Yes I Date White Men, No I Don’t Hate Myself
Interracial dating will forever strike a chord among members of society, especially the gay community. The concept of dating outside of your race hits home particularly for Black men, as it forces them to confront their sense of self. Gay white men don’t struggle with race-based self-hatred because they don’t have to. Whether it’s an advertising campaign, a “50 Most Beautiful” list, or dating apps, the world reassures gay white men of their looks and of their acceptance on a constant basis.
Conversely, on a macro level, Black gay men have two options: to either be desexualized or oversexualized.
Profiles on gay dating apps are still sprinkled with “Whites Only” bios from both white and Black gay men. Hmmmmmmm….Jim Crow much? Jerks still expect Black gay men to fit into the role of a dominant, sexually aggressive top; a trope often depicted in gay porn. And Black gay men still don’t see themselves hardly in any narratives across print and digital creative works, all of which are often praised where the story and other characters center on a white person.
But race-based self-hatred didn’t evolve in a vacuum.
Colonizers used the destructive rhetoric as a tool to oppress and dehumanize African slaves. Race-based self-hatred was started by white people, but then sustained by its victims in the form of colorism, where social status was assigned to a person’s skin tone.
Self-hatred is weaved into our history as Black people, and it affects our spirit as a community. The brown paper bag test was just extinguished in the 1950s. Even still, self-hatred is often the low-hanging fruit that some Black gay men grab when referencing Black gay men who date white men.
I’ve casually dated men from an array of races and cultures, and the United Nations would be proud. But I’ve only had two serious relationships, and they’ve both been with white men. Honestly, when I look at my dating history, the majority of them have been white.
I can’t deny it. I have an affinity for white men, and have often thought about whether or not I have issues with self-hatred. I’ve consistently challenged and charged myself with thinking past sexual preferences to get to the root of my attraction.
And I don’t have an answer.
Real talk, there are Black gay men who exclusively date white men, and all I know is that I’m not one of them. This Black skin is a headache every now and then, but I love the way I look, I love my features and I love the strength and the power that comes with being a Black man in America.
Based on my dating history, onlookers will often label my attraction, regardless of its non exclusivity, as self-hatred. They will even diminish my experiences as a Black person. Although race is a social construct, my blackness doesn’t exist for the sake of people, or anything for that matter. Any ideologies derived from my blackness aren’t countered by dating a white man. Just because a woman marries a man doesn’t mean she forfeits her rights and womanhood. It just means she married a man.
If a Black gay man wants to tag his bed frame with a brown paper bag, that’s his disservice to himself. It’s up to him to figure out what’s really driving his bias, assuming he even wants to. But if a Black gay man has the propensity to date white men, it doesn’t automatically mean he suffers from issues with self-hatred either.
Self-hatred is the common defense used by fellow Black gay men because it holds historical capital. While it does ring true for some, it is not an absolute. Dating Black doesn’t free Black people from self-hatred any more than it absolves white people from racism. I’m not with my boyfriend out of self-hatred, or to enjoy his white privilege. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work that way. I’m with him because I fell in love with him, and I shouldn’t have to defend myself because of how I feel.
Terrence Chappell surfaced on Chicago’s media scene as UR Chicago Magazine Online’s fashion editor. Since then, he has worked and contributed to various media outlets such as Michigan Ave. Magazine, CS Magazine, and The Men’s Book. Currently, Terrence serves as the editor-at-large for ChicagoPride.com, the city’s largest LGBT entertainment and news website where he writes “Chappell Confidential,” a nightlife and society column. Terrence also heads “Chappell on Community,” the site’s newest editorial monthly series that profiles the LGBT community’s most innovative leaders.