More responses to "Do Black Men Still Want Us?"
Spirited comments about romantic options and worries
Letters to the Editor
Published October 2, 2004
Where is the love?
A magazine asks whether black men still desire black women. Eight men offer their answers.
Black women speak out
Earlier this week, African-American men answered women's question "Do Black Men Still Want Us?' Now women discuss their romantic options and struggles.
Great article on the status of black man/woman relationships. I don't think that that is the end of the black man's opinion on this, however. Even though there were a variety of opinions on the subject, most of them seemed little more than simple preferences. And that is what I think all of this boils down to. If I were to date a woman of another race, I would date her because I wanted to, and not make excuses such as "there are no good black women" or "black women dating white men has forced me to date outside the race." I think women of all races should be held to this same standard, because it's not just black women that do this. Black women can find good black men, it's all about whether they want to.
The second thing I have a problem with is this notion of black women being touted as studious, god-fearing saints and black men labeled as cheating, homosexual bums. Anyone who has lived on this Earth long enough (or learned something in that time) knows that saints and sinners exist in every race and gender.
I think the biggest underlying issue at hand here is instead of blaming others for your relationship rut, you need to look inside yourself and figure out why you attract the type of people you do. Another thing to consider is whether you are emotionally stable enough to engage in a new relatioship without punishing the one you're with because of what someone else did in the past. If you never come to terms with this stuff, you will always blame everyone else as to why you are not happy, and you will always have a handy excuse be it AIDS, "down-low", attitude or laziness, to project on the opposite sex of your own race.
By the way, I am a black man who has had many relationsips with black women, both good and bad, but I refuse to use the past as an excuse to do something that I wanted to do anyway.
I am a black woman that married a white man. For me, it was not about color. I didn't set out saying, "I think I'll marry a white man." For me, it had to do with interests. Yes, education did play a part in it as well, but I would say that it was more intelligence. My husband did not go to college, he went to the military, but he is very intelligent. We also have the same interests in theater and music. I have often been asked why I made this decision, and black people have often looked upon me as a traitor, but one thing I can say is that I am happy!
The Down Low Phenomenon
The fact that this has now surfaced as a topic of conversation does not change the fact that it has always been the case since war-times when men were in such closed quarters for an extended period of time. All you have to do is look at the disproportionate number of black women with AIDS and it is clear that many of them contracted this from a infected black man that she thought was straight. This is not a slap in the face of black women, but moreso is another signal that more and more black men desire not to make a commitment and simply want sex however they can get it. Now the men must realize that they are not only endangering their own lives but also those of the women they truly love. A few minutes can't possibly be more desireable than a lifetime of fatal pain.
WANT vs NEED of a man
Black women have progressed significantly over the last 25 years through obtaining a better education, being career-focused and taking to heart the song "God Bless the Child That's Got His Own." We are not in NEED of a man for the basics of life, but we do still WANT a man. And most of us prefer a black man to create and complete our family. It is sad that so many women are now choosing to go it alone by having a child without a husband. What most of us still want is a man to admire our inner as well as external beauty; we want a man to share special moments with; we want a man to desire us and appreciate what we have to offer to the relationship. We WANT a man to call our own!!!
Available Black Men
The question about whether there are any available black men is a ridiculous one, seeing whereas the population of African-Americans continues to grow rapidly. Yes, they are available, and it isn't about whether or not we are willing to "settle" for one. It truly is a matter of compatiblity. We have to simply spend more time communicating with one another and realize that perfection doesn't exist but finding compatibility through sharing can lead us back to each other.
Men as the King of the Castle
Every adult man deserves to feel and be treated as the King of the Castle in his home. The key to this is that it is HIS home, not HERS or his mama's. In the same vein, however, he must realize that his significant other deserves to be the Queen of that same castle (and) treated with respect, dignity and honor. It is possible, because each of us came from a mother and we treat her as a black woman with that level of loving.
An Educated Woman
A. L. Reynolds seemed to insinuate that by educating our black women we somehow created the strained relations between them and black men. How ludicrous is that!! Due to our education, we are in a position to be helpful and beneficial to our family. It isn't a mere racial thing that only black men are intimidaed by black women. ALL men are intimidated by "strong" black women. Not because these women are arrogant or overbearing, but because they hold their ground and don't back off. A black woman has gone through so much over history, and instinctively has had to be strong. That strength has come through getting an education, raising children, taking care of the home and holding the family together (sometimes even an extended family). Basically all she wants in return is an appreciation for what she does. And guess what, fellows? It will probably result in her giving even MORE of herself to you and her family. So wise up, black men. Never will you find a more caring, loving and supportive woman than one that resembles your own mother. Value us, and we will share the wealth of our essence with you for a lifetime!!!
I just wanted to add my commentary as a black man to this intriguingarticle.
First and foremost, black women have a problem with a dominant alpha male.Add intelligence, wit, eloquence and charm, and they tend to run for thehills. If the black male is moderately successful, then they don't seem tohave the commonalities needed to mesh as one family unit, normally becausethey took two different paths to get to their level of success.
Another issue facing black women is that they tend to be condescendingbecause they feel they have to settle for someone not own their own level.I recall when I was going to college, the black women didn't give me thetime of day because I didn't have enough gold around my neck, or didn'tdrive a nice car (or a car better then what they drove).
Black women don't tend to recognize the powers have subtly divided the menfrom their women. Black males make up 6.2 percent of the U.S. population, but yetmake up over 58 percent of the prisons. One has to wonder: Do that many blackmen have a criminal mentality? I think not. If one gender is given moreopportunities to succeed than the other, then the male is going to want toprovide for his family in some form of fashion. Though I don't excuse thecriminal behavior, I certainly understand where it stems from.
If black women would work together with the black man, whether he is ajanitor, custodian or manager in a fast food establishment, I believe theywill see they have more choices then they realize. Belittling someone's jobor career choices will never attract someone to you or keep them with you.There is a vast difference between encouragement and denouncement. Noteveryone has a self-ameliorated personality, and black women tend not torecognize this difference.
Finally, if a black man has found material success, it doesn't automaticallymeans he has a white woman on his arm, and this translates into him wantinga more submissive woman. This harkens back to the commonalities that twopeople must share to work through a relationship. It has been this writer'spersonal experience that caucasian women tend to support with empathy thanwith caustic humiliation as a black man progresses up the corporate ladder.For most, that empathy speaks volumes and is not indicative of being submissiveas was indicated by some. However, one great advantage that black womenhave that nonblacks do not have is the fact of their common ancestry. Nomatter how much a nonblack woman may love a black man, she will neverunderstand the racial discrimination he faces on a daily basis, and that iswhy a strong black woman is desired and should be appreciated by all blackmen as well as men of other ethnic backgrounds.
Stephanie R. Sprow
I'm a 22-year-old black female studying government administration at a graduate school at an Ivy League university. Here is my take on the whole black man/black woman thing. There are simply less of them than there are of us, and they know it! The ratio of black men to women on college campuses across the country is nearing 1 to 10. Black men can basically have their pick of women without making many commitments. Black women have few choices; many of the white guys have never met educated black women who do not fit the media's stereotypes, and many of the black men take advantage of their first opportunity to "sow their oats." They have a plethora to choose from, and choose they do. The white girls like the idea of dating a black man and black men find white women very accessible (as they do women of all races really). Even if they have no serious intentions about being with their white classmates, they "dabble" in them to see what it is like and to get the experience of the "American Dream." I have no doubt that most of the black men I know in college will eventually end up with black women, but in the meantime, they don't have to. The competition is among black women; imagine running a race against everyone around you, and it seems like most of the competition is newer, faster and stronger.
The difficult thing for me, and I think most of my black female friends can agree, is trying to figure out what we should do in the meantime. There really are fewer eligible men out there than there are eligible women. So often, black women must carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. We battle sexism, racism, and all sorts of stereotyping every single day. It's nice to come home to the open arms of a strong person who loves you and can support you and make you feel good about your place in this world. It's nice to have someone who understands you and your struggles. No, we are not submissive as one of the contributors writes in the article. Why should we be? There is no time to be submissive in a world that labels us as gold diggers and welfare moms. We have to be strong and independent to survive, but then that's not appreciated either. We've got "attitudes," and as one white friend recently told me, too much "sassiness."
I think black men have gotten a bad rap lately, but I think some of them have just sunken to the level that the world expects of them. I refuse to settle for less than I deserve, and I know that there is a black man out there for me. The only difficult thing is most of us women (across all racial lines) are eyeing that same man. Thus, the competition begins again, and frankly the odds are not in our favor. Forgive us for having little faith. But more importantly, prove us wrong.
I feel very sad for black men. So many of them arelost. It takes a main girlfriend or wife and two womenon the side to make them feel complete. I attributeit to low self-esteem. I have been approached by menwhen their women (black women and white women) walk tothe other room. Or, they are shoving their ring finger in their pocket(clearly trying to hide it) while hitting on me.
I am so sick of the "strong black woman" issue. Ifyou throw a person in the middle of the ocean, theysink or swim. We don't have a choice.
As far as the trend of black men dating nonblackwomen, that is more of a black female issue. They needto open the door to a good man. If they choose to beracist and not look for a good man regardless of color,that is their problem.
However, this man sharing needs to stop cause blackwomen are getting HIV at record numbers.
I think relations between black men and black women have gotten worse over the years. When I was a little girl, I used to always see black couples together. Now they are few and far between. They say we don't want them. We do. But we are tired of putting up with foolishness in everything from the initial approach to courting. A lot of black men claim they love black women but don't back up their actions. Most of the so-called love I've seen has been a lot of infantile degradation and emphasis on our posterior backsides. We are more than a big butt. Finding someone equal to our economic status is hard. Most of the black men I've met in Chicago have not stepped foot inside a college and work in low income jobs. We have no choice but to give up on black men.
I just finished reading your article. I have to tell you that I have made the same comments recently that Michael Baisden made in the article. I am a very strong woman that has had trouble finding the right person. I laughed a little to myself when I read those words because when I said them I instantly thought to myself that not many women would openly admit that they don't want to be the powerful forces that they are. The truth is that the rewards of a strong family foundation are not out front and in the face of black men and nonblack men for that matter. Everywhere you look, read or hear, commercials or print ads about condoms and sexual enhancement herbs or prescriptions. Sex is everywhere. Instant gratification has become the order of the day. The concepts of sacrifice and hard work or smart work for that matter have been lost in a society where we finance our lifestyle instead of living within our means. I could go on, but I will stop there.
Do black women still desire black men? I would say yes. In my own opinion, I still desire black men but not black American men. I mean for so long black women have not been given the credit as being the strong black woman who can and will stand behind her man. A black American man wants to be the head of the household but he does not want to take some of the responsibilities that come with running the house. When it comes down to financial situations, the American black man does not want to step up to the plate. Therefore, the black woman feels as though she's in charge of everything and that's what makes her so strong. She has managed before she met you and she can manage without you. I'm exploring different cultures Black American men run to the other side because of the strength that a black woman has. A black woman has no problem with stepping back and letting the black man take over provided he can provide.
I am 24-year-old college graduate from Oklahoma State University. I am currently living in Tampa. I was reading your article, "Whereis the love?" I believe that there areplenty of good black men and women left. It's just sohard to find someone who's worth a good relationship.Right now, I am a single man. I would love to date agood woman but I haven't run into one yet. I am notlooking for someone that is perfect in every way, butsomeone that interests me and grabs my attention in apositive and mature way. As far as race, it doesn'treally matter. I prefer a woman who is strong andwilling to be in a real relationship with me. Idon't want to be with any woman who is a bad influenceon me. I want someone who has a vision and can succeed with or without me. Ibelieve any race can provide those options. A good relationship is all about patience andsacrificing to get a level of true love. I am ready forthe step to happen.
Sore spot for me is black men dating white women or Hispanic women or Asian women, not black women and exclusively not black women.
There are brothers who I guess have given up on black women and they'll take all of the goodness that's in them or that they could be and just give it away to any other body.
They (white women) don't challenge black men and they don't challenge black men in a lot of areas because they have generally grown up being afraid of black men. I don't care where they come from. They don't challenge black men and black men get to the point where they don't want to be challenged or they don't want to be pushed or they don't want to be held accountable or held responsible. I think white women assume too much responsibility in a lot of relationships from what I've seen.
When I see them (a black man and a nonblack woman) walk by I look. My first question is always, "Did he exclusively seek her?" I don't have a problem with interracial relationships. I have a problem when they are done to the exclusion of black women.
You look at brothers and say, "Why not me?" Especially if she's tacky-looking. If she is like superwoman-put-together-got-it-going-on, I'm like, "Go on, brother. More power to you." But if she is just common like me, well why not me? And that's when I start to question are you dating to the exclusion of black women.
A man has always been a very low priority for me. What was important to me was my education, initially, my career and then (to) build a business. I didn't have time for a man.
...A lot of African-American men will tell you initially, "I want a strong black woman." But you'll find out later that they are intimidated like some of the men said in your article. I've had men say to me things like, "I can't buy you. I can't do anything for you." At that time, once my business was open and thriving, three cars, two homes. I had all of this stuff, accumulated wealth. And men feel like they need to give you those kinds of things. That became a point of contention. It made them feel intimidated or less than. Deep down, they're wanting to be that breadwinner, that caretaker, that provider kind of person.
With me, I grew up in a home where my mother, very strong, aggressive personality, with my stepfather chose to be subservient and to kind of stifle her personality in order to have stability. And I grew up saying, "That's not what I wanted to do." When you're nurtured in an environment where you see that this person can be so much more, wants to be so much more, but they feel in order to be in this marriage and to make the marriage work, and I know other women today who are that same way, they will pretend to be less-than or they will elevate that man just so they can stay and keep the marriage going.
If you're really a strong black man, you should be able to deal with a strong black woman.
[Last modified October 1, 2004, 11:10:07]