As a young woman of color, I can attest to the fact that many people in this world feel it is their duty — no, their God-given right — to decide what is best for me, and especially whom is best for me to date.
For instance, I felt the need to defend my relationships to my mother who, like Baker’s mother, wondered when her daughter would bring home someone who looked more Michael B. My mother will resent me for saying this, but I know there is a part of her that wanted to see me settle down with someone black, someone who looked like me.
I started thinking about the media and asking myself what qualities I was actually attracted to in a man, specifically my boyfriend, versus what qualities I'd been taught to find attractive.
Part of me used to envy how soft, straight, and blond his hair was.
But then something happened: people started talking to me, flirting even.
Once I escaped the small, isolated microcosm of Upstate New York, I met people who didn't think of me just based off of my skin color.
I was in a new city and in a completely new situation.
I expected things to be similar to the way they were in high school.
Still, I would never ever say that being in an interracial relationship has been easy.While scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I came across a link to a Gawker article that one of my friends reposted.In an essay entitled "The Reality of Dating White Women When You're Black," writer Ernest Baker tackles big topics like Eurocentric beauty standards, the taboo aspect of interracial relationships, and why he dates white women, among others: Why do I date white women?Although I am a black woman in an interracial relationship, I only gave Baker's piece a cursory glance at first. "A lot of people aren't bothered by interracial relationships, but, on the flip side, many people still are.In the midst of a full news feed, it just seemed like more noise. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 96 percent of blacks and 84 percent of whites approve of black-white marriage.After years and years of internalizing the beauty standard promoted all around me, I headed off to college with a low self-esteem and essentially no sense of self-worth.