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Do we appreciate our own men? Do we even like them?

Let me give you an idea of what I mean.

I dated a Haitian guy once. I completely adored this man, and the feeling was mutual. He was, and still is (long after we pulled the plug) very good to me.

When I first met him, the fireworks and butterflies were doing their usual thing. I told one of my good friends, also Haitian, about him.

“Ok tell me everything,” she screeched excitedly when I told her I had met someone I was feeling.

“He is gorgeous. Like I-can’t-talk-when-he’s-around handsome,” I started. “And he is daaaaaarrrrk, like blue-black dark, and you know what that color does to me!”

“Ha! Yes I do! Tell me more?”

“Well he’s getting his Master’s now, his family lives in New York, he’s Haitian—“

“What?” she interrupted me, “He’s Haitian?”

“Yup, aren’t you excited? I’m talking to your people.”

“Nah girl, if he’s Haitian…RUN!”

I called her out for being so pessimistic considering she didn’t even know him.

“Well, neither do you,” she responded. “But between your two-week experience with him, and my lifelong experience with Haitians, I know them best. Like I said…RUN!”

Have you had a conversation like this? It may not be as dramatic, but you start dating someone from a friend’s country, city, school or neighborhood and they are quick to warn you about the perils of dating them.

“L.A. ninjas are a mess! Stick with these East Coast guys you like.”

“Oh, he’s Nigerian? You better hope he is NOT Yoruba.”

“Ha! He’s from Missouri? Girl, why do you think I left?”

“The black men at William & Mary are lame! Stick with those UVA boys.”

“You know you are too nice to handle my Jamaican brothers? They’ll steamroll all over you.”

You get the point.

And I am not any better. I recently moved to a new city where I met up with an old friend from undergrad for dinner. As we filled each other in on where life had taken us, she shyly mentioned that she has been seeing a new guy for the past two months.

Like any woman would, I got really excited for her and wanted all the details. She shyly told me his situation: he was handsome, smart, kind and had a big heart; all A+ qualities.

“And he’s Kenyan.”

It was like everything positive she said beforehand about him flew from my mind.

“Ok, what’s really wrong with him?” I said before even realizing what was coming out of my mouth.

She was somewhat shocked, and I was too. I jokingly laughed off this fumble, and had to consciously keep myself from making smart remarks as she continued talking about him.

I know Kenyan men. I know their good, their bad and their ugly. I know their habits and wants. And though each man is different, each neighborhood/community/country tends to have a national deportment of how they treat their women. And no one knows better than their women

No one knows a Brooklyn man like a Brooklyn woman.

No one knows a black man like a black woman.

And like my Haitian friend said, no one knows a Haitian man like a Haitian woman.

The other day on Twitter, I read a tweet on my timeline that made me really think about this. It was from a Somali woman that I follow and it went something like this:

“Somali men, I don’t care what anyone says about you, you are the best.”

I don’t think I had ever heard anyone, myself included, ever say that about their own men. You could say I run with a negative bunch of women, but I doubt it’s that. Just like we know the flaws of men from our communities, we also know the things that make them great. I know those particular things that no one can do as well as a Kenyan man.

Like they are the most humorous people I know. Kenyan men really know how to laugh at themselves. And they are overly protective of their women; even if I am out with a Kenyan man I don’t know, he will ensure I am well taken care of and likely get home safe. Those are but a few of many positives

So I wasn’t surprised when I next spoke to my friend and she told me about a sweet gesture that Mr. Kenya did for her recently.

“Yeah,” I answered. “Our men can be sweet like that…

…sometimes.”

Do you ever find yourself bad-mouthing your own men to your friends? What are the pros and cons of dating a man from your school, town, city or country?

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