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Malika Walker arrived in Rome two weeks ago as Weaver's new assistant.Her boss said she "can't even keep up with" how many dates Walker has been asked on since arriving."I guess you could say my stock is up in Europe," Walker told me, with an exuberant laugh.The company, which was originally named Bella Italia before expanding to other countries, arranges tours for groups ranging from fewer than 10 to over 70.She could readily name all the women she's taken to Italy who are currently in relationships with, or married to, Italian men.
"There are a lot of incredible men out there, yes, you know you want a brother. Though I cringe to admit it now, I was excited by the possibility of a semester spent flirting with Swedes.
But she insisted that Black Girl Travel's purpose isn't to convince black women that Europe is the solution to their singlehood."I'm not saying it is the promised land; I'm just saying you have more options," Weaver said.
Weaver is speaking to what she calls "the 1.5 million": the number of black women in America who outnumbered black men in 2008 (now 2.5 million according to current census data).
"Once those images are posted and once they're permeating society, then a certain kind of picture is presented and reinforced about who black women should be with," Tiya Miles told me over the phone.
Last year Miles, the chair of African-American studies at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and a former Mac Arthur fellow, wrote about the issues facing black women and interracial dating for the Huffington Post.