Last SeptemberWhen? Remy Barnwell, 26, started dating Ben PodnarWhite woman, she was hesitant about wearing her hair in its natural state. AsYou can find more information at Blackwoman, she was unsure how he would react to her tightly coiled hair.
OnHer first date with Mr. Podnar, Ms. BarnwellA tax attorney in WashingtonD.C. arrived wearing box braids, which concealed her natural hair. Afro. SixShe would be gone for months before she finally let go. Mr. PodnarSee her kinky coils.
“I definitely noticed the first time she took her braids out and I remember her being very concerned about how I would feel,” said Mr. Podnar, 29, a director of audience development for the CenterFor American ProgressIn Washington.
Ms. Barnwell, who said straightening her hair since childhood “reinforced the idea that my natural hair was not enough,” was pleasantly surprised at Mr. Podnar’s response to her Afro. “At first I was really nervous, but he was immediately obsessed with it, which was a relieving and satisfying moment,” she said.
“I know a lot of people in her life have criticized her tight coils, so it’s especially been nice getting to see her feel that attraction from me no matter how she wears her hair,” added Mr. PodnarAccording to, he enjoys all the different ways Ms. BarnwellStyles her hair.
Hair isn’t the only thing Ms. BarnwellShe said she has mellowed down when she gets to know someone who isn’t. Black. She won’t play soul music, wears clothes that don’t expose her curves and avoids using African American Vernacular EnglishOften referred to as EbonicsIn conversations.
“I also wore my Birkenstocksto my first date Ben, which I’d never wear on a first date with a nonwhite man,” Ms. Barnwell said.
TheCode-switching is the practice of changing hairstyles, clothes and interests to gain acceptance from the public and reduce the chance of being victim to bias. It refers to the practice of adapting or changing speech, dialect, or behavior according to the social setting.
Ms. BarnwellOther BlackPeople say code-switching occurs when they date interracially, because first impressions are what determine if a second date will be in the cards.
Joseph Lamour38-year-old journalist and illustrator who lives here Washington, said it wasn’t until a white boyfriend confronted him about his change in vernacular that he realized he altered his speech.
“WeYou were driving to BostonI got lost and asked for help. Black person on the corner for directions,” said Mr. LamourWho are you? Black. When he rolled his car’s window back up, Mr. LamourHis then-boyfriend, a white male, asked him why his voice changed when speaking to the man. “I hadn’t even noticed I did it, but then he did an impression of it and it all came full circle,” he said, and added: “It’s kind of like a job interview where you sort of make yourself more corporate-sounding in order to seem more standard so that a second date can happen.”
Mr. Lamour, who said he mostly dates white men, later realized he code-switches in other ways when meeting someone who isn’t BlackFor the first time. “When I’m going on a first date, I consciously put on clothes that make me appear to be a Don Lemon-type instead 50 Cent-type — even though I have both types of clothing,” he said.
For BlackCode-switching can be used by people of other minorities to live in multiple worlds at the same time. This allows them to suppress their true selves while presenting acceptable behavior to a majority.
WhileAny person can make an impression on a date by changing their behavior to fit in with the culture of another. This change in behavior is more noticeable in interethnic and interracial relationships.
“The greater the perceived distance, cultural difference, or racial difference between the two people involved, the more code switching is likely to occur,” said Kathleen Gerson, a sociologist and professor at N.Y.U.
Breuna Westry, 24, who lives and works in Austin, Texas, and acts as an assistant director of marketing. Clinical Compensation ConsultantsAccording to her, she dates mostly white men. OriginallyFrom New Orleans, Ms. WestryWho are you? BlackAccording to her, she uses a vocabulary that is true to the source. BlackShe is a part of the community in her hometown. However, she said she consciously changes her vocabulary when going on a date with someone who isn’t Black.
“TheI am a firm believer in slang. I say things like ‘yes’m’ which is a total Southern, Black country term,” Ms. Westry said. “But sometimes I feel that I wouldn’t necessarily use certain phrases around the white guys I date.”
She said her mother’s use of Southern slang has also made her anxious about introducing her family to that of a prospective partner who isn’t Black.
“MyMom is in her 60s. Mobile, Alabama,” said Ms. Westry. “She feels comfortable inThe way that she talks and I would never want somebody to judge her intellect level or anything based on that, because my mom’s a smart nurse.”
In the United StatesThe application of code-switching other than linguistics is culturally and historically acceptable. Black.
In his book “The SoulsThis is Black Folk,” first published in 1903, W.E.B. Dubois described such behavior as “a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.”
But it wasn’t until the 1970s that BlackAcademics used the term code-switching in order to describe their interactions with white people.
Shan Boodram, Los AngelesRelationship educator and sex-based sex. Black, IndianMany have said that white and black are the best. Black AmericansCode-switching is a choice, not an obligation.
“Code-switching is a term that refers to only Black people who have to assimilate, or feel that they have to assimilate, to white culture in order to receive success,” Ms. Boodram said, including “a romantic potential with somebody” who is white.
“There are so many negative stereotypes associated with blackness: if you dress a certain way, look a certain way, or if your hair is a certain way, you get lumped into what is perceived as ‘urban culture,’ and that’s not seen as professional,” Ms. Boodram added. “And maybe for some people, that’s not seen as the person that you want to bring home to mom.”
BlackBecause of the biases that they face, code-switching by women when dating is common. This is due to being stereotyped as angry, discontent, hypersexualized, lacking positive representation in film and TV, and being hypersexualized. ThisThe bias has led BlackWomen are the least connected on dating apps and face the greatest racial discrimination in online dating.
“If we’re talking about interracial dating, specifically about Black women, they might ask, ‘DoI am comfortable showing my self to someone who may have preconceived notions. Black women? Is there some eroticism or thoughts around what it means to date me as a person?’” said Camille Lester, a relationship therapist based out New YorkWho are you? Black.
“Everybody, when they’re dating, puts on some type of mask and then the longer you’re with someone, or the closer you allow yourself to get, you take off pieces of that mask,” Ms. Barnwell said, adding: “It’s especially difficult to take off pieces of that mask when you’re a Black woman because we’re already the least appreciated.”
While code-switching might be the thing that gets someone a second date, those who acknowledge doing it said it wasn’t a long-term strategy. Mr. LamourHe stated that he is now interested in only dating people who are authentically him.
“I’ve been getting more comfortable with myself and therefore the person that I’m going to be with is going to have to be comfortable with me, because I am,” he said.
Ms. BarnwellSimilar realizations were hers. “I finally got to a place where I didn’t really want to spend the time or money to get my hair braided again,” she said of the moment she decided to let Mr. PodnarSee her natural hair. “I was like, ‘OK, am I going to let my white boyfriend see me with my Afro?’ AndI was forced to tell myself that was stupid. Afro and he hates it, then we simply should just break up.”
Source: NY Times