Why I Wrote ‘When You Hate White Privilege But Keep Liking White Guys’

A man wearing sunglasses looks to the side in front of a white brick wall
Brooke Cagle / Unsplash

It’s very rare that I backtrack myself on something, especially when it has to do with feminism, racial politics, and least of all: romance.

In January 2017, I wrote an article for Thought Catalog titled “When You Hate White Privilege but Keep Liking White Guys” and have been reaping what I had sown since. From that time I’ve received several emails spanning from praise to solicitation from misogynist subreddits to a guy telling me to make sure I marry within my own race. So I’ve decided to come out of the woodwork and clarify some things.

And just so you know I’m being dead serious, I’ll be doing this in list form.

1. I wrote this article during a time where I was really new to the dating scene. It’s easy to extrapolate data from your limited collective of experience and pretend like it’s some facet of your personality. Well, stay assured, past me (and others who feel the need to police me on this): it’s not. Now that I’m a little more seasoned — though nowhere near enough to pretend to be an expert — I’ve begun to see things in a different way.

2. The truth is that I did like white guys. I still do sometimes. I’m not ashamed about it. You can, in fact, address white privilege and be aware of it while dating a white guy. It took me longer to understand it myself, which is why I was having such trouble balancing the two. In the same way I have to grapple with the privilege dynamics of becoming involved with a white woman or a straight man, it takes growth and experience to figure these things out.

3. I received many emails by “concerned” men who were operating under the assumption that I’m East Asian. I’m not. Also, don’t cold email women like this.

4. I wrote this article for people who also date men as an introspective look into why we are into the kinds of people we are into. This was not a Gabriel’s horn for all straight men of color who feel cheated out of their entitlement to women of their own races.

5. Last of all (but most importantly), your value as a person who is growing and learning things is independent from the type of people you date. Dating someone who’s not white doesn’t make you woke. Dating someone who is white doesn’t make you problematic. There might be problematic reasons behind what motivates your actions regarding these relationships, but that reflects on you as a person.

I hope this placated some confusion and didn’t inspire more finger-pointing. If you still feel upset enough to be messaging me about this, then consider taking up a relaxing hobby such as crocheting, yoga, or finger-painting.

I’d like to reiterate that I’m not an expert on anything other than myself, but Zeba Blay wrote an excellent piece on a similar subject for Huffpost this March, and I encourage you to check it out. TC mark

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