To A Lifetime of YTbois

I always knew I was being trained against myself. The special classes were warfare to separate me from others like me but it was the price to pay. But the white boys, the white boys used to seem like a reward. In its own twisted way, to have and mar the sacred children of the supremacy — the very people everything was fucked up to protect — seemed like a reparation of sorts. Of course, I had yet to understand black fetishism.

I had never been the girl that anybody particularly liked in school. I didn’t fit the European beauty standard by inch nor mile. I had long thick nappy hair, deep brown skin, a wide flaring nose — inherited from my wonderful father — and super full lips. (This was before super full lips became the crème de la white luxe trash). Black boys didn’t mind my face though it reminded them too much that their babies would look very, very black. On top of that I was Haitian which, to most West Indian boys around me, meant there was probably absolutely no “coolie” recessive gene that might pop up and save us all from my unruly features. But they couldn’t deny my body. I once had a nigga tell me I looked like the slave masters’ paintings of African women; like the very essence of black woman. (He probably didn’t realize he was fetishizing me too for his own hotep purposes) Also, I remember once we played a game of “what celebrity do you look like?” as teens and the boys responded: “you don’t look like anyone famous, you just look African as fuck.”

By then I had begun to learn that this was not an insult though it was intended to be. (Later in the game someone said I resembled Nia Long but I realized later in life they were referring more to energy rather than actual resemblance.) The Black boys still fucked me anyway though they made sure to make me feel absolutely terrible about it. I wasn’t exotic enough to show off but I was smart enough to intimidate them and I had an energy that they sought to destroy. The energy wasn’t an aloofness; I never tried to make black men feel like I was better than them. Rather they could tell that they would not change the course of my life and that I wasn’t going to let them. That the only reason I was letting them treat me this way was to hate and punish a self I had yet to let grow. They could tell I intended to have things that we had all been told were out of our reach and not for accolades. I wanted these things because I knew they existed and I was too defiant to believe white people could keep them from me.

Long before I wanted to be loved I wanted to be free. I grew up in a place where I watched and suffered at the hand of someone who had never grown out of their shell nor sought to figure out what they wanted. Rather, they shied away from it all. I saw the damage and I learned the lesson early. The Black boys knew that I wasn’t going to fall at their feet and I had no interest in being a wife. That my naiveté was a weakness they would only be able to exploit for a time and in the way that all black people are taught to attempt to destroy themselves and each other, they tried to kill that in me. Yet, I love them still because who else could understand me?

However, I spent my days not with the black boys but with the white ones. I spent years in classes where I never saw black males. Eventually my daydreams of being a ride or die or being an intra-island family unit gave way to fantasies of being the girlfriend of a mob son from Bensonhurst and dare I, some Upper East Side trust fund kid. I used to wonder for long periods of time why I wanted that. But I realized it wasn’t so much that I wanted it — (I never stopped giving black men the time of day or my bed or my love) — I simply believed the life I wanted required it. I was constantly being told day by day that if I wanted the success I was chasing, I wasn’t going to find any black men up there. Even worse, if I did, they were not going to be real. As my friend coined, I was looking for an eccentric thug and life was proving that to be nonexistent. Black men who were on the journey with me had to be corny or gay to get past the quality filter. But a white guy who would date a black woman like me had to have a certain rebellion within him. Had to have balls. And just like that, the veil over my eyes went from lace to wool.

As I said, I had yet to really understand fetishism. I was wide-eyed and full of hope for the integrated future. Mine would be a family of mixed blood and post-racial nuance. Still, I never hollered at proper White boys. Always the ones mixed with a culture that felt close or that I understood — white Hispanic, biracial etc etc. But I wasn’t what they wanted. Just like the black boys, to them I was very much black-looking. There was no bringing me home and lying about my lineage. No nose, chin or curl pattern that would hint at a recessive gene to save us all. Worse: to meet my parents would be to meet #actual third world people, to shake their hands; my people who were undeniably slaves. So they called me, they told me all their problems and took all my advice, maybe they kissed me and definitely they curved me. Rinse and repeat. My box braids and tomboy clothing didn’t help. My thrift look didn’t help and my smart mouth didn’t help. The worse it got the more I fought to be THE black girl. To retain a strong identity while being erased from conversations. The very opposite of what they would want from me. I knew that I wasn’t ugly or at unattractive — the block told me a different (and more abusive) story — but there was no safety here either. White boys were not saving me. So I stopped trying. I spiraled into teen girl madness.

Nobody told me about adulthood. Though I wish they had. Nobody told me that the white boys would come back to screw me a second time. Nobody told me that once you got to college and started wearing dresses and heels, dicks get hard when they get hard. That after their freshman year away from home all these white boys would come sniffing around. That there would be a day when it would seem like the type of white boy would make no matter. Rich or trash, blonde or olive-skinned, they’d be ready to go. Ready to text you all the time, invite you to their parent’s house where they stayed for the summer and eat you out, sneak into your room when you were invited to the Hamptons and sleep next to you to make their exes jealous.

You’re clueless at first. Yes, you have been privy to liberal, integrated dogma that Amerikkka has fed our particular generation but you’ve also never experienced it. You ignore the first blonde boy to chase you because the hook ups always involve alcohol. “He’s drunk” you tell yourself the first three times. By the time you figure out what’s happening and try to reciprocate: he has found his white princess. The first time this happens seems like a fluke. The universe called his number first. But one day you wake up and it’s been a full-fledged pattern for most of your 20s. Peppered in all the other relationships you’ve had and because you’re a person whose preferences do not lean toward racial bias, you didn’t catch it. However when yet another one finds their white princess you start to see yourself as the mark. Worse, when they find the black woman you won’t be(light-skinned, 4B, post-racial), things become clear.

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results and that’s what dating YTbois starts to feel like. Like barreling towards a wall. They are referenced differently here because it is a different sect; those that front and fake. Most probably don’t even realize they’re doing it. Those that fake the courage and then ask you to leave through the back door; who give you $100 for the 6am cab home because they “don’t have any change.” Those who are too busy to see you but never too drunk to sext. Those who promise fate will bring you someone better. Those who can’t remember to contact you at all but are always happy to hear from you; those who were honest and those who blatantly lied.

Those YTbois who never want to wear condoms. Always want to ask after if you’re on the pill. Who think they’re the first YTboi to see your ass like that or relish that they’re not. The ones who “love” your hair until it gets in their mouth in the middle of the night. They talk about race with you and show you their bravery. And just like when you, Black woman, date anybody else, you ignore some things in the name of feelings. You ignore clueless jokes; you suffer through a couple arguments about the N word, you pretend not to remember that he told you his grandmother is a raging racist. You try to find a way to tell them that saying they didn’t know how to talk to you is not a compliment but a reminder that you are alien.

In the end though the white princess appears and suddenly the insecurities he long burdened you with are gone. The confidence they couldn’t find, the commitment they weren’t “feeling”, or simply just the moment you speak up for yourself, there’s a better solution. It’s over and you can’t really pity yourself. Your heart is broken but to add to it there is a certain “I told You so” that comes from nobody but you. A little voice inside that says “come on, son!” And that voice is doubled down when they start texting you after they get married or after they’re “happy”, reminiscing on all the ways you made them come. “Sext me like you used to.” they’ll say. “You were always so hot.” Reminding you how amazing and better than them you are as a means to polish their trophy. Telling you how they made a mistake. You’re tempted to believe it, it would ease the ache of feeling confused and hopeless at times. It would also give you an out, a reason to break your new rules about whatever filter you need to put on your pussy. But, don’t.

The work you do to save yourself and to be yourself as a Black woman will always be erased in an attempt for others to indulge themselves. The emotional labor asked of you will always be tantamount to the pyramids as you are constantly ask to eat plates and plates of shit in life, work and love. But it’s important to always remember that when it comes to your heart truth is the only strength that keeps it beating. Know Yourself and nobody can break you. Not YTbois, not black men, not white princesses. not anyone. You arenobody’s mark.