Op/Ed: Why Are Black Gay Men So Threatened By Black Men Who Date ‘All Races’?
Forgive my candor, but I’m not the kind of Black guy most Black guys would fuck with. I don’t bottom that often, despite the subtle twist in my walk. When asked if I’m femme or masc, my answer is “yes.” I have a normal-sized ass and a normal-sized dick, despite the Mandingo stereotypes of my Kenyan lineage. I don’t use the n-word in any way and won’t allow others to refer to me in that manner. Most of my closest friends are straight men. And, lastly, I’m down to date all races.
I was amidst a conversation with one of my few gay friends. He’s definitely woke; mixed-race but identifies more with his Blackness. Interestingly enough, that’s what I love about him — the unexpected juxtaposition of his light privilege even though deep inside he’s dark chocolate from the Motherland. He and I were discussing the dismal state of our dating lives. Apps, online dating, fuckboys — any topic is fair game.
He asked whether I would date a white boy, to which I replied yes, and he was shocked.
I didn’t know if his shock was at my answer or how little hesitation I had in giving it. The truth is that the easiest dating situation I’ve ever had was with a White guy. We’ll call him Joe. I met him online, where my profile clearly said top (at the time) and his clearly said bottom. What started as a movie date turned into the most free-flowing emotional connection I’ve ever created.
Joe gave me an outsider’s view of my Black man emotional baggage. In dating situations, we all bring expectations with us. Tops ask bottoms out, pay the tab, hold the door open, act chivalrous. The more evolved of us roll back the expectations. And the even more evolved of us fuck the expectations altogether.
I had never seen anybody fuck the expectations until Joe. He showed me that being femme or in-between on any level was OK as long as it was authentic — a sentiment I, at the time, had never experienced from Black men.
But the “Blacks only” ideology is more prevalent than I had thought. With #45 in office and Black and Brown bodies continually discriminated against (or worse), Blackness is at a premium. We must be woke, bothered and ready to beat a bitch with a bottle.
But why does that weigh so heavily on our amorous attractions? Does dating someone who has less melanin than me compromise my woke-ness, bothered-ness or propensity to resist?
On its face, I care not. I’m just trying to find a man who loves and appreciates me. But the conversation with my friend boggled my mind as much as it revealed some critical truths.
Black men, myself included, are Black first. Before we’re identified as trap or a thug, before we are clocked as gay or read for filth, we are Black. And that is cause for some to clutch their bag a little tighter, or follow us a little closer, or shoot us even if we are unarmed. Our Blackness is a threat to many — but more importantly, it’s a badge and burden that we must each carry individually.
When I talked these very nuanced concepts over with myself and many of my Black friends, the through line is that we want to find someone who can carry that burden equally. We want to find a life mate who understands the trials without explanation and can pick up the cross to bare without hesitation. We want to be seen.
But can White men be as woke as Black men? Can they understand our plight to a degree that they can bring their whole body to the fight? Or is our resistance limited to those who look like us, in hues like ours?
Make no mistake, this revolution is televised, and White bodies getting into the fight is not necessary or needed. My Blackness is far more than the limited view Whiteness allows. I’d also like to believe that anybody can be awoken — or at least my man will be. But I’m still single as fuck, so until that man comes along, I’ll just keep my resistance high and my eyes pealed.
Jai Makokha is a cultural archivist, public speaker, host, producer, writer and Black gay bad ass. His website, JaiMakokha.com, is Black and Brown queer culture’s encyclopedia.
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