I am a passionate person. I love to love. I find people indescribably fascinating. However, there it is so infuriating when so many assumptions are made about me before I have the chance to utter a word.
I’d like to paint a picture of a conversation I find myself having all too frequently:
Him: so where are you from?
Him: oh, where are your parents from?
Me: London and Yorkshire….
Him: *confused face or silence*
Him: I mean, you don’t LOOK British.
The above charade is one of the reasons I HATE dating.
I’m Jessamy and I am mixed race. My mother’s family are of Barbadian descent and my father’s family are British; both sides of which I embrace continuously.
Coming from a smaller part of the UK which isn’t too diverse, I moved to London and had my eyes opened to the real world of dating. I started to realise how many social rules there were back home that I’d been victim to all too often.
The first time I experienced relationship related prejudice I was about 16 and walking around the town centre with my boyfriend at the time. A group of black guys stood clear as day across the road and one of them shouted “YO WHY IS A LIGHTY WITH A WHITE GUY THAT AIN’T RIGHT..”
If you know me, you know I find it difficult to hold my tongue anyway so of course I felt to say something, not realising that could’ve resulted in a pretty nasty situation for poor boyf beside me. Luckily, I kept quiet on this occasion.
Never have I thought about someone’s ethnicity when regarding them as adequate to be my boyfriend/girlfriend. You are a person; dreams, beliefs, sense of humour, mannerisms, flaws and all. Your pigmentation is not in my interest as harsh as that may sound. I don’t give a shit if you’re black/white/asian/green/blue/
I am probably incredibly naïve to believe all people will approach me with these same ethics but I still have hope this will happen every time I have an encounter.
More recently, I’d relate this to social media and apps like Tinder that I have used on and off. I could almost place my life savings on someone mentioning or questioning my ethnicity within about 6 messages. This person could be the most enticing and alluring I’ve spoken to but as soon as those questions come I almost switch off. Not because I want to hide my race, of course not, it’s my identity. But there are so many things to find out about me before you’re getting the 411 on my DNA build up. What about my aspirations? What music makes me euphoric? Where have I travelled? What food would I bathe in? You know, all that juicy, INTERESTING stuff…
I wasn’t oblivious after a few incidents as to why this question came up so frequently. It’s clearly on some guy’s hitlists. They wanna tick off my ethnicity on their fuck list. Simple as.
One guy even asked me if I had to pick a side who would I choose, black or white? The less said about that conversation the better…
Without getting too deep into that mentality, I just feel disappointed that this tokenism is still occurring amongst younger generations. Yes, you may have a “type” but whether or not I fit within the parameters of that is irrelevant. We, as young people, are meant to be forward thinking. How am I to visualise a future with someone who sparked conversation because of my complexion. My culture is a part of me but it does not isolate me from everything else I am.
I aspire to children once I am established in myself and if there’s one thing I don’t want is for them to know Daddy chose Mummy because she has “lovely tanned caramel skin.” My children will not go backwards and neither will I.
I’m sure so many mixed, black and asian girls especially can relate to this and hopefully there are a few people who will think twice before springing these dreaded lines on us. Talk about cock block.