Sadly, it seems that the media rhetoric alleging a “Single Black Woman” crisis is getting under our skin. Black love is under attack. And the most damaging part about it all is, many of us are the very ones striking fierce blows at what we once dreamed about as little girls. No one ever said it would be easy, attaining the “Cosby Show” with “Good Times” hustle. The very crisis we feel unfolding before us is half hype, half unquantitative numbers. Ask any Black woman, age 50 and over, and they will tell you that what some of us are whining about ain’t nothing new.
But when did we really stop believing in Black men?
Why do our desires to try a little “Something New” mean we have to turn our backs on all that we once knew? Despite their very specific types of bullshit, Black men are a part of us, whether we like it or not.
A damaging piece was written by a writer for Bossip’s new sister site. “8 Reasons to Date a White Man” was posted Monday, and since then, the article has sparked debate, counter-pieces and loads of comments. But we decided, instead of producing our own response, to pass the mic to our brotha, Shane80.
1.THEY OPEN WIDE INSTEAD OF DOWN LOW: Gay White men tend to be more forthcoming about their sexuality with family and friends. The down low phenomenon is less prevalent, which preserves the battery usage on your gaydar and relieves the stress of dissecting every male relationship.
Shane: Let’s stop branding Black men as the sole proprietors of down low behavior. This country as a whole has problem with integrity and truth telling. Have we forgotten about Ted Haggard, Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Lance Bass, and Roy Ashburn? I guess these men are above reproach. I guess it’s not new millennium enough to ask the pertinent questions about the people we date. It is homophobic and shortsighted of the author to only say that down low behavior is limited to gay relationships when heterosexual men and women engage in devious and hurtful secrecy in relationships. We can cite Bill Clinton and Elliot Spitzer here.
2. NOT LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO TAKE CARE OF THEM: Thanks to the absence of family, fathers and marriage in the Black community, a great number of our men have backward expectations when it comes to romantic relationships. A higher percentage of White men come from stronger family structures and more traditional gender roles, where the men seek to care for the women.
Shane: This argument evokes Patrick Moynihan, who, in 1965, wrote one of the most damaging reports sanctioned by the U.S. government. Moynihan reported on the state of Black families—with the use of statistical manipulation—claiming that the Black male absence in the home was due to the so-called emasculation of Black men. Let’s put to rest this romanticized and idealistic notion of the Black community. All economic policies, integration, and the general exploitation and lack of compassion for poor Blacks, lays waste to the notion of a Black community. Moreover, the national divorce rate is at 50 percent. Please stop watching TV Land and change the channel to “Modern Family.”
3. ATTEND AND GRADUATE FROM COLLEGE: Black women are graduating from college and Black men continue to drop out. As a result, degrees become intimidating when dating Black men. In White culture, education is valued and expected. Thus, White men have no problem dating educated women with advanced degrees. It is impressive rather than intimidating.
Shane: We can not overlook the rampant rise of the prison population, and the outsourcing of the once-stable job markets in predominately Black cities like Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago. We are now living in the second generation of Blacks living, and growing up, in the streets. Men of all racial backgrounds can harbor hateful attitudes toward women with degrees, high-paying jobs, and powerful positions. And let us remember, both left and right pundits, voters, and politicians had issues with Hillary Clinton running this country. Patriarchy is across all cultures. It’s not a Black thing.
4. AT LEAST ATTEMPT TO MARRY BEFORE MAKING BABIES: For whatever reason, White men just don’t have children sprinkled all over the world like Black men. And, if they do, most of them were married to the mother at some point. Sure, they divorce but you can only divorce if you at least attempt a marriage.
Shane: An attempt at marriage? You can’t be serious. White men have the same issues with marriage as any other so-called race of men. And babies out of wedlock is such a futile point it doesn’t dignify a response. Check the data.
5. THEY DON’T GLAMOURIZE IGNORANCE: They may listen to rap music, but they are smart enough not to act it out. The “thug life” is not something to be aspired to. White men have a firmer grasp on what really defines manhood.
Shane: I had hopes this was a joke or some satirical rant. But, unfortunately, the author is serious. This is the most hateful point on the list, because it’s laced with fearful vitriol projected upon Black life. White America loves to glamorize ignorance. White men have produced, directed, starred in, and paid top dollar for ignorance. We can go as far back as blackface and Vaudeville Theater, to Vh1. Nothing of significance in this country—as far as entertainment is concerned—has been placed in front of large audiences without the green light of White people. White corporations have understood the profitability of ignorance and have made plenty of money exploiting White ignorance like Tea Party rallies. Ignorance is an equal opportunity employer. The only difference is that White ignorance transcends entertainment and reaches levels of the government.
6. FINANCIAL PLANNING AND STABILITY: Black people, especially men, are always trying to shine—often spending more money than they have. White men tend to be more educated in the area of finance with a greater understanding of retirement planning, savings, investments, etc. This is mostly due to a higher level of exposure and teaching, but all that matters is they know and make better decisions than Black men when it comes to managing money.
Shane: New money is new money. Black men buy diamonds and rims. White men buy brand new pickups and hunting guns. Again, throwing Black men under the White man’s pickup truck only helps to perpetuate the myth that somehow Black life is worthless. Did we not go through a financial meltdown in this country that started and ended with large White-ran corporations and banks? Did we forget what Bernie Madoff did to mostly White people and their money? I guess that since those Whites messed up so royally, we give them a pass and deflect our anger and frustration onto Black men who have been systematically and institutionally shut out of tangible centers of wealth. The wealth gap in this nation is real!
7. HAVE THE ABILITY TO LOOK BEYOND YOUR PAST: Ever wonder why White people can date the friends of exes and so on? It’s because they don’t let the past hinder the present. Promiscuous Black men think they deserve to settle down with virgins, and allow past relationships to haunt the present. Not White men. They have no problem turning a hoe into a housewife.
Shane: To look beyond your past is exactly what White America does all the time. Erase anything that may have been painful or displeasing and replace it with happy thoughts. From slavery to Jim/Jane Crow to my 21st century “hoe shit.” Nothing really matters because, it’s in the past.
8. DON’T TAKE EVERYTHING AS A CHALLENGE TO THEIR MASCULINITY: Intimidation and insecurity are two reasons for the rift between Black men and women. As a result of their insecurities and low self-esteem, Black men are intimidated by the strength of an educated and ambitious Black woman. Rather than seeing her as a strong teammate, she is a threat to their manhood. Thus, they feel the need to overcompensate. White men, on the other hand, are more secure. What Black men see as threatening is what makes a great wife and business partner to them.
Shane: I simply cannot honor this with a response.
Addendum. We feel Shane must respond to #8 to complete the article. Thank you for your comments and spirited debate.
Shane: Black Masculinity is such a loaded topic, but I must respond to the article; therefore, I start bysaying: we must observe Black masculinity through the lens of White supremacy. This country runs on a principle of maintaining White supremacy, which means Whiteness is a standard by which we measure the Black man’s masculinity. This concept strangles most rational conversations about race in this nation. To label oneself White is more of a state of mind than an actual biological category. Once we accept this fact in America, we can recognize, sympathize, and rectify the stress Black men go through in order to conform to an ideal of Whiteness. Black masculinity must be unchained from the shackles placed upon it by White society and Blacks themselves so that we will not continue to normalize homophobia, misogyny, predatory and racist economic and social policies. If we do not break free, we will disallow ourselves from engaging in thoughtful and healing conversations with Black women, no doubt! White men, by in large, are able to explore their masculinity without the number of stresses experienced by Black men everyday, but let us not pretend as if White men do not have problems with their masculinity. All so-called races of men commit the majority of violent acts against women, children, and other men. So to single Black men out as having the majority of issues with “overcompensation” in regards to their “fragile” masculinity is harsh. This thought process will lead us to believe the images we see of Black men as these rigid, emotionless physical specimens ready to die over the most trivial of reasons. But if we investigate further, Black men have consistently proven that Black masculinity evolves into a myriad of possibilities. From the passion of Tupac to the introspective nature of Barack Obama, Black men have always valued and appreciated strong, yet vulnerable, Black women. Whether or not Black men are under attack is not up for debate because it is clear that Blacks are under continuous unwarranted stress. It is time to shift the conversation so that we can look at our collective self-esteem and continue to help Black men heal their wounds, so they can continue to survive and flourish. Whatever one says about another really reveals one’s own fears and insecurities, so let’s continue to embrace that fear and turn it into love.