1. Tell me I’m pretty ‘for a black girl’.
Seems like this is an obvious no-no right? You’d be surprised. Maybe you think you’re giving me a compliment, but really you’re just telling me that although I don’t meet your normal (read: Eurocentric, skinny, whitewashed) beauty standards, you have somehow, by the grace of God Genetics and George Clooney, managed to find me attractive.
Uhh, no thanks. I’m not just pretty for a black girl, I’m pretty for any girl, and that’s how you should approach me.
2. Tell me I’m exotic.
No I’m not, I’m from Atlanta. Which I guess is just like Africa, but hotter and with more black people! I jest, I jest. But honestly, having brown skin and curly hair doesn’t make me any more exotic than you are. I’ve never even visited California, let alone Zimbabwe.
Exoticism is the result of colonial belief that non-white people are naturally subhuman, different, and abnormal. Black women specifically were exoticized in order to justify the rape, torture, and indignities we suffered during slavery. And those sentiments didn’t disappear with the Civil Rights Act; they’re still firmly ingrained in our modern culture. So forgive me if I (or any other woman of color for that matter) don’t take ‘exotic’ as a compliment.
3. Touch my hair without permission…
And retract the bleeding stump that is all that remains of your hand.
As a general rule do not touch a woman without her permission. Full stop. I personally don’t mind if you touch my hair, but you’re going to need my consent first. If we’re vibing and we know each other it’s fine, but don’t just walk up to me and stick your hand or any other body part into my personal space if we aren’t well acquainted.
4. Take me to an ethnic restaurant.
No, I don’t want to eat soul food with you. First of all I’m a vegan, and second of all you’re being a bit too obvious. ‘Look, I know what black people like, I am a cool white person who is totally ‘down with the brown’. Or nah. Maybe you do like ethnic food, but the only thing you have to prove to me is that you’re a cool person I might want to get to know better. I’m perfectly fine with Olive Garden.
Don’t use stereotypes you’ve learned from watching BET or listening to Jay-Z to ingratiate yourself with me. Base your date off of what I like personally, not what you think black people like generally.
5. Tell me I look like Beyoncé.
No I don’t. No one does. Not even Beyoncé looks like Beyoncé. She is just the only black celebrity you could think of when you decided to approach me.
666. Tell me I’m not really/don’t act black.
This is probably the dealbreaker. You’re telling me that you had a preconceived and likely bigoted notion of what black people are like in your mind already, and that because I have neatly avoided your racist generalizations I deserve a condescending pat on the back and a date with you.
It doesn’t matter if I like hummus or hot sauce, if I rock yoga pants and Chaco’s or patterned leggings and Nike sliders, my ‘blackness’ is determined by no one but myself, and you don’t have the right to tell me otherwise.
Black women are far from a monolith so obviously not everything on this list will apply equally to every black woman out there, but if you’ve been wondering why you’ve never gotten that second date, saying or doing any of these things is probably why.
(And if you’re wondering why I didn’t include ‘Never say the N Word’ in this listicle, it’s because you won’t just get rejected for saying that, you’ll end up on an episode of 48 Hours Mystery.)