There are, in my relationships with white men, so many moments like that.
” before heading for the door, but instead, I sit down, and continue talking about which dystopian novel best describes our current predicament, or whatever.
Even if I did want to talk about how I feel, I’m not sure I’d be able to articulate it, especially to someone with such a different frame of reference from my own.
I lost count of the times my boyfriend in my late 20s would tell me to “just leave” parties or social events when I complained of being the only person of color in his all-white friend group.
Even more hurtful was the night he and I were standing outside a bar in Bushwick and someone we both knew started making racist comments.
The store had some, but none that matched my skin tone. Once, in my late 20s, my boyfriend and I were stopped by police, and I quickly became frantic about the weed in the car.
He put his hand on my knee and reminded me that I was safe with him. And too many times, those same white boyfriends decided to sit out being my partner.In every relationship I have with a white man, there comes a moment when they come to understand a simple fact of my life: that racism is an intimate part of my daily existence.Sometimes, they’re enraged — like the time when I called my last boyfriend after I left American Apparel in search of nipple covers for a white bodysuit. And then there are the quieter times, the ones that weigh more heavily, that bring us closer together.They smoked weed in their parents’ houses with abandon. If they wanted me, I thought, it was because I seemed free like them.White men have preoccupied me my whole life, from the schoolyard to the subway, but these days I’m seeing them differently.In the past, I’d have sought that comfort out in a white man, but that night I knew it wouldn’t be enough.