We always felt halfway to a crime that we could never commit.
We were two people of color, the passive transgression, but the responsibility of leaving our races still clung onto our chests.
There was something about watching a black boy murdered from the comfort of my home that made me want to go out and love a black man as hard as I could, as though somehow it could resurrect the child in him.
I started dating my first official black boyfriend, a neuroscientist, shortly after.
The only girl in my group of black girlfriends who had a boyfriend was dating a white boy who was white enough to have a family that hated black people. We would sit squished in a row behind them with all of our smirks perfectly even as they drove us home.
We ask each other about dessert options and call each other good-looking even though we have gained weight.Half of my mother’s four sisters are married to white men.My cousins can be split into two groups: Ones who grew up with weaves and skin lighteners and ones who needed sunscreen and haircuts.It felt too ironic; the first black man who I dated had left me in exactly the way that I feared.He had grown tired of letting me pretend, I realized.We stood on the head of our warnings every day as we got to know each other. I knew I was a far away from the Latina girls he was used to with silk hair, milk-toffee skin, and sharp tongues: I had forgotten how vulnerable it felt to be black in the apartment building lobby of a potential love. Before every date I would always buy myself a new outfit or piece of clothing to impress him, as though being constantly new would distract from any shortcomings.I would stretch my hair every inch that I could, to make it appear longer. There were days when we fought and said things to each other like “That must have been from how you were raised.” We got assaulted on the street by men who would yell “Black and white don’t mix” and smash their shoulders into ours.Our family is a classic case of women and the black men who left them versus the white men who stayed.I remember being 6 and slapping my white uncle in the face to figure out why his face turned bloodred.I wondered how men with such delicate bodies seemed to be the only ones who could endure the storm. We bought crop tops, tight jeans, and earrings so big that they touched our shoulders.When my cousin on the all-black side birthed a baby girl whose father had become abusive, we took a long ride to a shopping mall. On the ride home we were quiet and I decided I would never date a black man as long as my feet touched this earth.