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It didn't matter to me if she was Black or White."That's why he was surprised at the negative reaction he received from some loved ones, mainly those in North Carolina.

But the reality often hits home during the holidays, when discussing your love life becomes an appetizer at meals with the family.

During their college days at the University of Pittsburgh, some Black male friends of Merrian Brooks, 33, would say they didn't know any Black women who were as attractive as White women."Some of the men I really respected would exclusively date White women," she says.

"It felt like confirmation of my insecurity as a dark-skinned Black woman who was single."But Brooks, a pediatrician, says she no longer cares who Black men date.

"Every time some famous man is on display with his White woman, a lot of my friends will have something negative to say or something that seems like they feel betrayed, as if that man is a representation of all Black men," Brooks says.

Thankfully, she has armed herself with the data that more than 70 percent of Black men are married to Black women.

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