Alright, so one of my most asked questions was people curious about what dating as a person of color was like since King’s is a majority white school and since I can’t exactly speak on this topic, I reached out to Sydney Watson and Koby Jackson to answer some questions, but I was shocked to read how different their answers were, so let’s get to it!
For starters, we would like to preface that some of these things happen to everyone, not just POC students, nor does it speak to every moment of the experience with King’s dating culture. Also, that the experiences are going to change with age, gender, and ethnicity. This is a problem that is exacerbated due to the size of the college. They’ve both had great experiences while dating at King’s and like many, some negative experiences as well (which could be enough to see patterns begin to develop).
If you don’t know them, here’s a bit of info:
Name: Sydney Watson
Previously dated at King’s: Dates all the way down
Name: Koby Jackson
Previously dated at King’s: Since being at King’s, I’ve gone on a few dates and been (and still am) in one relationship.
As I mentioned before, they had very different responses when it came to their experiences of dating at King’s, nonetheless, they were both super helpful in their answers,
They both have gone on dates with multiple people and (with the exception of Koby’s current girlfriend), all of the dates had not lasted more than going out a few times. Something that they were both having to do before progressing into a relationship was making sure that families and friends would be okay with their child dating a person of color. This shocked me, Koby compared it to a checkbox, which is so wild to me. It isn’t something that I’ve ever even had to think of, I’m lucky that my family is accepting of all skin types, but I have never thought of a family not accepting me because of my skin color. However, I can sympathize because I have a lot of tattoos, piercings, I dress weird, and have brightly colored hair (not exactly what small-town parents think of when they think about a young Christian woman- I have definitely encountered wearisome parents).
Both Sydney and Koby mentioned that the size of the school can make it difficult because there are rumors or gossip that can spread rather quickly. However, Sydney took it one step further and explained that this gossip culture has led to some guys feeling that they have to friendzone or cut off communication with her so that these guys are not having rumors about them being together.
Something that I asked was if they had people in their lives that would only try to set them up with people with their same skin tone. Koby stated that this was more common back home in Alabama and that “For me, it wasn’t as much that my friends were telling me I would only look cute with black girls, but more that I shouldn’t go through the hassle of dating white girls. The “hassle” almost always meant enduring racist parents. That advice was more well-informed than speculative. All of my black friends (yes, all of them) who had been in interracial relationships endured parents who voiced their “uncomfortbalility with the relationship.” I’ve only been in one other relationship with a girl from back home, and I, like my friends, had to endure her parents’ explicit disapproval because of my skin color. This was mentally exhausting for me and detrimental to our relationship.”
Sydney voiced a somewhat different opinion- “White acquaintances exclusively suggest that you would look cute with other black people (because they are other black people, not because you’re actually compatible individuals). I’ve always found this kind of funny. Terrible, yes. But so ridiculous that it’s laughable.” She also mentioned that many of the black guys at King’s aren’t always interested in dating black girls, (for their own personal reasons) so that is a whole other story!!
With these factors working against you, it may just seem easier not to date at King’s or in the south (yikes), but I would like to leave you with some encouragement from Koby, “My advice to a person of color who feels uncomfortable dating at King’s is to not let speculation prevent you from pursuing someone you are interested in. If they are equally interested, get to know them first before you decide if a relationship would be worth it. You know what is your deal-breaker and you shouldn’t compromise on it, but you should let the person know your deal-breaker if you would like to pursue a relationship.”
I am so glad that this topic was something people were genuinely interested in and asked to hear about it. King’s definitely faces adversity within the student body, when it comes to the different ethnicities, or lack thereof. I am angry for the people that face this issue to any capacity and I honestly hate that this is considered to be a “taboo” topic. Skin color should have NO effect on how you view someone or be a defining factor on whether or not you would want to pursue a romantic relationship with them. With all that being said, I hope that this conversation doesn’t go away and that people can date whoever they want or at least are willing to get to know someone further than skin deep.
– Mickey <3