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There is no denying that the state of Black America today is grim and just about hopeless. Some of us spend money on superfluous items just to hold an image of ourselves that prove to be phony and unaffordable to begin with. Some have yet to rise above victimized mentalities embedded into our minds since the days of slavery. Some remain angry at a past that no longer exists, yet somehow manages to hold us captive, preventing us from living up to our full potential as a skilled and scholarly people. Others contribute to the “crab in a bucket” syndrome, allowing the jealousy and envy of those of us who have made something out of our lives to keep them from manifesting their own dreams and desires. Regardless of the reasoning for our condition as a race, there is a scope of our existence where we should be able to find solace amongst one another and that is in relationships; we are even failing at that.
Many of us strive for success in different capacities, whether it is in education, family or employment. Yet it amazes me how out of all the realms of connectivity we hold as a race of people – professional, family, parents, colleagues, etc. – we are still struggling to a great extent in maintaining romantic relationships with one another. At a time when we are fighting to overcome injustices and disadvantages in the American society, we are also facing discord among one another that generates animosities within our intimate relationships. Some of us even choose to put such energies of survival towards climbing career ladders, building a wall of educational certificates and attaining materialistic treasures, neglecting to put any efforts into staying in accordance with one another as man and woman.
Unlike black women who struggle against the current of the apparent man shortage, searching for eligible candidates is not an arduous task for black men, and never has been. Studies show that for every available man, there are at least seven single, willing and able Black women who are ready to be signed, sealed and delivered to the first derivable and desirable bachelor who crosses their path. Black men can just about have their pick when it comes to choices in the dating arena. Not to mention, online dating in the last 5 years has even widened their circle of choices to national and international possibilities. Still, fewer and fewer are choosing to date black women.
When observing the condition of our intimate interaction, African Americans are no longer interested in courting, dating or harvesting the patience essential in the process of selecting the appropriate partner for our lives. To piggy back off of that point, many of us – men especially - in the African American community are slowly becoming more and more apathetic to concepts of relationships and marriage, let alone entertaining courtships with someone with the same color skin. Percentages of Black men and women dating outside their races have increased significantly over the last decade. More so now than ever, it has become more common to see a Black man with a white woman (or non-African American) on his arm. Though black women are no longer sitting around waiting on her black savior to come to his senses, as they have also begun testing the waters of alternative nationalities, the reasons as to why successful black men are not choosing black women once they reached the top remains a mystery. What is it about black women that compel black men to choose differently when it comes to dating?
As dating preferences should no longer be relevant in this day and time, conversations shared between men and women indicate that we as a race are puzzled to some degree as to why we are no longer interested in each other. Have we become bored? Is the sex more engaging with women who are not black? Are we intimidated by women who can take care of themselves and/or are we turned off by women who hold a strong sense of independence? Or is it something as simple as, interracial relationships provide for more amusing discussion over candlelight dinners or vacations to exotic resorts? Are we no longer going against the grain and finally succumbing to the innate intrigue of gravitating towards and attaining something that is different? Or are we running from self hatred that is mirrored in the eyes of our black women?
Recently, first-time filmmaker, Erik Gordon, held a screening of his documentary, “Why Do Black Men Date White Women” at the High Museum of Art’s Hill Auditorium in Atlanta, Georgia. His angle was to pack up his camera and microphone, trek the streets of downtown Atlanta and boldly ask willing participants the question that became the title of his first film. Though much like this article, Gordon created this project to provide insight on what once was considered taboo, which has now become a social trend that no longer provokes reaction (other than a few disgruntled black women). Gordon explains, “It’s basically keeping it real and addressing the stereotypes. It’s a battle between the sexes within the race. It has to do with white women, but it’s more about the bond between black men and black women.” (Gordon is currently working on another documentary entitled, The Reality of Marriage).
It’s not surprising that men have banned together in appreciation for the project that illustrates exactly why more brothers have been inclined to choose dating outside their race. To say the least, there were some women on the other hand who were not as receptive. “A lot of Black Men are Dumb… I think it’s so funny when I see or read about these black male celebrities getting ripped off by these white women. They marry them, have kids, then in less than 2yrs the white woman is divorcing them, and walking off with half of everything like that wasn't her plan from jump street. And just to think, they call black women Gold Diggers,” one female stated in response to Gordon’s project. Another says, “My friend told me he dates white girls because they give no hassle and that they are more practical for him....PRACTICAL?!! Some black men are using white girls and its not fair on the white girls at all who think these black men actually like them…he said that getting a white girl is easy p^ssy,” says another.
The list of possibilities in our search for understanding can go on forever. Thus, I conducted surveys with 5 African American males in efforts to dispel some of the negative myths created by Black women, and possibly gain true insight as to the lack of intimate camaraderie we have with them. The objective is to illustrate issues relating to our interaction – or lack thereof - with black women, and not necessarily what white women do for black men that black women don’t. Listed below are the top 10 out of 50 reasons why Black men find it hard to date Black women:
Black women make black men feel under appreciated, unwarranted and irresponsible and regressive.
Black women are too aggressive and no longer patient in waiting on the pursuit of a man.
Black women are strong headed, too independent which presents great challenges in relationships.
Black women are masculine in that they are controlling and like to run the relationship.
Black women expect too much. They are gold diggers who will not look twice at a blue collar black man.
Black women are hot headed and have bad attitudes.
Black women stop caring about their appearance after a certain age.
Black women are not as sexually open as other races, especially in regards to oral sex.
Black women’s tolerance is far too low; they are no longer empathetic to the black man’s struggle in white America.
Black women do not cater to their men.
Amid sharing these ten reasons with several Black women, some agreed to these assessments while others retorted (proving issue number 5) with negative connotation in their sentiments, placing blame on the opponent rather than listening and evaluating the dynamics that have prevented them from obtaining and maintaining relationships with their black men. Those women shared speculations such as: white women have low self esteem and are easy to manipulate; white women are nasty, take abuse and will do anything to keep a black man; white women are still considered trophies and black women considered big lipped, loud-mouthed jigga boos that hold black men back; black men are lazy and don’t want to be responsible or held accountable for their lives, their children and their families; white women make it easy for them to escape.
Some were thankful for having heard the truth in answers that came from the mouths of men themselves, rather than the resentful loose-lipped, bitter and angry women who probably hold valid reasons for their singleness, which may have nothing at all to do with race. Though society may no longer flinch at the sight of a black man with a white woman, it is apparent that some women are still scarred by the neglect and oversight imparted by their counterparts.
In Why Black Men Date White Women (An explicit excision in sexual politics), Rajen Persaud speaks about the soiling of the black female and the sexual distance between us that was caused by the misappropriated mentalities introduced during slavery. “Throughout American history, the white male and Black female have had an open sexual relationship. Not consensual by any means, it was born out of rape, humility and control.” He goes on to explain, “Without any rights, legal recourse or protection from the local or state authorities, a black woman could make no decision concerning anything that affected her life…she was completely incapable of rejecting her master’s wishes – her alternatives were to do or die.” Apparently, the devastation experienced by black slaves caused inertia amongst the male population; thus prompting a reduction in perceptions of royalty and motherhood into likes of derogatory notions amounting to nothing more than sexual brood mares used to increase the slave population. From the looks of it, the once fertile and revered impression of the Black Queen held by black men was devalued and has yet to be recovered.
Perhaps the problem really boils down to the fact that we no longer listen to one another. Dialogue must take place to gain better understanding of the pain that resides on both sides of the gender fence. There is large ground to be covered in the restoring of our relationships with one another if we are to preserve our people. We as humans have every right to exercise our preferences; however, we should really begin to stop and think about “the browning of our nation,” as interracial children are being born every day. We are already losing the race in different aspects of society. The least we can do is work harder at congregating in love as man and woman. We should ponder if love really conquers all; even when we are on the verge of becoming an endangered species. It is, however, harshly possible that we may never be able to come together in harmonious attempts to survive as a race.
Mathhew Lynch can be emailed at Lynch39083@aol.com