In this beautiful poem and short film, poet Grace Salvant navigates an internal struggle about a fleeting encounter with a white man.
Many Black women are taught to only view Black men as romantic partners. "Like most Black women, I was conditioned to pledge allegiance to the Black man," Salvant told For Harriet via email. "That he already has enough on his plate so I should be his primary support system. That dating outside my race was a betrayal to my ancestors."
"The poem really just captures my excitement which was halted by my hesitance, trapped by my reluctance, wrapped up by, what I know now to be, a false sense of guilt," she said.