I’ve always been an advocate for Black women being open to dating outside of our race. The most obvious reason for this comes down to basic math—even if we only dated each other, there simply aren’t enough single, eligible Black men for us to all be partnered off. Moreover, Black men habitually date women of other races… something we, as Black women, are the least likely of any demographic to even pursue.
On top of all of this, I think it’s imperative that we collectively avoid limiting or boxing ourselves in, in any area of our lives, dating included.
But that “Dump Donte, And Get You A Chad” meme comes with several asterisks. One specifically, I feel, will continuously grow more prominent as our current social atmosphere grows more tense.
A little while ago, I was talking to an attractive, young, attorney, who was very charming and very white. Over the years, when we were both unattached, we’d fall into these bouts of pleasant conversation, out of which developed undeniable chemistry and potential.
He was funny, educated, attentive, and sweet; there were a lot of pluses. But, on occasion, he’d express some tone-deaf opinions on race, online. These opinions were never outrageous but they also weren’t ones that could be ignored.
One evening, a discussion of ours quickly turned into a heated exchange,in which he began fervently denying the existence of racial bias in the criminal justice system. As I ping-ponged back and forth between arguing and listening with my eyes permanently rolled into the back of my head, his stance evolved into what was essentially a defense of white supremacy—he said that white people weren’t inherently evil (an assertion I never made) and that if Black people were in power, we’d be doing the same thing.
The conversation ended with him angrily saying he had to go.
I hung up the phone thinking, “Damn, that made a little misogynoir feel like a walk in the park.” And I knew that our two-year, on-again off-again flirtations had come to an end.
A conversation like that was a very obvious deal breaker but it was one I’d never had to deal with, until that night.
I had a long, happy, very positive and secure relationship with a white guy, in college, but we were a lot younger and this was in a pre-Trayvon Martin society; racial tensions weren’t as high, in general, and race and everything surrounding it was much less of an issue for me, at 19.
But now, at 27, I was confronted with the reality that, even though I’d never want to limit my romantic prospects, maybe there were some insurmountable obstacles that would keep a relationship from working, with a white man.
Granted, I’m sure a lot of white men aren’t so willfully obtuse and are much less lacking in sensitivity about an issue they will never be a victim of. But it’s absolutely imperative that, if you are going to go this route, you have these difficult, litmus test types of conversations very early on.
Because having to argue about something as significant as racial injustice, with the person who is supposed to be your lover and your best friend, sounds like the opposite of self-care.
Photo: Vanity Fair