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What Kissing White Boys Taught Me About Myself
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What Kissing White Boys Taught Me About Myself

As my boyfriend and I walked down the block in our neighborhood, he reached his hand out and pointed at a couple across the street. "See? It's an epidemic," he joked in reference to a beautiful black woman walking hand-in-hand with an equally beautiful white man. My boyfriend said that he noticed a surge in amount of black women who had 'crossed over to the other side'. To me, this concept was far from unique. My sister has been with a white man for almost 15 years. My great-grandmother was the product of an interracial relationship that pre-dated the Jim Crow era. To me, interracial dating was just dating with more critics.


But, for some reason the world tends to take issue with black women opting out of dating black men. Malia Obama was recently seen kissing a fellow Harvard student at a tailgate party and social media exploded all because that fellow student was white. But, Harvard University is about 93% non-black, which means the selection of eligible black men (or women) on campus is likely scarce. Choosing to date white men out of neccesity

 

All my life, I've been attracted to black men. To be fair, all my life, I've been attracted to men in general. I can remember in high school when my older sister made it pretty clear she was switching from black men to white men that I thought, 'is she out of her mind?'.  I have a penchant for the cushion of a black man's mouth, the depth of melanin, the thickness of a nappy head of hair to lock my fingers in. Black men, in my opinion, are the most beautiful men in the world.

The last time I kissed a white boy, I was 32 years old. We met on Tinder after I told myself that I'd had enough with black men and their emotionally stunted issues. I swiped left until I came across a seemingly normal non-black man and decided that I was about to sleep with my very first white boy.

The morning after our second date, I woke up in a penthouse apartment across the street from Prospect Park. On my way to the bathroom, I "got lost" and ended up in a living room bathing in light streaming from panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows. I did what any woman in my position would do - I snapped a picture and sent it to my friend.

her: girl whatudewin?

me: views. white boy and I hooked up last night

her: ah sh*t. ya'll so cute.

me: were so cute. this was a one-night thing.

Waking up that morning I came to a stark realization about myself - I don't have a true appreciation for white boys, period. Now that I had fully explored the hype, I realized that when you put the politics and aesthetic aside, a white man is still just a man. He might not call you, he might sweep you off your feet, he could be a fling, he could be the one - how you approach interracial courtship has more to do with our own heads than the social expectation of what dating a white boy means.

Aside from the physical comparison, my aversion to white men had more to do with my past than anything else. By the time I was old enough to actually date, I had already experienced being grilled by a white classmate about why black people get ashy. I had already been told by a middle-aged white man that he "always wanted a black girl in his bed". I had already been objectified by white men just because of my melanin. Sure, a lot of black men I had encountered were very often out of touch with their emotions or shouted profane comments on the street when I walked by

His white privilege was an aphrodisiac and I kind of felt like my ancestors might be whispering 'get it, girl' in approval.

But, what I learned about my one-night experiment was this -

But what meant more to me than the hype and possibility of an issue-free white boyfriend was the familiarity that came with dating black men.

Black men know me, because they know their black mothers, their black aunties and their black sisters. They know I have to wrap my hair up at night, and dress my skin in coconut oil and shea butter before my head touches the pillow. They know what it feels like to be the only black person in a room, they understand all the inside jokes and family references and marginalized experiences you can only know if you're marginalized. I don't have to explain my blackness to a black man the way I felt like I did to white men. I also don't have to question their attraction to me the same. Being objectified because I'm a woman is something I can manage. Being objectified because I'm a woman and because I'm black was something I just couldn't get past. I didn't want to be anyone's Jungle Fever souvenir.

But, I had to realize - those feelings were about my own insecurities. Not about white men being wack.

I'm self-aware enough not to categorize an entire race of men simply because of the few dozen I met who didn't know how to treat me or talk to me. I do this for black men, and I do this for white men as well. I understand that my racial preferences aren't something that make me more 'woke' or more in touch with myself or less open than the next woman. The most vital lesson I learned about my short-lived stint into white men was that part of how I self-identify is being attracted to black men. It's that simple. I never felt like myself in romantic situations with white men. I wasn't angry or scared or irritated by them - I just didn't feel like me. I would have never known that if I didn't allow myself to try something different.

I think who we are as women, is absolutely shaped by our relationships with men. What we know about the men we love and long for, how we're affected by them, why we lean in towards some and away from others - are all things that teach us who we are sexually and emotionally. Exploring that is key. Whether it's dating outside your race or dating outside your sexual preference - how can you ever really know what you want, until you know what you don't?

 

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