The following post was written by Ernest Baker. It originally appeared on Gawker under the title of “The Reality of Dating White Women When You’re Black.”

By: Ernest Baker

Why do I date white women? Black women have told me it’s because I’m a sellout. The white men who can get past the mental anguish of my black penis tarnishing “their” women think I’m making some latent admission that their race has the most attractive women. White women range from those so intrigued by black men that it veers into fetish to those so reluctant to date black men that it feels more racist than preference-driven. These are generalizations, of course, but they are attitudes that I’ve personally encountered. Skepticism towards black men/white women relationships is a longstanding and well-documented part of our cultural fabric in America.

Most people have it wrong. I’m not a “black man” who “dates white women.” I’m a person. I have my own unique experiences and some of them include having dated women who are white, but because interracial dating is such a historically tense and loaded subject, it’s hardly ever looked at with any understanding or compassion for the people personally involved. The concept of a black man in a relationship with a white woman is a “thing” that people have an opinion on, and that opinion comes with an entire set of stereotypes, fueled by racist ideology, a complicated past, and sometimes even pop culture. Kanye West once rapped about how successful black men will “leave your ass for a white girl,” and then put himself into that box by marrying a white woman, furthering the pervasiveness of flawed, generic ideas about interracial relationships.

That swath of generic ideas has an actual impact on culture and society, too. How many jokes have been made at Kim Kardashian’s expense because of her history of dating black men? Twenty-two-year-old virgin psychopath Elliot Rodger just killed six people in California and left behind a paper trial of racially charged sentiments like, “How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me?” The most visible criminal trial of the 20th century centered around a blonde white woman who was presumably murdered at the hands of her black husband, O.J. Simpson. White reaction to The Verdict may have been one of shock and rage, but it’s also largely oblivious to the history of disenfranchisement, partially as it relates to interracial relationships, of blacks in this country.

Part of the reason why black people celebrated the O.J. verdict is because it was a rare example of a black man finally beating the system that was so unjust to his people for so long. It was cold, hard, classic revenge. Throughout this nation’s history, unfathomable numbers of innocent black men have been hung from trees and burned because of often fabricated stories of their fraternizing with white women, and there were usually no consequences for the white men lynching them.

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