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On dates, we’ve talked about things like “code switching” (people taking on different personalities or dialects depending on who they’re with) and how to fit into the environment you’re in without having to erase who you really are. (I doubt decisions to date within one’s group are conscious for most people; racial bias is likely ingrained.

I’ve felt we could relate in ways I couldn’t with a white partner. After hundreds of years of social conditioning, the same way the brain says “hot, don’t touch” when it sees fire, it may say “not for me” when presented with a potential partner of another race.) I’m not saying you have to make a solemn resolution to date a person outside your race this year; I’m justsaying you should stop assuming you won’t. When things don’t work out now, I try not to get defeated by that Ok Cupid data: Instead I tell myself that I’m not looking for those dudes who rate black women poorly. When I do, I will have made that choice from a fully formed place, and I’ll be with my partner because I truly love him or her, not because I don’t love myself.

I was stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway, listening to , when I had “the moment.” It was 2014, and the video of Eric Garner dying in Staten Island after a police choke hold had just surfaced. That was a big deal for me—and it was the moment I realized how much I do have in common with people of color.

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I'd love to tell you that as a result of my new, expanded horizons, I’ve met my true love. But I have grown, and so have my relationships with other black people.Two people from different backgrounds or cultures coming together to prove to the world that love can rise above all our differences.God made all of us, including the color of our skin.Which reminds me: I hear Jeff Goldblum is into younger women. Sometimes it may seem like everything is working against you just to make relationships even more difficult. If you only knew what people went through in their own lives, you’d see how challenging all relationships can be.I felt like I was walking around with something in my teeth and no one was telling me.When I thought about whether my race was a factor in my relationships, the idea made me panicky and sick.It was idyllic in some ways—I can’t thank my parents enough for busting their asses through far more intolerant times than my own to make it our home—but being an “other” in a nearly homogeneous community had a profoundly destabilizing effect on my identity.I didn’t recognize myself in the portrayals of black life I saw in pop culture, the few other black kids at my schools couldn’t understand why I “talked so white,” and nobody got why my first celebrity crush was Jeff Goldblum in (so scary, so sweaty, so sexy—am I right? And while I went full Becky in my youth, my older brother fell deep into Asian culture—Asian drag racing and, yes, Asian girlfriends.My biggest fear was that no one wanted to choose me because I was black, and yet I felt guilty for doing the same thing, since the only black person I’d ever dated was that boy in sixth grade. At first I ignored the Ok Cupid blog post, but it put a pin on the race issue, like a little red flag I’d be forced to come back to.The truth was, at the time I felt I shared a stronger commonality with people who were white. And things shifted in me after the killing of Trayvon Martin, as more and more black folks got shot and tensions between the police and people of color reached a fever pitch.

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