Dating is easy but for a black woman, it’s harder than most people think
On Grown-ish this week, it’s all about the chances of getting a date in college. The episode opens with some facts on how easy it is for everyone to get dates, especially with all the new apps out there for college students to hook-up. But it’s not easy for everybody – for instance, “82% of non-black men show some bias to black women” and that’s what sets the tone for this week’s episode. The group is out at the bar for the night, when Jazz (Chloe Bailey) brings up how there are a lot of black guys walking around with girls that aren’t black. This leads to an open discussion for everyone on the topic. While Ana (Francia Raisa) and Nomi (Emily Arlook) suggests that its probably “just a slow night”, the girls and Vivek (Jordan Buhat) are not so convinced that’s the real reason. Nomi then suggests that the girls just try dating guys that aren’t black, but they like what they like and they don’t feel they should have to change their preferences just to get a date. Aaron (Trevor Jackson) tries to voice his opinion by agreeing and saying he’s all about black girls, but he quickly gets shut down when Luca (Luka Sabbat) says that Aaron only likes them when they’re “Egyptian, not Nubian.” He realizes that he may be a tad bit colorstruck.
The table gets into a conversation about the list of how pop culture views women. It’s sending a message to black girls that “we’re not it” and the group sees that firsthand when a black boy walks up to the table and switches his tone and language to talk to Ana. They bring up all of the reasons that people are more drawn to non-black women. When Jazz sends back a drink, Nomi speculates that this is a reason for why men don’t ask her out. After a while, Jazz finds a white guy, but it causes her and Sky to get into an argument. Later when they make up, Sky (Halle Bailey) admits that the only reason she came down so hard about Jazz trying to hook-up with a white guy was that she didn’t want her to have to “settle”. They just want the same experiences as Nomi or Ana, but dating isn’t all college is about, so they won’t let it define them.
While everybody else is hanging out for the night, Zoey (Yara Shahidi) is spending her night trying to finish a project for her design class with Luca. Zoey is completely focused on completing it, but Luca has other plans. Black Panther is showing and he’d rather be there than sitting in the classroom doing work. They were just supposed to go to the movies but they end up making multiple stops throughout the night. Luca says all of this is about getting some inspiration and after resisting for a little bit, Zoey just decides to follow his lead. They finally make it back to finish their project, but Zoey walks in to see that Luca has trashed what she was working on and started on a whole new look. In the end, he helps her find her inspiration.
Grown-ish went deep into the minds and feelings of a young black woman trying to date a black man in college this week. Let’s see what our roundtable had to say about the episode!
Discussing this black woman in the dating pool centered episode is our Grown-ish roundtable!
Jeria (@jereyea) – Student, Stan, and Tweeter
Chanel (@channellybelle) – counselor by day, Netflix binging dog lover by night
Ryan (@legendarylevy) – child actor, TV & movie buff
Miya (@MsMiya_) – Writer, Film Enthusiast, Singer.
Chi (@polyhansen) – college student, free writer, pop media enthusiast, practice in promotion and sales.
1. Do you agree that there is a colorism issue when it comes to black girls getting dates?
Jeria (@jereyea): There’s a huge issue with colorism with black guys dating black girls, but especially girls of a darker hue. Honestly, Sky and Jazz both still probably would get black guys based on their skin tone.
Chanel (@channellybelle): I do agree that there is some colorism when it comes to black girls dating. There has always been this stigma that when black men obtain any type of power the first thing they do is leave black women behind, while other races are not necessarily trying to date black females either. It’s hard to date when people want to make assumptions about your race and therefore don’t want to give you a chance. We often find that there is racism amongst the black population where black men might discriminate between light skinned and dark skinned women or women who wear weaves vs. their natural.
Ryan (@legendarylevy): I agree that colorism is an issue that black woman face and it is unfortunate because they are beautiful as well and should not feel less than anyone else. Color does not determine beauty.
Miya (@MsMiya_): Yes, I do believe that because I have experienced that first hand. Most black guys I liked wanted a girl more light-skinned than me.
Chi (@polyhansen): I agree, I have experienced it first hand.
2. How do you feel about the phrase “I like what I like” when it comes to the discussion of dating?
Jeria: Usually, it’s never “I like what I like”, it’s normally an underlying bias or some stereotypical reason.
Chanel: I think this phrase can be a double edge sword. Whereas I understand that people might have an idea of what they might be physically attracted to, sometimes sticking to that idea keeps you from being open to meeting someone who might be more compatible on a mental and spiritual level. Just because they might not physically be what you typically go for does not mean they can’t offer more to a relationship. It kind of keeps people in that “judging a book by its cover” mindset. You never know what you actually like if you only skim the surface.
Ryan: “I like what I like” is like saying “just cause” its a justification of the types/preferences of people you like or are attracted to. Instead of saying “I like what I like”, people should question why they like others and understand their actions.
Miya: I think that’s an excuse and not a valid reason. It’s something people say when they don’t want to admit that they may prefer a certain person over another.
Chi: I think that is true to some extent because he does come down to preference, however, preference is influenced by society’s standards of what beauty is. I am okay with preferences as long as it’s not at the cost of someone else’s beauty. In other words, don’t bash someone who doesn’t fit into your standards.
3. What are your thoughts on each individual’s response during the conversation about dating in college?
Jeria: Nomi and Anna were speaking from positions of privilege, so they could pretend the experiences were all in the twins’ heads. Vivek fetishizes black women and their stereotype. Aaron literally does just have a type. The twins had valid opinions based on their experiences.
Chanel: I think their responses were pretty standard. I feel like often times when we try to discuss racial issues people that are in a beneficial position often try to dispute another races feelings. It didn’t surprise me that the other characters wanted to disagree with Jazz and Sky. I liked the fact that Vivek was able to agree with some of Jazz and Sky’s points.
Ryan: My thoughts on the responses for dating in college is they are all trying to find out what they like or want versus what others want and like. Each one of them are trying to find out who they are and who it is they “should” be dating. It’s unfortunate that color still influences dating but having conversations and bringing attention to it like this show is doing is a way for people to understand.
Miya: I believe everyone made some valid points, and whichever one you agree on depends on you.
Chi: The twins are always speaking facts, but I think Nomi and (Diggy’s character) made good points about exploring in
college, you don’t always have to stick with what you know.
4. Do you feel that black girls are more stereotyped when it comes to their behaviors than other girls?
Jeria: Like one of the twins said, when one black girl is a certain way, she represents the whole race, but when anyone else does it, it just speaks for the individual.
Chanel: I think what Jazz and Sky said about their behaviors representing an entire race happens often. We see it all the time that when a black person does something wrong they aren’t seen as an individual but instead a representation of their race. I agree that it keeps people from wanting to get to know black women on a more intimate level. Not every black woman is “difficult or sassy” but we are either assumed to be those stereotypes or when we are not we are perceived to be “different from other black females.”
Ryan: I believe they are misunderstood often and people try to fit them into a preconceived notion of what black females are. People don’t try to understand others, they compare them to what they know or have experienced and that leads to major misconceptions and misunderstandings. I liked how they compared Nomi doing the same thing as Jazz but having different reactions because of the color of the person.
Miya: YES! I can’t tell you how many times I have been told to “tone” it down and stop being a certain way, but when non-black girls do the same thing I am doing, it’s different.
Chi: Absolutely. That is without question, that’s why we have to be cautious about how we carry ourselves 24/7. It’s not fair, but that’s how it is.
5. Do you feel the writers explained the way a lot of young black women in college experience dating?
Jeria: The writers did a pretty good job explaining black women dating experiences in college, but it would have been nicer for Zoey to be there to speak on her privilege as well as a darker-hued girl to speak on the disadvantages of being dark in the dating scene.
Chanel: I think they did. This is a common conversation that I have had often with my black female friends. I was surprised and intrigued when I watched this episode because I felt like they zeroed in on every point me and my friends have brought up in our conversations. A lot of black females feel that they are lower on the dating totem pole and I liked the fact that this show was able to bring to light such a common black female conversation.
Ryan: I feel the writers explained the way black women feel in general, not just in college.
Miya: I believe they did. I also think it’s a matter of perspective and your own experience of dating.
Chi: I can only speak personally, so I’d say they were pretty accurate in their portrayal of how a lot of black women in college experience dating. I also go to a PWI, so I understand that most black guys go after more “exotic” females and then when approached about it, it’s always “No cute black girls go here.” So, I’m basically living what they are portraying on tv.
6. Do you think that you had the full college experience– equipped with a decent dating life?
Jeria: I don’t date.
Chanel: Personally, I felt like I did not. While in college, I dated one person throughout my four years so I did not get an opportunity to experience the college dating pools.
Ryan: I was dating someone when I went to college and shortly after we broke up so my college experience started with a broken heart, but I met amazing people that I still talk to. I went to a college in a new city so it was a new experience and life that helped me grow into who I am.
Miya: No! I have not had the full college experience, unfortunately.
Chi: I am going into my senior year of college and I’ve had the same boyfriend within that time span, so I wouldn’t know. I guess that’s considered a success. As far as other college-related stuff, definitely. I have my hands in everything.
7. Luca and Zoey spent a lot of time together. Are you liking the way their friendship is being shown?
Jeria: I like their friendship, but I think they might start dating again. I think they should just remain friends. Zoey needs a good platonic friend.
Chanel: I like their relationship because I feel like Luca pushes Zoey to step out of her comfort but also achieve her full potential.
Ryan: I like how close Zoey and Luca are. Luca is the most chill person and says things realistically. I like how he is real and you can tell he cares about Zoey but isn’t about to change who he is to make her like him. They could end up dating or remain friends and I would be happy with both.
Miya: I sensed a lot of things being said without being said in their last scene together. You could tell that Luca still has feelings for her. Whether Zoey feels the same way who knows…we will just have to wait and see.
Chi: I love Luca’s friendship, he brings Zoey down a bit which is weird because he seems into himself more than Zoey is into herself. I guess they balance each other out.
The college dating experience for Jazz and Sky may not be the same as Nomi and Ana’s, but they’ll make it through just fine
“It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” is easily one of the best and most well-written episodes this season. The writers chose to discuss a topic that had many different avenues to venture into. There were so many things said that related to a lot of black women watching. Expressing the college experience of a black woman that isn’t extremely glorified or stereotyped in such a way was refreshing. The opening was a great way to set the tone for the emotions the twins were feeling throughout the episode. Obviously, not everyone has the same college experiences, but then when it comes to the best parts of college – like dating, most people expect for it to pan out like it does in the movies. For some, that may be true, but this week’s episode really showed how sometimes black women are set apart from the rest. When they brought up the colorism issue that Aaron had, it was interesting to see him try to consciously change his ways. He wasn’t only going after those types of girls on purpose but it just showed that sometimes outside sources can definitely have an influence on what you see as beauty.
It was great to see an episode that put Zoey as the B-storyline and gave us a chance to see some of the other characters shine. Chloe Bailey acted amazingly in this episode centered around the black woman. Her and Halle holding the main storyline this week gave us a chance to get to know Jazz and Sky more. It was a fantastic move to let this story be the one the for them to really showcase their acting talents. We’re hoping for more episodes with them in the main storylines because they’ve shown us that they’re capable of carrying them.
Next week, when Cal U threatens to close one of the beloved dorms on campus, Zoey, and the gang ban together to protect their “safe space.” We’re excited to see what the episode on protesting something important has in store for us!