Meet NYC-based writer and comedian, Akilah Hughes. She is your first black girlfriend. Akilah has a few things to say in the ways of love, interracial dating, and how to treat women who are, black, but first and foremost, human.
In an email Akilah told The Huffington Post that the video was inspired by her own experiences being in an interracial relationship, and dealing with the frustrations that come with having to educate a partner in what is acceptable treatment, and what is not.
"...there is so much unspoken common ground in those relationships. Anything to do with hair maintenance is always going to be a long drawn out conversation where the boy may or may not ever really understand what you mean by "oiling your scalp" or "protective styling," Akilah tells The Huffington Post.
In an effort to create a kind of guide, and to spare some future akwardness for those entering interracial relationships, Akilah put together this video along with editor Tim Knight.
In it, she covers everything from the exoticization of black women, to hair, to fried chicken stereotypes, to white guilt, to how she feels about the N word -- Never ever say it. Just don't.
I think Black women are exoticized in interracial relationships because the media only portrays Black women in a few ways, while other races tend to get more options. The media mold for a young Black woman is very limited--must be extremely aggressive, commandeering, unintelligent, etc.--while that has not been the case with the overwhelming majority of Black women I've met from all different backgrounds. Truthfully, I think more Black women would feel comfortable dating outside of their race if that wasn't the case, because it's one thing to have a TV show or movie that doesn't know you see you in that negative light--it's quite another to find out that your significant other does as well. When media starts to reflect the actual world we inhabit instead of aiming to create it, I'm sure there will be greater understanding in interracial relationships.
A long history of racial tension has led to an exoticized image of black woman in the media, a form of attraction feminist, social activist and African-American author bell hooks calls "Eating the Other"-- the idea that racial differences in mass culture are oftentimes not celebrated, but instead commodified.
"Within commodity culture, ethnicity becomes spice, seasoning that can liven up the dull dish that is mainstream white culture," hooks wrote in an essay on the topic.
As a result, the "Othered" black woman is classified as a hyper-sexual temptress, an image that can consciously or subconsciously seep its way into real life relationships creating stereotypes and unrealistic expectations of black women.
While videos like these help to educate and serve as a springboard for conversation, we, as a society, still have a long way to go before this problem no longer exists.
Check out Hughes guide in the video above and share your thoughts in the comments section.