Problems in dating white men
He was married now and no longer had to be “chosen.” But habits ingrained in adolescence can be hard to break. I hadn’t thought about why that was, but when some brown and black people in my community started giving me a hard time about dating white women, I sensed they’d be happier if I stopped.So early on I learned how important it was to be “chosen,” selected. It’s been a year since I broke up with my girlfriend, and I haven’t told her the real reason. I also got weird vibes from some white people, namely the parents of the women I was dating.First, some history: When I was a child, watching my pops get ready to go out was something to behold.He would spend hours preparing his mask every morning for whatever crowd, person or community he faced.Like my pops said, “Maybe they’ll choose you.”It’s a message amplified by movies and TV, from “Save the Last Dance” to “Master of None” and dozens of other narratives that all feature, in one way or another, a black or brown man being made better from being with a white woman. An aspiration to “better the race” has always been a thing. And also, I mean, a lot of white women are really cool. Ah, man, this isn’t going where I wanted it to — )Anyway, this is me yearning, praying, journaling, writing, dialoguing, putting up a one-man show, wishing, trying to pick a side, wondering how to choose myself and trying to wrap my head around this, hoping that I’m doing woke right, because something just doesn’t feel right.Since I was a child, I’ve internalized the idea that the hand I hold determines my worth more than my own hands. If we think about it, it’s really just a comment on power: “Chico, you trying to have power now? My grandmother and other grandmothers and mothers would warn us: “Don’t date someone darker than you. I don’t care about your damn opinions about how dark people are and how kinky their hair is. Christopher Rivas is a storyteller, actor and the creator of "The Real James Bond Was Dominican! To hear Modern Love: The Podcast, subscribe on i Tunes or Google Play Music. Continue following our fashion and lifestyle coverage on Facebook (Styles and Modern Love), Twitter (Styles, Fashion and Weddings) and Instagram.
I can’t count the number of times we’ve sat around a dinner table swapping stories and asking each other: When do you tell them? But in my experience, dating a white guy often leads to an automatic imbalance.
And while sharing your personal history and background is certainly key to building a relationship, there are times when I feel like I’m simply too much to understand.
I have a long story for everything, whether it’s about how I left home or how he can’t have a relationship with my parents (think vibes with his, and that times 10 with mine).
Which means that in the eyes of others, the color of the women I date is a big deal. Like I’m betraying my people if I date white women. I see people watching me with a stink eye, noses turned up, as if they think black and brown people would somehow be better off if I dumped my white girlfriend. Along with each watchful eye, the whispers of, “Pick a side, Chris, pick a side,” fill my already noisy mind. Yes, the black body has done more for society than it has gotten in return. How do I love as a brown body in the world in a way that makes everybody happy?
I started reading James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and other black and brown authors looking for guidance, a road map, help on what it means to be a brown man in the world. Yes, society seems to want to embrace a lot of things associated with blackness without actually being black. If everyone is so woke, why are things so terrible? I fell for a white woman and she fell for me — simple as that — yet I feel as if I’m doing the wrong thing by dating her. Do white women find me attractive or do they see me as some exotic idea they should find attractive?