I remember switching on the television and sitting back with him on his bed. We didn’t intend on watching it. It was just background noise. Before Netflix and Chill it was “Cable and Hope for the best”. It was a Remembrance Day. A November the 11th. And the Queen was giving a speech to the “remaining” survivors of WWI. I looked to my caucasian companion and asked him, “Do you think all the people of colour that fought in the war are dead. Or do you think they haven’t bothered to look for them?”
He stuttered. Lost for words. My question was genuine and I was curious for his answer. Eventually he replied “No… no… I think you’re thinking of another war.”
We sat in a short moment of my stunned silence. I definitely fucking wasn’t. A quick Google search on my phone showed him that billions of African, Caribbean and Asian people that fought and died in the war. But we won’t go into that.
What we will go into is his reaction. He wasn’t amazed that the deaths of so many people had been swept under the rug. He wasn’t saddened by the white washing of our shared history.
He was annoyed that I proved him wrong.
Welcome to “Dating whilst female and black” – I’ll be your host this evening.
That was one of the first times that I realised this shit wasn’t going to be easy. I was quite young. When you’re little, the things that separate you are a little less apparent. When you get to your teenage years, you become more outspoken and start to question what the fuck is going on.
Fast forward a few years and I’m at a place where if there’s a circumstance that makes me uncomfortable, I’m going to talk about it so it can change. Ironically, I used to stay in silence because I didn’t want everyone else to feel uncomfortable if I brought it up. Which they would. And still do. But bear in mind man don’t care bout all that anymore.
I’m out with my friends at our regular club. I’ve had my eye on this 6’2″ messy haired model eyes boy since pre-drinks. And he seems to be into it. Buying me shots at the bar and having stolen moments between songs. At one point we were sitting down, taking a break from the turn up and he was shooting compliments at me. (Drunk.)
He told me that I was the most beautiful girl in the club and the only one he wanted to talk to. He also told me that he doesn’t usually get with “girls like me”. Not as fun as his first statement. It was loud so he had to lean in to be heard, resting his hand on my knee as he did so. Then he started gently stroking my leg, astounded. “Wow” he said. “Wow. Your leg … Is so smooth … What… What is it?”
I thought about what he said. About how he doesn’t usually get with “girls like me”. Girls with brown skin and curly hair, he must mean. Girls that have been called “monkey” or “nigga”. And I thought about all the times I’ve been with boys that don’t understand me. I thought about playing along because after all, when you’re treated like a second class citizen most of your life, it’s just nice to feel wanted. I thought about answering his question about my leg with “it’s because of the melanin magic” or saying “kissed by the sun” and then blowing a kiss or giving a wink. I thought about all this but the carefree in me decided against it.
I sighed, rolled my eyes and turned to him.
Time to dance.