Thursday, December 3, 2009

Relationships: Why Do We Limit Ourselves? **Updated**

I came across an interesting article on, titled, "Black Women Why You Shouldn't Limit Yourself To Black Men."

This is is nothing new. This subject was even made into a movie called, "Something New."


Here is an excerpt of the article by Fleace Weaver:

I was motivated to create my Free Your Mind seminars, which encourage Black women to date non-Black men, after listening to an impassioned friend--an attractive woman in her late 30s--lament an all too common refrain from Black women as young as 25. With a master's degree, an executive job, a mortgage in her name, and no children, she just couldn't understand why she was alone when she'd done everything "right." She wanted to find a nice Black guy and get married. She complained about being overlooked by Black men who pretended she didn't exist, or worse, the ones who quoted the unfortunate ratio of Black men to Black women with a smile like the cat who had swallowed the canary. By the time she finished explaining, she had tears in her eyes. And I was thinking: life is way too short to be unhappy and way too long if you are alone when you don't want to be.

I'd been in her shoes. Before I was an equal opportunity dater, I only liked light-skinned brothers who looked like Al B. Sure. Then I moved on to chocolate men that resembled Taye Diggs. I hadn't even thought about dating anything but Black men. I'd heard stereotypes about what "others" really think about dating us, like how non-Black men will date Black women but not marry them (not true). I never thought about how my self-imposed limitations were holding me--and Black women like me--back, keeping us single and causing us to miss potentially enjoyable experiences.

I found out how non-Black men really feel about Black women while I was visiting Switzerland. The amount of attention I received was overwhelming. A man actually walked into a pole while checking me out. I never knew that so many non-Black men were openly enamored with our unique beauty. All the attention was empowering and I returned to the United States with a "new attitude."

Since that trip, I've dated men--Indian, Latino, Italian, and Caucasian--not based on their color, but the content of their character. My first non-Black man was White, a tall blond-hair, blue-eyed Nebraskan, who was kind, respectful and very giving. We met at the gym when he started giving me daily tips on my workout. I remember telling my friends that he was everything I had prayed for, but I had forgotten to ask God to make him Black. His tip of the day progressed to coffee one afternoon so we could continue a heated discussion about Salvador Dali. While I was sipping my grande non-fat latte, he confessed that he had been watching me for months but was unsure on how to "make the move." He proposed after we had dated for two years and though we didn't marry, he remains one of the great loves of my life. Read the rest

If you've looked at my profile, then you are aware that I am an educated black woman in my late 20s, so this article is supposed to speak to me. None of this is novel. There is actually statistical proof that with every advanced degree women of every race lower their chances of being married exponentially. In short, it has been argued that men would prefer to marry their secretary rather than their boss.

I've actually been told by a boyfriend that I was too idealistic because I envisioned a future mate who appreciated my "opinionated nature" (haha) and he criticized my resistance to fall into my "place" as he called it and satisfy the traditional female role (although I can cook! just sayin...LOL).

I think that the message in this article needs to be repeated over and over again so that at least some black women (and really all women) expand their dating preferences beyond a specific type. Forget the type or race of the man, just look for a quality partner who you are compatible with. I know it's cliche, but it's what's on the inside that will make a lifetime together work, not his fineness or skin color. Simple enough right?Perhaps my male colleagues here at The UP can offer up their views on this topic.

The Janitor's 2 cents:

A couple of things that stood out to me about the article.

(1) "I was motivated to create my Free Your Mind seminars, which encourage Black women to date non-Black men"

OK Let's stop right there for a second. Why encourage any woman to date non-Black men? I could understand the proposition of dating ALL men regardless of skin color, but this is a specific goal to date all other men who specifically are not Black. Even if I wasn't Black, this proposition would still be troubling to me. This smacks of a Black woman who has some deep seated issues about her race.

(2) With a master's degree, an executive job, a mortgage in her name, and no children, she just couldn't understand why she was alone when she'd done everything "right."

OK let me also stop you right there, sisters, because I've heard this TOO many times. Let me explain something to ya'll...having a degree, having an "executive job", and being a home owner has NOTHING to do with the one thing that seals the deal on a relationship: your personality. Are these admirable accomplishments in life? Sure, no doubt about it. But I have plenty of female friends (usually lawyers) who went to XYZ Ivy League law school or ABC Ivy league undergrad who have the nice shiny corporate law gig who can't figure out why they're alone. They usually chop it up to the fact that Black men "can't handle" a woman with a degree, which any brother worth your time will tell you is nonsense btw, and in so doing these sisters miss the bigger picture: when it comes to this crazy thing we call love, a successful relationship has jack sh*t to do with the plaques on your wall or the certificates you have in your file cabinet. This is as arbitrary as me saying "man, I use Brut After Shave every day but I still don't have a girlfriend! I just don't get it! Sisters must not be able to handle a good smelling man."

(3) My last point speaks to the overarching issue presented by the article. As robust and as diverse as this concept is, there is still such a thing called the Black Community, and about 12% of the United States (like it or not) are a part of it. I have to be careful how I phrase this as to not offend the ultra-sensitive folks, so I'll just say that as a member of the Black Community, who you choose to marry is often attributed, rightly or wrongly, to your conscious contribution toward the Black Community (just as it would be for any other ethnic/cultural background). Of course your "Blackness" does not evaporate upon marriage outside of the race, but I think most would agree there is a special bond shared between similarly situated people who have the same background and I think it is a good thing to acknowledge that. In other words, its a beautiful thing to see a Black man and a Black woman choose to be with each other given the history of struggle Black people have had to endure in this country. As far as my personal view, it's 2009, Black women, date who you like - just don't purposely eliminate Black men from your dating pool. That's just stupid.

That's my 2 cents, folks.

- The Janitor

GODSON's 2 Cents:

Rather than comment specifically on the article, I would like to comment on what the article represents and my view on these particular matters...I want to talk directly to the black man for a few moments. Speaking on a general basis, brothas....Sistas (black women) are the only women on this planet, that have stood by us consistently through all of our foolishness, all of our shortcomings, educated or not, jobless, successful, incarcerated, ect. They have not been perfect, but they have raised us, they have nurtured us without help from our fathers, they are sometimes domineering and don't always know how to make us feel like men, but they would do anything for us. I am in no way against, inter-racial dating or marriage, but it saddens me that we've come to a point in which the black woman is realizing that she truly cannot depend on us. So much so that she has had to expand her proverbial manhunt to men in every race. I think that we (the black man) should look at this and take this very seriously. I think we should use this to examine our own shortcomings and how we've continuously let sista's down time and time again and caused them to lose faith in us as their companions.

Now look! This is not a right cross to the black man...We get beat down enough on a day to day basis...I'm just saying we have to acknowledge as a whole our part in shaping the black woman's perception of us. This perception has been decades....Hell, centuries in the making. It began with the black man's psychological and emotional castration, done by the oppressive white man from slavery, through reconstruction, right into civil rights and straight on through to today. The black man could not protect the black woman, could not defend her honor, when she was being raped, beaten and abused. He could not provide for her, because the white man would not give him a job, so he looked to the streets to provide for his family. When he became successful at that, he got incarcerated and was torn from his family. This bred generation after generation of black men who were either drug dealers or drug users. The few black men that were on the "straight and narrow" were too few in number to satisfy the demand by our black women. Not to mention that since we were not around to provide for our sistas and children, they were forced to get out into the workforce and do it for themselves. This bred generation after generation of "independent women" who realized they didn't need a man to do anything for them. This perception has spread like crazy and caused the deterioration of the black family in many more ways then I am currently willing to mention in this post.

I agree that it is ridiculous to openly encourage and suggest to sistas to date every other race besides the black man. The black man and the black woman NEED each other. We need each other like we need air to breathe. We are connected like we our connected to our immediate family. I would like to know how we can mend our relationship with each other, because as long as we are at odds with each other, we are at odds with ourselves. As long as people like O.J. Simpson, Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant exist it will continue to take work for us to gain back what was taken from us as a unit.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
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