down.
What if this good man exists, he’s out there and he’s available? What if he’s a good white man instead of a Nigerian man? Why limit your potential by not opening up to dating someone who’s different!
As Nigerian women, we have to define love for ourselves. We cannot be afraid to have non-traditional relationships that are different from what society or norms tell us our relationship should look like. Let’s stop entertaining people’s negative perceptions, opinions or whack norms that limit the pool of people who we are interested in dating.
Does this resonate with you?