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I asked Peter about it, and he explained that he wasn’t exactly rich, but his family had some money and helped him get the apartment and live above the means of an average teacher. I got mad at him, mad at America, mad at seeing what it meant to be a young, white, rich man in this country.

Sometimes I couldn’t tell whether he was benefiting from his race or his class—or both.

I became hyperaware of how it all impacted Peter’s world.

There was that illegal turn no one pulled him over for, the lawyers he could hire to help him out of a jam, the stocks he could cash in if he ever lost his job.

We didn’t just do things like go to the Museum of African American History in Washington, D. (though, yes, we did that), but we began to have the really tough discussions about how class impacted his life and privileged him, about what a true ally looks like.

I explained my worry about somehow abandoning my race by dating him, my desire for chocolate-brown babies, and my fear that I couldn’t write about issues in the black community with someone white on my arm.I knew the name of his building, though, and my Google search pulled up an article about the apartment next door to my boyfriend’s, which was for sale. D., a sociologist who studies class at Duke University. And while I remained blissfully in love, I worried about how these differences would impact our lives.The headline said it was the most expensive apartment in the neighborhood—nearly a million dollars—and it was clear from the pictures it wasn’t even as nice as Peter’s. For the first time I realized that my sweet, socially conscious activist boyfriend was rich. I stumbled through many of these initial conversations about class with Peter.And although I sometimes forget about his privilege because he can be hilariously cheap (the bumper on his 13-year-old car is held together with tape), there are other, subtle traits that reveal the advantages he has had: the confident bass in his voice when he talks to police; his freedom to move to any new neighborhood he wants, just to get a bigger and nicer apartment. We’ve had it out because one of his elite peers asked whether my mom and I were “well traveled,” clearly implying that we’d been too poor or uneducated to leave New York, while Peter stood by and said nothing.He walks through the world as if no one has ever told him no (and he confirms they haven’t), whereas I walk through the world like no one has ever told me yes (and many times they ­haven’t). Then there was also the time he started “helping” me cook dinner, and took over the stove and told me how to grill the shrimp.

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