Dating is hard. Interracial dating is even harder. Use my guide. Save yourself time and racial-tension headaches.
Select a racial-neutral location for your first date. By racial-neutral, I mean a place where your race is neutralized. Perhaps select a place in a predominately white neighborhood owned by white people specializing in ethnic cuisine where the people of color only bring you water and clear your dishes. Let your date impress you by how thoughtful and kind he is to the mostly minority staff. This environment will also give him space to tell you about the time he studied abroad in an underdeveloped country and show you pictures of him with little African children. He may also try to woo you with a little bit of foreign language he picked up. Take notes. Maybe you’ll learn something. Also, don’t get annoyed if the waitstaff ignores your existence and only acknowledges your date. Let him do the work for a change. Consider it a night off.
Let your date shower you with compliments like asking you if you’re mixed or biracial. You may think it’s an insult, but it’s really not. He wants you to know he finds you handsome and exotic. He hasn’t been around a lot of Black people and didn’t realize Black people don’t all look the same. Totes not his fault. Also, let him get better acquainted with you by allowing him to touch your hair without interruption. Show him you know how to accept love and affection despite having an absent father and an overbearing single mother.
Cherish hearing stories about your date’s Black ex and Black best friend. I don’t usually recommend talking about ex-boyfriends during the first date, but your date may make it a point to tell you about the other Black men he’s dated in the past, the Black guy in his office or his BBF (Black best friend). He wants you to know he’s comfortable with people like you so you can let your guard down, Tyrell. When he shows you photos of his ex, or you find them when you stalk him on social media ahead of the date, don’t be alarmed at the fact you could low-key be related to his ex. Take it as a compliment. He has a type, maybe a fetish, and you fit the bill. Be honored, be flattered and be grateful, Jamal.
Play down your Blackness until you see how Black he is. When discussing your interests — hobbies, favorite TV shows and music — let him take the lead. This way you know how Black you can be. You don’t want to scare him off by telling him right away you’re into Kendrick Lamar. If you want to play it safe, choose a racial-neutral rapper like Drake or Macklemore. They are safe and more palatable. But if your date drops names like 2 Chainz and he loved Belly, you can Black it up a bit more. Otherwise, your date will tell you he’s Blacker than you. Additionally, if your date compliments your diction or academic achievements, don’t get crunk with him. Direct your anger where it belongs — at media for only portraying Black people as lazy and angry and deadbeats and belligerent.
Allow your Black body to be objectified. Sex is likely to come up on your date. By now your date has probably made it explicitly clear that he’s really into Black men. You won’t have to wonder. He will say these five words:
“I am really into Black men.”
When he does, prepare yourself for an evening of objectification and fantasy-fulfillment— for him, not for you. Your Black body now exists to play out his Mandingo dreams and you need to be prepared to rise to the occasion — pun intended. You know how Black and brown bodies are seen as aggressive, dangerous, up-to-no-good? And how that often times can make people fear for their lives and Black people end up dead? Play that up. He’ll love that. Get a little angry and belligerent on his ass. In sex, that’s a good thing. In your day-to-day life, it’s a bad thing. Don’t confuse the two worlds. Stay woke, Ja’Shawn.
It’s okay to talk politics. After you’re done discussing sex, shift your conversation to something lighter like current events. Ask your date if he’s following what’s happening in Charlottesville and what he thinks about Confederate monuments and statues being removed. Allow your date to educate you on what it’s like to be Black in America. When you try to share your point of view, don’t be offended if he cuts you off and “pushes back” or plays “Devil’s advocate.” He’s excited to share with you his smarts and is only trying to impress you. Be impressed, not pressed.
Learn to take a joke. Your date may incorporate race into his banter to break the ice. For example, if you see a cop on the way home, he may say, “hands up don’t shoot,” or jokingly suggest you enter the back door of his apartment building. Don’t be so easily offended, snowflake. It’s just a joke. One man’s microaggression is another man’s punch line. Do you want to be invited to the HRC Gala or not? Play it smart and you could be on your way.