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Still, at times I feel ashamed for dating outside my race.I am an ally to my people, but I have not connected with them in the deepest way possible — romantic love.But sometimes, like when I encounter a well-dressed family man with a mutual love for certain breakfast cereals, I wonder if I am failing my people.After all, 50 years ago in many states it was still illegal for us to marry anyone who was not also black. Although race relations are still far from perfect, I acknowledge the steps toward inclusion that we’ve made.I smiled and apologized for holding him up.“No problem,” he reassured me with a kind nod.This encounter was nothing unusual; I frequently have similar encounters with strangers at the grocery store.My experiences date back as early as middle school, when I was infatuated with a black classmate for three years.
This wasn’t simply because I’ve always believed in inclusivity, but also because I grew up surrounded by white people.White guys will never love you like black guys, they would say.I resented those comments, believing that my love should not be bound to the colour of my skin or anyone else’s.I turned around and saw a handsome black man waiting patiently, with a cart full of groceries and a warm smile that briefly invigorated my tired spirit after a long day of work.He was wearing a professional outfit, leather dress shoes and a brown wool houndstooth coat with the collar popped.
I was 19 the first time a man of colour actually expressed halfhearted interest in me; he was a biracial friend who repeatedly asked me out and then repeatedly forced me to pay for these dates.