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A racist jury acquitted his murderers, Roy Bryant and J. Milam, despite overwhelming evidence, and, to rub salt in the wound, both admitted to killing Till in magazine the next year. The shoe was on the other foot for once and so be it if two white people wound up dead. That's harsh, but that's the historical context of black men dating white women that I unfortunately have to consider when doing the same. Even then, I understood that it was racial, but there was a disconnection from my personal reality. Whatever I learned from the trial was tucked away as something that I should know as a black man, but it didn't have a life-altering impact on my own development. For whatever implications the trial had, that shit also had nothing to do with me. My attraction to them was likely a natural response to my environment. Nobody was trying to assimilate with white people, but sometimes that's just the way things go when you want a better home and better schools for your family.Though those events are something of which I'm always cognizant, I didn't adhere to them as any sort of cautionary tale. The idea was always to live my life however I wanted to live it. But it does have an unforeseen effect on your outlook when you're one of the few black families in town.That swath of generic ideas has an actual impact on culture and society, too.How many jokes have been made at Kim Kardashian's expense because of her history of dating black men?If I explain some racially complex subtlety of life to my white girlfriend, that's one more white person who knows why using "ghetto" as a pejorative is cringeworthy and offensive.That's one more white person who knows why I'm going to arrogantly list off my academic and professional achievements if some white person asks me if I play basketball. But don't assume that that's how the fuck I got by in life because I'm black and tall.

It's nothing to walk past a random black woman on the street and get a death glare and maybe even overhear something like, "They're taking all of our men." I was out with my white girlfriend at The Graham in East Williamsburg sometime last year and a black woman came up to me and asked me why was I dating a white girl when she can't even get a man. Truth be told, it's important to me that they also get where I'm coming from and know that I'm not one of these sellouts who views them as undesirable.I went to a black high school and I wasn't on any of that thug shit and I'm not saying all black women want thugs, but at my high school, a lot of them did and they didn't really care about me. I wasn't like, "Oh my God, black women don't want me," because I'm not entitled to any woman.But there were white girls at school who were fucking with me and that's who I went with.I can't say that my own mother has never asked, "When are you going to bring home a girl who looks like me?" Running around with white girls comes across as a rejection of your blackness to the women in your family, even though that wasn't the case. The girls who showed me the most attention at school were white.

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  1. Melvin died on March 24, 1997 at the age of fifty-seven. Townsend was the son of the late songwriter/producer Ed Townsend, who was responsible for co-writing described him as "One of the most nicest, toughest and professional actors I've ever worked with." Steve James died of pancreatic cancer in Burbank, California, at age 41 in 1993.