i’m a black pagan, would you date me?

December 10, 2010
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Being Black and Pagan is already difficult, but to be Black, Pagan and wanting to date? That’s a multiplex issue in itself. The problems for Black Pagans that want to date stem from mostly religious and fairly racial grounds. Many people are still fairly ignorant about Paganism, witchcraft and Wicca and will believe that anyone who claims to be a Witch, Pagan or Wiccan is possibly crazy or going to cast a hex around breakup time. The racial issues that tie into the religious issues creates almost the perfect storm in that Blacks are assumed to be Christian (or possibly Muslim), no alternative.

I’m a Black Pagan, Would You Date Me?

Words Black Witch

Christianity is such a linchpin in the Black mindset, whatever is considered outside of the religion is considered to be an act of sheer blasphemy. Contrary to popular belief, the Black race is a very conservative race, the acceptance of something such as Paganism would come along very slowly. In addition, many Black Pagans are involved in alternative culture, where there is already a profound lack of Black faces and hence a smaller chance of potential Black-Black relationships.

Black Pagans already have it hard enough finding their place in Black culture and the Black community. Often we are misunderstood, ridiculed, ostracized and even called “White” or “oreo” (Black on the outside, White on the inside for those not savvy with snack food slurs) because we don’t practice Christianity. Usually when I mention that I’m Pagan (or God/dess forbid, I tell them I’m a Witch), I can usually bet a good sum that I will be asked within ten minutes or less if I am a devil-worshiper and despite even my best explanations, word will spread like wildfire that a Satanist is in the midst. This is not to say that Black Christianity is not charming, there are definitely some very beautiful aspects to the interpretation of the religion but Black Christians tend to be pretty good at foaming at the mouth when met with something radically different from what they were raised and told. I’ll be told about Jesus (despite being a young adult, Black, living in America and not under a rock) and if I know what I’m doing is a sin. I’ll be asked a million and ten questions about the Bible and explain a million and ten times that Paganism is not a denomination of Christianity so stop asking me the same freaking question just worded differently a million and ten times, I’m not Christian. Not all Black Christians go into freak-out mode when they meet someone who doesn’t hail a cross but they’re not really the norm. For now, there really isn’t any room for Black Pagans and whatever room we do have to express our opinions and faith is incredibly limited within Black culture and we’re barely a blip in the Black mindset, we are the “other”. If this is the Black perception overall, imagine the chance of having a normal Black-Black relationship.

I don’t have a rolodex of relationships to speak of for I’m not really the dating sort. Relationships do interest me but not strongly enough to waste incredible amounts of time and energy on something that isn’t promised and doesn’t often work out. Instead, I have my own one guy who I have dated and sadly broken up with over the summer after a long term relationship. He wasn’t Black, he was Indonesian, Muslim and into the punk scene. Was he perfect in acceptance towards me being Pagan? He had some rough edges but that’s a lot better than believing I’d hex him if he forgot my birthday. He knew about my religion – I make it a point to get that out of the way first so any reactions, whether good or bad, can be had and I get a glimpse of what my future will be like. He was a lenient Muslim himself but our religious views didn’t really enter the relationship much, we were just another pair trying to figure out how to manage a relationship just like anyone else. What killed the relationship were communication issues but he was by far the most accepting guy (who was dateable) of my religion. It’s probably going to be a long time before I find someone like that again and a longer time if I want the guy to be Black.

Most Black men I come across are Christian. I have only come across a very small handful of Black Pagan men and they’re my friends, un-dateable or already in relationships. Even if I did meet a Black Pagan guy, it’s not a promise our individual faiths will mesh well enough for a relationship, not all Pagans are alike. To have a friendship despite our differences is one thing but relationship with so many disparities is another. A lot of Black guys already have very odd and perplexing views about Black women and vice versa which make it difficult to date inside the race but to layer “I’m a Witch!” on top of that, I can probably be assured even if I lowered my standards to a blade of grass I wouldn’t get much of a catch. (Well, I wouldn’t have much of a catch with low standards anyways.) The responses I often get towards my religion are rather disheartening, no matter when I spill the beans about my religion. They tell me they worry I’m cutting off goats’ heads or that I’m crazy because I believe in spells. (How odd, they believe in prayer, practically the same thing.) I get the “You’re a nice girl and all but….” even from the nicest guys. I already have very discerning taste in men (must be intellectual, eccentric (but not psychotic), interesting, respectful, generous, non-egotistical, open-minded etc etc) so my pool is small enough but to be Pagan, it’s like the pool turns into a drop.

Away from religion for a moment, there is quite a silent crisis in the Black perception of the opposite sex. Namely, we’re taught to hate each other. Black women are taught that all Black men are sex-driven dogs with a remarkable penchant for violence. Black men are taught that all Black women are money-sucking harpies and also with a remarkable penchant for violence. This is a very small nutshell of a very big problem but the symbolism runs rampant in Black culture consistently from movies to music to simply how we treat each other. Black culture still has a sense of inferiority instilled from systematic psychological destruction of the Black mind during slavery times so when we’re told that the Black wo/man is worthless, we’re taught by society that a White wo/man is a greater prize instead. Even if the notion does not appear to be incredibly prevalent amongst Black women, it is with Black men seemingly. That to have a White woman or even Asian woman is preferable than a Black woman because it is believed a White or Asian woman is more submissive and manageable, which harkens back to the idea of the Black harpy who swivels her head snakelike in consistent disapproval but also other very long ingrained racial gender stereotypes that pervade mainstream culture like a sickness. In Black culture, it seems to be more acceptable for Black men to date and mess about outside of race but if a Black woman does it, she’s a deemed a traitor because “she holds the future of the Black race.” This saying, I hear all too often and find to be complete and utter crap since Black women aren’t Virgin Marys. There is no such thing as “the future of the Black race” with only half the equation. To penalize one side means to penalize the other, not ignore it, regardless of who is the guilty party. Even with or without the Black wo/man end of the equation, there can’t be a Black relationship if one side is absent for whatever reason.

I have dated outside my race because I don’t entirely care too much about skin as I do about treatment. I’m putting myself out there but my top preference is Black or Asian/American (to note the difference between Asian and Asian-American in one term), I gel best with both cultures. If I meet a nice Asian/American guy who doesn’t mind me for my religion and is fairly decent himself, I will date him. If I meet a nice Black guy who doesn’t mind me for my religion and is fairly decent himself, I will date him. This probably won’t increase my boyfriend pool much either way because of religion and the social stigma of the Black woman as well as interracial dating complexities but I feel if a person wants to date outside of race, that’s perfectly fine, who am I to harp? However, the problems begin when the main reason dating interracially is because the person believes some ill-conceived notion that their own race is worthless.

Returning to religion, Black Pagans are held back further in dating than their White Pagan counterparts because of the smaller pool and added racial stigma. To date within race is to dredge incredible amounts of questions about devil-worshiping and “voodoo doing” as well as assumptions of attempting to be White since it would be considered absurd to be Black and not Christian (or even Muslim). To date outside of race is to be greeted unknowingly with unwarranted racist questions that no sound-minded Black person would want to deal with. In addition, immediate assumptions (and possibly overly patronizing praise) of doing voodoo or Egyptian work may also be made. There are many issues regarding dating out of race but one pervasive issue stems in-race and it is the accusations of being a racial “traitor” by other Blacks, regardless of gender.

I would love to have a nice sizable pool of guys to choose from, eccentric, lovely, smart, respectful, creative men. I also would like to not be judged by the simple fact that, yes, I do cast spells, no, I don’t go to church and I sincerely doubt I’ll be coming back to Christianity, and yes, I truly do promise not to curse your whole family line if you forget to get me a present for Valentine’s, honest. I’m more of the “talk it out” sort and when I say “talk”, I mean “discuss what went wrong and listen to both sides equally” not “scream at you for three hours straight” since that doesn’t solve anything. I want to have a nice, normal relationship with a guy, no worries about whether he’s making Wizard of Oz or voodoo jokes behind my back and I don’t have to teach him practically from scratch about my religion…or he’s willing to do some of the leg work about it.

Relationships are a lot of work and plenty of give and take as it is the union between two very imperfect individuals who come with their own perks, quirks, dreams and misgivings. Regardless of religion or race, this is any relationship. No relationship is perfect because no one is perfect and Pagans are no different. I know for fact I wouldn’t want to be seen only as Witch because that’s not all that I am, just like any other Black Pagan. We wanna date, love and get married too, just like everyone else.

Remember, if you have a question to give, don’t forget that there’s a submission form, twitter, BW Facebook fan page and email (thisblackwitch@hotmail.com)! I’m always taking submissions for Ask Black Witch so if you have a question, please ask!

Also, I will be at the Afro-Punk Christmas Party on Dec 16. First I will be hanging out in Koreatown in a bit so if you want to hang out before the X-Mas party, say so! I’ll be getting my usual: oknomiyaki at Haru Hana