In hair-raising horror, I watched my then-boyfriend yank two chicken breasts straight out of a sopping wet package, and throw them on the sizzling skillet – without cleaning them!
I gasped in pure terror.
Anyone who grew up in a Caribbean household knows whether it’s fish, chicken, beef, lamb – whatever – you scrub the ever living sh** out of it with fresh lemon or lime so you’re not chomping on too many microbes and whatever nasties are crawling around in that meat.
Then you marinate it in savory, mouthwatering spices (can I get an amen for cayenne pepper!), and then you fry up that bad boy. But my ex-boyfriend, being a Caucasian male, don’t know nothin’ about that.
“What are you doing?” I asked. “Aren’t you going to clean that?”
He stared at me quizzically.
“Yes, just give me just one second. Let me get some Irish Spring and a loofah. I’ll be right back,” he said sarcastically.
“Ha. Funny,” I said.
I didn’t say anything else. After all, he volunteered to cook for me, which was touchingly sweet, and I certainly didn’t want to ruin the dinner by complaining about microbe-infested, bland fried chicken cutlets. But that situation was one of the many moments I realized that dating outside of my race wasn’t for me. I don’t think I could be with a man that doesn’t clean his chicken! It’s a cultural oddity for some, but for me, it was something I cherished.
You might say, “Girl! You don’t want to date a white man over some damn chicken?” But that wasn’t the only “rude awakening” I had during that relationship, there were many! One day, as a reporter for a college newspaper, I was working on a story about how Black and white people smoke marijuana at similar rates, but men of color are disproportionately arrested for it.
When my ex asked me about the piece I was working on, he said, I kid you not: “That still happens nowadays?!”
What do you mean “still happens nowadays?” What rock have you been living under?
That’s when it hit me. For a dark moment, my thoughts traveled to the far future: I envisioned myself coming home after experiencing a distressing episode of racist microagressions at work and needing someone to console me, someone to understand me, someone to empathize with me. I turn to my white husband, looking for some commiseration, some sense of “I know how you feel, babe,” but all I’d get is “That still happens nowadays?”
I realized that, more than anything, I needed someone who could see the world the way I saw it.
It wasn’t my ex’s fault, though. You can’t truly “see” someone’s plight unless you walk a mile in their shoes. And from his perspective, the words “post-racial society” rang true to him. For me, it was more of a doubtful clank.
Still, while I understood why he was so oblivious to the disadvantages Black men and women face, I couldn’t be bothered to endure a relationship with someone so, for a lack of a better term, not woke.
The last straw in our relationship was when he revealed that he felt “uncomfortable” walking around predominantly Black neighborhoods. I asked, “Why’s that? I walk around your neighborhood all the time and white people are everywhere. What’s the big deal?”
He said, “Black men are scarier.”
Nope! I dumped him, and that was that. When someone shows you a glimpse of who they are, I don’t need to wait until the wolf steps out of his sheep’s clothing to know that it’s my time to bounce! (Translation: I am not waiting ‘til he calls me a n***er before I get the f*** out of this relationship)
There were many, many other shocking moments in our relationship, including one involving a prejudiced family member and him not knowing what the hell Sister, Sister was (how do you not know Tia and Tamera!), but the “Black men are scarier” comment was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Since then I never sought to date a white man. I’ve always gravitated towards men of color, but my ex swept me off my feet with romantic gestures and smooth talk you’d only find in one of those Caucasian romcoms. But I for damn sure won’t do it again. In dating a white man, I learned that there’s a good reason why many people choose to stay with their own cultural group.
To those who do date or marry interracially, I have no qualms against it at all. Live happily ever after and ride off into the sunset, but it’s just not for me. I just want a guy who can clean his chicken.
Kimberly Gedeon is a content creator with nearly 2,000 professional articles published online about everything from beauty and business to politics and pop culture. You can follow her on Twitter @sweetenedcafe or Instagram @kimmiexsweetie.