–for my ex boyfriend
Every now and then I take a moment to forgive the people in my life who have used me as their token “black friend.” By that I mean the people I’ve known who have used me as an excuse when defending their racism.
Now, being a person of colour and dating someone who isn’t is always an interesting thing for me. I always prepare myself for outrage or shock when meeting the parents– just in case he forgot to tell them I was black– because believe it or not, to some people my skin colour isn’t a big deal, but to others its a deal breaker. I think its really shocking that people can dislike me without knowing me first, because my “blackness” seems to be enough for their outrage.
But now, after experiencing racism and rejection because of my skin colour, I’ve learned not to be offended or hurt by someone’s ignorance; Instead of placing that burden on my own shoulders, as I did once, I now allow them to hold it themselves; because if you wish to judge me for something I have no control over rather than my actions, in my mind you aren’t someone worth knowing.
The issue is, while he may be accepting and loving, his parents will always come into play some way or somehow. There’s only so much I can take before I realize it can’t work. Because every time they remember I’m in university and that the hair growing from my head is real and repeat it over and over again as if I’ve forgotten, the burden builds.
Yes, my skin is black, but I’m not your token or your evidence of your infinite wisdom of black culture. Don’t use the colour of my skin as your ticket for a year’s worth of bullshit. I never want to be your “black” friend or your “black” girlfriend–don’t exoticize me or belittle me. I’m your girlfriend or your friend, or not your friend at all.