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First, some history: When I was a child, watching my pops get ready to go out was something to behold.

He would spend hours preparing his mask every morning for whatever crowd, person or community he faced.

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This week, we're publishing some of those responses as part of a conversation about race and relationships.

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Which means that in the eyes of others, the color of the women I date is a big deal. Like I’m betraying my people if I date white women. I see people watching me with a stink eye, noses turned up, as if they think black and brown people would somehow be better off if I dumped my white girlfriend. Along with each watchful eye, the whispers of, “Pick a side, Chris, pick a side,” fill my already noisy mind. Yes, the black body has done more for society than it has gotten in return. How do I love as a brown body in the world in a way that makes everybody happy?

I started reading James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and other black and brown authors looking for guidance, a road map, help on what it means to be a brown man in the world. Yes, society seems to want to embrace a lot of things associated with blackness without actually being black. If everyone is so woke, why are things so terrible? I fell for a white woman and she fell for me — simple as that — yet I feel as if I’m doing the wrong thing by dating her. Do white women find me attractive or do they see me as some exotic idea they should find attractive?

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