Tuesday, March 2, 2010

AB.com Presents A Special Investigative Report: "The Lonely Black Woman Industrial Complex".

I read a lot of newspapers, and since they're really the only remaining vestige of "true journalism", still consider them to be a bellweather of relevant trends, far more so than blogs, talk radio, cable news, Twitter, and other forms of emerging media. In today's microwave-information culture, the legitimacy of established newspapers still stands above the fray, or at least to me. Simply put, if it's relevant enough to make the paper, it's prolly somewhat important.

[Editor's Note: I think it's pretty funny that the stock photo I used for this post is the very same stock photo my Bloggin' Buddies The Black Snob and RiPPa used for their posts on the same topic. Then I figured out why. If you Google the term "Lonely Black Woman", that lovely, accomplished, yet sad sista is one of the first image results. Strange, but true. Now enjoy this lovely, and quite appropriate post soundtrack.]

That being the case, I can't help but notice the recent explosion of stories about the plight of black women who cannot find a suitable mate. Not a week goes by that some major paper doesn't have a story on professional sistas being less likely to marry than white women, professional sistas having to adopt babies because they are single and their biological clocks have conked out, or God forbid, professional sistas having to "date outside their race" because basically, "n*ggas ain't sh*t". The Washington Post seems to have one such story everytime I flip to the Style section these days, and last week's story about sistas gettin' their swirl on had all the usual dogeared, shopworn cliches of professional black female angst.
Single black women with college degrees outnumber single black men with college degrees almost 3 to 1 in major urban areas such as Washington, according to a 2008 population survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. Given those numbers, any economist would advise them to start looking elsewhere.
Black men underachieving relative to sistas. Check.
Tyler Perry cast a Latin man as the great love interest of black actress Taraji P. Henson in his recent movie, "I Can Do Bad All by Myself"; in "The Princess and the Frog" featuring Disney's first black princess, the prince's indeterminate racial origins inspired commentary; and there was the 2006 movie "Something New," in which characters played by Simon Baker, who is white, and Sanaa Lathan, who is black, fall in love.
Using a couple of lousy, bullsh*t Hollyweird movies as some cultural bellweather of the state of relationships in black America. Check.
Whoopi Goldberg has talked about interracial dating on "The View," saying you date whom you are around. Oprah Winfrey has encouraged black women to explore "what is out there." While the discussion includes men of all races and ethnicities, the focus is primarily on overcoming taboos against dating white men.
Oprah can't find a man neither! Check.
By promoting interracial love for some black women, Folan explains that she is not suggesting that there aren't any good, single black men out there, or that every educated single black woman will not find an educated black mate. She is not bashing all black men or implying that all black women are aiming for the altar. The writer, mom and Harvard-educated lawyer says that she is just offering a reasonable solution to the shortage of available black men.
Professional black woman who begrudgingly gives up on her dreams of a tall, dark, and handsome guy with Tupac's swagger, a CEO's salary, Denzel's looks, and Obama's intellect, who, BTW, must also love God and be able to blow her back out like Mr. Marcus. Check.
There's evidence, both empirical and anecdotal, that an increasing number of black women are playing the entire field. According to the 2008 population survey, interracial marriages have doubled in the past decade. About 73 percent of black/white marriages are between black men and white women, according to the survey.
Distorted Census stats which overlook the fact that 95% of all black folks are in fact, still marrying within their own race. Check.
Being perceived by other blacks as a sellout is No. 8 on the list of nine "notions" preventing black women from dating and marrying interracially that Folan outlines and rebuts in her book. Those notions also include: (1) "After slavery, I would never, ever date a white man"; (4) "I don't find white men attractive"; (5) "White men don't find black women attractive unless they look like Beyoncé"; and (9) "We'd be too different."
Outlandish assertion that a black woman needs to get racial approval and 2 co-signers to date outside her race. Check.
She asked friends if they knew someone but realized "most of my black girlfriends [and white ones] were single and looking, too." Then she tried the Internet and went on a couple of dates. The first was a black man "with the biggest ego since Napoleon." Her second date was with a man who dreamed of being "the next Sean Combs, but . . . I wasn't impressed with his chances."
Innocent, blameless woman's terrible dating history with shiftless black men who have dreams of being a 40 year old rapper. Check.
Their friendship blossomed. After they entered the official "relationship" stage she began to notice the stares. "Once, as we strolled together after a lovely dinner in Baltimore, a car full of black men honked at us. 'Come back, sister!' one of them yelled out of the window. 'Come back!' " But after a while she stopped noticing, and it wasn't much longer before she decided to stay right where she was.
Flawless, blameless White Knight in shining armor carries blameless, innocent black woman over the threshold and into Fairy tale ending. Chiggy Check.

Man, you could write these sorts of articles with a trained monkey and a couple of Madlibs coloring books. Eff' hiring an actual trained journalist.

The saddest part of this whole equation is that 10 times out of 10, these sob stories are written by other black women. Never, in any of these articles do I ever, ever, ever hear a black woman take any of the responsibility for what they might have done to contribute to their lack of success dating all of those sorry assed black men. Nope, it's always the black man's fault. The black women are simply innocent victims of dozens, and dozens of black men who just won't do right.

I obviously think this is some bullsh*t. Placing the blame on others for your continual misfortune is beyond stupid. Only a fool does the same thing repeatedly and expects a different result. With that in mind, since these articles clearly ain't helping, I have some relationship advice of my own I'd like to pass along. No, I am not a registered shrink, nor do I play one of TV. But with nearly 9 years of marriage to a black woman[1] under my belt, I think I just might know what I'm talkin' about. Listen and learn.

The Common Denominator - Ladies, here's a tip: If you've been dating black men all your life, and all your experiences end badly, you might wanna consider the common denominator in all of this. It might not be them, it might just be you.

Committment - Ladies, if a man isn't committing to you, it's because he feels like he can still do better. That's it, and that's all.

Get Your Swirl On - You don't need my permission, or anyone's permission to date outside your race. If you can't stand the heat, that's your own insecurity. It was probably there before you started dating the white dude, and will probably be there afterward.

The Grass Ain't Always Whiter On The Other Side - In case you ain't noticed, White women are having some the same issues finding a mate as black women. Yes, our issues are a bit more complex, but reality is, it ain't simple for them either. And BTW, dating a white guy by no means ensures that you won't have to deal with some the very same sh*t you did when you were dating Tyrone. Men are men, regardless of color.

There's No Such Thing As A "Good" Black Man - No relationship is perfect. Not a single one, because no people are perfect. Looking for the Negro Unicorn, also known as a "good Black man" is a futile search. People are flawed. People are human. It's up to you to look at the men around you, and determine what level of flaws you can accept, and which ones you can't. But if you're searching for this mythical "good Black man" using some outlandish checklist of desired qualities, I have some bad news for you, you probably won't find him.

Be Careful What You Ask For - Marriage ain't easy. Ask anyone who's been in even a reasonably successful one. It is work. It is constant compromise. It ain't always pretty. Things only get more complicated when you mix kids into the equation. If you aren't sure you're ready for all this, maybe being single ain't so bad.

I suspect the recent deluge of all these "woe is Black women" articles have something to do with The Obama Effect. Namely, if it was so easy for Michelle-O to bag an accomplished brother like Barack, why the hell is it so hard for Natasha in Accounting to get a date for the Jack & Jill ball? It's disappointing that this level of cultural navel gazing is usually being penned by black women, and only reinforces the stereotype that black men are oversexed, shiftless, on the DL, or non-committal.

For once I'd like to see one of these articles discussing "good" Black marriages. Not unrealistically perfect ones, but those with two people who are both committed to make it work. You know, like the millions of black couples who are gettin' it done right now as you read this. How about some story about how they met, how they're makin' it, and what single women (and men) could learn from their examples?

Of course, in the "it bleeds it leads" world of journalism, there's no need for actual productive discussion.

Cause who the hell would wanna read that?

Question: Do these sorts of articles about the woeful dating prospects of Black women shine new light on a problem unique to the Black community, or simply reinforce the same tired assed stereotypes about black men?

Single black women being urged to date outside race [WashPost]

[1] And a mighty, mighty fine one at that. Good Lawd, that woman is awesome. Erry man should be so lucky. But sorry my brothas, you gots to get your own.

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