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I imagined I could support myself, do it all, and be “Superwoman,” as society so readily requires of Black women.Then I began a relationship with a first-generation Russian immigrant from an upper-middle class family."Don't be the damsel in distress, waiting for a knight in shining armor," he suggested and hung up the phone.I understand that, generally, potential male partners—regardless of their race—will often be unwilling or simply unable to provide the kind of support that I need, as a Black woman, to endure such an onerous existence.Mainly, because I did not have anyone around me to support me or push me to apply to a four-year college, and partially because I thought I was too poor to afford any better."You are way too smart to be wasting your time in community college," my then boyfriend said one day. For the most part, I was not challenged intellectually or academically and deeply wished to be in a more stimulating environment.

In the interim, I decided going to a junior college was the best option.

As a 25-year-old Black woman who writes about gender and racial inequality on a daily basis, that is precisely what I have learned to do: fend for myself.

I never expect white people to understand the realities that people of color—specifically Black women—face in a society rigged against them. When I expressed dismay when a white guy I was dating said, “You have the prettiest face I have ever seen on a Black girl,” he responded by telling me he didn't care to have to always be politically correct.

When we consider the facts, Black and Latino men have the lowest median weekly income compared to White and Asian men. These median numbers do not account for the nearly one million Black men who are incarcerated or those who are unemployed.

We know and understand why this is: A system of racism has cyclically disallowed Black men (and men of color) from access to higher education and employment, and instead criminalizes and incarcerates them.