And this time (unlike the last)… not to toot my own horn, ya know, but I do believe I was looking quite fine myself today. Unfortunately, I did absolutely nothing about it. Just let him walk right by :(
Since I didn’t get a photo this time either, I’ll just go ahead and describe him to you: He’s white, about 6’2”, the oddest, kinda creepy, most electrifying shade of blue eyes (and I’m normally not into blue eyes… like at all… so the fact that I’m attracted to his means something), medium build and just my brand of sexy (plus he was in the library so that’s an added bonus. I love intelligent people!)
Now any friend of mine can tell you I have absolutely no problem with walking up to random strangers (man, woman, child, all points on the gender spectrum and animal) and telling them I think they’re gorgeous, hot, sexy, beautiful… whatever the case may be. But when it comes to a gorgeous person I may actually be attracted to and want to get to know, it’s a completely different story. I’ve been thinking a lot about why that might be and I’ve come up with a few reasons, but the one that struck me most, as it pertains to this specific encounter (being that he was white), was this:
As a Black woman, there is rarely ever a time when I am not conscious of my Blackness. As a Black woman who has encountered so much hate, hostility, and rejection from white men my entire life, there is rarely ever a moment when I am not consciously thinking of, and attempting to figure out whether my Blackness is a deal breaker for him.
This is not an England thing. This has not only been my experience since I began studying here. As a matter of fact, to the contrary, save for the experiences I’ve already blogged about, I’ve actually felt more comfortable around and desired by white men here.
In all actuality, my hypersensitivity towards white men really started to develop in my college years; while on a campus with literally, less than a dozen Black men, and scores of white men who openly expressed their distaste for Black women. At one point, the argument was even suggested that they (white men on campus) did not want to date Black women, not because of us, as people, per say, but because they would not want to taint or destroy their culture. I won’t even go into the fucked-up-ness of that right now.
But I say all of this to say, I could not approach painfully attractive
white man sitting across from me in the library, because I can never know whether he will want to hug me or hang me.
Although my last blog post focused mostly around the anxiety I felt due to my less than put together physical appearance, the part I left out was the first thought that crossed my mind: not how does my hair look? Is this outfit ok? But, how does my skin look? to him.
Some will try to critique this and say that it is my fault. That I think too much about race. That I put race into everything. That maybe, race is always what’s on my mind and it probably never even occurs to these men to think twice about my skin. And that may be true; but that, is what white privilege is! You never have to be aware of your race, your whiteness. It is not something you have been forced to, or in some cases, NEED to keep at the forefront of your mind.
I am constantly aware of my Blackness, not because I am ashamed in any way, but because I have been forced to… and, in some cases, it could mean my safety. My intuition, my ability or attempt to interpret someone’s reaction to my Blackness could mean something as small as not having to feel the pain of a rejected romantic advance, or something as large as avoiding becoming the victim of a hate crime.
When it comes to the prospect of a romantic encounter with a white man, I must always first consider whether my Blackness is a factor for him. What roles exoticism and fetishism may, or may not play. Whether or not he is even open to the idea of engaging with a Black woman. But most of all, whether it is safe for me, in all my Black glory, to advance.