Timeline Tidbit: No, My Level Of Blackness Is Not Determined By Who I Date
A few months ago someone asked me to write about how society treats my boyfriend and I since he is white and I am mixed. I was hesitant at first because I didn't want to dive into this rabbit hole with its never ending tunnels. I also find it annoying that people always want to get a front row seat of the "interracial couple show" like it's some phenomena. Last night, the topic of "Come Correct," the radio show I co-host, was interracial dating. We got into some interesting points which motivated me to go a little further in writing. So here it is.
I am the product of an interracial relationship, my mom being Polish and my dad is Black. I am also in my first interracial relationship.
I'm a biracial woman dating a white man.
I could be a technical smart ass and say "well...I am half white so I am not dating outside of my race." Queue the scene in Netflix's adaptation of "Dear White People" where Sam's best friend Joelle tells her, "You're not Rashida Jones biracial, you're Tracee Ellis Ross biracial — people think of you as black."
It's true. From my afro, my wide nose, big lips and other features favoring my Black side people usually determine my identity solely based on these physical traits. History plays a role in that too. One drop of Black blood in your veins and BOOM, you're Black.
However all of that was then picked apart and questioned once I started dating a white man. It went from "You're Black" to "Are you Black enough?"
Let me tell you something. My commitment, my activism and the support I have for the Black community IS NOT determined by who I have sex with. I'm not all of a sudden "less woke," a phrase that has lost its actual meaning since it has been trending. There's no rule saying "wokeness" only applies to ONE demographic.
Black men get their fair share of backlash for dating outside of their race but Black women, who aren't dating Black men, are more susceptible to criticism. Don't believe me? Well, let's break it down.
When a Black man dates a woman who isn't Black he is seen to being disrespectful to Black women. It's not right, but Black men can complain about Black women and their behavior and use it as justification to avoid dating them.
When a Black woman dates a man who isn't Black, she is disrespecting the ENTIRE Black community. We are uppity. We are sellouts. We are confused. "Oh sis, Black men treated you THAT bad?" "Damn, we lost a good one."
This doesn't mean that there aren't Black people who fetishize over white people and use this imaginary status they think they have to put down their own race. It happens, but that's not the law of the land.
The stares on the street and the ignorant and disturbing DM's and Tweets I get come mainly from Black men. Honestly, I'm gonna need y'all to quit the Hoteppery. Stop telling me I need a "strong Black King." There's something destructive and hetereonormative when we base a Black woman's worth on the man she ends up with. My experiences as a Black woman don't vanish just because I am with a white man.
You can find love anywhere. You fall in love with a personality and that is devoid of racial boundaries.