Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Is it because I'm white?" "Yes."

Earlier this month I saw John Legend in concert in Coney Island. It was just me and because I was there early enough I was able to grab a great seat fairly close to the front. Close enough that I could see his face as he crooned and danced and just plain saaang.

To my left sat a middle aged white couple who had no rhythm and couldn't catch the beat for the life of them, but certainly looooved them some John Legend. To my rear sat four 50+ black women who sat fanning and rocking themselves in August humidity. To my right sat two white guys who were self-proclaimed best f'n friends forever. Brooklyn born and raised, they were around-the-way kinda dudes who repped Bayside HARD. The Brooklyn Boys shared their refreshments (Gatorade and Absolut Brooklyn) and the lot of us made for a ridiculous peanut gallery during the concert.

It was the kind of concert you go to with your boo. My would-be date couldn't make it that deep into Brooklyn on a work night, and I wasn't missing a full John Legend concert for $5. (Free if I had brought my own seat.) Mr. Brooklyn sitting next to me decided that I'd be his date for the night. We danced a bit together and sang and had a good time.

At the end of the night he asked how I was getting home. Train. He'd walk me there, no need for me to go by myself... And then he started mackin'.

I told him I was involved with someone for several months now. He said it's still puppy love. If I said a year he'd back off. Really?! This dude was bold. Questions continued. What's your sign? (We really still ask that?!) How old are you? (How old do you think I am?) Can I take you out sometime? (No, I don't think so.) Is it because I'm white? Or because of who I am? (Both.) I like an honest woman.

Then he got on his mackin' soap box about how I was closing myself off to the possibility of a wonderful person because of race. I suppose he's right, but I'm stuck on my want for black love. Honestly, even if he'd been the same person, only black, I'd still pass. We already know, I like smart boys. He was a little too around the way for my tastes. Not to mention, I said I'm involved!

It got me to thinking though... How much am I really doing a disservice to myself by not dating white men? No matter what, it just seems that they're not an option. I just don't see myself as a part of a black-white interracial couple. A white dude would have to do a hellaofalot to get me. Just because he's white. Seriously.

I think about white men I know that are both smart and physically attractive. Whenever I try to picture myself with them, the I-got-you-baby and Let-me-hold-on-to-you-and-keep-you-safe kinda swag that a black man has just doesn't seem like it'd be the same from a white man. I know, don't knock it 'til you've tried it, but I just... can't.

Am I alone?

Discuss.

10 comments:

Mexifro said...

Hey lady. I love your honesty. I think (or have thought) a lot of the same things that you do, but I will say that around the age of 24, I had a life changing get off my high horse and re-examine my views on love, dating, & mr. right event. I won't get into the "epiphany" now, but basically it made me question all my ideas, rules, fears, reservations, and myths about dating and falling love.

I used to say I wouldn't date a man that I could not see myself marrying: that meant he had to fit a ridiculously high standard before I would even consider falling in love with him. In many ways, he needed to be the male version of me. My theory was that once you fall in love all bets are off. So while you still have your rational mind in tact, you better choose wisely. So smart. So Barnard. So ridiculously limiting.

When I let go and decided to just go with the moment and give more guys a chance, I learned SO much about myself and my prejudices about race, education, class, sexuality...you name it.

Recently, I introduced one of my dating loves to my best friend (a woman who has known me since I was a child and whose opinion I respect and trust). She was so put off my this younger (22), uneducated, Latino, working class (hood) guy that no amount of forced smiles could hide it. Afterwards she said "he's nice, but honestly where is this guy going to take you?" I said, "since when have I needed a man to take me anywhere?" And she knew that was true. She apologized and she backed off. Later that evening I got the best compliment from above young man. He told me, "I have never had anyone love me FOR ME before like you have. That's what I love about you. You see me not my situation." And that was true too.

Looking back at the last few years, I wonder what I thought I was protecting myself from (cuz let's be honest, that's what I was doing). I have truly deeply madly loved (or lusted with) some men that I wouldn't have given the time of day a few years ago, and that has been such a blessing and such a teaching tool. Would I partner or build a life with most of them - probably not - but I think it will be many years before I am able to see myself doing that with anyone. I am still evolving to that place, and even if I did find "Mr. Right" I don't think I would be ready to let him in right now.

I would respond to the matter(s) at hand like this: 1) no one says that you have to marry the people that you date, experiment with, learn from, etc. 2) love is not a resume 3) your values are your values, and no matter how right or wrong the surface of a guy may be, your gut (read God or inner spirit) will let you know if the person is worthy of your love.

So yeah, I would say let go a little and let Mr. Wigger buy you a drink or a meal. See how he do. Prove yourself right, or perhaps, prove yourself wrong. Either way, enjoy the experience and potential story. :-)

Meghan said...

I don't see how a night out with some d-bag who happens to be white can evolve into a whole thought process about how you only want a black guy. He's a d-bag, you wouldn't fall in love with him regardless of race, so why does he make you long for someone of a specific color?

Sydnie said...

@Meghan - you are right, I wouldn't want to be with him regardless of race, but his race doesn't give him any brownie points either. This particular guy didn't make me long for a black guy; rather, it reinforced that I didn't really care for white guys. Maybe that's only semantics but it's something I think about.

Meghan said...

You just reinterated that to you he represents all white guys, when he should really only represent all d-bags. That's quite a blanket response.

Sydnie said...

I didn't say that he represents all white guys. I said he reminded me that I don't like white guys. I also write in the post that I sat down and thought about non d-bag white guys who fit my "smart" and attractive qualifications and I can't picture it, at all.

It might still be a blanket response, but that's the way that I feel at this moment in time. Who knows what the future will bring?

Erika Jackson-Stokes said...

aww. You wouldn't even consider letting him buy you some ice cream. Black or white, don't discriminate against green! :)

Rachael Brooke Winkley said...

What I will never ever understand is why some men (white, black, Asian, Martian, whatever) think that a woman who has just said, "Thanks, but no thanks" will somehow change her mind by being challenged (aka bullied). No matter the reason, you knew you weren't interested. I have no idea why, but exchanges like the one you wrote about equate to flirting or playing hard to get to them. Of course, you should date whatever color man you want to, just as long as he takes you at your word.

K H L said...

Hey Sydnie. love your blog. I know I'm late but def. an interesting post. I definitely can relate to not being able to "see" myself with white guys. I used your post for inspiration for mine (http://post-asian.blogspot.com/2010/09/in-re-is-it-because-im-white-yes.html). Hopefully, I might be able to do the same.. :) In other news, how have you been? It's been too many years!

-Leda

Rosetta said...

I also appreciate the honesty in this post. I try to keep myself open to all races, but the one I am most attracted to (and able to connect with) is my own - black. But the white guys I *have* been drawn to have been the ones where we have a lot in common like music, background, education, etc. For me though it's still hard to navigate the racial nuances when dating a white person. I'm very rooted in my identity as a black woman and many white men don't understand the importance of that.

Sydnie said...

@Rosetta, you succinctly articulated exactly what I was trying to say on @KHL's blog. I too am deeply rooted in my identity as a black woman and I need to be w someone who gets that.

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