Saying Goodbye To Dating Diversity: Not A Snub, I Just Need Black/Brown Love…
Winter is here— what’s a single sista to do? Every day under this administration it’s getting harder for Black and Brown people (especially women) to peacefully coexist and if you add dating to the mix, it gets really complicated.
Ol’ 45 is killing my dating vibe! I miss the brief moment when I was kinda-sorta-almost in love, blissfully ignorant and deliberately oblivious enough to go to white cultural festivals, eat, drink and be merry. My ex was Greek, so I will miss those festivals the most. Now I have a nice Italian guy interested and I’m giving him the “it’s not you, it’s the political climate” speech because I want to eat my pasta in peace without getting stared at like I’m in the “Whites Only” section of town.
I use to take the Luther Vandross approach to dating: “if you can’t love the one you want, love the one you with” because the only guys who seemed interested were white men (mostly Greek and Italian). Now, I’m actively ISO Black men, (proud) men of African descent or other men of color.
Recently, I dated a couple of Indian guys and they were nice, but my heart longs for just a plain old brotha who I can have an eye conversation with and he would understand everything I’m saying, without saying a word. It’s magical! There’s a beauty and comfort in the non-verbal communication I can have with Black people and people of African descent that I simply can’t with a white men/people. In this political climate I’m having far too many silent WTF moments with white people — where I’d like my man to understand that my silence actually means WOMFM (wait one…minute)for example:
It would have been nice to have a brotha by side at Wholefoods when a white woman, we’ll call OPP (Old Privileged Patty) told her husband, LSL (Long Suffering Larry) not to move, “she’ll wait” after I patiently waited and nicely said, “excuse me” three times. LSL looked at me, looked back at his wife, gave a slight smile and granted me access. I said thank you, and I could hear her ask him why did he move, he only replied, “let’s go”.
But that was a lightweight incident compared to the white man who blocked my car in at a Trader Joe’s parking lot, screaming profanity for what he thought was me taking his parking spot (which I never do). My son and I were terrified. I told my son that I hoped the man’s crying baby would make him think twice, but I walked in fear that my son and I could possibly be hurt by an enraged and questionably insane white man. This isn’t far fetched. Little Jazmine Barnes is dead from white rage. I was alone with my son, surrounded by white people and no one said a word or called the police.
And it’s not getting any better in professional settings. I had daily stories of my white female colleague's Girls Gone Wild (Bold And Biased Edition):
- Screaming Sally — told me that she was “doing [me] a favor” by showing up late to our meetings, yelled and banged on tables behind closed doors in response to me calmly asking her to respect my time and reminding her that we are equals; then she publicly apologized and blamed her bad behavior on our white female boss (who was an equal opportunity oppressor) who we’ll refer to as EOO
- EOO was highly critical of everyone but, especially disrespectful and dismissive to Black and Latinx women. EOO immediately threatened me after Screaming Sally stormed out of the room assuming she was the victim when she was actually the aggressor
When I was in the thick of it — my sweet, Greek boyfriend listened because he loved me and was fiercely loyal, but he didn’t understand how hurtful and demeaning it was when EOO abused her power and privilege by:
- making me do her work or called me and other Black and Brown team members late in the evening and on the weekends to do her favors
- compared me and other Black women to a large, male farm animal or asked me where to order fried chicken for her child’s birthday party
- summarizing my hard work (that she received awards for) as “a passion project” and chose to only praise and recognize her white and Asian team
Even though I shared countless stories with him, his affluent, segregated upbringing made him dismiss my warnings until one Sunday: While we were out shopping, I told him that I saw a white police officer watching me and scowl when I got in his car. That same officer followed us for seven blocks. When my friend asked the officer why he was being pulled over, the officer refused to answer and asked for his license and registration, staring at me the whole time. My friend said he had never been treated that way by police and didn’t understand. When the officer walked away, I suggested that he should be quiet because the officer seemed upset, but he ignored me again and said, “I’m sorry officer, my wife normally handles our vehicle registration and we’re going through a divorce.” The officer looked puzzled and my friend laughed and said, “Oh no, she’s not my wife…” and we were immediately ordered to get out the car with our hands up, stand by the side of the road and watched his car get impounded for having his registration expired by one day.
He was never told why he was pulled over and my ex paid $800 to get his car back the next day. He was mad about the money — I was happy to have my life. I joked with him about that being his first DWB (Driving While Black) moment or in his case Driving With A Black — woman.
Things have actually gotten worse since my last adventure with white men. Now I’m alone and the professional slights escalated to me literally being cursed out, and being laid off after filing a discrimination complaint. By the way, these incidents happened recently in a department of a prestigious post-secondary school in the north — not Jim Crow era, south.
To say I’m a little war-torn and traumatized by white people at the moment is an understatement. Racial Battle Fatigue is real!
Last week, I had dinner with some younger, “woke” associates when a white woman was staring so hard that she ran into a column. My white, female associate asked, did I know her. Annoyed, I laughed and waved at the woman because I knew she was shocked to see an older Black woman, a young white woman, and an Asian gentleman together. It was an awkward moment for everyone and it made me feel crazy and second guess myself until it happened a second time. Had I been sitting with another Black person or on a date with a Black man I wouldn’t have had to explain anything, they would understand because they’ve experienced this, too.
Sadly, most Black women have these hateful and harmful experiences, but we don’t have the time or resources to adequately address these incidents or seek justice. So I started counseling and I’ve decided to lessen my exposure to more embarrassing and traumatic incidents by dating only Black or other men of color. At least I’ll have some comfort of knowing he can relate and hopefully support each other in the struggle…
Now you might be thinking, “damaged goods”, but I’d argue Beautiful Black Gold — Made In America. A Black man could understand and empathize without lengthy explanations. I’m a realist, yet I remain hopeful because contrary to popular belief, a lot of brothas are in committed relationships or married to wonderful sistas (like most of my friends who are happily married 15 years+). Another portion aren’t interested in Black women and there’s a good number who are unavailable or simply out of reach — lost in the (in)justice system (see 13th and Meek Mill’s Documentary). The rest are ready and available or casually dating while they work through their issues (like myself).
While I’m healing, I’m looking for a deeper connection that transcends the physical and strong enough to endure these trying times. Every day, I wake up with the goal to do better: love myself, nurture, nourish and strengthen my mind, body and soul, to be a better human being, mother, loved one, friend, and dare I say, citizen.
So far, I’ve dated three men of color in the last two years, but I haven’t had a lot of time to socialize. I’m trying something new — I’m forcing myself to attend 1 event per month that teaches me something, helps me meet a goal or brings me joy. Let’s see what happens…
I’m interested in hearing from other Black women. I know we are the last in the frontier of interracial dating. What has been your experience?