Dating as a Black Woman: My experience as a feminist, culturist and helpless romantic

It always starts with the hair. Whether its real, or fake, or both, how much is either and finally, if they can touch it. Oh the world of dating as a black woman.

I am not a dating expert, nor do I claim to be, but recent traction on my Instagram led me to this topic and so: dating. I can honestly say its amusing and weird. I feel that dating, no matter who you are, is filled with expectation. This year the first bachelorette was revealed. Beautiful, successful, and full of expectation, just like the game of dating. Add race, culture, and the topic of gender and things get really hairy. Don’t get me wrong, I adored Rachel, but I also noticed how she was almost “too perfect” and also how the topic of race was never discussed. Because no TV network wants to both break a barrier and pull up the old carpets of racism to expose what’s underneath.

Being a black woman is a lot about image and what is expected of you. People who’ve never met me before automatically assume stereotypes; that I’m loud, I know how to “do hair”, which part of town I live on, and whether I’ve heard the latest rap charts. The more hilarious side: I’m not any of these things.

I feel that as millennials, we don’t know how to date, or do much else in the world of communication, that doesn’t happen through  a phone, though most of us seem to not want to actually talk in one. I feel that that’s a huge barrier for our generation. We judge people based on their picture, a few words under and maybe a bit of common topic interests.

Our generation has come leaps and bounds from our parents, and especially our grandparents, and racism isn’t a majority hatred kind of thing. It’s privilege and lack of knowledge that affects our relationships of other races.

Though I am spoken for, I do admit to have dabbled in the Tinder phase in the past. It started in undergrad, when a friend of mine introduced me to it. Right off the bat I noticed that her reactions and messages were different from the ones I was getting. “Have you ever been with a ____ guy?” was usually the first message. It was gross, not to mention extremely sexualizing. Sad to say this was the case for many other black girls I’d spoken with.

One day in anthropology class our professor had everyone stand on a line across the class room. Everyone was equal, then she asked us a series of questions on healthcare, social, and economic status. If our answer to the question was yes we took a step forward, if the answer was no, we took a step back. At the end of the questions, she asked us to look around and see where our classmates were, and one fact was painfully obvious. The front was mostly white males, and the back were mostly black males, creating a giant ombre with mostly girls in the middle. These were our class mates and the bigger shock, this was our dating pool as well. 

I was raised by my grandparents, and I’ll never forget what they always told me in regards to race, “you are no better than anyone else, an no one else is better than you.” Growing up I always was color blind. I sent to a semi-diverse Christian school, and my friends were al different.

In my experience, you never know who you’re going to connect with. My current boyfriend of many years and I met at that very same school, and as 13 year olds it was kind of a not so spoken of semi-scandal, but once everyone saw how much we cared for each other, race didn’t really matter.

There have been many times where I’ve been blatantly reminded of our racial differences and times my boyfriend never realized it. I think culture has made minorities more hyper aware of in justices and I don’t think it’s a good or bad thing. I think as a couple it’s best to discuss these feelings and make each other aware.

Lastly: The weird betrayal thing

I have no idea how this became a huge thing in black culture, but the notion that black women have “betrayed” their culture is ludicrous, when the culture does not accept them. Just this past month, Essence magazine reported that 70% of black women with a bachlor’s degree are single. This was a huge shock, but I can totally see it.

I personally don’t think its a race thing, but a society thing. Granted, media and exposure have proved leaps and bounds for diversity. When I went to LA this past summer, the culture shock was unreal. Not just seeing couples together, but everyone was with everyone. Everyone was friendly and didn’t really see race. I’ve also found this anomaly to be true with other cities. Southern culture has ordained this weird invisible line for culture barriers, we can only hope it changes with time.

 

Thank you for reading today. Hopefully these lifestyle articles can become a series? Comment below and tell me what you think! Stay Chic!

 

 

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