Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years or so, you’ve probably read or heard dozens of news stories and features on marriage and African-Americans. To me, they all pretty much read the same…They give some horrible statistics and talk about how hard it is for Black women to find “good black men. (You know, since we’re all either in jail, gay or dating outside of our race.)
Adding fuel to the fire is a book by a Black Stanford Professor named Ralph Richard Banks. His book, Is Marriage For White People? received a lot of attention last year, both in the black community as well as in mainstream media. In an interview with Time Magazine, Banks said educated and successful black women are more apt to look “down” (for black men in blue collar jobs) than “out” (as in out of their race). The conclusion Banks comes to is that it is time for Black Women to start looking outside of their race for potential husbands.
It’s a theory that I’ve heard expressed plenty of times, but usually within the confines of the Black Community. It’s not so much the thought of masses of black women dating outside their race that bothers me as it is an uneasiness with mainstream media’s interest in a book with this type of editorial slant. There just seems to be something very condescending about it, like they are embracing the idea that dating White people is the solution to the problems for the Blacks. It reeks of paternalism to me. Why isn’t there such extensive coverage of books about Black love?
In almost every story, I see all these pictures of beautiful, smiling sisters snuggling up with white men while reading that it’s damn near impossible to find a black man who can read and keep his ass out of prison. I know that as a group, African-American men have a lot of areas to improve on, but is there anything positive that has ever come from these types of stories? All they do is divide black men and women and continue driving a wedge between us instead of bringing us together.
The problem with stories like this is that they play out like some type of dark, adult Fairy Tale. In order to be saved from the lazy, underachieving Black man, Black women must lay aside their preferences and submit to the White Knight, who will whisk them away to a beautiful castle where good credit, children with “good hair” and a lifetime of marital bliss await them.
It’s not only the media who portray this falsity, it’s also many black women themselves. After decades of choosing the wrong Black men, they date outside their race, find a white man who meets their requirements and then suddenly become the “expert” on these matters. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a frustrated black woman threaten to “go to the other side”. The truth of the matter is that men are men and all of us are capable of being equally trifling or absolutely amazing!
Many black women say they refuse to “settle.” And that’s fine. But please define settling. I’m of the belief that unless you’ve found the man or woman of your dreams, we all settle to a certain extent.
Let me leave you with this scenario: There are two equally attractive, educated female black accountants. One steps outside her social circle and falls in love with a black carpenter. The other decides that since she can’t find a black man that meets her requirements, she marries a white man she hopes she can learn to love…Who settled more?
Missed my last post? Four College Classes I Wish I Took