The saying goes if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere: Dating is too often a joke, the job market is highly competitive, the rent is too high, and a simple task of doing your laundry can end up in a mile walk through snow just to get to the nearest laundry service — and after all your hard work? You get rewarded by having all your underwear stolen. Not having laundry in your overpriced pad is a popular dealbreaker amongst us renters in the city. A well-paying job in New Jersey is a popular dealbreaker amongst job-seekers living in NYC. In a city with a ratio of 57 percent women and 43 percent men, us single ladies have had to hang up a lot of dating dealbreakers that would previously have had us running for the hills.
Having grown up in New Hampshire, where the population of Black Americans was at a whopping 0.6 percent, I never considered dating my race exclusively — it simply wasn’t an option for me. I was fortunate enough to have parents that that were open-minded and accepting of all races, although, it wasn’t like there was much choice. “Welcome to your all-white high school where you will be the only Black person … by the way, you can only date other Blacks.”
Currently living in Brooklyn, there aren’t a lot of dating dealbreakers for me: No college degree? It’s a rip-off anyway. No job? Pfft, I got one of those and it’s nothing but trouble anyway. Throw me a guy with steady income, great taste in music, and a sense of humor? I’m in heaven until he says “Eh, I just don’t see color.”
Nope. Major dealbreaker. Let me tell you what that actually means, it means you don’t see me. It means that the toll slavery has taken on the Black community affecting credit, income, and violence does not exist. It means that the each time I am not taken seriously because of my natural hair or each time I am followed through a store, I am being paranoid for thinking it’s because of the color of my skin. This, I know, from personal experience indulging in a brief fling with a white guy who said things like “We have a Black president now, I think you can stop complaining about racism still existing.” That was definitely the last time we ever hung out. Sadly, I should’ve known from our first date, when he asked if I grew up like the Huxtables on “The Cosby Show.”
When someone says “I don’t see color” or any variation, they’re really stating that because racism never impacted them personally, it simply cannot exist. When I hear this, my eyes narrow, my head tilts to the side, and I smile. “That must be really nice,” I say before walking away.
Personally, I’ve paid my dues, I spent every day in New Hampshire trying to be seen and heard. I lived in Portland, Oregon, where my dating dealbreaker seemed to be everywhere, and it became easier to not engage in a political throw-down with an ultra-liberal that thought they were doing me a favor by not seeing my color or anyone else’s for that matter.
But while it may be easier to tolerate those four little words in casual conversation, I ain’t got time for an entire relationship without color.