coupleRecently, a documentary made its way into my Gmail inbox. Frustrated: Black American Men in Brazil expounds on a piece published a few years ago in Essence about Black men finding in Brazil what they “can’t” in North America: love, or a more easily manageable version of it.

It’s the same story about black men taking issue with black women, who are:

a) too feisty for their own good
b) too fixated on income
c) not catering enough

Most notably, this doc carries a presumption that educated Black men who don’t like Black women is normal. Uh-uh.

I’m black with two degrees.  Many in my circle are highly educated. My friends who aren’t “educated” have businesses and nice incomes. All regularly dating, some married to, melanated women.

None of us have an issue with dating outside, per se, but there aren’t any discussions of the “black women are a pain, I need to see what they’re talmbout” variety. So why is this bill of goods sold to the world?

The crave for a docile, sexually fulfilling woman is a common sticking point for men in a world where entitlement runs rampant. This extends down into the lens of many black men who haven’t learned to stop ratifying the ideals of Western patriarchy.

(When I say patriarchy, I’m specifically referring to the notion of men being entitled to certain treatment. Men are leaders, hunters, gatherers. We’re the gods of the land. Get behind us and serve.)

Don’t have to be a Mensa candidate to poke holes at that logic, yet that’s a pervasive sentiment.

Women seek security? And that’s a problem? Good for them. A woman wanting to be taken care of is no less superficial than a man wanting his sexual needs fulfilled. According to Abraham Maslow, both needs are physiological and on the same level.

Wah-wah. Black women don’t treat us right…so we gotta go to Brazil because they play nicer.

This evinces more about black men than anything it could about black women. Brazilian women aren’t the problem or the solution. To many American men, they serve as a band-aid to a deeper ill. The cultural war continues to play out through the media, as if this issue rests only within black relationships. Men from all races in the U.S. go to Brazil or other countries for the pleasurable company of women. Not just black men.

Of course, women can be shallow in their preferences as well. But I also know plenty of high-powered women who treat their men — who earn less than them — like royalty. It’s a dangerous game to take one narrative and apply it as the default. There are many relationships where women are breadwinners and the relationships are smooth. These aren’t the stories that appear in the dominant media narrative.

Stories like those are essentially un-American. There are Founding Fathers. Founding Mothers are nowhere to be found. In the macro sense, the successful family unit of the woman as primary guap collector is counter-cultural, an anachronism of a distant ideal that has no place in contemporary life. The Matriarch is lauded as much as the man next to her is emasculated.

The documentary rehashes much of the same dichotomous Black women vs. Black men clash, but it also talks about the familial values of Americans. Some may see it as an invitation to explore Brazil or keep their men from going to Brazil. Others may see it as yet another chink in the Black male armor.

The bellyaching from both sides isn’t necessary…if the goal is to seek answers. Stereotypes get so much play because of its ease of assimilation. They are devoid of nuance, leading to knee-deep reasoning and a perpetuation of the same fatigued debates. Every stereotype contains a glimmer of truth; that doesn’t mean every stereotype is the truth.

Comment boards across the Interwebs are replete with us bickering and finger pointing and chest thumping. I don’t find nearly as much intra-racial relationship quibbling from other ethnicities in the digital space. That, to me, speaks the loudest of volumes.

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  • @thelie

    “All women are gold-diggers to a certain extent”

    my women had as much or more money than i had….

    • Jean D

      I want to reiterate that the myth that “men are dogs” is very recent in human history and in the USA this concept is closely tied to institutionalized racial segregation. Prior to Jim Crow laws, people of different races mixed together and associated freely. However, the mythical labeling of Black or mixed race men as “sexual beasts with large penises” has led to horrible crimes against these men. It was the fear of miscegenation that drove a social wedge between not only Whites and Blacks, but between those who were categorized as “colored” based on blood quantum guidelines.

      It is not healthy to generalize about anyone’s character based on gender or race. Each individual has a unique personality and character. There is no historical or biological evidence supporting the idea that men are naturally more promiscuous than women. However, if boys are raised hearing and seeing images that they are sexually “driven” , they may not feel “manly” if they choose abstinence and/or seek lifelong committed relationships.

      Women who hold this belief will unfortunately impart it to their sons. These same women may face a lifetime of insecurities and suspicions, thus never living a peaceful existence free from doubt, worriy, accusations and conflict, both internal or external.

    • @jean d

      “It is not healthy to generalize about anyone’s character based on gender or race”

      given the HISTORICAL RECORD of WHITE people’s mis treatment of EVERY OTHER race on the planet, i think a little generalization is in ORDER…

  • Chocolate Giddy Up.

    What people don’t understand is that any man, particularly a man of africa, that has enough wherewithal go out and strive in this society has to fight hard for what he has. The problem is that feminism, which the establishment used to destroy the black consciousness in the ’60s, teaches our women to try and compete for the man’s role in the relationship and no man is going to deal with having to compete at home after having to compete all day at work. No one’s saying that women need to walk around like Celie but they need to embrace their feminine energy and let their men use their masculine. The sisters in Brazil seem to grasp this, instead of trying to shame men in to what’s not natural for them, why not learn from the sisters in Brazil.

    I’d also like to point out that, despite how much people claim sex as the motivating factor for these brothers expatriating, notice that very few of them even talk about it in that documentary if any.

    • lol

      Then why aren’t they married?

    • Chocolate Giddy Up.

      I don’t remember this every really being about marriage but, since you brought it up, maybe the sisters in Brazil aren’t pressuring the men for marriage like the sisters here in the U.S. do.

    • “let their men use their masculine”

      if you have to have permission to be masculine, you are not really masculine….

    • Chocolate Giddy Up.

      You took that out of context and misinterpreted what I meant. I mean that, if the woman is trying to fulfill my role then what is there left for me to do? If she would focus on her role as the feminine principle in the equation then things would run a lot more smoothly.

    • donna

      We need to move past this stupidity. A woman can no more steal a man’s masculinity than a man can steal her womanhood. If a man’s sense of self is that fragile, perhaps he should work on his issues before he inflictions his baggage on a woman in any country. Real men are not intimidated by real women. Only doormats allow men to walk all over them There is a difference between submissive and subservient. Fragile egos require the later. Black women are no longer accepting the responsibility for everything that goes wrong in a relationship. I am done with apologizing. The world does not revolve around Black men.If you choose to buy you some over in Brazil… more power to you.