Is dating a black man different robert wagner and stefanie powers dating

Over time I’ve found that the easiest way to change my ethnicity – change the way people treat me – is to change my company.

And the company that most defines us is, in fact, our choice in a mate.

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I knew that the Access Denied Pass did not extend to me – when I was in the “right” company, so shame on me for surrounding myself with such company, right? I still remember how I felt when I first dated a white man.

I was welcomed into any space and important; we didn’t need to dress a certain way to prove our membership. The burden had been lifted; we wouldn’t get turned away at the door, in fact, we always skipped the line. I implicitly signaled to whites that I was mainstream, that I shared their middle-class values, that I was civilized – that I wasn’t angry, but safe and approachable. I realized I could choose whether or not my sons looked like Trayvon Martin, or my daughters like Marissa Alexander. The ease I was afforded became mitigated by the fact that my otherness amplified in increasingly white situations; while part of self-identification lies in perception, a portion rests in reality.

The ease with which this white man navigated the public sphere was simply amazing and I wanted that. No matter how I modified my company, as a conscious black woman, I knew I was different and could not shake that suspicion of being exoticized by white men; I could never fully trust these relationships were real because at the end of the day I was still black.

I was not raised a sheltered, “white washed” black woman, and so the permanence of being black, with all its burdens, was always more important to me than temporary ease of access – but that privilege afforded by my complexion was not so easy to ignore.

But, perhaps more shameful than being publically passed over is thinking that just maybe your life would be easier – better even – if you were dating a white man.

While I was angry with the security guard and the establishment, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a tinge of regret at that moment for being with a black man or a hint of frustration at the very man who was just victimized and dismissed.

Both insatiable and lazy, he is creator of chaos and maker of his own inevitable demise; he is forever guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. As angry and volatile as their female counterparts, black men, by their very presence, give society reason to assume the defensive.

He is simultaneously invisible and ever present in the minds and lives of white America. Debased, filthy and unworthy, black men, we are told, are sexual deviants incapable of either desiring or maintaining healthy, meaningful relationships.

The feelings I experienced that fateful night at the bar, and admittedly many times thereafter, now evoke the wise words of Malcolm X: “If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” Unpacking privilege and sorting through the complexities of racial and sexual politics as a bi-racial woman in white America can be a high task.

Accepting that my seemingly personal decisions regarding who will occupy my company or my body, is a high task.

Sometimes I am black, other times I am Indian or Latina, or I may be French, or just a white girl who tans a bit too much.

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