In the fall I took an unexpected break from writing and tried my hand at the dating game again. One of my friends told me about a dating app called Hinge. I was intrigued.
I matched with all kinds of interesting people. Swiping was a welcomed distraction. The conversations were a fun bonus and I even went on a few dates.
On one occasion I had a run in, a date, with a White Mexican.
In the beginning everything was cool. He was an attractive guy, smart, polite, communicative and witty. Not exactly tall, but I let it slide. For the record I’m 6’0”. Things were going well, but I started to pick up on a couple of yellow flags.
*Please note that yellow flags are not as serious as red flags. They signal an issue that may be somewhat problematic, but will not lead to danger. I just made all of that up and it totally works.
Yellow Flag 1: He tells me about his childhood. He grew up in the valley (Texas border town) and is sure to mention that he went to a different school than other kids in his neighborhood. His school had a more affluent, predominantly white student body.
Yellow Flag 2: “I don’t talk ignorant,” he says. *This is a big one.*
Yellow Flag 3: He doesn’t seem to mind when people mistake him for being white. “If my hair is cut and I’m clean shaven people definitely think I’m White or Italian.” He makes light of it. It is almost as if he recognizes it as a privilege.
You may be thinking that these things are harmless and that I am being presumptuous. I believe they are tied to something that goes a bit deeper.
It is one thing to separate yourself from a group of people based on simple personal preferences or lifestyle differences. For example, I prefer to date active people because I lead an active lifestyle. I prefer to date taller men because I am tall.
It is another thing to separate yourself from a group of people because you know they aren’t held in high regard and you don’t want to be lumped in with them for fear of being treated the same way.
Why else would you make it a point to say, “I don’t talk ignorant.”
Ignorance is not a language. It is not a dialect. It isn’t even a noun which means it is not a thing at all. It is a word used to describe a person, place or thing. He wasn’t describing a vernacular, but the people that use it. In doing so he was letting me know that those were not his people.
I know because I’ve had to deal with this before when dating regular ole black men.
Like that one time this man told me that he was so relieved to learn I had a regular name.
Me: What do you mean? (I knew exactly what he meant).
Him: You know you don’t have one of those Black girl names like Shaniqua.
Me: Oh so you’re agree with the Raven Symone school of thought? (this conversation occurred circa 2015).
Him: No, not at all. I’m very much in touch with all facets of the diaspora. (He was a real hotep. No exaggeration. His profile pic on Facebook had hotep written on it).
Me: And what if I did have a Black name? Why would that be bad? Black people have never lacked creativity. Why must Black names be relegated to the traditional Western, read white, names in order to be considered regular or good?
I take issue with the White Mexican separating himself from other brown people just like I take issue with Black men who put down other Black people. I also take issue with Black men who only date White women. I also take issue with Black men who only date light skinned black women. I also take issue with Black men who don’t do “dark booties.” Yes, someone actually told me that to my face in real life. All of these dating choices are disguised as mere preferences in the name of self-loathing.
I am not here for it.
I am not here for people who are ashamed of their lineage, whatever it may be. I am not here for people who subsequently shame or put down the marginalized in their own communities to make themselves feel better. I am not here for people that will sit idly by while their heritage and history is white washed until it vanishes.
That is why I am always so offended when people ask the ever invasive question: What are you mixed with? I view it as a micro attack. I think people that ask this question are trying to paint me as other because they don’t believe that Black alone is diverse, beautiful, intelligent, creative, athletic, educated, polite, well spoken, well-traveled, well read, and dressed well.
I also take offense because it is disrespectful to my beautiful Black parents. It is disrespectful to my beautiful Black grandparents, may they rest in peace, and their parents before them.
I enjoy a great deal of comfort in this life because the people that came before me went without. They went without basic human and civil rights. They went without access to education and healthcare. They didn’t speak “proper” English. For some, English wasn’t even their first language. Mais Ga Ça. I will not let you erase them or belittle them just so you can feel better about standing next to me. I could literally never. They deserve better and so do I.
I. AM. BLACK.
365 Days of the Year. *Anita Baker Voice*
And I luv it. *Young Jeezy Voice*
Happy Black History Month Beautees!