I have a black boyfriend
I posed the question to a group of my girlfriends one evening not long ago, as we sat on the rooftop of Latitude Bar and Grill, among a mixed crowd of something professionals, sipping margaritas and enjoying the last days of a New York summer.
I met my fiance online, on a dating site. He sent me a message saying: "Would you like to go for a coffee sometime? But around young people my own age there was a different set of challenges. If I said that I found a white guy cute some of my black friends would go: "Ugh! My first white boyfriend was when I was a teenager. It was a different kind of connection. The same guy often put me down.
I wouldn't have that level of compatibility with a white English man. My partner grew up under communism in a working class family, and that place of scarcity is something I can relate to as well. He wasn't respectful enough to adapt to that part of my culture. I want to meet you for a coffee. I think that was mainly because we talked on MSN messenger.
Dating them felt more familiar. I thought: "Oh he's so handsome.
A while ago I thought, why does it seem that most prominent black female activists seem to be dating white men? He came here to build a life for himself.
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I was born in Nigeria but moved to south London when I was five. And I have a white fiance who rarely features in my social media spaces. I'd eat Nutella on toast with her children at her home while I waited for my mum to come and collect me. These parts of history aren't delved into in secondary schools.
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We could talk so easily with each other. And there, some white children would laugh at my pronunciation.
Culturally, my home was Nigerian, it wasn't British. But what I've found with my fiance, and many Polish people I've met through him, is a deep understanding of being a minority and facing prejudice in this country. I thought about my identity from a very young age. We're all in it together.
But there is a huge difference between going out with a white Polish man and a white English man. With one serious boyfriend it bothered me that he called my mum "Christine", even when I specifically told him to call her Aunty. I saw so many people who looked like me in Peckham, they were calling out to each other in the street. In my experience, many of the white English guys and I say English because I haven't had experience around Welsh, Scottish or Irish men I knew didn't know their true history.
When I got to this country one of the first things I remember is speaking Yoruba in the car with my mum. But going out with a white guy was a whole new cultural experience. We didn't talk about race. That was a big moment for me. Poland didn't have independence for more than a hundred years before Historically it's a country with people that know what it's like to be governed by outsiders.
I was moving into a family unit that I wasn't part of. A lot of my growing up, development and expression happened online.
With the white English men I dated, I often felt sexually fetishised and often patronised. I lived online.
I have an online following. Kelechi Okafor: Twerking through trauma. So different to my Nigerian upbringing. They don't know about much about the transatlantic slave trade or colonisation. That way we can relate to each other.
He's a migrant like me. He wasn't going to woo me with a War and Peace-length love letter. Actress and dancer Kelechi Okafor has built a large online following talking about issues affecting black British women.
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Around my black friends, if I enunciated my words I was asked: "Why do you speak like a white girl? There were people there my mum had grown up with in Lagos. Often, I felt like an outsider in my own home. My stepdad, who was also Nigerian, turned to me and said: "Start speaking English.
I started thinking: "I better start speaking like an English girl. You're in England now, you're not a Bush Girl. We're all in the school together. While I dated both black and white boys, I couldn't ignore the fact that I felt more comfortable with black boys. I speak up about racism and sexism affecting black women. I had left my father in Lagos to move in with my mother, but by the time I got here she had a new partner and was pregnant.
I didn't have to explain what okra or a plantain was or why they needed, out of respect, to call my mum Aunty. There was an undercurrent to his words. To explain where I stand, I need to tell you about my childhood. I went to a school with a mixture of students - Jamaican, Ghanaian, white British - and I excelled academically and at sport.
This doesn't mean I haven't experienced racism from Polish people. When we got to the age of dating, my attraction to people wasn't based on ethnicity. When people think about interracial relationships, very rarely do they think of the nuance. But it was for some of my friends.
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It was almost as if I hadn't left West Africa. In some ways, a more honest form of communication. No way! There was an Irish woman, an informal babysitter, who would pick me up from school.
The nightmare of hailing a cab, the stares in restaurants and those questions from friends
These things started making me realise that I didn't sound like everybody else. On my profile I had put an instruction to not contact me unless they had closely read my bio and understood my passions and hobbies.
I liked it. I can't believe you haven't been taught that. From our first date we got on.
Resetting the image
The streets looked different. Then I had a moment of introspection where I thought, hang on, I'm one of those women. We had a shorthand. I grew up in Peckham in a predominantly black neighbourhood - they call it Little Lagos. I felt comfortable with them. His colour didn't factor into my attraction. But recently, she has been under attack on social media for having a white fiance - which some have accused her of hiding.
A superiority. One day he and I were at a pond, and I said: "Oh wow, look at that duck!
If they were, many people might have a better understanding of the minority experience. It was like home.
The buildings looked different but it all felt very familiar.