Are You Down With The Swirl?

Sesi Summer 2016 Issue Trevor Jackson.jpg“Oh, you don’t love your brothers,” said a group of 19-year-old Kumba Koroma’s Black male friends. Kumba, a freshman at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, had just let it slip that she has a preference for dating white guys and those friends were not here for all that. “Why would you want to go for a white guy?” they asked.

That conversation was about to get real. We’ve all seen it happen — somebody Black professes to be crushing on somebody not Black and personal offense is immediately taken like “What, we’re not good enough for you?” But is it really that deep? Tbh, it is. It’s complicated, but a lot of the resistance stems from slavery. True, slavery ended 150-plus years ago, but when it comes to a lot of today’s social issues, including dating outside your race — especially when you’re Black and your significant other is white — it’s still all the way relevant. “There is a history of sexual violence and trauma that’s been perpetrated onto women of African descent by white men,” says Dr. Crystal Moten, an assistant professor of history who specializes in women’s and gender history and African-Amer- ican history at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. “That’s not the first thing that would come to someone’s mind when they’re deciding on who their potential partner will be, but I think that’s part of the conversation that we have to talk about.”

And then there’s that whole issue of people assuming that a Black girl who dates a non-Black guy must have some sort of repressed self-hate thing going on. Even another one of Kumba’s friends told her, “You hate yourself. You love white people.” Kumba thought, “Oh my God! She thinks I have a complex!”

Read the rest of my feature for Sesi magazine’s summer 2015 issue [here].

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