One day, when I was about 14 years old I was parading around the mall with some of my friends. I remember seeing an interracial couple and commenting how I could never date the opposite race. At that time, I hadn’t ever had a real girlfriend so what did I even know? But what was it about seeing an interracial couple – which was a very common thing growing up in the D.C. area – that made me feel this way?
It’s obvious that at 14 the concept of race was on my mind. A lot of cultural events occurring at this time focused on race; the LA riots had just happened; Hip Hop dominated pop culture and television and movies were beginning to really engage the black experience not just exploit it.
I think a lot of these outside cultural forces were shaping my views on relationships. Oddly enough my attraction to all women, no matter their race, was very real. So, in an effort “keep it real,” (balance what society was saying I should do vs my hormones) I figured I could have sex with all races but only have serious relationships with women of color. This approach lasted through high school and college.
But after college I decided to stay in Baltimore. I had become a professional in a city where there was not an abundant amount of young black professionals. Living and hanging out in the younger areas of Baltimore meant I was predominantly around younger white people. So, one night while sitting at a bar, a young woman tried to reach over me to get the bar tenders attention. The bar tender was my friend so I called his name to help her out. She looked down at me and asked why was I sitting alone. That single question led to the reshaping of my beliefs on interracial dating. But just because my views had changed doesn’t mean the realities of race did.