Fighting For The Attention of The Black Man By His Black Sisters
I have struggled as to what the title of this post should be. I started with fighting for the souls of our Black men but I figured the fight for their souls is about getting them off the streets and for them to make something of themselves. Hence, I settled on fighting for the attention of the Black man. You know when you want someone to notice you but hell, you do not exist in his world. I think that is fine…all you need do is get a sense of yourself, do what you need to do and get moving sister.
In the March edition of Essence, Jamilah Lemieux writes a piece about her rage and anger at the fact that Reggie Bush, the NFL football player is dating Kim Kardashian, who is part Armenian and I believe part white. In my opinion, she is not entirely white right? She is technically mixed…at least, something somewhere got mixed. That is why they say, she is part Armenian.
She writes that after expressing her anger over Bush being on the cover of Essence magazine, she discovered through the comments left by other women on her blog she was not alone. She goes on to talk about an experience she once had with a Black brother who had heard her complaining about the same issue and he took her details under the disguise that he would want to take her out sometime. However, what he did was send her a lengthy email why Black men do not date black women. Stating, ‘the stereotype textbook that black women are bossy, nagging, angry, overweight among others to justify why he could not love a black woman.’ Lemieux says the email left her in tears. I say he is the one with the problem because he is myopically minded and has not experienced the educated, strong and yes, vulnerable, loving and caring Black woman out there.
Others on Lemieux’s blog would go on to say Bush does not represent the kind of brother who loves his Black sisters. Now, we can easily judge and say these women are bitter and twisted and should get over themselves. However, we cannot deny that this is a touchy subject in the US and here in the UK. Lemieux goes on to say she resents the competition with women of other races for the attention of the Black man. I say stop right there. Stop competing and get your own back – Live your life and your love will come to you. Lemieux is forthright in stating she is not okay with Black men choosing to spend the rest of their lives with non-Black women. Personally, that is not something anyone has control over.
Let me at this point state that 10 per cent of African American men/Black men are married to non-Black women. At the same time, 42 per cent of African American women have never been married. Based on this, Lemieux says it is ‘impossible to expect Black women to gladly share with other races in an already small dating pool.’ She goes one step further to list famous Black brothers who married women outside their race and the jobs such women were doing before they hooked up. For example, Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers basketball team, whose wife used to be a video model. A job Lemieux says if a Black woman was doing, it would be deemed as unacceptable. I agree that there are some hypocrisy on different sides of this matter. Truth is, and without disrespect to anyone, we are all hypocritical about something. Its just life. She also talks about the marginalisation of African American beauty, the way their presence is diminished and the continuous reinforcements of stereotypes. Tell me about stereotypes, I am Nigerian. You think you got it bad right?
So this takes me to the recent headlines made by Jill Scott about her comments on inter-racial dating, Commentary: Jill Scott Talks Interracial Dating. Some have called her a racist, to which she has said she is not a racist. I must say I understand the opinion she has on this and she is allowed to have an opinion. By the way, let me state, I love Jill Scott. I may not agree with everything she says but I love her.
With that out of the way, her point is that one should preserve one’s culture. She talks about the wince – we all know the wince by now, the one you get when you walk down the street, hand-in-hand with a White man or if it is a Black brother with a White woman, hell, he gets it bad. She states that the wince solely has to do with the African story in America. I beg to differ on that. You also get it here in the UK. And so, she goes on to talk about the impact of slavery and what was done to men and women, the fight for equality by African Americans. But this is the deal breaker, the part where she talks about the betrayal of the black brother in dating a Caucasian sister. “We reflect on this awful past and recall that if a Black man even looked at a White woman, he would have been lynched, beaten, jailed or shot to death. In the midst of this, Black women and Black men struggled together, mourned together, starved together, braved the hoses and vicious police dogs and died untimely on southern back roads together. These harsh truths lead to what we really feel when we see a seemingly together brother with a Caucasian woman and their children. That feeling is betrayed. While we exert efforts to raise our sons and daughters to appreciate themselves and respect others, most of us end up doing this important work alone, with no fathers or like representatives, limited financial support (often court-enforced) and, on top of everything else, an empty bed. It’s frustrating and it hurts!” She concludes, Some may find this thoughts to be hurtful. That is not my intent. I’m just saying.”
I have heard this battle about Black men dating White women, and Black women getting all upset about it for so long, it is becoming somewhat ridiculous though I can also understand what the frustrations may be about. I have to admit that in the past, when I go to the theatre or out to a function and see a Black brother with a White lady, I used to ask myself, what did he see in her that his black sisters did not have? However, I do not ask anymore because I have reached the stage where I strongly believe it is time we as individuals stop boxing ourselves up where love and relationships are concerned. We need a global perspective on life on so many different things, why not where we find love? There is no rule that says because you are Black, you must marry Black or that because you are White, you must marry White. This was a focal point in my blog on April 1, Confronting My Preferential Prejudice. A title I intentionally picked to say hold on a minute, let us look past race and skin colour and ask what the heart of the other person is really about? Are they worth their salt? Do they live up to their own hype and expectations? What are their values in life? What do they believe in? What do they hold strongly? What do they think about the way the world is governed? What do they find interesting in life and about life? After all, these are some of the questions we ask the prospective man when we are reviewing his application to be the one for us? I must add that as an individual and a full blooded African with veins and arteries going through her body and raging hormones, I have decided its time to see beyond black and exercise my options as long as his heart is right. I do not do colour, I do heart.
Hence, this debate about Black men dating White women is one that will go on as long as America is as divided as it is. Please, do not misunderstand me. I understand where some people stand on on this issue and though I do not agree that you must marry a Black man or Black woman in order to stay true to your race, there is a social, historical and allow me say political context to the issue of inter-racial relationships in the US. It is viewed as ‘Selling Out’ by some. Maybe we need to see past that because in order to heal the deep wounds in a society where the pain of slavery and segregation remains etched in the psyche of those who were and are affected by it, we have to confront our fears and understand that we are free now and so must live freely on our own terms
Fleace Weaver in a different piece, Black Women: Why You Shouldn’t Limit Yourself to Black Men, for Essence magazine encourages young sisters to date outside their race. She talks about the fact that men are men and while she was a big supporter of equal opportunity dating, she too got to the point where she had to make a choice. It took a trip to change her mind after men were falling over themselves when she visited Switzerland. You all just got a way out. Go to Switzerland and you will find yourself a man 🙂
I know some people argue that the more educated you are and if you show you are confident and will not take shit, this makes you intimidating to men. I would have you know there are strong black women, who are soft and gentle and can really love a brother and love on him. We do not need to fight each other. I would like to believe there is enough space for all of us to co-exist. Besides, I am tired of that strong Black woman with a hype attitude thing. I sometimes see it in other women and I must say it is very unattractive. You can be a strong Black woman without the attitude.
Sisters, the way I see it, do not limit yourself to your Black brothers. Get on with your life and date who you want if there is a connection. I don’t just mean the sex connection. I mean the deep intricate connections that keeps us breathing while waiting for tomorrow, so we can see each other. Why the hell not? Stop holding on to the idea that your man must be a Black, White, Green or Red. Let life take you on an adventure and live spontaneously. You might just surprise yourself. Stop holding out for a Black brother – African American or an African man that may never come your way.
“Black men marrying White women probably would not be such an acute problem were it not for the chronic shortage of Black males in the United States. One sees these manless women everywhere, singly and in tight little groups, in the cocktail lounges and bars at the house parties and dances, often, several of them huddled around one man. They are the divorces, the widows, and the never marrieds, lonely Black women on the make or resigned, finally to remaining hopelessly single. They do not intermarry to the extent that Black men do.” – Louise Meriwether, when she wrote a piece titled, “Black Man, Do You Love Me?”
That was from the first edition of Essence Magazine in 1970, 40 years ago and we are still talking about the same old shit without solutions. Girl! You better find a solution for yourself and live your life. The way I see it, stop fighting for his and their attention because if there is a lesson I have learnt in the last few years, a man whose attention you fight to get, it will never work because you are the one who will do the work for the rest of that relationship. He knows he can walk at anytime and that you will come running after him. Is anyone really worth all of that power in your honest opinion? I say H.E. double L. L. to the no! He is not.
I end on this note, what if, just what if, the man who is meant to be the world’s greatest lover in your book was Chinese, what would you do? Walk away? Chew on that y’ll.
Images: Essence Magazine Online