On a hot summer day in August 1955, a 14-year-old black boy was hanging out around a grocery store in Money, Mississippi.His friends dared him to walk into the store and ask the white cashier for a date, so he complied.The cashier, Carolyn Bryant, later claimed that he grabbed her hand and said, "How about a date?," though other reports contradicted her testimony.In the past, I’d have sought that comfort out in a white man, but that night I knew it wouldn’t be enough.It’s not that I don’t think white people are anxious; two months into Trump’s presidency, most of the white people in my life are activated.
If I had an already successful daughter, I’d want her to date an already successful man.
—the 1997 romantic comedy that made everyone think Kevin Smith was the next Woody Allen when he really just turned out to be Nicholas Sparks with Tourette’s—there’s a scene where Banky (Jason Lee) is trying to convince his best friend Holden (Ben Affleck) that the woman Holden has fallen in love with, Alyssa (played by a surprisingly fetching Joey Lauren Adams), is still a lesbian (she “became” straight after meeting Holden) and will eventually leave Holden and break his heart. ♦◊♦I’m reminded of this scene every time I remind people that the dating game isn’t exactly smooth sailing for every 21- to 35-year-old black man. Census, while only 24% of white women and 23% of Asian women have never been married, a staggering 45% of black women have never walked down the aisle, a fact that’s mainly due to the lack of eligible black male options. Not bad for a ghost.♦◊♦Berook’s statement reflected a trend I’ve noticed among the educated men in my social and occupational circles: a trend split into racial lines.
To punctuate his point, Banky draws a picture where the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, a “typical” man-hating lesbian, and a “male-affectionate” lesbian (representing Alyssa) are at opposite ends of a four-way road. Between the statistics showing that there’s something like 179,000 black women to every eligible black male in each desirable metropolitan area, the studies proving that black women are perpetually out-everything-ing black men, and the ubiquitous stories about condom-challenged brothas like New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromardie—guys who seem to be single-handedly attempting to re-populate the island from I’m sure that if I told a random dating-aged sista that there are actually black guys out there who genuinely want to be in a relationship (with a black woman! But if so, if these somewhat star-crossed men were mere figments of my imagination, I guess that was a bunch of bespectacled ghosts I saw at a Foreign Exchange concert a few weekends ago, mouthing each of Phonte’s lyrics while scanning the crowd to find the type of muse that would make a man write “Greater Than the Sun.” That must be an apparition who sends me a text message at least once a week, asking if my girlfriend has any newly single homegirls looking to “build with a brotha.” And I definitely must’ve dreamt up the dozens of game nights, weekly wing specials, and house parties I’ve attended in the past several years, the dozens of conversations I’ve had with the dozens of single men also in attendance, guys desperately seeking “their own Michelle [Obama].”“The cards are stacked in favor of guys, but not every guy is in a place to take advantage of the number discrepancy,” says Berook, a 24-year-old who, between singing in his church’s choir, rooting for the Redskins, and memorizing entire Kevin Hart routines, somehow finds time to work towards a Ph. I’m sure it wouldn’t shock anyone’s system to hear that while the majority of the 25- to 40-year-old white men I know are married, the majority of the brothas in that age range are single or dating with no marriage plans in the near future.
It’s a pretty good way to pass the time from Brooklyn to midtown. I spent my childhood surrounded by black and brown kids, but when I got to high school, suddenly everyone around me was white.
And on those rare occasions a white boy kissed me in the copy-machine room at our high school, or when a white boy told me over the phone he had a crush on me, the acknowledgement made me feel chosen. The white boys I grew up with were cool: They rode their skateboards on private property. White men have preoccupied me my whole life, from the schoolyard to the subway, but these days I’m seeing them differently.
But this tale, among many others, has served as a cautionary tale for black families of what happens when white women and black men interact.