January 3, 2019
I walked to the bar quickly, coming to a screeching halt as I observed that to the left of me sat a group of well dressed black men at the bar. To the right of me sat a man and a woman and the bartender happened to be closer to the group of men so I shimmied my way into a seat in the middle of the bar.
Ordering my drink in a hurry, I simultaneously pulled my phone out so I could bury my head in my latest book. Normally I’d surf my social feeds and pretend to be uber engaged but since I was on hiatus; my only escape was my book.
After making not even the slightest bit of contact with any of the men, I peered to my right where the man sat across the bar, and noticed that he now sat closer then he did when I’d arrived. I paid the tab shortly after the bartender approached and shimmied my way back up to where my family sat.
Plopping down at the table, I addressed the social awkwardness that I’d just ensued with my family. They found this as an amusing time to embarrass me as they began a conversation with our waiter.
Mom: Owe hey, Lexi’s single and she’s twenty-five
Uncle: Yeah, she is single.
Waiter: Owe really?
I followed their gazes to our white waiter and flashed an uncomfortable smile. Eyeing me he gave me a once over and quickly flashed a smirk as I sat more embarrassed than I was at that bar, looking like a deer in headlights.
Me: Owe, hey! Alexander? (I read his name tag attached to his shirt, while extending my hand) I’m so sorry about this, nice meeting you.
Flushed with embarrassment I scurried away to our lane rather quickly.
Aunt: What’s going on over there? You got a new date?
She questioned me as she gave me a smirk, implying that she already knew what was going on over there.
Me: They just embarrassed the crap out of me. I don’t know why they would do that.
Aunt: What’s the big deal?
Me: Well, I’m single and I’m at the age where if I date I’m dating for a husband and I want a black husband!
She gave me a puzzled look and I continued to explain as she was aware that I’d just dated another white man earlier this year.
Me: Look, I’ve dated two white men. The first one was sweet but wasn’t that much of a looker. The second one was sweet, a looker, and an asshole of sorts.
Me: Well I know you know about James, right (We’ll call him James since we didn’t necessarily end on the best of terms.) She nodded her head slowly and I continued.
Me: I just decided that after dating James I didn’t want to date white men anymore. Not that he did anything wrong! In fact, he took me on the best dates I’ve ever been on. The first one lasted almost twelve hours.
I scanned our surroundings to be sure I wasn’t too loud in case anyone was close by, as I didn’t want to offend anyone. After finding that no one was paying us much attention, I continued.
Me: The issue was that most of the places we went to were places predominantly occupied by white people and the stares we would get were horrendous! I mean some of the women literally looked at me as if they could kill me. The disgust was written over their faces as if it were the layers of makeup they piled on.
I breathed a deep breath as I continued down what I realized was the first time I was really addressing my issue.
Me: Now, James? He was an asshole! Although we only dated for a short while he recognized when I’d get to feeling uncomfortable, scan the room and find my issue, and then he’d kiss me intently. Or he’d squeeze my hand and pull me into a hug. Kiss my cheek softly and whisper something in my ear. He didn’t care about the stares that came from white women within our vicinity, but I did.
I’ve never dated someone and felt judged. I’ve dated a few Hispanic guys but I’m Hispanic, although I don’t look it. I’ve dated a few white guys, but primarily I’ve dated black men and so I’d never experienced this before and it made me unbearably uncomfortable.
Dating James, made me realize that if I fell in love with a white man I’d only be forced to deal with others judgement of who I chose to love, marry, and start a family with, on a regular basis and I just don’t want that. I don’t want my love or relationship to be under ridicule because of the color of my skin!
You know, it’s odd that I’m just now realizing this is how some people feel although I come from a very mixed family! Heck, I thought everybody was like us! I guess I thought they’d all be accepting because that’s all I’ve ever seen and known, but they’re not! And the feeling I felt when they looked at me wasn’t one of anger or rage it was one of shame!
She stared at me before saying;
Aunt: I understand Lex, but if he doesn’t care why should you? And you haven’t noticed because our family isn’t like that, but a lot of the world is. Just be sure you don’t miss your husband while trying to avoid others judgement.
And then she walked away.
Days later and I sit in my bed after catching up on an episode of “Red Table Talk” that I missed while off social media, and reflected on that conversation. I nodded my head in agreement as Jada mentioned how there’s a disconnect between white and black women.
The first thought that came to my mind is that it stemmed from our men. Black men! Truthfully, my take is that some black women are angry with white women because if a black men excels in life their options go from every melaninated Queen to every white women they see. From our actors, to politicians, to ball players, to artist! They gain success and they don’t bring us along for the journey.
Seeing things as such is a blow to the gut and an internal battle that we often attempt to overlook. It creates insecurities and feelings of inadequacy with the black woman and I believe a portion of them despises white women because of it. Is it right? No! But I do believe that is one of the core issues!
What I didn’t understand was why those women were looking at me as if I were a murderer for simply having a good time with a good looking man. I mean where did their anger come from?
Perhaps there thoughts stem from those same feelings black women feel.
Insecurity and inadequacy?
History proves that white men have been dipping into the pools of black women since the beginning of time. Heck during slavery black women were forced to wear wraps over there hair due to their hair being a distraction to the slave owners, well that and the fact that many of them had beauty and brains, despite the efforts to ensure that they were clueless.
Even still, it’s a fact that men of all races crave the essence of a black woman and her magic. From our motherly skills, to the ability to transform our hair into any creation, to our curvy bodies, to our dialect, and even our walk! Men love black women!
But when it comes down to it, I believe that many black women wonder if black men worship the ground they walk, on as we do theirs. I believe that they wonder why they weren’t valuable enough to be by a black mans side when their tax brackets were high. I believe they wonder why white women get to have it all, with the picket fence and two car garage, and black women are often left to raise their children on their own.
Jada asked what the resolution was and honestly I don’t know! All I know is that although Alexander was a handsome young guy, my experience months ago has sent me running for the hills before I’m even aware if it will be a good or bad time. It’s also sent me on a journey of debunking my biases that may lay dormant inside.
Perhaps I’m just a naive woman but I grew up in a black and mexican family that blended with a white family. Recently, one of my cousins married an asian man, and so well – race or the color of ones skin or the crazy looks people probably gave went unnoticed to me.
Do you know after James, I went to wondering if people always wondered why a little Mexican lady took me to the doctors office, or came to my school? If they looked at her and judged her? So I asked my grandmother one day about the looks and if she got those when dating my grandpa who was almost as dark as night and she said no.
Me: Did people look at you funny or be weird towards you when you and grandpa went out?
Ganma: Well, no! Most of the places we went to it was an all black crowd and I grew up in that neighborhood. Everyone knew me or knew I was from around there.
Me: Really? That’s crazy, I wonder if auntie and uncle dealt with that when they were together?
She didn’t respond to if it did happen with my aunt who married a white man and I didn’t push the issue.
I realized after typing all of this that the only resolution is more conversations. One thing I’ve learned over the last year is that assumptions and bottled up feelings are explosive. Talking and expressing ourselves allows for others to understand our perspective and share their own.
So, today I challenge you to have a talk about race. If you have friends of different races in the work place, bring them outside of the work place. I challenge you to not judge others happiness that they found within someone of another race. I challenge you to look at your own self and rather or not you have some biases. As Jada said, “Check Yourself, before you check anyone else!”