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When we do, I look his way every so often to see if he’s staring back, to see if we’ve got what my best friend and I call “the affinity,” a mutual acknowledgement that we one another. But while they chased after blondes and brunettes, I was ignored.

It’s a pretty good way to pass the time from Brooklyn to midtown. I spent my childhood surrounded by black and brown kids, but when I got to high school, suddenly everyone around me was white.

Sometimes, they’re enraged — like the time when I called my last boyfriend after I left American Apparel in search of nipple covers for a white bodysuit. And then there are the quieter times, the ones that weigh more heavily, that bring us closer together.

The store had some, but none that matched my skin tone. Once, in my late 20s, my boyfriend and I were stopped by police, and I quickly became frantic about the weed in the car.

White men have preoccupied me my whole life, from the schoolyard to the subway, but these days I’m seeing them differently.

They’re no longer the object of my affection, a mirror for my self-worth, or an affirmation of my beauty. The night Trump was elected, I wrote about feeling lonely.

Since Trump was elected, I’ve felt paradoxically alienated by white people finding or doubling down on their commitment to change.

Somehow their politicization has begun to seem cartoonish, filled with performance and self-congratulation. But it wasn’t only on election night that translating experience felt so fraught.And on those rare occasions a white boy kissed me in the copy-machine room at our high school, or when a white boy told me over the phone he had a crush on me, the acknowledgement made me feel chosen. The white boys I grew up with were cool: They rode their skateboards on private property.They smoked weed in their parents’ houses with abandon. If they wanted me, I thought, it was because I seemed free like them.He put his hand on my knee and reminded me that I was safe with him. And too many times, those same white boyfriends decided to sit out being my partner.I lost count of the times my boyfriend in my late 20s would tell me to “just leave” parties or social events when I complained of being the only person of color in his all-white friend group.Even if I did want to talk about how I feel, I’m not sure I’d be able to articulate it, especially to someone with such a different frame of reference from my own.

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