So, You’re a Black Woman Who Wants to Date a White Man

Aren’t you controversial! How very Meghan Markle of you! How Iman-esqe! Honestly, move over Serena Williams, because you’re in town now! Maybe you have a specific white dude already in mind and you want some insider tips on how to navigate the ebony/ivory road. Maybe you don’t have a particular “Chad” in mind but you just watched the royal wedding or back episodes of “Scandal” or even re-watched Sanaa Lathan in “Something New” and you’re curious. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter to me why you’re reading this article. No judgment here sis, I’m here to help. I’m black, my man is white and we’ve been together for over six years. I know a thing or two about partnering up with the white devil (hot take: they love it when you call them white devil. I kid, I kid, they have no idea what it means, you’ll have to explain it to him. If you want to, of course, you don’t have to tell him all of our secrets).

Alright, on to the list — drum roll, please.

1. You are dating a white man and don’t know it

You may have noticed that the average white dude does not flirt/kick game/holla at a woman in the same way that the average black dude does. White men generally flirt in the same way that they conduct business meetings. Which is to say, it looks and feels like a regular conversation. If that is happening with you, it could be them flirting. Really? You may ask. Yes, really. It’s so confusing. It happened to me! My man and I went on several “dates” before I even knew we were dating. He kept calling it “hanging out.” And on these “dates” he didn’t say anything about my body, whether he liked it or what he wanted to do with it — you know standard black dude cues for “I have a romantic interest in you.”

White men are super subtle. That’s why I say you may already be dating one because you may have misconstrued the seemingly platonic hangouts you’ve been having with Chad as non romantic, but to him, it’s a date. But, it could also just be a legit platonic hang out. Wanna know how to find out which one it is? Keep reading!

2. Finding out if you’re already dating a white dude

You may be tempted to be direct and flat out ask him, “Hey Chad, is this a date?” I advise against that as your first tactic. Why? Because if Chad is shy, and a lot of white dudes are shy, he may get defensive or skittish and say, “No, no, we’re just hanging out.” And that would kill the vibe. Sensitive white dudes scare easily so tread lightly. Chad could also deny it not because he’s shy but because he wants to play coy and flirty, something like “A date? This? Oh no, [wink wink] just wanted to hang with you.” Which is still confusing. “Um, no really Chad, is this a date?!”

I recommend using context clues to determine if you’re dating. Is he initiating all the hangouts? Are the outings just the two of you one on one? Do they include a meal that he pays for? If the answer to most or all of these is yes, it may be a date. I wouldn’t get thrown off by whether he makes a move on the first few of these “dates.” Like I said, they can be subtle and shy and slooooow, so give it some time. They don’t conquer black girls the way their ancestors conquered countries. But, if you guys hang more than five times and nothing physical or romantic happens (hand holding, a kiss or more), then either it’s not a date or he’s a monk. At that point, move on to the next Chad or take the direct approach and ask him directly if he likes you, at that point you have nothing to lose.

3. Don’t be thrown off by his black girl past or lack thereof

So by past I mean either, he’s never dated a black girl before and he knows nothing about us or he’s only dated black girls and is obsessed with us. Either way, I say, don’t be thrown off by it. If he’s a total newbie, I think it’s ok if he learns on the job. My dude was a newbie which meant I got to train him to my own unique black girl specifications, it was fun. Yes, you’ll have to be the first to explain hair grease and jumping the broom, and all of that takes time and patience, but the time spent will be worth it. Plus you won’t have to reprogram him on stuff a prior black girl told him that doesn’t apply to you.

If he’s been on an exclusive dating diet of black woman, I think that’s ok too. He knows what he likes, and it’s us. You may be concerned he has a fetish or that there is something disingenuous about his interest, i.e. he’s only dating you because you’re black. But even if you being black was the reason he first asked you out, the relationship won’t last if there isn’t real love or partnership there. I say, who cares why a person asked you out initially if it leads to something special.

4. What about lacrosse and soul train?

So yeah, what about his odd white guy interests? And what about your random (to Chad) black girl interests? The stuff that he’s culturally grown up being into that you’ve never heard of or know nothing about and vice versa? By the way, lacrosse and soul train are stand-ins for whatever that means for you and your would be Chad. Lacrosse could equal skiing, windsurfing or flip-flops. Soul train could mean double dutch, spades or sending food back unapologetically.

I hear you. But, I think the differences can be fun. As long as you’re both willing to learn and share then you both get something out of it. You don’t have to become an avid hiker or wear Teva’s (yikes, please don’t) just because he does. But I say, be open to trying new things at least once.

5. What about his momma’s potato salad? Do you have to you eat it?

So yeah, this is a thing. At family events his Mom, cousin, Aunt (pronounced “Ant” for some reason) etc may bust out a white version of a dish that your family makes and you know by the looks of it that it’s not going to taste the same as (read: as good as) your family’s. I get it. Will you be subjected to a lifetime of mediocre, under seasoned, undercooked, collard greens? Um, maybe.

No no, don’t freak out, just listen to me. You should at least politely taste everything someone gives you — you know that already, don’t act like your momma didn’t raise you right. Don’t make a stink eye about it if you don’t like it. The first few meals may be akin to the dinner scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ( my personal fav of the Indiana Jones franchise) wherein Kate Capshaw gave the most incredible facial reactions of all time to crazy ass food like monkey brains and eyeball soup. Anyway, I digress, you will find something you like even if you end up settling on a piece of fruit. Here’s a tip though, offer to bring a side dish when you’re going to see his people. You shouldn’t show up empty-handed to someone’s house anyway — you know that. That way there will be at least one dish there that you like.

And, what I’ve done many times is to offer to help cook the meal. When you’re helping you can have some say over how at least some of the meal is prepared. And it’s a super nice gesture to help the person who is probably stressing over trying to cook everything themselves. Also, it could be a chance for learning on everyone’s part. Maybe you’ll like putting marshmallows on the candied yams (yuck, I don’t but maybe you’ll like it). Or you could communicate, “Oh, you put raisins in your potato salad, we don’t make it that way in my family is there a reason you do that?” I believe interracial relationships are a chance for learning and sharing. Also, tell the truth, it’s not just white people who differ on recipes, you know one of your Aunts makes potato salad in a weird way which is why she’s not allowed to bring it to family functions anymore.

6. What if he says something racist/Prejudiced/Racially biased?

Hate to break it to you sis, but he’s a white person who has grown up in western society so he can’t help but be racist/prejudiced/biased etc. It’s steeped in the fabric of our society. We as black women even have crazy distorted thoughts about ourselves because of it, so he’s certainly not going to be immune. Doesn’t mean people can’t change and grow if they want to. Just means, I think you should take some of the pressure off of yourself to find some perfect racially unbiased white man. He will probably one day say/think/feel/communicate something that rubs you the wrong way, this is an opportunity, not a reason to bolt.

Hopefully, he’ll be open to having a conversation about it. Share how it made you feel and then see how he reacts. Then let him share too. A lot can be accomplished to heal the racial divide in intimate relationships that cannot be accomplished in a school room, congressional hearing or courthouse. It’s pretty remarkable how powerful personal relationships CAN BE. If he doesn’t want to talk about it, then examine yourself, are you actually creating an environment to talk or are you GOING OFF on him? If you’re yelling, I say, reconvene after you’ve calmed down and see if you guys can talk again. If you’re being cool and he’s still tight-lipped, then to me that won’t work. Race is the elephant in the room in white/black and most interracial relationships so, I think, you’ve got to be able to talk about it when relevant. If he can’t do that, then I don’t think there’s much hope for a relationship.

Keep in mind that, if he’s dating you then the last thing he’ll want to do is say or do something insensitive. If he’s with you and trying then I think it’s worth the effort to have a super uncomfortable but ultimately powerful conversation. Also, it probably won’t just be one conversation one time. In the beginning of our relationship my Chad and I talked about race a lot and now we don’t have deep “after school special” conversations much at all anymore because we laid the foundation in the beginning.

7. Can he handle himself in the bedroom?

In my experience, white dudes are pretty confident in this area. Once a hook up is about to happen they’re no longer shy or subtle. Whether your white man can please you is personal. Even though much is made of the difference between white and black men in this department from a societal and pop culture standpoint, I haven’t found this area to be an issue in actual practice. I think this really is all about the two people so if I were you, I wouldn’t be concerned about whether he can do the job. The job is actually not different from a race standpoint. It’s like asking, can he eat? Um, yeh, he’s a human, isn’t he? Yes? Then he can eat. He’ll probably use utensils in the same way you do. When it comes to fried chicken you may have to explain that he should use his hands and not a knife and fork but, whatever, as long as he eats it. Also, I think this eating metaphor stopped working when I brought up fried chicken…

8. Does he know anything about our hair?

No, nothing. He knows absolutely nothing about our hair. At all. I think that’s ok. He doesn’t have to but you’ll inevitably have to clue him in on some stuff because he’ll be confused. Like, why are you wearing a satin scarf on your hair to bed or why can’t you get your weave wet or what is a weave? Explain as much as you wish. Word to the wise, don’t let his questions trigger you. He’s not asking because he’s judging you or trying to impose a colonial blah blah ideal on you. He really has no idea. He likes what you’re doing to your hair because he’s with you, he just doesn’t know the black hair world. Now, after you’ve educated him he may have ideas and opinions. I know I know, black men usually keep hair opinions to themselves. White men haven’t been scared into silence by their mothers and sisters so they share their hair thoughts. I think this is great.

I have to admit, I was shocked when my Chad first started giving his opinion on which hairstyles he preferred and I also got triggered and was like, “is he trying to impose his colonial blah blah”, you get it. But he cared and wanted to be included because he loves me. And you know what, he actually had some good ideas and insight into efficient black hair maintenance! I know, I was shocked too. Chads can be very good at time management even when it comes to topics they have no reason knowing anything about. I’m just saying, your willingness to share could be rewarded.

So, that’s all for now sis. I wish you much luck in the world of white men. Finding love in this world is a hard thing. If your partner comes in a Chad package wearing flip flops and singing Kenny Chesney, I hope this article makes it easier for you to say yes to your love destiny.