Once, I was at a bar with friends when two white men approached me. One was a guy who was interested in talking to me, and the other was acting as his wingman. While white men are not the only group to hold racial biases and stereotypes against black women, they tend to be the least informed on the racialized and gendered issues that black women endure. White men navigate society with relative ease while black women are teetering on the precarious margins of race and gender that they do not have the privilege to ignore.
Following a romance in my early twenties with an older man who, I eventually accepted, was simply at a different stage of life, I went through a series of short relationships of varying significance. I was searching for a committed relationship with a supportive partner, someone I could love deeply and who shared my values and goals. Like many singles, I had created an online dating profile. But I rarely logged in. Now I decided to take it more seriously—these days, I seem to hear fewer and fewer stories of real life meet-cutes.
Advertise Donate Read the latest issue Newsletter. The burden of solidarity placed upon you is something forged out of the idea that because you are black and a woman, you must act in a supporting role for all of those around you. It requires painstaking emotional labor and care to become the person that those around you take for granted. As such, you expect to find some type of solidarity between black women. When I see another black woman on campus, I have in my mind the idea that we both should make an effort to wave or talk, because despite any differences in our backgrounds, we still are in the same position: a black face in a PWI.
In fact, when I first set out to meet his white, British family, I asked if he had told them I was black. I was also nervous about introducing him to my Somali-Yemeni family. But as it turned out, both our families have welcomed and supported our relationship. I can almost see the disappointment radiating off people who find out that my partner is white.