**I personally dont agree with some of what was said here, but i think it's a good start for a discussion on this site. ***

THE BRIDGE: Where The Black Men Are -- The Simple Truth
by Darryl James

Darryl James

(Jul. 12, 2004) The more I hear Black women complain about not being able to find decent Black men, the more my heart and mind become weary, because I am committed to Black women.

I remain committed, however, the words of some of today's Black women
leave me saddened and temporarily disheartened. Some Black women blame their singleness solely on Black men, citing that since good Black men are hard for them to find, that there are less decent single Black men that ever before in history.

This is not based on any verified data, which is always confusing to the
throngs of quality single men who can not find the "abundance" of quality
single women those magazines always write about.

Some Black women say that "most" Black men are in prison, that "more"
Black men are gay and that the "best" Black men are married to white women, but none of that has been statistically supported.

It is sad, but there are more Black men in prison than in college. And
yes, there are Black men dying from gang violence and from drugs, but that is not "most" of the Black male population. There are throngs of Black men who live beyond all of the things that are horribly wrong, and a great number are neither gay nor with white women.

The dicey proposition is when Black women say that Black men are beneath their level (financial or education), when in fact, Black people in
America don't yet have an intrinsic level. Even many of our so-called middle class live one paycheck away from disaster.

Black women, if you examine a man's character first, you will find that
there are more of us than you imagined. Certainly Black men in America have challenges, but in this nation, we are both challenged-Black male and female.

Yet with all of our challenges, some of us are still finding each other
and marrying each other. Anyone can point out that marriages are fewer and divorces are more abundant, but those are stats for the masses-they
don't have to apply to the individual.

Perhaps the bigger problem is that many Black women are no longer in
circles where quality Black men can be found.

The sad fact is that many of us work in a world where there are few of
us and live on a block where there are also few of us, yet we complain
about not finding us and talk about the sorry state of those of us we run
into.

Communities are fragmented, clubs are polluted and many church singles
ministries mislead people into relationships with other people who
attend church service, but do little to follow the teachings of the ministries.


Yes, things are more challenging than they have been in a long time, but
the challenges appear even greater because of the negative things being said about Black men on television, in those magazines, and, oh yes, in
circles of single Black women.

I know why Black women say some of the things that they have been
saying. It's because they are hurt and afraid.

Black men are also hurt and afraid.

Any of us over the age of 21 has a thought-provoking fear, which can
lead us away from finding love, as opposed to hugging expensive creature
comforts in solitude, fear and pain, which morph into hatred.

Too many of us thought that we could make things better for ourselves as
individuals, but now, the chickens have come home to roost, because many of us can not find quality mates.

We fell from grace when we stopped talking to each other and began
talking about each other. If we wish to make things better, I believe it begins with communication.

The charge for each of us--men and women--is to begin to discuss the
problems we both face, without expressing the fear and hatred that have
been welling up inside of us.

I want one wish to go around the world faster than an internet hoax or a
Jesus chain letter, and I want for each person reading this to pass it on to another person, married or single.

That one simple wish is for Black men and women to begin to change our
minds about each other. Perception is reality and we must begin to perceive each other differently so that we can love each other again.

I want to let Black women know that there are still some good, kind and
decent Black men in the world and we are having a hard time finding them
as well.

Black men are in the grocery store because we have to eat, too. Black
men are in the gas station, because we have to drive, and yes, some of us
are on the bus or train. Black men are at fraternity banquets, and Black men are at plays, museums, the church and the mosque.

Black men can be found in a number of places and many times we are right beside you-all you have to do is smile. Be sweet and inviting and you
may get more than the reprobates to ask for your number, or be progressive and initiate contact with us. Whatever you do, be grounded and open.

I advise both men and women to look for something that exists. If you
are a single woman looking for a single man, look for examples in the men around you. Your father, brother, uncle, cousin or neighbor may be married and may serve as a good measurement for the men you date.

We may not look like Denzel or bling bling like a rap music video, but
some of us are hard working, decent men with solid husband and father
potential, ready to love and to be loved.

You have to look around you and find real examples, because once you are convinced that we don't exist, then, for you, we don't.

Black women, stop saying that you can't find a good man, or that we just
don't exist. Come at us in love and what you will find from many of the
sane, single Black men is real love-we're trying to find you and we want
you, too.

Where are the Black men? We're right here.

Darryl James is the author of "Bridging The Black Gender Gap," which is
also the basis of his lectures and seminars. James was awarded the 2004
Non-fiction Award for his book on the Los Angeles Riots at the Seventh
Annual Black History Month Book Fair and Conference in Chicago. He can
be reached at djames@TheBlackGenderGap.com.
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