I had stopped knowing who to count out at parties or open bars, and so I winged it.
The only girl in my group of black girlfriends who had a boyfriend was dating a white boy who was white enough to have a family that hated black people. We would sit squished in a row behind them with all of our smirks perfectly even as they drove us home.The year before I graduated college, black boys started dying on TV: Trayvon Martin, then Eric Garner, then Michael Brown, then Tamir Rice.It didn’t feel like love at first, more like companionship at our all-time lows.We were open with each other; he had been warned to stay away from black girls, and I was advised to not date men of color.We always felt halfway to a crime that we could never commit.
We were two people of color, the passive transgression, but the responsibility of leaving our races still clung onto our chests.
It was only a month later that it struck me that it was over.
After nine months, my black savior, the neuroscientist, had broken up with me and left me with no words to cry over.
Half of my mother’s four sisters are married to white men.
My cousins can be split into two groups: Ones who grew up with weaves and skin lighteners and ones who needed sunscreen and haircuts.
We stood on the head of our warnings every day as we got to know each other. I knew I was a far away from the Latina girls he was used to with silk hair, milk-toffee skin, and sharp tongues: I had forgotten how vulnerable it felt to be black in the apartment building lobby of a potential love. Before every date I would always buy myself a new outfit or piece of clothing to impress him, as though being constantly new would distract from any shortcomings.