I have a confession to make—I have a phobia of socializing in predominantly white spaces. I went to a PWI, so you would think I’d be used to it, but if I’ve learned anything as a young black woman, it is that drunk white people (more specifically men) are scary. I remember nights walking home and being yelled at, and even touched and groped. Long story short, if I’m confident that I'm going to be the only black girl there, I try to steer clear. Fast forward to post-graduation, and I move to Brooklyn. My experience has been the following: Brooklyn is a watering hole for great nightlife with lots of melanin. But I didn’t realize until re-entering a more mixed party scene, with an out of town friend, just how much I learned to laugh off. 

1. When you originally walk in the party with your homegirl to peep the scene…

Photo: CBS

The music is the right kind of loud and the right kind of ratchet. Some places are a hit or miss, but your last minute Yelp decision checked out. 

2. You make your way to the bar and realize with each passing glance, there is no melanin in sight.Photo: Ellen

You try not to panic. There’s still good music and all you need is a little something to sip on. 

At this point, you haven’t decided to leave because that last Uber ride was a bit pricey and you just walked in the door. 

3. You try to give it a chance, but you accidentally lock eyes with the white guy in the corner.Photo: Giphy

You’re trying to unsee him, but it’s too late at this point.

 4. A good song comes on and somehow, you end up in the middle of the dance circle…AGAIN!Photo: Giphy

It took me a moment to understand that I was the center of attention because I was the entertainment for the night. Every time I left the dance floor, I was asked to come back. This isn’t what you call a microaggression, but it feels pretty close when it feels forced. You don’t want to dance and you said no, but everyone wants to have a good time. We will say it’s more like racial subjugation delivered with a smile. If you say no, maybe with a little more gusto, you chance being the "aggressive black girl”.

5. And there’s that one guy who keeps pointing at you to come over and dance with him.Photo: Giphy

Ummm… I’ll pass. And yes, I do come here often. Next question.  

6. Something “reggae” comes on and everyone wants you to show them your “moves”.Photo: Giphy

This is like Sean Paul circa 2002. As much as I’d like to, I’ll pass. Furthermore, the DJ needs to update the ethnic portion of his playlist. 

7. You somehow get pulled into a dance battle with the guy/girl that does way too much…Photo: avaguememory.tumblr

A split, though? You will never out black me. This isn’t a contest.

Suddenly, instead of just enjoying your overpriced drink or cheap beer, you now have to compete with the one person who has a little rhythm. This is funny at best, and assuming that you can dance is always on the table. This too is a microaggression

8. …or the girl who has asked you, for the fifth time, if you can teach her how to dance.Photo: Giphy

Can you back up, please? If you can’t dutty whine at this point, it’s probably not meant to happen.

9. Everyone is watching you and smiling, but you can’t figure out why.Photo: Giphy

You’re trying to be friendly, but this feels like that one scene in Get Out.

10. Someone shows you their black friend who is “so cool” on social media.Photo: Giphy

What exactly are you trying to prove? And should my next question be who you voted for, since you're sharing? 

11. One person is your perpetual hype man, and might be low-key following you.Photo: Giphy

Didn’t we just do this five minutes ago? Every song I’m dancing to doesn’t require all of this.

12. Everyone keeps talking about how pretty you are.Photo: Giphy

After the third or fourth gasp, I’m starting to question if this is genuine. Compliments on my skin and hair are both liable for a side eye. And you absolutely cannot touch my hair.

13. That one guy who keeps asking for your number.Photo: Giphy

If he asks, “Is it because I’m white?”, you get to ask him, “Is it because I’m black?” See what I did there?

14. All of a sudden, you’re everyone’s “friend”.Photo: Giphy

But you really don’t know anyone there and everyone is all excited to see you. 

15. Someone compares you to their favorite black celebrity.Photo: Giphy

I appreciate you for comparing me to Beyoncé, but let’s not get crazy! Kelly Rowland would’ve been much more accurate.

16. Someone gives you a pet name.Photo: Giphy

Many men are guilty of catcalling, but when the words, “hey chocolate,” comes out of the mouth of a white man in a button up and boat shoes, it feels like another kind of intense.

This isn't to scare you away if the melanin percentage in the room is on the low end of the spectrum, but another conversation on how privilege and gender can play out on the dance floor. I've had quite a few fun experiences in mixed crowds, but trying to have fun and keep my cool in whiter spaces was a different kind of challenge. Because when we are done laughing it off after a long night, some of it is actually traumatic.