Race debate

What if I only dated other black men?

The last thing I expected from the white guy whose fingers were creeping down my back was a lesson in black pride.

Nathan was a walking, talking, groping bundle of contradictions. His hand slyly creeping down the length of my back was saying one thing, but his resting bitch face was saying something else entirely. As for what his mouth was saying, well, that was the most confusing thing of all.

“Why do you surround yourself with white guys?”

Huh?

I looked around the “VIP” lounge at Stonewall, the most popular gay bar in Sydney, and then at the blond, late-thirtysomething white man questioning me. The answer was pretty obvious. There wasn’t another black person in sight. That should have been considered par for the course to any Sydneysider, but Nathan didn’t seem to notice.

“Why are you here with that white guy? Is he your boyfriend?”

“Oh, Adam? He and I are just friends. We work together.”

“Why do black guys always hang out with white guys? Where are your black friends? Why don’t you date black men?”

Related: Dear white gays: Can you please stop whitesplainin’ your racism to me?

I’d faced this line of questioning before, but usually it came from disapproving blacks who thought my dating white men was tantamount to treason. While that’s basically reverse racism disguised as black pride, I understood the hardline according to resentful gay black men. Being routinely discounted because of race tends to make one hypersensitive about color.

Yes, I get it. Some of them conflate having an all-white dating history with making statements like “I’m not attracted to black people” or “No Asians.” That’s perfectly plausible. But there’s a difference between saying, “I’ve never been to Spain,” and saying, “I’d never go there.” One can spend every holiday in London without rejecting Madrid entirely.

But how would Nathan even benefit from the sort of blanket rejection he was promoting. He was a white guy trying to get with a black guy by telling the black guy not to get with white guys. Even if it had made any sense, I didn’t need him, of all people, to teach me black pride.

I already knew that it’s not contingent on a black person’s number of black Facebook friends or black exes. Neither is a white person’s level of racial enlightenment. I have black and white friends who never go black but are still perfectly woke when it comes to racial matters. I also know white men with blacks-only sex and dating policies who are absolutely clueless about race and racism.

Nathan sounded like one of them. Was he trying to sabotage his chances with me, or was he c*ck-blocking the white competition? Don’t pay attention to those guys. Don’t want them. Look at me. I’m the enlightened one who’s up with black people.

I considered the case he was making. I didn’t see any black people in his party. Was I missing something? Was it OK for him to be out with a group of white friends while I was flawed for having one by my side? Was this a segregationist agenda masquerading as a pro-black one?

“You have to support your race.” Nathan wasn’t ready to let it go.

“Is that what you’re doing by hitting on me, supporting my race?”

“Well, black guys are hotter,” he announced, as if that was the only attribute that mattered. At least now we were getting to the core of his black obsession.

Nathan tried to support his blacks-rule theory by pulling out his cell phone and showing me his screen saver. It was a musclebound black hunk wearing nothing but underwear and a prominent bulge.

Why, of course! I thought. What good is a black man without one of those?!

Did he think I’d look like that if he got me undressed? Was he was expecting both a “proud” gay black man who was interested only in other GBMs and a “hot” one who could satisfy the “BBC” (big black c*ck) GWM fantasy?

Related: Which comes first: My race or my sexuality?

Nathan’s great black hype came across as double-pronged racism. He was objectifying the black men he craved sexually and discriminating against the white ones he dismissed.

I didn’t call him on it because I knew it was a lost cause. I’d encountered enough white guys like him to know better. They think as long as they pursue black men, they can’t possibly be racist.

Yet race always seems to come up with them because, well, what else is there to a black guy? There’s an undercurrent of unintentional racism there that they don’t seem to recognize. That very over-awareness of race, whether in favor of the minority or not, is at the root of racism?

In all my years of being black, I’d never given serious consideration to what it would feel like to be white. But after being bombarded by Nathan, I wondered what it would be like to be on the other side and not have random conversations with strangers suddenly turn into race debates. What would it be like to log on to Grindr and not read messages like Big black c*ck??

Oh, to talk to a guy at Stonewall and not have to wonder if he’s wondering if it’s true what they say about guys like me!

“Hey, my eyes are up here, dude!”

Several years ago, a black Zimbabwean friend in Cape Town told me about how many gay black South Africans are so fed up with gay white men that they’ve cut them out completely. I’ve seen similar reactions among African-Americans all my life, and it’s not how I roll. When racism spawns reverse racism, it perpetuates segregation. How is that healthy? How is that progress?

I knew Nathan, all lust and self-satisfaction, was too blind to get it. And that night, he didn’t get me, but not because I decided his blacks-only agenda was worth pursuing. I’ll never start accepting or rejecting anyone socially or sexually based on race, but he was one white guy who didn’t stand a chance with me.

Related: It’s time to retire the term “BBC” and stop fetishizing black men