(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a submission from the public. All are welcome to pitch ideas to Stuck in DC, just email firstname.lastname@example.org)
I’m 22, black, and perpetually single. Over the last several months I’ve gone on lots of dates hoping to find a guy I can spend some time with. The search has yielded some pretty crappy results. For me race isn’t the determining factor–a good guy is a good guy. I’ve been on dates and had plenty of Tinder/Bumble interactions with white guys in the DMV. Most of them have been forgettable, a few of them have been alright, and then there are the really, really bad ones.
It’s amazing and disappointing to me how many white guys just have absolutely no idea how to talk to a black woman, like we’re a different species. Dates will be going fine and then the guy will say something jaw-droppingly racist or ignorant that makes the record scratch and ruins everything. I realize that thousands of pages could be written about racial dating dynamics, but I want to briefly add my recent experiences to the record because this shit keeps happening to me and I think people should realize how much casual racism and fetishization a young black woman still has to endure, even in a city as diverse and cultured as Washington, even in 2016.
In no particular order, here’s some of the shit I’ve heard on recent dates and in Tinder conversations from white guys in DC:
On my very first Tinder date last year, the guy kept telling me how pretty he thought I was, which made me a little uncomfortable. Then he drifted into saying how much he loves black girls specifically, which made me more uncomfortable. My instincts were right because to hammer his point home he told me: “I want you to know that I only search ebony on Porn Hub.” I put down my drink and got out of there as fast as I could.
Apparently some white guys have never searched ebony on Porn Hub though, because one of the things I’ve heard over and over in Tinder conversations is how the guy has “never seen black boobs.” Sometimes this is accompanied by a “can I see yours?” or else that’s just implied. I never reply–I’m not trying to break anyone’s black boob virginity here.
A guy from Arlington started up with the whole “I love black girls” routine in a Tinder conversation and eventually said that he thought I could be his muse. When I objected to his fetishizing he said: “C’mon, you could be my sexy chocolate negress.”
I was recently on a date in DuPont Circle with a slimy guy who kept touching my leg every time he laughed at something. Just finishing the date was an act of pity. At the end, on the down escalator of the Metro, there was a prolonged silence that he filled with: “Your skin looks like charcoal.” I narrowed my eyes and tilted my head at him in disbelief. “Oh did I offend you?” he asked. “Yeah!” I hissed. “Well how am I supposed to compliment your skin?” he asked in a defensive voice. “Well you could have said I have pretty skin, for example,” I said and then I wished him luck and got on a train.
I said “hi” in a Tinder conversation and the guy launched right into a rant about how it’s asinine that everyone is getting all worked up about the confederate flag. I didn’t reply, but he went on for paragraphs about how it’s stupid to rename things that are named after confederate heroes because the history books will all show the real name and everyone should just get over it already.
I’ve had a couple dates reach across the table and touch my hair without asking, but I’m pretty used to that one because white people touch my hair without asking all the fucking time.
I was on a date with a Brazilian man and we were sitting in the Cleveland Park Metro. I asked him to speak some Portuguese to me and when he did a skinhead in a leather jacket with a swastika on it said: “Hey, go back to Mexico!” I replied that he was speaking Portuguese, not Spanish, but I probably should have just ignored him because then he told me to shut up and go back to Africa.
I was on a Tinder date at Right Proper Brewery in Shaw this winter and as we were getting to know one another he said that he normally wouldn’t have done something like this, but that I was special. I thought he just meant going on a Tinder date, but then he kept talking and said: “I normally find black women abrasive and crass. But you, you’re different. You’re not like that at all. Like, you’re basically white.” I was disappointed and disgusted. I told him that he was basically racist and ended the date. The sad thing is that I hear this from white men fairly often, how I’m basically white and how that’s appealing to them. They are always so surprised when I don’t take that as a big compliment.
When they’re not telling me I’m an honorary white girl, white guys will say that I’m pretty…for a black girl. I’ve heard this too many times to count. “Wow, you’re really pretty for a black girl” or “As far as black women go, you’re very pretty.” I’ve also heard: “You’re too pretty to be just black. You must be mixed or something else.”
“I’m really into black girls”
“Ok…thanks I guess.”
“Yeah, you were basically built for rough sex.”
I was on a date in GBD in DuPont when he got a phone call. He answered it and started talking to one of his friends in front of me, which I thought was rude, but nothing compared to him ending the call with: “Alright my nigga, I’ll catch you later.”
I was with a group of 6-7 people at Bayou Bakery by Eastern Market, most of them white. It wasn’t a date exactly, but I’d been invited by a guy I had some interest in, so it felt like one. The group was posing hypothetical questions that we all had to answer. One of them was: “Which decade in history would you most want to live in?” One girl said she wanted to live in the 1920s because of the cool fashion and culture. One guy picked the 1950s because “it was more wholesome and there weren’t as many major problems back then.” When my turn came, I was honest and said I wouldn’t want to be black in America anytime before the 1970s and even that’s pushing it. The girl who chose the 1920s immediately interrupted me and said: “Why do you have to be so negative?” I said that I was just being realistic and answering the question truthfully and mumbled something about Jim Crow and the crack epidemic of the 80s. The white guy who invited me tried to help me out by saying that he’d want to live in the current decade, but then he said that was “because we don’t have to deal with all that anymore.” Speak for yourself.
And that’s just the last four months! Would you believe that none of these charming encounters with Washington white guys resulted in a second date? Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just being too negative…for a black girl.