Millennials have reached a point in their lives where ‘dating’ and ‘marriage’ have become everyday topics of conversation. You only need to log in to Instagram to see your agemates gradually falling prey to the endemic cycle of baecations, baby showers, engagements, and wedding vows. But as much as I want to feel excited about the possibility of love, I’ve always felt a level of anxiety around dating.
Social media bombards us with messages about what you shouldn’t accept in a relationship, what to look for and “how to be happy”, and it’s very tempting to date for the core aspects of a person – attraction, personality, and their potential to give you love and security. For all Black women, there’s an added layer of wanting to be understood in the world that so often misunderstands us. While having mixed heritage doesn’t necessarily make dating harder, I've found that in a mixed race context, dating often brings up the question “What if dating a non-Black person separates me from my Black identity and the Black community?” And if you're a mixed race Black woman who is very proud of her Blackness and very conscious of how others perceive it (or the apparent lack of it), there is also the anxiety of not finding love, but finding a ‘love’ that looks good on paper. A love that solidifies your place in the Black community rather than disrupts it.
I’d always thought I was the only one with these anxieties, but I didn’t feel like I could vocalise this fear amongst modern discourse’s ‘love yourself’ rhetoric. So, in my quest for mutual understanding, I asked a few other Black mixed race women if they felt dating outside the Black community separated them from it, if the idea caused them anxiety, and if it is a concern that stops them from getting into certain relationships. Their responses showed that it’s a much more common worry than I’d realised.