My wonderful, brilliant, amazing brown sistas….we need to have a serious conversation. I’m speaking to you directly, and I need y’all to hear me from a humble place. Okay?
As an African American woman, there have been and continue to be numerous obstacles in life to overcome. From career, to social hierarchy, to love, and even friendships; it’s safe to say we sometimes have to fight for our seat at the table. And in a society that we often feel alienated from, we tend to desire companionship from someone who shares our struggles to lean on and cry to. Insert the black man.
There seems however to be an undying belief for the past couple decades that black men don’t desire black women as much as we desire them. And although there are many black men that readily admit to dating women of other cultures over black women due to their belief of economic and social advancement opportunities, there are just as many men (if not an overwhelming amount) that both desire and actively seek a black woman to love and protect.
Yet even with this being our reality, it seems we allow ourselves too often to be emotionally wounded and upset by interracial dating between black men and non-black women, as if we were personally overlooked. Considering the many critiques dished out to black women (usually unasked for) about romance, many times it feels like we have to tirelessly defend ourselves against overgeneralized stereotypes. As a culture of women systematically and purposely overlooked in so many aspects, love can sometimes seem like just another thing that we have to fight to reverse the propaganda set against us. Sometimes it may even feel as if non-black women are held to a higher standard to us.
It especially seems to penetrate our hearts when culturally conscious and socially aware black bachelors pop up with a non-black significant other. The perfect example of this was when the media reported that our boy, Donald Glover aka “Childish Gambino” was dating a Caucasian woman. Black women around the nation stood in outrage. This successful man who created such culturally conscious music and spoke so candidly on black issues and his love for black women was now dating a non-black woman, and we just could not understand why.
But who’s to say Donnie hasn’t dated multiple black women? How does who he chooses to be with in the moment invalidate his love for his people? This would be a warranted uproar if he spoke lowly of African people in favor of others, but he doesn’t. So why do we judge all instances of these interracial relationships with the same heavy hand, as if bigots and open-minded men are of the same mental caliber? Go back and read that last sentence a little slower. If you’ll recall, the same sentiments were raised with Kolin Capernick when the media reported he was also dating a non-black woman, and we know he’s down like Brandy for the culture (and so is his lady if you didn’t know). Often as black women when we see this, we somehow feel betrayed, as if all the praise given to our community publicly was somehow a lie or a ruse that wasn’t genuine due to the insistence on picking women of every other culture over ours. But is it fair to require that the entire score of black men around the world solely choose us romantically to prove their respect for us?
Can I offer the suggestion that in a more racially fluid society, this shouldn’t be such a bad thing?
If I’m being honest, in the past I’ve shared this slight sting as well. The view of watching a black man giving joy and attention to a non-black woman while you’re either going through it with your man or not feeling as emotionally connected offers an unfair air of jealousy. But even if that woman was African American, wouldn’t you still feel that jealousy? Ladies, whether you want to hear this or not, this phenomenon has a lot more to do with the caliber of men that you as an individual are choosing than it does about the black men available to you. This is not always the work of a wild trick the cosmos are playing to keep the black woman down. It has more to do with what you individually are subjecting yourself to and your own view of your self-worth than anything. And while love is as much of a normal human concern as any other, the larger question at hand is: why are we validating ourselves through the eyes of men at all?
My favorite fruit are strawberries. I’ll never stop eating them as long as I live, unless I somehow become allergic or an apocalypse wipes them all from the face of the earth. As much as I love strawberries, I also enjoy bananas, blueberries, pineapples, kiwi, and other delicious fruit. Would you be mad with me for trying other fruit even though my favorite is the strawberry? Would you tell me that it’s unfair to the strawberries that I don’t solely indulge in them and show disdain for the others? Do you see where I’m going with this? Right now you’re thinking, “Girl I’m not a bowl of fruit, it’s not that simple!” Ok sis, I got you; let me make it more personal and direct for you then: Why as black women do we expect black men to have an undying allegiance to us alone? If they share the wealth with women of all cultures, including our own, is their love no longer real?
Side note: Yes, I know that there are some hotep brothas that do this same exact thing, and believe that black women are destroying the culture by siding with feminism and occasionally dating outside our race. As annoying as they are, we’re not talking about them right now; we’re talking about women (don’t worry, I’ll address them at a later time. Stay tuned).
Is it because as black women we feel we’ve always had an undying allegiance to black men, and consequently we expect the same in return? If so, where did this undying allegiance of ours come from? Who told us to do this while they went out and experienced the many women of the world? Does this go back to the age-old tale of raising girls to search for husbands while raising boys to live life? Why is interracial mingling such a sin in our community? Are we ready for that discussion yet? And more specifically, who told black women that no one wanted us?
In my personal experience, men of all cultures have shown appreciation for my blackness, and I’ve never found a shortage of black men that specifically wanted a black queen. So why are we so pressed sistas? Yes, the availability of eligible black men may be slightly less and steadily declining due to murder, mass incarceration, and other real-life factors. But don’t let that sole fact limit you to believe that there aren’t any available black men for you. Maybe your lens is only allowing you to see what you want to see. Open your eyes to the many happy black couples in the world. Even look at how many black women are with men of other ethnicities as well. Do not let the media lie to you and fool you into believing you are undesired or at the bottom of a list. The world is ever-changing. A naturally black woman is highly sought after in the world more than you think. Focus on desiring yourself, being grounded, and welcome your suitors of various cultures with curious and open minds. Be encouraged chocolate queens.