Indian woman and black men dating

It wasn’t just that I was not seen as attractive (because that is subjective overall, color aside); it was that I was wholly invisible during that high school process of exploring sex and romance.

My friends flirted, dated, and hooked up casually and significantly.

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I would spy him coming back from class and get the jitters. Everyone turned to do their own individual nitpicking before agreeing that, yes, Chaya does look a little weird. Sometimes people looked “less Indian” than other people. But the others seemed to understand something about the final comment that I missed.

“You know…” she said, squinting her eyes and thinking, calculating, “You almost look black.” Everyone laughed. The way they regarded me after drawing that collective conclusion was poignant – there was mockery but also something stronger: a disdainful othering.

I’ve found that I almost always worry that a guy is reading me in one of these two extreme ways.

And I do an exhausting dance of guessing which one it is so I can counter it with the appropriate behavior.

And that external gaze is powerful: the invisibility desexualized me. Two, specifically, over four years of high school – not exactly like I rotated through all of the Harlem Wizards or something. Not exactly the stuff nice little Indian girls are made of.

I was brown; they were the other brown people around. But what’s more memorable and noteworthy than these actual relationships is what people on the outside believed about them, something that follows me to this day after a fierce drawn-out battle in adulthood with my family over a boyfriend, also black, whom I was with for six years and nearly married. I silently accepted the loud assertions that “Chaya loves black guys!

And when it came to white people, I think I continued to feel overlooked, but even this was changing.

Instances such as being told that a friend’s boyfriend, a Jewish guy, mentioned to her that I come off as “very sexual and should be careful” occurred in higher frequency.

The silence around female sexuality – everything from the onset of puberty to reproductive health to attitudes about sexual activity – is common in Indian American homes.

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