Date a White Guy if You Want to Survive

Image credit: HuffPost.

I love black people.

When it’s easier to die, we choose to live. Even in the middle of a pandemic killing us off disproportionately…even while our lives are at risk of state-sanctioned murder in the middle of a pandemic.

And we live pursuing excellence. We enter arenas playing games designed to annihilate us and will be damned if we don’t score some points. That’s why I, too, got caught up in the #supportblackbusiness hype.

Black LLC Twitter was born June 19, 2020, when groups like The BlackUpstart and Earn Your Leisure pushed the black-owned agenda HEAVY. Juneteenth became a holiday where we celebrated our transformation from commodities into agencies incorporated to set ourselves on a path towards self-determination.

I, though, had something else on my mind: realizing that I’m a 30-something-year-old single black woman with plural degrees and businesses but no one riding with me on this #blackexcellence journey. When I’m done building the empire, who am I going to share it with?

In between the Instagram Lives and Clubhouse masterclasses, I downloaded every dating app I researched at the speed of existential dread and started swiping. I dedicated an hour a day to find the king to my entrepreneurial queendom as if it were my third side hustle. My life really does depend on this not falling through.

The thought came to me while re-watching the HBO sci-fi/horror series Lovecraft Country, another Black Twitter timeline favorite since it brought up the woes of Black Wall Street just in time/for the first time to many Americans (black or white) supporting the “Buy Black” movement. I can’t help thinking over and over again about Rudy, a dark-skinned, heavy-set black female character who went through what we could call “a metamorphosis” to secure her own bag.

The scariest part of Rudy’s major episode (semi-spoiler alert) wasn’t even the GORY process of literally stripping off her black skin to get her dream job and perfect bae. The scariest part was being painfully aware that this scene ain’t so far-fetched.

Seeking validation outside of or in spite of one’s black skin involves heartache, violence, and pain.

Sadly it felt like the show gave the only feasible roadmap for guaranteeing the life that I wanted. The privileges I desired — unquestioned and limitless financial and personal freedom — may only come if I’d turn myself into a kept white woman. And what was the easiest, most essential way to conjure up such a spell?

An entanglement with a white man.

I’ve thought about dipping into the while male dating pool for a while. Is it just me and my algorithm or are a slew of porcelain-blonde bankers the only kind interested in swiping right for me? And why do they all message me promising the world when we match? It’s giving savior complex vibes.

Which is why I always wanted a black family. I needed to raise black children with the audacity to grab opportunities and end the generational curse of needing someone’s charity. I imagine how black children would feel seeing two black parents, emotionally available and committed to one another in pursuit of a great purpose, sans the struggle.

And then I thought, what about a shortcut? What if waiting for black love is like waiting for paint to dry or grass to grow? It could happen eventually, but who all got the time or patience for that?

I have bills to pay, and my chance of inheriting wealth from my dead, white husband versus getting funded by a venture capital firm is higher than I’d like to fathom.

Am thinking about all of this as two notifications pop up on my phone — one with the news of the grand jury verdict in Breonna Taylor’s case, and the other a text message from a white guy I matched with on Hinge, asking for a second date.

Picture me trying to understand what it means to convict white cops for shooting bullets into drywall but not into a black woman’s body as I figure out how to answer the question “Where should we eat tonight?” from Jake…

It’s three months after Juneteenth at the time and all my white friends have moved on. Not one mention about Breonna Taylor and what statement this verdict makes about whether black lives truly matter on my Instagram feed. The black squares apparently got archived.

I avoided Black Twitter, too. We built and bought the block and yet nothing changed.

I consider calling my date off before I ask myself an important question: am I playing myself? Am I really still on this Michelle-and-Barack-Obama-esque type of love shit?

Because Breonna had her black king, and he damn sure put his life on the line to protect her. Perhaps that only put a bigger target on her head. Would she be alive today if the man who approached the police, armed and ready to die, were white?

Fun fact: scientific studies show a greater correlation between interracial romantic relationships and domestic violence. It’s safer to be in a relationship if both of you are white than it is if even one of you is black.

Running a business + choosing the type of man to fuck — average day of a black woman trying not to die hungry or alone.

I struggle to find the exact word or phrase to describe how it feels. One psychologist called it “cognitive dissonance”. She also said self-preservation shows up in mental fogs and excessive productivity. Like wearing black-tinted shades while trying to pick broken pieces of glass off the floor, with the illogical task of deciding how to put them back together.

I may cut myself desperately trying to escape Breonna’s fate. I can’t know for sure.

But just in case, I texted Jake back and we’re having dinner on a boat this weekend.

Unlisted

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Seun Shokunbi explores stories of women as power brokers in the political and entrepreneurial arenas of Africa & the African diaspora. These are personal essays that show the journey to combining hustler mentality with social activism.

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Seun Shokunbi

Seun Shokunbi

Seun Shokunbi is a past contributor to Face2Face Africa, and a speaker for TEDx. Learn more at www.itsseunshokunbi.com/bio.