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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.

White women range from those so intrigued by black men that it veers into fetish to those so reluctant to date black men that it feels more racist than preference-driven.

These are generalizations, of course, but they are attitudes that I've personally encountered.

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.