I didn't feel like someone he was dating; but rather something to show off, a flashy accessory no different from an overpriced name brand bought at the store. When I talked to him about his comments, he brushed it off as me taking it too seriously.
That was the first time I let it go.
I stayed quiet for a long time -- until I couldn't take it anymore. As much as I had liked other qualities about him, I didn't know whether his feelings for me were genuine. I don't think he cared for me at all; but rather the attention that came with dating someone who looked like me.
I was a novelty for him.
Some may argue that I thought too deeply about it; or that I let race consume me. But preconceived biases we carry into our dating practices can absolutely be traced to racial stereotypes alive and well in how the media presents people of varying nationalities and backgrounds. It's in how we look at each other, what (and whom) we're used to seeing, and how we understand people who are different from us: in appearance, in behavior, in upbringing.