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He put his hand on my knee and reminded me that I was safe with him. And too many times, those same white boyfriends decided to sit out being my partner.
I lost count of the times my boyfriend in my late 20s would tell me to “just leave” parties or social events when I complained of being the only person of color in his all-white friend group.
No matter how close I held the mirror up to their faces, sometimes their good and liberal wells of understanding and compassion were simply inaccessible.
On election night, I thought about all those moments, and I felt overwhelmed at the possibility of taking that on over the next four years.
It’s not that I don’t think white people are anxious; two months into Trump’s presidency, most of the white people in my life are activated.
They’re in the streets, calling senators and congressmen, attending community board meetings, and holding sign-making parties. But while the political universes of my white friends are cracking open, I’m feeling more inclined than ever to cloister myself.
Lately, though, I just don’t feel like answering them.Even more hurtful was the night he and I were standing outside a bar in Bushwick and someone we both knew started making racist comments.While I tried to explain to this man why what he was saying was offensive, my boyfriend stood there in silence.Communication is necessary for any healthy relationship, and in an interracial relationship it’s paramount.Every white man I’ve dated has, sometimes consciously and sometimes not, asked me to explain to them some aspect of blackness.