Interracial Dating in a Time when People who look like Him are Killing People who look like Me

I don't even know how to write this post, but the subject matter has been weighing heavy on my heart, so I'm trying to get my feelings on "paper" so I can try and make sense of what I'm feeling.

Despite growing up in a predominately white neighborhood, as an adult the majority of my relationships have been with black men or bi-racial men who self-identify as black. For the first time in my adult life, I'm currently involved in an interracial relationship of sorts with someone who is not a person of color and doesn't inherently understand what I'm experiencing as a black person in the United States.

Normally this wouldn't be a real issue, but due to the current climate in the US (i.e. police murdering black and brown people for no reason), it's caused me to be in a head space where I'm constantly questioning and looking deeper on these serious issues and finding it shocking that people who are close to me can't relate.

In short, it feels like I'm experiencing something traumatic alone. The guy I'm dating doesn't really handle the "heavier" parts of life too well, so I shouldn't have been shocked when he was without comments on the police murders of black/brown people, subsequent murders of police, and just the climate of the country in general, but it was rather disappointing. It felt like this super sweet guy lacked the emotional depth to not only tackle these tough subjects with me, but was clueless on how to be there for me. He was waiting for an invitation to help me process and grieve... but therein lies my issue... he's seemingly viewing this as "my" problem that he needs an invitation to instead of feeling like this is something affecting both of us in the country we both call home.

I guess it's a privilege to be free from the weight of what's happening right now. He doesn't have to understand. He's a white man who has never lived outside of Seattle and  therefore is almost by default detached from what's happening in the country. Seattle is not without its share of issues, but by geography alone it's so removed from what's happening... if you've never lived anywhere else you may actually believe Seattle is an accurate representation of what's happening in the world... and it's not.

On another note, we have had a few conversations about white, male privilege and what that means for him as he's dating a black woman. I can't move the same way he moves. Certain things he deems fun (i.e. breaking onto a closed highway with his friends to ride their bikes, getting pulled over by the police, and being released) doesn't work for me. I can't roll the dice with police interactions because they don't end the same way for people with my skin color. I can't scale the balcony to your 2nd floor apartment in Queen Anne because I'm a black person and even if you're locked out, someone would consider me to be "suspicious" and probably call the police... again, police interactions don't end the same for me. I care about the time bon fires technically end on the beach because I can't have an attitude of saying "fuck the police" or "fuck laws and rules" because again... police interactions don't end the same for me.

Race hasn't been a huge blocker thus far, but with the police brutality ramping up in the past week, it's brought to light the different (potentially incompatible) ways we handle stress and conflict, along with our recently strained communication. More than anything I want to feel inherently understood and it's weird to have someone incapable of relating to me on such a basic level of who I am... I'm not sure how to move forward.

Do I put him into the "light, casual" bucket? Do I make the effort to educate him? Do I just let it work itself out (which is very unlike my personality type)? We have a difference in age (I'm 5 years older), culture (I'm part of pop culture and he's very removed from mainstream culture), and race (White/Black). It feels like so many things are hurdles, which I've been wading through. Maybe none of this even matters. Maybe this is what dating is all about -- getting to know someone over time, learning about their personality, creating a foundation of friendship and seeing if the chemistry can warrant a monogamous relationship.

Anyone else have experience with interracial relationships and how they've worked through some of the challenges?



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