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Which means that in the eyes of others, the color of the women I date is a big deal. Like I’m betraying my people if I date white women. I see people watching me with a stink eye, noses turned up, as if they think black and brown people would somehow be better off if I dumped my white girlfriend. Along with each watchful eye, the whispers of, “Pick a side, Chris, pick a side,” fill my already noisy mind. Yes, the black body has done more for society than it has gotten in return. How do I love as a brown body in the world in a way that makes everybody happy?

So early on I learned how important it was to be “chosen,” selected. It’s been a year since I broke up with my girlfriend, and I haven’t told her the real reason. I also got weird vibes from some white people, namely the parents of the women I was dating.

And while sharing your personal history and background is certainly key to building a relationship, there are times when I feel like I’m simply too much to understand.

I have a long story for everything, whether it’s about how I left home or how he can’t have a relationship with my parents (think vibes with his, and that times 10 with mine).

Since then, I’ve realized that I’m no longer looking at white men as romantic prospects. The fact is, all of these things are pieces of my cultural baggage, which is something many of the women and men of colour I know also have. Healthy relationships require a mutual give and take, and space for empathy.

I can’t count the number of times we’ve sat around a dinner table swapping stories and asking each other: When do you tell them? But in my experience, dating a white guy often leads to an automatic imbalance.

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