Since America's founding, the nation's racism has made interracial relationships incredibly hard—even life-threatening. It was only 50 years ago that interracial marriage between black and whites was even made legal, which happened in my parent's lifetime! And there are still maniacs running around today who will kill you for dating outside your race.
I'm a firm believer that love doesn't know color, religion, or creed, and I give a side eye to charlatans like Dr. Umar Jackson who insist you should never marry a person of another race. But just because I believe in the beauty and benefits of races coming together in love, doesn't mean the shit is easy. It's still an uphill battle.
While dating men of different races, I've found myself in some frustrating, awkward, unfortunate, and uncomfortable situations. From being pet like a dog ("black people's hair feels so cool and different!"), to dealing with basic questions of physiology ("Are your insides pink or brown?"), I've been on some ridiculous dates. And I'm not alone. My brown lady friends and I run into these kinds of things more than we should, and certainly, more than we'd like. Sometimes it has to do with the person we're seeing, or it's ruined by any number of outside forces like family, friends, and society.
Here are some cringe-worthy stories from black women who have dated men outside their race. It's a sad reminder that even though celebrities like Robert Pattinson and FKA Twigs might make it look easy, this shit is still hard as hell.
In the Shame of the Father
I once dated a guy who was half Dominican and half Puerto Rican. Things were going well, so he suggested I meet both his parents. His mother was pleasant and welcoming. She was interested in my family and the fact that they weren't originally from the US. She wanted to know things about Guyanese marriage and wedding traditions, dating customs, and mused about what it would be like to have mixed children. When his Dominican father came home, he didn't say much. He asked what I wanted to do when I got older but barely said two words during dinner. The room became very tense, and I noticed my boyfriend get a little uneasy. His father broke the silence: "I know you think you're dating my son, but this is going to stop now… my son does not, and simply cannot, date a 'Negra.'" My boyfriend was in complete shock; he didn't say a word. His mother began cursing at his father and began to frantically apologize to me. I didn't know what to do. So I grabbed my bag, thanked her for the meal, told my boyfriend we were done, and walked out. On the walk home, I called my brother and cried. - Nandee, 23
This white guy and I were really close friends. Although he and I were strictly platonic, I would always get these crazy looks and comments from white women whenever we were together. It's funny because you usually hear about this in reverse. But I would get asked how he and I met by women making over-the-top faces like they were nauseous. Then I'd see the look of relief on their faces once I told them we were just friends. I was even told by a white woman that she heard he wasn't good in bed, just to deter me from sleeping with him. Another woman said how gorgeous she thought he was, and worried openly about the prospect of him having my kids, who she feared would look like me. It was as if they felt entitled to cross the line and intimidate me out of a potential relationship. I think it just really disturbed some of these women who felt he could do better. - Dawn, 45
I dated a Vietnamese man who used to tell me my nipples looked like Hershey's Kisses. And that wasn't the worst part. His parents hated me—they didn't like the fact that I was not Asian. Every time I would visit, they would smile and wave, and right in front of my face talk shit in Vietnamese about how I wasn't good enough for their son because I'm black, which he'd later translate for me. Eventually, I decided to break up with him, but every time I tried to he'd tell me not to take what his parents said to heart because they were old and traditional. But that always made me question how he felt: Just because you have accepted their behavior, does that mean some part of you feels that way too? - Lauren, 29
One time my boyfriend and I were walking down the street, and this homeless guy came up to my boyfriend and started asking him what he was doing. Then to the shock and surprise of us both, he went on this rant about how my boyfriend is white and he can have anyone, and that he shouldn't choose to be with a monkey like me. - Brianna, 22
Nappy No No
I dated this mixed girl who was raised by her white mother and the white side of her family. She had curly hair. One time I too described my hair as "curly," and she corrected me. "You mean your nigga naps," she said. I asked if she even knew what a "nap" was, and she quickly replied "black people hair." I asked her how she'd describe her own locks, and she said "good hair." I nearly lost it. - Alexis, 23
Sometimes when I date outside of my race I wonder if that person is really interested in me or just fetishizing my [Spanish] culture. I remember dating one guy, and he just wanted me to speak Spanish to him all the time when we were in bed. I felt so awkward about it. It just made me feel like I was face to face with my oppressor. I'm sure he's seen images or porn where that was fetishized or played up to be this super romantic thing. It's one thing if you want to relate to my culture, or if you want to meet my parents and get to know more about my roots, but my language and parts of my culture aren't up for your consumption because you think it will get you aroused. After him, I stopped dating white dudes for a while. - Joan, 26
I had been talking with this guy for a little bit, but decided to call it off after a bout of sexy texting ending with him sending me a diagram of a girl tied up in some kinky bondage harness. Caught off guard, I asked what it was supposed to mean. He texted back, "I've always wanted to try this on a black girl, I think it would be so hot." Needless to say, his number was deleted with quickness. - Kim, 23
My last boyfriend was Persian. We broke up because his family couldn't accept the fact that I was black. His family acted as though I didn't exist. And he helped—his parents would call, and he'd have me be quiet so they wouldn't know I was in the room. Finally, he dumped me, saying he couldn't see how our families would blend. But it was a blessing in disguise. I'm now in a loving relationship with someone of a different race who doesn't feel the need to hide me from his parents. - Ashley, 27
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