Republican politicians never cease to surprise you. If uber-white bread vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan told you he once dated a black girl, would you believe him?

Well, the photographic evidence has arrived.

Meet Deneeta Pope. That’s her above, the cheery black girl sitting on the white man’s lap (that’s not Ryan, btw) in that photo from her cheerleading days at Miami University in Ohio.

According to The Daily Mail, Ryan and Pope dated while they were  both attending the college and Ryan suffered a backlash from people he considered his friends for dating a black girl.

Back in 2005, Ryan admitted to dating Pope and offered a vague account of the racial discrimination he suffered as a result of his interracial relationship.

“My college sweetheart was black … I just experienced some ugly comments, some racist views from people who I thought were friends of mine.”

He also had a black sister-in-law, as his brother married a black woman. So Ryan knows how to handle himself around a sista.

Pope has long since moved on from Ryan. There’s no word on how long their love affair really lasted, but there must’ve been some kind of lasting bond because she donated to his congressional campaign in 1997 and she refused to dish dirt on Ryan out of loyalty when The Daily Mail came calling for comments.

Of course, Ryan dating black women doesn’t automatically mean he doesn’t harbor racist views. After all, there are plenty of men who hate women, but still date women.

And Thomas Jefferson owned black slaves even though he was sneaking out back to bang Sally Hemings’ negro brains out behind his wife’s back.

Nonetheless, kudos to Ryan for expanding his horizons at one point in his life and embracing that jungle fever.

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