Can you be pro-black and date outside of your race?

If I were to define being pro-black it wouldn’t mean anti-everyone else; it merely means you recognize the place you hold in society and are an active supporter of all things to do with your identity. It doesn’t mean you hate everyone else and are incapable of loving others; it just means you love yourself and others like you.

As a pro-black person, it often includes having discussions of how people like you will be represented and have their voices heard in spaces they are still excluded from. Unless you’re black you might think it’s over-the-top and “race doesn’t have to be brought into it.” However, it is essential to have these conversations with your partner, because how they react will determine where they stand on race-related issues.

Michelle Williams recently split with fiancé, Chad Johnson, and in an episode of their OWN reality show “Chad loves Michelle,” they are seen speaking to their counsellor about Johnson’s dislike of Williams “bringing race into it.” Yes, there are some situations where race isn’t a factor, but, as a black person, race is often a factor than not.

If you're going to be with someone, you need to make sure they understand who you are and how that affects the way you navigate life. If I am going to spend my weekends marching for #BlackLivesMatter and fighting for equality and the representation of black people in all spaces, I will expect my partner to understand why and respect that. It doesn’t mean they have to be standing on the front lines marching with me; it just means they understand that is important to my identity. When two people are in a relationship, they love and support each other, and how far you are willing to go in support of issues that affect your respective identities should be very well considered, before tying the knot.

Dating interracially may become an issue when your partner dismisses your pro-black ideologies as ‘reverse-racism.’ If that’s the case, you might want to figure out where you both stand. However, if you find someone who understands the social constructs of race and how it affects the lives of people in the world, you’re more likely to form a solid foundation to build on. It is a choice at the end of the day; your choice of whom you continue loving and building with, but if that love denies your identity, you might want to reevaluate. You can be pro-black and date outside of your race, as long as you and your partner understand your boundaries and comfort levels, and when speaking on race-related issues, you do not disrespect each other’s identity.

It’s also important to know yourself, what you can accommodate and what you’d rather not. For example, some say they don’t see colour. How can you not? I want you to see me and my colour because that is part of what makes me who I am. Of course, you see my heart, and that’s important because a person’s heart determines how they treat others, but my blackness is essential to me, it has given me the culture I am so proud of, and if you don’t see that, then what’s the point?

Breaking off an engagement because you noticed fundamental differences, as Williams and Johnson did, is nothing to be ashamed of, just as it is perfectly fine to date interracially, as long as you know yourself and understand your differences. As much as we want to say “it’s what’s inside that counts” the rest of the world is judging the outside, but if you are comfortable with each other, that’s all that matters. Being pro-black means you work to empower the larger black community, and that shouldn’t get in the way of finding love interracially. Your love for your blackness shouldn’t take away your love for your partner. I am a firm believer that if you love and respect each other as individuals, you will find a way to make your partnership last.

Yes, you can be pro-black and date outside your race.