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Posted by / 07-Nov-2020 01:36

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.I talked around it, mumbling about how I was trying to figure out who I was or whatever. Like the ones who — even after I’d been dating their daughter for six months — kept thinking I was from Puerto Rico. Or the ones who said upon meeting me, “Oh, I love ‘Buena Vista Social Club.’”Yeah, for sure, that’s a great movie, but so is “Gladiator.”And the ones who asked me if I speak Mexican. So is the father who opened the door and said, “Sorry, it’s not taco night,” and then closed it in my face, only to open it again because he was “just joking.”I’ve been with people in grocery stores who point to the dulce de leche and say, “Look, Chris, that’s you.” Actually, I’m lactose intolerant.

It’s because in today’s hashtag-woke society, there is mad pressure to be hashtag-woke.

Not because of what or whom we love, but as a way out, a way of being seen and of being saved. Because I’m definitely dating, and thinking that the decision to no longer date white women might not be my own, that any decision to choose a side doesn’t help the whole hashtag-woke thing because how do we solve anything if we just separate and isolate? Cool is such a simple word, not the word I want to be using right now. (I probably shouldn’t even be talking about dating or not dating white women.

Like my pops said, “Maybe they’ll choose you.”It’s a message amplified by movies and TV, from “Save the Last Dance” to “Master of None” and dozens of other narratives that all feature, in one way or another, a black or brown man being made better from being with a white woman. An aspiration to “better the race” has always been a thing. And also, I mean, a lot of white women are really cool. Ah, man, this isn’t going where I wanted it to — )Anyway, this is me yearning, praying, journaling, writing, dialoguing, putting up a one-man show, wishing, trying to pick a side, wondering how to choose myself and trying to wrap my head around this, hoping that I’m doing woke right, because something just doesn’t feel right.

Even years later, my pops still took longer to get ready than my mother and sister combined, delicately taking a black Sharpie to any stray grays that might pop up in his goatee. Later he made his way to New York City, where he met my mother, who is Colombian. Over the years I have dated brown women and black women, but mostly white women.

He was married now and no longer had to be “chosen.” But habits ingrained in adolescence can be hard to break. I hadn’t thought about why that was, but when some brown and black people in my community started giving me a hard time about dating white women, I sensed they’d be happier if I stopped.

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  1. For that reason, they surround themselves with friends and family that are just as reserved. The two have toured for over seven years together, and they seem to make it work.