An Unpleasant Surprise for Black Women Married to White Men: Having Whites Think You’re a Prostitute

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Maureen Evans Arthurs and husband Jaime
Maureen Evans Arthurs and husband Jaime

For Maryland native Maureen Evans Arthurs, getting mistaken for a prostitute due to her interracial marriage is a normal occurrence.

Arthurs, who has been married to her husband, Jamie, for over ten years, wrote via the Washington Post that it’s “not uncommon” for people to get the wrong idea about their relationship simply because of their different skin colors.

Her piece in the Post revealed an infrequently explored aspect of how the mainstream community’s racism can impact interracial relationships.

She wrote that it first occurred around four years ago at an event in California. A man offered to buy her a drink while she was standing with her husband. When she said No, he asked her “How much?”

The mother of one said that at first she didn’t understand what he meant by that. When it finally hit her, she couldn’t believe what he was implying.

“I was speechless, angry and embarrassed,” she wrote.

That was the first time she encountered a situation of that nature, but it wasn’t the last. She wrote that several men approached her at an event just last month.

She claimed that one of them said: “You’re on the wrong arm, sweetie, I wish I could go home with you,” and another propositioned, “We have this whole place to ourselves, it’ll be a shame if we don’t maximize our time here and slip away.”

The situation even made her doubt herself and how she appears to strangers.

“Here I was, a tall, dark-skinned, thin, twenty-something woman on the arm of a white man in his mid-thirties,” she wrote. “How mismatched and odd, I thought, we may have looked to some.”

Arthurs situation is not unique: she writes that nearly all of her friends in interracial relationships have had similar experiences at some point.

In September, Ebony editor Jamilah Lemieux wanted to see just how many Black women are affected by situations like this. She tweeted “RT if you are a Black woman (trans or cis) and have been assumed to be a sex worker by a White man.”

As of yesterday her tweet has had over 150 retweets and been favorited 58 times. Women tweeted back with their own experiences.

One woman wrote “Happened to me 17 years ago as a newlywed in Chicago when I was with my white husband, CPD (Chicago Police Department) stopped us. So humiliating.”

Another user tweeted “I was once hideously ostracized at a Hollywood birthday party. Only black woman. They REFUSED to believe I wasn’t a stripper.”

Even a white man felt the need to share his experience tweeting “My wife is from Haiti, together 16 yrs. I’m affectionate in public. Sit by her side in restaurants. And STILL get idiots.”

 

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