Am I TOO Pro-Black for Interracial Dating? - Reloaded
I’ve been getting blacker and blacker with each passing year. And I love it. The more black people I connect with, the more I learn about the diaspora and our history, the more we collectively resist the oppressive structures up against us, the more I love it.
I’ve exclusively dated black women my entire adult life. Even if a woman had mixed heritage, she would identify as black. I find comfort in being supported by someone who is passionate about the issues that black people in America face, and I feel that I’m able to, and passionate about, supporting black women through the oppression they face against their identities. Until now, this has been somewhat of a “deal-breaker.”
I remember my first date with a woman who is not black and does not identify as black. Her family is from Mexico, and she grew up in the Caribbean. She’s a sweet woman, intelligent, and very down to earth. Pretty as all get out. I don’t know if I mentioned this already,
But she’s not black.
Our first date was a hip-hop concert/comedy show hosted by underground rap artists in Atlanta affiliated with Dungeon Family. Her idea. The date was uneventful; the show wasn’t that interesting, but we had a cool vibe going between each other.
One of the young artists came on stage and started an empowering song about injustices against black people in America, the BLM movement, and banding together.
If you black and you proud, raise your fist up in the air right now like this…
My date looked at me. I looked back at her and noticed she appeared to be waiting for something. We stayed ensnared in each others’ gaze as I slowly lifted my right arm and fist into the air. Hers remained down. We remained locked in an awkward and uncertain stare as my eyebrows raised and the corners of my mouth turned down, as if to say “Yeah, uh. I’m doing this.” She’s not black and I am. It’s obvious. We’ve known this. But that moment, and several moments throughout the rest of the night made it painfully apparent. As I walked her to the car and watched her pull off towards home, I couldn’t help but wonder, have I “blacked” myself out of potentially meeting somebody dope?
The issue isn’t so much that I’m insecure in my identity or my politics. What I’m considering now is if my fortifications against ignorance and bigotry are causing me to be less understanding of others generally; less faithful and hopeful that individuals without a shared lived experience or incredibly superhuman context for the issues my people face could ever be understanding enough of my life, my identity, and our struggle, to begin to build a romantic foundation with me.
It’s hard enough to make friends that understand social science and politics from a similar or healthily dissimilar angle. It’s hard, in its own right, to find romantic compatibility in a partner. Once you apply both of these elements to a situation, and factor in that a large part of compatibility on either side might entail the understanding availed through cultural similarities, finding someone at the intersection of all your needs and wants as a pro-black, feminist, socialist, whatever, whoever starts to look very improbable. Let alone a person on the strong side of the privilege tug-of-war.
We don’t have to agree, but I’ve decided that “she” would need to have the propensity and willingness to understand. “She” wouldn’t have to know everything, but she would have to have a willingness and enthusiasm to learn. We know that movements started and propelled by black people have gained many rights for other racial groups in America. We have not often seen the reciprocal of this. So, why would any non-black person have a vested, active interest in the affairs of Black Americans in 2017. That question is easy enough for me to answer. But I’m on this side of the fence. In the spirit of empathy, I’ll submit that it might be a hard case to make stick.
I guess I’m still navigating this space. I know that supporters of black resistance and progression come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes, and that I can possibly find somebody who is non-black with such a philosophy with whom I can build a connection. I’m not specifically looking for that, but I guess my date experience made me consider whether or not I’ve got to the point of no return as far as transcending racial and cultural harmony in terms of my romantic relationships. Or whether or not I should even be trying to transcend those things.
It’s been hard enough to find meaningful romantic connection growing up in a hook-up culture. Now, with a Commander-in-Chief that has caused so much social unrest on the basis of ethnic and racial identity, many of us are so much more cautious about how we protect our identities, and what we share with others in fear that we may be judged or misunderstood or worse...taken advantage of.
I don’t really know what to do, haha. Like with most other things in life, I’ll just continue to keep an open mind. I’ll continue trying to evaluate each person as a holistic individual. And I’ll always, always, raise my fist at the concerts.