The long-held belief that black women are starved creatures who continue to be overlooked when it comes to love is sickening. It doesn’t matter if they are successful or average, pretty or standard, the idea that women are just sitting around waiting to be selected by a man who has his pick of the litter is the universal presentation that we see when it comes to African American relationships. In just about all aspects of life this philosophy is present. Like the time that ABC Nightline featured a report on why so many successful black women were single. Or the many movies that reinforce the notion that black women are either desperate for a relationship and are the last choice for a life long partner.
The long anticipated information that just needed a bit of confirmation from a scientific source is finally here. According to a recent report released by NPR, The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and Harvard University, when it comes to dating, black men are looking for long-term, committed relationships more than black women. Researchers theorize that financial concerns may be responsible for this trend. A recent “Colorlines” article cites that:
“black women are more concerned with the financial stability of their partners than Latinas or white women. And since black women are outpacing black men on a host of metrics that might determine their financial prospects — black women are more likely to attend and graduate college and receive advanced degrees…they may be less likely to see much financial upside in pairing up compared to black men.”
For years I have been arguing with some of my closest male friends about dating in the black community. As a black woman, I’d passionately argue with them about the real reasons why these stereotypes remained prevalent, and most importantly how damaging they are to future relationships between African American men and women. But there was one thing missing from my argument. Scientific proof as my friends and possibly the rest of the world have a need for everything (regardless of how much it makes sense) to be backed by research from white coats. Now I can finally go in in hopes of them opening their minds to my perspective on the subject.
Black women who are successful have certain traits and characteristics. They are strong, won’t settle for anything and know that the key to getting what you want in life is not in having expectations, but by having standards. The problem is that WE are the only ones that know it. Why? Because most of the population continues to perpetuate the stereotype that black women are waiting around for a man to “choose” them.
The report revealed the opposite of what most of the population believed. That black women are desirable, long-life partners for black men. Beyond that, black men want to be in committed relationships with black women MORE than they do. Black women are the ones who are hesitant, NOT black men. What seems to be happening here is that black men and black women have not only sought validation and comfort from entities outside of one another, but have put their trust into these outside forms as well. Some black men feel validated when they mess around with many women. Having children with multiple women solidifies the “manhood” of some black men, and establishes them as an “alpha” male. Black women no longer have trust in the black man as an economic contributor, loving husband or responsible father therefore closing herself off to those who do and do not meet her expectations. It’s not JUST because your man is a ho that there are more black single mothers than married ones. It isn’t JUST because that woman is a gold digger that she won’t date or build a future with you.
If you listen to the way African American men and women talk about each other, you would think that they were sworn enemies. “N-words ain’t s***.” “Trust no hoes.” How can we even begin to establish loving unions with these types of opinions about each other? The root of the problem is not economic fears, cheating, etc. These are merely symptoms of the true root distrust which ultimately leads to lack of communication and division among both parties. Actions don’t mirror actual feelings and words that could put an end to the demise of loving relationships are never spoken. Essentially, the black man and the black woman have been pitted against each other.
No one is the enemy when it comes to black men and women in the context of relationships. There’s just a lot of hurt people in the world and we all know that hurt people hurt people. I challenge you to relate to and communicate with each other openly and honestly about your feelings and desires. Stop viewing everyone as the enemy just because you’ve come across a few that are no good. Then maybe, just maybe, we won’t need researchers to tell us what we already know about ourselves.