Gender and race affect the way people carry themselves and black women and white men have very different realities that can make relating to one another difficult. Though it may be hard to understand each other, it’s possible when you make it a priority to listen and believe someone’s story, even when it may be hard for you to believe because your experience was very different.
While much of the growing and openness is called upon from white men, it is worth pointing out that black women hold biases toward white men that can also negatively affect the way a relationship works out.
If you are a part of this particular interracial pairing, here are four things that will help both of you respect and honor each other when you’re out on a date or Netflix and chilling.
Put a Period After a Compliment
White men may think saying “you’re a pretty black girl,” or “your hair is so soft. Wow!” are complements, but they are a way of showing what you think about the “average” black woman. In the same way, black women may say “you can really dance for a white boy,” or “your food is good. Whoa!” and think it’s a compliment.
These are examples of microaggressions that come out on a daily basis and are mostly attributed to white men, rightly so because of the impact and reach their words have, but are a problem on all sides.
The problem here is that you both hold biases that keep you from seeing that her hair is soft and she is pretty and that he is a good dancer and cook period.
Make it a habit to pay each other compliments without a qualifying them.
Appreciate, Don’t Fetishize
It’s no secret that black women have been fetishized for centuries and still are today. Though white male bodies have been celebrated for just as long, white men can be seen by some black women as a prize, which is extremely harmful to a white man’s self-image.
All white men aren’t built like the men from 300, and all black women don’t twerk and have huge butts. You get the point here right.
If you hear her bragging that her white boyfriend is going to give her babies with light-skinned or light eyes, that is a pretty clear red flag. If you hear him talking about how he really wants to sit a cup on your butt, huge red flag.
See Each Other as Individuals
All white men don’t ski, embezzle from companies and are serial killers. Not all black women love rap music, have fake hair and are baby mommas.
That being said, black women and white men don’t ask each other every question you have about the other’s culture or race as if they speak for an entire people. Unless done to be petty and hilarious, don’t assume you know what hobbies, interests, passions, regrets, hopes and dreams are.
Don’t be weird about it. Just ask them what you want to know.
As long as you are comfortable admitting what you don’t know, being called about your personal biases and are willing to grow and learn, you’ll enjoy the ride.