I grew up in Saint Louis, MO and I moved to a mainly white private school in the 5th grade. I was a “gifted student” according to my public school district and my parents struggled to give me a better education. As I got older, of dating age, I started to get more attention from boys. That attention shaped my life in ways I never could have imagined.
I remember the first guy who liked me in 5th or 6th grade. He was black and we carpulled to school together. One day he told his white friend that he liked me when I was maybe five feet away. His friend then looked me up and down and said “man you can do better than that”. My eyes shot down at my feet and I walked away quicker than I knew I could. When boys liked me it seemed like it was always supposed to be a big secret. They would ask me to see a movie outside of school, but just give me a simple wave throughout the hallways.
It seemed like they were taught that black women were not supposed to be attractive. I was some unusual exception because I didn’t roll my neck and snap my fingers–like that was all black women were supposed to do. I wanted to cry and run away each time I heard those six words. It hurt me even more when it came from the black private school boys. They got sucked into the thought process that black women were beneath them and not meant to be attractive. How could they say those words against their own race?
They came from a black mother, have black cousins, and maybe have a black sister.
I felt like I had nowhere to turn and nowhere to run to. I was always the “first-black-girlfriend”. Just some educational experience for someone who originally never intended on dating a black woman.
I want to be beautiful for a woman. I am beautiful for a woman. Not beautiful for a black girl like I am so far beneath the expectations for beauty. I am beautiful because I am me and I am a person.