Teaching White Boys to Dance and Other Solutions to the Black Marriage Crisis

19 Dec

This morning, while reading Kate Weigand’s 2001 book Red Feminism in preparation for a book I’m writing, I ran across a fascinating story in her chapter on Black women’s participation in the Communist Party.

In 1934, Black female communist organizers asked the Party leadership to outlaw interracial marriages in the Party ranks. Many of the Black men in the Party had married or begun dating white women, and white men were not showing comparable interest in Black women, which severely restricted Black women’s dating options.

In response, the Party asked a Black leader named Abner Berry to deal “with the problem.” Berry, himself married to a white woman, was staunchly opposed to outlawing interracial marriages on the grounds that this move would be “counterrevolutionary,” but he did institute some sessions on Black women’s triple oppression of race, class, and gender. Apparently, they also tried to teach some of the white male communists how to dance so they would be more comfortable approaching Black women at parties.  Seriously. Lol.

There are a few morals in this somewhat comic story:

  • At least the CP had enough sense to talk about the social causes of Black women’s singleness, rather than blaming the sisters for being loud, attitudinal, too independent and unattractive. (Perhaps some preachers, comedians, and alleged scholars could get a clue; and perhaps some sisters should stop blaming themselves for a problem that began before we got here and will probably outlast us all.)

  • Interracial dating has NEVER been a full-scale solution to Black women’s dating problems. So the idea that Black women just need to open themselves to the possibility as Ralph Richard Banks suggests in Is Marriage for White People?  is belied by the fact that Black women like Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Claudia Jones politically supported interracial marriage in the 1890s and the 1940s respectively. But if the recent statistics on Black women’s success in online dating is any indication, white guys aren’t checking for us anymore now than they were in 1934 (at least not on legal, consensual, non-coercive terms).
  • There has never been a racial dating utopia, particularly among highly educated and/or socially progressive sisters. Just ask Anna J. Cooper, Pauli Murray, and the sisters of the CP.

  • Everyone who wants to downplay what’s happening with Black women and partnership would do well to recognize that Black women have considered these issues significant enough to talk about them (publicly) in every era since the 1890s!

  • Back in the day, at least a few brothers felt enough responsibility to address and help with the problem rather than blaming Black women for causing it. (My, how things have changed.)

For the record, I’m not anti-interracial dating. Folks should date whom they want. Like many sisters, I have a “white-boys-who-could-get-it” list.

But the notion that interracial dating happens in a social and political vacuum is naïve at best and an act of willful ignorance at worst.  The idea that love and romance are pure social categories that we inhabit without political consequences is equally naïve.

Also, I know sisters are tired of being lambasted by the media, and I agree.

But Black women’s bodies have always been tied to national narratives about the family, and as major social shifts have happened, Black women and their romantic and sexual practices are frequently blamed for our national decline.  Take two examples:

  • During slavery, we birthed slaves, and our allegedly insatiable sexual appetites caused white men to be unfaithful to their wives.
  • Today, poor Black mothers who need welfare are considered a drain on the social system, precisely because of the same practice that generated so much wealth for the nation: childbirth.

So nothing new there.

But as someone who has encountered/is encountering the very kinds of relational problems that Anna Cooper, Pauli Murray, Elise Johnson, Alice Walker, Toni Cade Bambara and Michelle Wallace have written about, I want to be able to have an honest discussion with my sisters (and with brothers) about what partnering might look like for Black women in this day and age. A few caveats:

  • I know marriage rates are declining for all Americans.
  • I also know that Black men’s rates of marriage are pretty low.
  • I also know that singleness is not a death sentence. I love my single life!   
  • And I know that marriage is not all its cracked up to be. Frankly, I’m ambivalent about it, steeped as it is in notions of patriarchy. 

(But I still want a partner.)

So the task for us is to separate the wheat from the chaff. That is, we must call out the opportunistic, damaging, disingenuous, sexist and racist social discourses and not lose sight of the fact that many, many sisters are struggling to find the love they want and need. That is my reality, and it is the reality of many of my friends. We need  and must begin to have conversations about how to have healthy partnerships, healthy single lives, and every iteration in between, without exalting marriage, disparaging singleness, centering heterosexuality, or demonizing Black women. It’s a tall order.

In the process, I wish for us the moxie and the courage of the sisters of the CP. They spoke up and said what they wanted. They knew #aclosedmouthdon’tgetfed. And they knew their wants and needs were legitimate.

And what did they want? Relationships to go with their revolution.

That seems perfectly reasonable to me. 

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107 Responses to “Teaching White Boys to Dance and Other Solutions to the Black Marriage Crisis”

  1. nzinga December 19, 2011 at 2:51 PM #

    praise. white. jesus.

    wait… :-)

    seriously, amen. and thank you.

  2. dbsm December 19, 2011 at 3:14 PM #

    “We need  and must begin to have conversations about how to have healthy partnerships, healthy single lives, and every iteration in between, without exalting marriage, disparaging singleness, centering heterosexuality, or demonizing Black women.”

    brafuckinvo

    and that pic in the article is strait killin me

    • Ed December 24, 2011 at 1:17 AM #

      A conversation about marriage focused on heterosexuality makes complete sense since only that pairing creates offspring in which both parents are present. The stable two parent family structure is the best way to raise children and singleness leads to either unstable families, a absent parent or no children at all. Being that we are living creatures with a limited life span this whole reproduction thing is kind of important. The intellectual navel gazing we see from modern feminist coming to terms with adulthood needs to remain grounded in the practical realities of the human life cycle. Forming families and having children are not mere luxuries we can dispense with nor do we need to focus on homosexuality which is at best a distraction considering the subject matter.

      • crunktastic December 24, 2011 at 8:03 AM #

        For the record, homophobic comments will not be allowed on this site. The two-parent family structure is often more effective than a one-parent structure because there tend to be more economic resources and more people to split up parenting duties. Effectiveness is not based on whether the two parents are hetero or same sex.

        2nd, the height of intellectual navel-gazing is for someone to continue to believe in 2011 that we should return to a patriarchal heterosexual family structure when it is clear, particularly in Black communities, that that ain’t never been the structure of our families, and it largely hasn’t worked. Furthermore, since you are so concerned about the plight of Black men, perhaps you should think about the ways that the government’s continued investment in heteropatriarchal structures has been used to strip Black men of their masculinity. In other words, if the government touts this model, and then the society systematically undereducates and underemploys Black men so that they can’t fulfill masculine gender roles, it creates a situation which emasculates and dehumanizes Black men. Moreover, without access to technical skills, Black men become un/willing victims of the Prison Industrial Complex. To continue to buy into a system that is designed for you not achieve its goals is absurd.

        Who taught me that? Black feminists. So it is Black feminists who think critically about what Black families can look like when Black men and women are both systematically impoverished, generation after generation. It is Black feminists (male and female) who challenge Black men to create some notions of masculinity that aren’t based solely in economic terms, precisely because we are aware of Black men’s economic plight.

        The question of course is whether Black men are aware of Black women’s economic plight, political, social plight, etc? The general answer to that question is no.

  3. Alisha M.Gray (@ZenMamaPolitic) December 19, 2011 at 3:33 PM #

    I sincerely like this; especially your acknowledgment of there having been a previous history of single mother families w/in the Black community. This is indeed not a new and unique situation. Many people forget that even after slavery, Black men were scarce because of war, poverty, death, and the beginnings of the Prison Industrial Complex. So..again. Single Black Motherhood..Nothing New. But, not talking about it…and having an alignment of Patriarchy by Black men; which is also the same notion, that is tearing both themselves, Black women, and their own families apart. This is unfortunately ‘the new newness’ of the problem; not forgetting to include the defamation of Black women’s character and credibility (as an unwanted bonus), this time around. So yes.. I agree that an addition of basic honesty and fundamental logic about this situation would obviously be more than blatantly audacious and helpful to our current plight. (I wish that I could put it on a million Billboards and commercials.) Such a simple task; yet seemingly so d’mn hard for these Patriarchy loving people. Great Article.

    • Ed December 24, 2011 at 1:47 AM #

      The notion that patriarchy is tearing apart black relationships is absurd. Prior to modern feminism and ‘The Great Society’ black marriage rates were the same as whites and even higher at one point. It’s not a new problem, but that is not to say it has always been one. I am not suggesting any kind of rolling back but we do need to look back and try to understand how we got off track when it comes to forming stable families.

      Only 5% of black men are in prison. Black men were not and are not scare. Scarcity could explain maybe 10% the rest is choice. That is way too much but it’s not like it can explain away the huge disparities that exist.

      This issue has not about male power or the lack of equality for women. It has more to do with our general neglect of men. I have not seen one article from black women responding to this issue that puts addressing the problems of black men at the forefront. The disparity between male and female in this case is one in which males are suffering the bulk of the negative consequences.

      What is being done to our males and what can women do about? That is what you should be asking yourself.

      • crunktastic December 24, 2011 at 8:07 AM #

        All the women are not white, and all the Blacks are not men. On that basis, this statement:

        “What is being done to our males and what can women do about? That is what you should be asking yourself.” is ridiculous.

        The question you should be asking yourself is why you think Black men should take up all the racial psychic space since you are only one-half of the Black population? The question you should be asking yourself is if you really are a good race man if you don’t give a fuck about what happens to Black women? The question you should be asking yourself is what kind of intellectual acrobatics permit you not to see that racial oppression does not have merely one component?

        Bottom line: if you want another site that argues that the problems “of the Black Man” are central to our racial struggles, hell just read the whole of African American history, where Black men’s stories and lives have dominated. Or do an internet search and you’ll be right at home.

        But what you won’t be allowed to do is commandeer this space and make it about you. Be forewarned about that.

        Peace.

  4. analogmojo December 19, 2011 at 3:49 PM #

    this has left me speechless of sorts, in a beautiful way. reading this was healing on so many levels. this question is essentially what ended my last relationship. he was white, liberal and unwilling to look at our relationship as part of a larger context; i was black, rebellious and not interested in such insular reality. i have been trying to tease apart the knot of confusion and pain from that experience and this article articulated some things my emotional state would not allow articulated.

    as always, thank you for what you do and your courage in existing in a fully observant way!!

  5. natasiarose December 19, 2011 at 4:09 PM #

    That picture is the best thing ever.

    And women should just date whoever they are attracted too and treats them well. Great post!

  6. afrykan December 19, 2011 at 7:05 PM #

    The black community is damaged. Women and men. I just think women are way too concerned with preserving the race instead of preserving their own happiness. I am in no way disputing the woes of black women either. I have tons of female friends who tell me how little the get approached by men of other races. But I also see the amount of games that get played when they do get approached by good men so it leaves me somewhat confused.

    You list all the reasons why a marriage won’t work and then say you want one anyway. Maybe you should evaluate why you even want one despite being happy single. Maybe if we cleared up our intent, we would be able to put our decisions and ultimately choices (or lack thereof) in perspective.

    (Not all but) Black women do come off as loud and boisterous and that accusation is often met with more loudness. Has anyone considered that maybe it’s true? Maybe the reason you keep hearing it is because it’s true. Real Housewives from Atlanta are just as ignorant as Real Housewives from Orange County but they are louder and more combative and that’s why they have better ratings. Both groups do not represent all women but that is a snapshot of America. And what’s worse is it is women watching these shows and perpetuating their own negative stereotypes (at least now it is).

    Maybe the reason black men keep hearing they are angry is because they are angry. We all grew up in the same loud dysfunctional neighborhoods so why is it so far fetched that their is an angry black woman epidemic also? Can’t hate the messenger forever. And I am black as hell so please don’t think this is some racial tirade.

    I think Black men want to be with a black woman also but they want to be happy more. I’m just real tired of the pity party and lack of responsibility on everyone’s part. There is absolutely just causation for what occurred in the past and there definitely are ongoing effects of slavery but now what? I’ve never heard a woman say “I know slavery made it rough for you so you don’t have to buy me a drink”. Everyone wants what the want and they only care about the reasons when they don’t it.

    I’m gonna marry the first woman that makes me happy and I don’t care if she’s black or blue.

    • crunktastic December 19, 2011 at 8:06 PM #

      I said I wanted a partner not necessarily a marriage.

      Real Housewives should never be used to justify any Black person’s impressions of Black women.

      Black men have always had the luxury of laying aside politics for happiness. Black women have been required to hold black families and communities together by the sheer force of our presence if nothing else.

      The idea that a black dude can either be with a black woman or be happy is an absurdly false and damaging binary.
      Most of your comment seems like a rant particularly when u accuse me of not taking responsibility. That’s interesting bc the whole point of the piece invites black women and men to not let the media’s misrepresentations deter us from necessary conversations.

    • BossLady December 19, 2011 at 10:42 PM #

      Apparently you’ve never seen a “Girl’s Gone Wild” video or been in a bar full of drunk white chicks? I’m not sure in what circle’s YOU travel, but the black women I know are neither loud nor boisterous unless at a sporting event or playing Pictionary. I’m SOOO very sick and tired of the stereotype that we are all undesirable because we are basically uncouth. I’ve been out with men of all races that could benefit from some good old fashioned etiquette and decorum training so why do black women always seem to be the deference when this topic comes up? And to use any “reality” TV personality as the guise for anything is absurd. A contrived and unscripted pretend-person in no way represents who I am, ever was, or ever will be.

      Anyway dude, bottom line is you’re WAY off base and I hope you find that black or blue woman you seek. I’m gonna stick to the traditional races.

    • S. Mandisa Moore December 19, 2011 at 11:39 PM #

      And folks like you are exactly who need to be called out. Where do you go off affirming the racialized, sexist notions of black women as angry and loud?

      But here’s the most ironic, most annoying part of your supposedly logical statement: it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When black women’s very being is constantly up for public debate, when macro and micro policies seek to control, police, and stigmatize our bodies, sexuality, and reproduction, and when people like you constantly tell us what is wrong with us, we get tired of it and have the unmitigated gaul to go off on you for constantly policing us. Then, instead of checking yourself, you have the nerve to continue to blame us.

      Im not even going to comment on your comment on slavery and buying drinks….it makes no sense and says alot about your sense of self….

      Crunktastic: this post is amazing. As always, much love.

    • nzinga December 20, 2011 at 7:56 AM #

      The black community is not damaged. For a black person to uniformly prescribe the dysfunction of individual black people/couples/families to the entire race is a demonstration of internalized self-hatred.

  7. @blackfeminism December 19, 2011 at 9:24 PM #

    I was hoping they were teaching the white CP fellas The Watusi, but that craze didn’t hit until the ’60s.

  8. Beth Robinson December 19, 2011 at 11:15 PM #

    I don’t think that you can look at the “past” without context. It was dangerous for black women to date outside of their community; there were states where they could not be raped. I don’t think we can forget the context for women of color.

    But on the other end of the spectrum… Why do we ignore that Loving v. Virginia was a black woman and white man? I think it is disingenuous to do this, and to ignore the stigma that women of color deal with that is completely irrational and works to hurt women of color in any relationship. And that it is growing, for some unknown reason. There are so many famous interracial relationships that involved black women; why are these so demonized? I wish, I truly do, that men who are ignorant of class and race struggle were only those of the paler pigment, that only men who lack pigment can’t dance. That color issues aren’t on both sides of the “color line”, and that they don’t impact black women differently because of images of beauty and what that means for women of color.

    I really wish we could simply love, without history getting in the way. Of any of us.

    • nzinga December 20, 2011 at 7:47 AM #

      Interracial relationships involving black women are not being blanketly demonized (esp not in the CF post above). What IS being demonized (or at least SHOULD be demonized) is that interracial relationships involving black women are the “solutions” or an optimal alternative to the average black woman who wants to be involved in a long-term, committed, heterosexual romantic relationship. It is a specious, prescriptive and reductive suggestion. In fact, there are NO “solutions” because being a single black woman is not a “problem.”

  9. JazzFest December 20, 2011 at 1:59 AM #

    “But if the recent statistics on Black women’s success in online dating is any indication, white guys aren’t checking for us anymore now than they were in 1934 (at least not on legal, consensual, non-coercive terms)”

    I WISH I could remember what the source was, but I do recall reading that rates of marriage between black women and non-black men have/are increasing. This isn’t of course to deny what the cyber reality is…

    And for serious the black women are fundamentally dysfunctional nonsense is a PAIN. As if!

    For me the biggest things with inter-racial relationships:

    1. People should choose colour over character (not to assume as you wrote that these relationships can be immune from the race reality,etc). We are working on an existence where profound and mutually beneficial relationship can be build across constructed differences that were historically used to define and divide us.

    2. There is a double standard out there that bothers me. Very often when there is discussion of black women partnering with non-black men (but I guess especially white men) the women are accused of betraying the race. I do try to understand that there is the history of slave masters raping female slaves. But the ppl claiming black women are traitors don’t seem to have the same charge against black men who partner with non-black women (especially white women). White women used their privilege to accuse black men of sexual assault and rape (Emmett Till). So isn’t there historical damage to both sides. Many civil rights activists and Pan – Africanists partnered with white women and tthe ability of these men to advocate for black people didn’t seem to have been called into question. In fact their white partners were often given space in the discourse (which given male privelege and white female privelege ) that along with the voices of the men dominated other voices (namely black women).

    I’m a first generation Nigerian immigrant living outside the States (so if you feel I have no place commenting that’s fair) I can’t claim to understand your particular context. The context of my parents dealing with post colonialism while with similarities is different from the post- slavery context in the U.S. However living in North America I find that some of the issues and stereotypes do apply so in certain instances I’m interacting with stereotypes of immigrants and stereotypes of African American women (oh JOY).

    So I’ve just have been reading blogs and this is my two cents…

    • panamaenrique December 20, 2011 at 8:51 PM #

      Not my view, but I once heard it explained from a Black man that the perception was that when Black women date outside it’s because they have finally given completely up on Black men. Black men on the other hand were “just sowing their oats”.

  10. afrykan December 20, 2011 at 2:01 AM #

    Once again, kill the messenger. Folk like me who are one of the few men even willing to comment so that we can further the dialogue. Folk like me who represent the black men that you guys want to be with but never want to listen to. It’s like wanting to play for a team and they are telling you to work on certain aspects of your game. Rather than hit the gym, you get mad at your teammates and coaches for telling you the truth. If we are all truly on the same side then what did I say that was so offensive and out of line? Take the emotion out of the situation and ask yourself if there is any truth to what I am saying. Black women (just like black men) who live in America are more inclined to come from dysfunctional circumstances. Accept it so you can get over it.

    • crunktastic December 20, 2011 at 5:48 AM #

      There is dialogue and then there is mansplaining which is akin to whitesplaining, both of which are hella annoying.

      You and I begin from two different premises. Your ‘advice’ or sermonizing comes from the assumption that Black folks are more pathological than other races. Um, an unbridled belief in white supremacy is pathological. White privilege is pathological. The black folk who confront those challenges daily and maintain their humanity and still manage to believe in love are not pathological.

      I begin from the premise that our primary challenges are structural and that those challenges influence our desires and engagements. That is what I sought to expose through the history lesson and I’m uninterested in demonizing black ppl AND in being preached to abt what Black women need to fix. That kind of dialogue is unproductive.

    • nzinga December 20, 2011 at 8:06 AM #

      @afrykan: your fundamental premise (that you represent the kind of man that crunktastic or any of this blog’s readers wants to be with) reflects a self-absorption and self-aggrandizement that probably makes it really, really difficult for you to fully understand and appreciate the reactions to your posts. Also, your premise is false.

      • crunktastic December 20, 2011 at 1:21 PM #

        Thank you!

  11. JazzFest December 20, 2011 at 2:07 AM #

    “So the idea that Black women just need to open themselves to the possibility as Ralph Richard Banks suggests in Is Marriage for White People? is belied by the fact that Black women like Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Claudia Jones politically supported interracial marriage in the 1890s and the 1940s respectively”

    I’m also uncomfortable with this idea of turning relationships into economics and black women can save the black community by partnering inter-racially and it will get black men, to do better, etc, etc, etc. But then, I mean, given some of Banks arguments isn’t he just catering to his audience and using their rationale? (i.e. I don’t want to marry inter-racially because I don’t want to neglect the black community).

    Also isn’t there also the mainstream idea that black women SHOULDN’T date out? I know that inter-racially partnering didn’t historically happen at the same rate for both genders, but wasn’t there less acceptance for black women to date inter-racially even if the only reason was “nobody else could want you” message?

    (again, you can tell me to go away…)

    • nzinga December 20, 2011 at 10:23 PM #

      @JazzFest: while i personally relate to your point that relationships shouldn’t be all about economics, the fact is that marriage has indeed traditionally about shoring up financial position, achieving social standing, creating empires (for the uber-wealthy/privileged). This whole marry-for-love thing is actually a pretty modern phenomenon.

      I think the purpose of the original post was not to dissect or analyze WHY a black woman wants to marry a black man. Instead, it opposes the notion that a black woman should necessarily date outside her race if she is not married (even if she isn’t into non-black men for WHATEVER reason).

  12. afrykan December 20, 2011 at 2:45 AM #

    “The idea that a black dude can either be with a black woman or be happy is an absurdly false and damaging binary”. That is 100% damaging and absurd but that was neither my insinuation nor intent. To clarify, men (on average) would rather be happy with the right person regardless of race than force an unhealthy relationship in the name of dating within our race. I would imagine that women would too. It’s just seen as a greater societal taboo when black women date outside of their race which ultimately renders that choice somewhat implausible. But once again, that social scrutiny is coming predominantly from other black women. Men are too horny and simple to care about things so complex. We just want our women to be hot and cool.

    Once you limit your options, you limit your chances of success. I’m not trying to be incendiary in any capacity. Just trying to present an alternate perspective. I did enjoy your blog btw. I need to work on that Electric Spider dance move the guy is doing in the picture to broaden my dating pool.

  13. Anthony Ware December 20, 2011 at 8:18 AM #

    Bravo, Bravo!!! I agree! Well written too!

  14. afrykan December 20, 2011 at 10:17 AM #

    “Where do you go off affirming the racialized, sexist notions of black women as angry and loud?”

    I don’t know where I could get such a preposterous notion. Maybe it’s the angry responses and personal insults I am getting from women for stating how I feel despite the fact that all my comments critique the entire diaspora and not just black women. I’m preachy, self absorbed, etc… I’m not gonna call anyone any names because that would be counter productive.

    Why are you so opposed to what black men think black women need to fix? Especially since we are the ones that those who refuse to date outside of their race want to be with? So you want to be with us but you just don’t want to listen to us? If a message is recurring and from multiple sources, there could be some truth to it. All men didn’t come together and collectively decide that we are going to label black women “loud”. Further to that, not all black women are loud.

    Would all this sound better If I said black men to need take care of their children and focus on their education and families? Is the message more palatable when I point out the shortcomings of men also? This is not the first time I have had this discourse and it is always met with the same level of resistance.

    We can pretend all we want. I live in NY and I grew up in predominantly black neighborhoods. We are all products of social conditions. The reason you speak English is because you live in America. If you grew up in a black neighborhood, you are more inclined (not destined but more inclined) to participate in “black activities”. I play basketball and listen to hip hop for a reason. Part of that is choice and part of that is what I was exposed to.

    My people are louder than white people! Period. I didn’t say more ignorant because that is not true. I am not talking about situations where it is acceptable either (bars and sporting events). I am talking about the teenagers you hear before you see them on the train. I’m talking about the “I wish a sucka would…” approach to things. Of course you don’t see a group of thirty year old black women yelling at the top of their lungs on the train but the opinions of us are formed way before we mature and come to our senses. I can’t believe I should even have to cite instances. Are we in that much denial of behaviors that are viewed unfavorably by EVERYONE!?

    Do you know why I am the only man posting? Because most sane people realize a losing battle when they see one and have given up on trying to communicate. I actually love black women too much to NOT tell them the truth (which is of course subjective but no less relevant than your truth).

    Reaffirming how you already feel with other women who agree with your sentiment doesn’t broaden your scope. It strengthens it. That may make you feel confident in your position but it doesn’t bring about a resolution.

    • crunktastic December 20, 2011 at 1:20 PM #

      U aren’t the only man commenting. Nor are u the first man to engage in this kind of discussion on this blog. Nor are u doing us a service by telling us ish we could read in a Steve Harvey book or watch in a Tyler Perry movie. I sincerely hope not all brothers think like u. If so, bring on the white boys!

    • crunktastic December 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM #

      So basically you’re mad because a bunch of sisters are poking mad holes in your arguments? Well, Bruh, it seems like u need more ppl (and better arguments).

    • nzinga December 21, 2011 at 9:33 PM #

      @afrykan: please be clear: I didn’t call you self-absorbed. I said your premise (that you’re the kind of black man that a black woman would want to be with) reflected self-absorption. That’s given the fact that none of us knows ANYTHING definative about you (except the fact that you are a black man). As a person, you may or may not be characteristically self-absorbed on general principle. I’m fair enough to ackowledge that. So, this hardly stoops to the level of name-calling.

  15. Gal 3:28 December 20, 2011 at 2:24 PM #

    Lately, especially during this holiday season with families all around, I have noticed mass amounts of interracial couples out and about. Two or more cultures coming together to make one family is a beautiful thing to me, so I have no problem or prejudice against it. However, having looked more closely, I have noticed that probably over 90% of these interracial couples consist of a colored man and a white woman.

    (I am a young black woman who is currently dating a young white man. I chose him not on the basis of his race but on the basis of the person that he is. I understand that his race may have influenced his character somewhere down the line, but the only flaws I see in him have absolutely nothing to do with his race. To be quite honest, I feel silly even having to identify myself as black and him as white in any conversation, because to me, man has made race into something that divides, separates and demotes people rather than something that is truly helpful in the end. Not to disrespect the fulfillment that comes from knowing that you belong to a certain culture and a certain type of people but essentially, all races become prideful in one way or another and therefore, gain a notion of superiority and begin to assume things about those outside of their own race.)

    After reading this blog, it dawned on me that this observation (colored men with white women) is a form of sexism that contains an incredible amount of history! When I first started dating my boyfriend, my father was ABSOLUTELY FURIOUS. And I mean it. It was probably the worst time of my life. He could not fathom why I would not want to date within my race. He even claimed that there is so much more to be had in dating a black man (how would he even know that?). To talk me out of it, he confessed that he once wanted to date a white woman after he and my mother divorced but chose not to date her because he didn’t want to ruin any ties with family members (my mother is half white…hmmm). I guarantee that if he decided to marry this woman, the family would have accepted it because he is a man. When I walk around with my boyfriend in the city, I get comments from black men like “wow, low standards” or “you must not really be black, huh?”. They say those things right in front of my boyfriend. The worst is when they come up to us (and we’re obviously a couple) and they say, “Your girlfriend is beautiful (or bomb)”. Why so much disrespect? What empowers a man to hit on a girl right in front of her boyfriend other than a feeling of superiority?
    It’s ridiculous to me that I have been so publically ridiculed for my personal relationship because of a battle that should be finished. I am not going to give up a perfectly functional relationship because of sexism and/or any assumptions of who my boyfriend and what he has experienced in his lifetime. I am sorry but do not feel it is my duty to preserve any race. Those who feel the need to do that, go for it! Just don’t look down upon those who see things differently. Thank you for your blog, I will definitely continue to read it 

    • nzinga December 20, 2011 at 9:38 PM #

      @Gal: you seem content in your interracial partnership. I am genuinely glad for you. Im just not sure how your post recounting your experience relates to crunktastic’s original post. Would you care to elaborate?

    • gimili December 23, 2011 at 6:56 AM #

      When much younger, I was on the other side of that relationship. Around’ 1980 I was the white guy in wonderful relationship with great girl who happened to be black. The haters were everywhere, only once in NYC on the west 4th A platform did we ever get that “cute couple” look and nod….And it shocked both of us…in a 2 year relationship. While I suppose it was harder back then, I hope you can keep it from damaging your relationship…..deep true love is rare…..and precious.

  16. Judaye December 20, 2011 at 2:34 PM #

    Afrykan you said “Men are too horny and simple to care about things so complex. We just want our women to be hot and cool.” I have been thinking about this statement. What do you mean? Would you you describe a cool woman?

  17. Darnell December 20, 2011 at 3:48 PM #

    Show of hands:

    How many black women have a “can-get-it” list with a handful of white guys on it, but have a “friend category” filled with decent brothers who can’t get a second thought? Are black men expected to take responsibility for that as well?

    How much “stepping up” does a black man have to do? Your article makes it seem like all a white man has to do is show interest.

    You say that you’re for interracial dating, but articles like these point toward the contrary. When was the last time the white man has been blamed for the black woman being single? If want you really want is for black men to stop dating outside the race, then just say so, like the CP women did.

    • crunktastic December 20, 2011 at 6:14 PM #

      Well, since the stats say that the majority of Black men, to the tune of something like 90%, still marry Black women, I in no way implied that interracial dating was a threat to Black women. What I have argued here is that interracial dating is not a panacaea for Black women’s struggle to find good relationships.

      So stop making it about you, and stop trying to make it seem as if this is just another article knocking Black men. No where did I demonize brothers. Your choice to project that onto to this article is your own issue.

      And finally, I wish that I had a list of brothers lined up wanting me. But that is not now, nor has it been the case in entirety of my adulthood. What I do have is a long list of guy friends who have placed me in the friend zone, called me homegirl, made me a platonic girlfriend, or intellectual mistress; they like to call and talk to me about intellectual issues, politics, their relationships, etc, but never consider me as a romantic partner. Yeah, I’ll raise my hand and a glass if you ever wanna do a rollcall for that experience.

      Otherwise, stop the madness!

      • Darnell December 20, 2011 at 7:34 PM #

        I in no way implied that you did see interracial dating as a threat. That said, 10 percent was enough to motivate you to write this article. In no way did you state what you really wanted other than a relationship.
        On the contrary, you did demonize brothers even if a little. You basically stated that black men today don’t take responsibility for the state of black relationships like they did in the days of old (my how things have changed). My question is, how many more times are we men going to hear women use the word “responsibility” like it’s a multi-vitamin designed specifically for men? Believe me when I say that some of us are just as tired of the “black men need to do better” mantra as women are of being called “difficult”. It’s easy to say what will not rectify the struggle black women have with relationships, specifically with black men. However,if feminism is truly about empowerment, my challenge to you is to identify the best remedy for said struggle without any measure of accountability on the black man’s part…or any man’s part for that matter.
        Really good dodge of my friend category comment. I guess the white men on your “can-get-it” list placed themselves there as well.

      • crunktastic December 20, 2011 at 8:25 PM #

        Reading is fundamental. This blog was not primarily about interracial dating. It used a funny historical story to illustrate some larger principles about how the media and the public talk about issues in Black dating today. RE: interracial dating, my only point was to both affirm that interracial dating is a legitimate option while also pointing out that it will not entirely solve the problem. What’s so hard to understand about that?

        2nd, pointing out the spate of very public Black male condemnation of Black women and the ways in which this is a break from history is not demonization, but truth-telling. (Steve Harvey, Tyler Perry, anyone?) What you have demonstrated is that when it comes to gender criticism, brothers can dish it, to the tune of millions in revenue, but they can’t take even a parenthetical reference, backed up by good historical research. How pitiful is that?

        Of course we’ll be holding brothers accountable for the ish they do. But this piece wasn’t even about that. I didn’t resort to the “niggas-aint-shit” meme, so stop trying to vaguely insinuate that I have. It’s pitiful, incorrect, and unfair, and it’s a sad attempt to derail the conversation by making Black men the victim of man-hating feminists. You’re too smart for that and so am I, so stop it.

        Finally, I didn’t dodge your question about the friend list. I met it head on. I do not have any male friends who want to be with me who I’ve turned down in favor of a “bad boy” or somebody more handsome or anything else. Nor do any of my close friends have such lists. I, however, have been the one turned down and friend-listed by dudes I liked for chicks who supposedly were more attractive, less intellectually challenging, etc. Is that direct enough for you?

        Now stop tripping and get over yourself.

  18. afrykan December 20, 2011 at 5:50 PM #

    Judaye, when I say a cool woman I mean personality and temperament. Someone who you can disagree with without getting into power struggles and name calling. Someone willing to consider perspectives other than their own. Someone with empathy. Basically, someone mature.

    Crunktastic, I am not mad nor am I trying to win anything. For the sake of argument however, If I am somehow right then what do you really stand to lose by reevaluating how you relate to men? If I am wrong then you don’t have to reevaluate anything. And I know you think I am a jerk but the only question you really have to ask yourself is “Is what I am currently doing getting the results I want?”

    And more men think like me than you may want to admit (they just aren’t as vocal about it). White men don’t want to get into relationships that come with built in power struggles either so good luck with whomever you think is gonna be cool with bellicose behavior. REAL MEN LIKE PEACE!!

    • crunktastic December 20, 2011 at 6:32 PM #

      Since we’ve been reduced to stating the obvious:Real women like peace too. But if peace for brothers means a sister can’t be vocal in her disagreements, then hell yeah, there’s gonna be war, or in my case, a policy of total disengagement. Any brother that doesn’t know how to dialogue with a sister as an equal without tossing out loaded statements about how she’s disrupting his peace (which is really a way of saying that he doesn’t want to be challenged to think differently) has a moribund concept of masculinity.

      Plenty of Black men are vocal about what y’all think of us. In fact, that’s all we hear from Steve Harvey, Michael Baisden, and Tyler Perry.

      You keep assuming that you’ve dropped some new never heard of perspectives that are compelling enough to make me go back to the drawing board. But everything you’ve said is unoriginal (see point 2.) Also, luckily I have men in my life, who don’t think like you, and who have affirmed that the problems aren’t with women but with retrograde ass gender notions, which lots of brothers subscribe to for their own fucked up reasons.

      So yes, I’m okay with my choices, because I believe in the principles that inform them. In other words, if I can’t have a brother who lives his life in ways that are affirming, non-sexist, and non-patriarchal, then I can do bad by myself.

      • Ed December 24, 2011 at 12:24 AM #

        Do you honestly think the problems between black men and women are due to men’s fixation with old gender roles? Black men have been being raised by single black women for generations. We are the last people to be stuck on that and I do not know why a black women of all people would foolishly jump on the feminist band wagon as if her men were even capable of oppressing her. Let’s keep it real. You are using some white women’s world view to rationalize the dynamics of the black relationships and it doesn’t make sense.

        A black man seeking peace for instance should be seen as seeking peace from a otherwise hostile world where he is more likely to suffer racial abuse than a black female. Within the black community itself he is the primary victim of the violence, the unemployed, the unloved and forgotten man on a street corner. Men don’t have it easy and they are not doing well. Pulling a feminist female as victim card on what is actually the most disadvantaged group in America is a joke.

        If you see Steve Harvey, Michael Baisden, and Tyler Perry on the same page then I think at least women should be women enough to call out those loud obnoxious women who think dressing down a man is their god given right. Saying things to man that would cause men to come to blows because you can rely on him not hitting a women doesn’t make you strong. It’s a cowardly act of abuse against a party who would be condemned for even responding in kind. This kind of double standards don’t show up on your radar screen but men will get in line to attack any man we see abusing women.

        The sexism I see here are women who still in 2011 fail to fully embrace equality because they insist on waiting on men to make the first move. You don’t need to wait on men to do anything else in your life and men would to see women doing their part to get the ball rolling. This humbling experience is exactly what women need to get some proper perspective on what it means to treat someone well.

      • crunktastic December 24, 2011 at 7:52 AM #

        Is it 1975? Because these old, tired ass arguments you are making about Black feminism had their hey-day around 40 years ago. In other words, you and your whack objections are unoriginal.

        So a couple of points: feminism is a foregone conclusion on this site. The notion that you’d come here and spew anti-feminist rhetoric and expect to be taken seriously is –as you called another commenter’s words–absurd.

        2nd, I think you need to read more. All the ridiculous objections you raise to feminism were answered in the 1970s. You might check out anything by Toni Cade Bambara, Alice Walker, or Frances Beale. And lest you think Black men have no history of feminism, you should probably read Rudolph Byrd’s and Beverly Guy-Sheftall’s anthology Traps: Black Men on Gender and Sexuality. The texts gives historical documents which prove that several famous Black men, Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois among them understood the plight of Black women and believed in women’s rights. If you need something more contemporary, why don’t you read Mark Anthony Neal’s New Black Man, and in particular his chapter, What the Hell is a Black Male Feminist? Maybe these brothers can help you understand the ways in which you are capable of oppressing us. And at the very least they can help you understand that in a society which was founded on the principle that both Blacks and women were property, Black women were and are duly disadvantaged by such a system.

        Why have I given you a reading list? Because your comment smacks of ignorance, and you haven’t even read stuff from the men in your own history who thought that many of the positions feminists take are legitimate, even if they didn’t identify as feminists. So before you come back to this discussion, you should perhaps do some reading. If you choose not to, just be clear that this means your position is illegitimate because it is based in ignorance.

      • nzinga December 24, 2011 at 1:12 PM #

        @Ed: black men’s fixation on old gender roles is not the problem between black men and women. Black PEOPLE’S fixation on old gender roles is the problem. The immediate suffering is most acute for black women, but both men and women perpetuate and ultimately suffer from the resulting dysfunction.

        Black feminism is about recognizing that black women are full human beings with all the delights and perils (and everything in between) that other human beings have while acknowledging (and actively rejecting) how black women face unique, pointed challenges and oppression. That’s all there is to it. Anything else you add is your projection, assumption, association, etc. That’s on YOU (not on black feminism).

  19. Yello Kat December 20, 2011 at 5:58 PM #

    Honestly, this sounds like another “white men don’t want you anyway” mantra. It’s the same BS that so many black men have been telling black women (and that black women have repeated to themselves and others) for decades. Black women are known to be too dark, loud, angry, etc. so white men don’t want us. Or white men would only want us for sex/exotic experience/fill in the blank but not as a whole woman and never for a real relationship. It’s a bunch of crap. I sensed that this article was fueled by personal insecurities when you referenced that ridiculous OKcupid article, as if those statistics are not fueled by racist incentives.

    This country is over 60% white, and black women are a minority in this country. Educated black women (the population you’re reaching with this article) comprise an even tinier segment of the population. That means through numbers alone, even if most white men did not want a black woman, going off the minority who are open to it…if every black woman wanted to partner with a white man, she could, or would have a solid chance at doing so. That is why this black marriage crisis to me only really pertains to women who aren’t willing to step outside of the box. I personally advocate HEALTHY relationships, not just interracial or intra-racial, but given that you’re bringing up numbers and statistics out of your magical hat, I figured I’d just throw that out there.

    White men are not gods; they are MEN. It’s not that hard to gain a white man’s interest because he will operate on the same basic terms as any other man when it comes to attraction.The vast majority of them just want a woman who they’re attracted to, and who has a personality and values that they can mesh with. Yes, many of them have reservations about black women, but many also don’t. They are varied individuals, like you and me.

    Lots of people are looking for love, not just black women. Finding a soul mate is not a “black woman’s” issue; that’s just how it’s portrayed in the media. I’m honestly disturbed with this article because it was offensive (implying that we’re bottom of the barrel) and it only speaks to your personal experiences, not everyone else’s. Most guys who are interested in me are white. In fact, if I didn’t like white guys I probably wouldn’t be dating at all, because it’s actually men of color who discriminate against me the most.

    • crunktastic December 20, 2011 at 6:22 PM #

      Clearly, you’ve misread this article. Do you really think on a feminist site devoted to the experiences of women of color that we’d write a piece knocking sisters as being at the bottom of the barrel? Second, I haven’t opposed interracial dating AT ALL. I did, however, point to some fairly extensive statistics from an online dating site about the fact that Black women do get less responses than all other races, and that is true whether you’re talking about white, Black, or Asian men. The difference is in interpretation. I interpret that data to mean that Black women are victimized by a set of societal narratives that cause men to view us as less attractive than other races. Hell, if you weren’t aware, back in the summer a “scientist” named Satoshi Kanazawa over at Psychology Today published a piece of ridiculous saying just that: i.e. Black women are objectively less attractive than all other races (he had graphs and charts to back up his bullshit).

      This blog participated in and helped lead an international campaign that got the man fired from his post at P.T. and put on probation at his job at the London School of Economics. Our allegiances are clear. The problem is not with Black women. The problem is with societal narratives.

      If a sister finds a white guy to love her, she should go for it. If that’s who’s loving you, more power. However, what my piece challenges is the notion that Black women aren’t dating interracially because they aren’t open. What the statistics that I offered proved was that even when Black women get open, that doesn’t mean that white guys approach them. So for all your stated investment in the idea that there is a white guy for every sister who wants one, if white guys don’t subscribe to that notion, then your theory has a flaw: even if the numbers are on your side, interracial desire clearly isn’t.

      Further, I pointed to history and statistics, and only vaguely referenced my personal experience. Moreover, my personal experience doesn’t negate yours and vice versa, and my argument doesn’t pivot upon a need to demonize sisters who date white guys. Clearly, you have some pain around this, and I suspect you take a lot of flack. Acknowledged. But that is not the perspective I’m coming from, so do back up and come again.

  20. afrykan December 20, 2011 at 6:37 PM #

    “I sincerely hope not all brothers think like u. If so, bring on the white boys!”

    That doesn’t sound like someone open to interracial dating. That sounds like someone who will date outside of their race only when they discover that their options are limited.

    • crunktastic December 20, 2011 at 6:40 PM #

      The question is why it matters to you. The post is not about interracial dating primarily, or my dating choices specifically. It’s about having a broader discussion about the options available to Black women. Interracial dating is a legitimate part of that conversation for me and for others. It’s just not the panacea for the problem. Word of the Day: nuance.

  21. afrykan December 20, 2011 at 7:01 PM #

    Um yeah. Did you read the title of your own post? I came over to your site based on the title. It is a bit incendiary (did you ever consider how white men feel about being publicly addressed as boys?) and suggest that the black community is in crisis as it relates to marriage.

    It matters to me because you have a forum. The messages you convey to others carry more weight than you realize.

    I will now dismount my righteous high horse and ride off into the sunset.

  22. Peoples Rodriguez (@DanTresOmi) December 20, 2011 at 10:43 PM #

    Dope post.
    I am sitting here with my mouth open like WOOOOORRRDDDD!

  23. Darnell December 20, 2011 at 10:49 PM #

    If reading is fundamental, then what is writing? You titled this article with implications of interracial dating.

    To accuse men of not being able to take what we dish out given the way you’ve lashed out at men on this blog for their honest opinions is nothing more than pot meeting kettle. The very equality that a feminist demands was reflected in just about every male response. Yet the feminist mindset doesn’t seem to allow such input. Therein lays my issue with the feminist agenda. As much equality as feminist demands, responsibility still seems submitted to the man. Which is why I think this mindset is dangerous when it comes to topics like this.

    Women have been holding men accountable for years. Unfortunately, not only do women hold us responsible for what we do, but we’re also held responsible for decisions that women demanded be ultimately theirs to make.

    For example, a woman decides to carry a pregnancy to term knowing the father is unreliable, yet the child being at risk from the point of birth is solely the man’s fault. And her choice to keep the child is considered being responsible. Responsibility wouldn’t have opened her womb to such a man…no? I personally don’t have a problem with women holding men responsible. My problem is with women waiting until shit-done-hit-the-fan before the word is even uttered.

    What is all of jibberish about Tyler Perry? You ever see the pity party called For Colored
    Girls? If women should be more open to dating white men, fine. But the next time that movie is remade, the drunk who drops his kids out the window better be white. And who said anything about choosing bad-boys? Hit dog hollers at rock not thrown. If reading is fundamental, then let’s not read what isn’t there.

    • crunktastic December 21, 2011 at 12:20 AM #

      In line with your last sentence, since what isn’t here are any legitimate arguments about this post or feminism itself, then there is no further need to respond.

      Thanks for reading.

  24. afrykan December 20, 2011 at 11:57 PM #

    I wasn’t even gonna touch the Tyler Perry comment cause that fool is definitely not on the side of the black man or woman to be honest. He panders to make money. Period. This is how I feel about Tyler Perry:

    http://crazedafrykan.blogspot.com/2010/12/for-colored-guys-who-have-considered.html

  25. Darnell December 21, 2011 at 1:09 AM #

    Legitimate meaning “agreeable” I’m sure.

    You’re welcome.

  26. afrykan December 21, 2011 at 10:29 AM #

    Everyone that doesn’t agree with you just doesn’t understand or misread your article. What if we just don’t agree with you? Your responses to the people who have taken time to respond to your post but don’t agree with you is rude, insulting, condescending and dismissive. Mansplaining, needing more people, telling people to stop tripping and get over themselves, “back up and come again”, and whatever other colorful hip hop euphemisms you choose to convey your “either your with us or you’re against us” sentiments. Funny thing is no one is coming at you the same way yet you still persist. You could’ve taken this conversation in a much more progressive direction. As much as I would love to address all of your stank retorts in an equally stank manner, all I will say is good luck to you.

    • crunktastic December 21, 2011 at 12:53 PM #

      Back so soon after riding off into the sunset?

  27. Akcordero December 21, 2011 at 2:25 PM #

    Wow! And some do not grasp the reasons there is a problem? Individuals have different opinions on issues that affect us all yet ,after reading the conversations above, I fail to umderstand what the goal is. The Blog indicates the Author’s opinion and the comments reflect the reader’s opinions. Is the issue resolved by the negativity and need to be right? Or maybe a positive outcome is not the goal? Please people focus on the reality you want to see and stop this useless negativity.

  28. RoseTattoo December 21, 2011 at 2:43 PM #

    Wow! After reading all these comments I had to go back and re-read the original post to be sure I didn’t miss something. It’s amazing to me how two people can read the same thing and both walk away with completely different interpretations. I did not see anything here about bashing Black men or anything to insinuate that the author thought of Black women as being at the bottom of the barrel. I just wish these discussions could be had without them ending up in so-called “challenges” that sound like the same old song about what Black women are doing wrong, how feminism has led women astray, and gross generalizations and attacks. Maybe one day. At any rate, I enjoyed the post.

    • Jeannette December 21, 2011 at 9:52 PM #

      I would like to cosign with you. There is something beautiful about having the space the have the conversation without feeling attacked, or being held accountable for emotions and world views that are not your own :)

  29. Cimar December 21, 2011 at 3:00 PM #

    Hahaha. Crunktastic, your responses had me laughing. I think your ‘combatants’ are a bit outmatched here. Let’s see: Author writes balanced, reasonable post, that goes out of its way not to use the language of blame. Its designed to provoke DISCUSSION. Male posters than respond, essentially, by saying ‘You’re doin’ it wrong’, citing such reputable sources as ‘Real Housewives’ (WTF) and some other dudes they know, plus THEIR scientific personal experiences. Author quite reasonably defends herself. And they have the nerve to be offended. Some dudes never cease to amuse me.

  30. Cimar December 21, 2011 at 3:07 PM #

    Oh and by the way, the only mystery that remains is why black women aren’t MORE angry. Do I need to cite the statistics on sexual violence, domestic violence, (un)equal pay, wealth accumulation, (lack of) political representation, here and the US and internationally? Its a wonder every word we utter isn’t four letters. You’re welcome, world, that we deal with all this and more and don’t lose our minds every.single.day.

    • Ed December 24, 2011 at 12:37 AM #

      Do black men need to cite our over representation in the prisons and criminal justice system, the fact black women earn 50% more degrees, or having a murder rate in their 20’s that’s 20 times the national average. Exactly what crystal stair do you think black men are climbing in this society?

      No you cannot make feminist arguments in reference to black men as if they were capable of oppressing you. They are not the power structure nor the elite. If you want to complain get in line behind black men because they clearly are doing a lot worse than black women today.

      • crunktastic December 24, 2011 at 7:55 AM #

        If you had read in the earlier comments thread, you would know that Black feminists have been on the front line of bringing to attention Black men’s issues with undereducation and overincarceration. The person most responsible for that work in late 20th century is Angela Davis, an ardent feminist, and prison abolitionist. In the early 20th century, it was Ida B. Wells. The idea that feminism makes Black women uninterested or unconcerned about the plight of Black men is factually untrue; it is because we look at gender as a legitimate category of analysis, that we are able to study the ways in which racism differentially oppresses Black women and Black men. Like I told you above, you need to read.

        When you look at the high rates of AIDS transmissions and the fact that domestic violence is one of the top five killers of young Black women, and the top two killer of Black women 15-24, I’d say we know all we need to know about whether Black men can oppress us.

  31. Darnell December 21, 2011 at 4:30 PM #

    “Back in the day, at least a few brothers felt enough responsibility to address and help with the problem rather than blaming Black women for causing it. (My, how things have changed.)” Someone tell me how that’s not a jab at black men today. What exactly does this statement mean? Additionally, if all are free to date whom we please, exactly what does the author want black men to take responsibility for?…and at what point does the equality that feminism demands apply to taking equal responsibility for the state of black relationships?

    I understood the article just fine. Interracial dating is just one solution to the struggles black women face. However, the men from the other races aren’t showing black women any more love than black men are…according to the author’s “research”. My original point was if black women can open themselves up to a completely different demographic; why not also consider black men whom you may not have given a chance in the past? I don’t mean thugs mind you, but if white men are “afraid” to approach a black woman, chances are there may be some brothers who have it together, but just don’t know what to say. Who is teaching them how to dance?

    Interracial dating is only one solution. If the article wasn’t about interracial dating, then where in the article are the other potential solutions? The problem here is that the only solutions that are allowed on forums like these are the ones that involve men changing their behavior and/or practices while women are allowed to remain the way they are. White men need to start showing interest; black men need to take more responsibility etc…My challenge to feminism was to identify a solution that reflected the empowerment that is sought after. If staying single is that solution, then so be it, but don’t make it about what men aren’t doing or doing right

    • JP Fairfield December 21, 2011 at 5:31 PM #

      ““Back in the day, at least a few brothers felt enough responsibility to address and help with the problem rather than blaming Black women for causing it. (My, how things have changed.)”

      Someone tell me how that’s not a jab at black men today. What exactly does this statement mean?”

      It means instead of using stereotypical tropes and preaching to black women on what they are doing wrong and why they are so “un-lovable”. Those men were trying to understand the bigger issue of why this was occurring without doing the blame game.

      /start sarcasm

      Now, you have all these “experts” selling snake oil on this magical cure to these pitifully single black women in need of some major marrying.

      It blesses me to know all these “experts” are giving this service out of the kindness of their hearts and $19.99 per book to help my state of single hell.
      /End sarcasm

      The point of the article WAS that interracial dating is NOT the only solution and people should stop acting like it’s the magic pill! So, I can understand why she thought you misunderstood the article since in a round-about way.. arguing nearly the same point.

      Marriage is not a cure for the perfect life. Being single is not a problem.

      Here is the solution she mentioned in the article..

      “We need and must begin to have conversations about how to have healthy partnerships, healthy single lives, and every iteration in between, without exalting marriage, disparaging singleness, centering heterosexuality, or demonizing Black women.”

      • crunktastic December 21, 2011 at 7:15 PM #

        Thank you so much. Beautifully said.

      • Darnell December 21, 2011 at 10:36 PM #

        To clarify for you, my question was what did the statement mean if in fact it was NOT a jab at black men today. To give credit to those men for “seeing the bigger picture and not blaming black women” then saying that “things have changed” implies that black men today aren’t perfoming or caring in the manner of those CP men…that’s a jab. An unfair one at that.

        I would tend to agree with this “solution” if:

        1. Only black women were demonized. Don’t act like black men aren’t.
        2. We implement whatever real solution that comes from said conversation. Having another conversation isn’t a solution.

    • crunktastic December 21, 2011 at 6:21 PM #

      “My original point was if black women can open themselves up to a completely different demographic; why not also consider black men whom you may not have given a chance in the past? I don’t mean thugs mind you, but if white men are “afraid” to approach a black woman, chances are there may be some brothers who have it together, but just don’t know what to say. Who is teaching them how to dance?”

      This is the most reasonable and earnest thing you’ve said in this dialogue. I think it’s a legitimate question. But this is a question I can only answer from personal experience, and as I said before, there are no such dudes in my life. I think you keep assuming that I/we must be getting approached by good brothers and turning them down. As hard as it may be for you to believe, that has not been the case for me. If a brother approaches me with some sense and he’s not as old as my dad (as one recent man was), I’ll give him a chance. But those options are so few and far between. Can I be honest in saying that just like you seem to feel like (or be representing for) the good dudes who get passed over because they are shy or awkward, I’m repping for the good chicks who get passed over because they don’t look like model chicks? I’m a plus-sized chick, and I get passed over and ignored for chicks who are thinner and considered more traditionally beautiful all the time. Because of my size, dudes see me as a sister or a homegirl, and that is how they relate. So see if I were male bashing, I’d express my frustration at the dudes who all feel like if they have something going for them, then they are entitled to a chick who looks like a model. I’d wonder why Black dudes seem increasingly to only find thin girls beautiful. But what I’ve found is that when you question dudes about their desires, they always fall back on “it’s natural; it’s what I’m attracted to.” Men never have to interrogate their desires or their sense of entitlement, but when women assert particular standards, then we’re being unduly picky. In other words, it’s a two-way street, and those that are not stunningly beautiful or comfortably rich, frequently get passed over. Add being a feminist to the mix, and that’s cleats.

      Let me just offer one clarification since you continue to accuse me of male-bashing: What I meant by responsibility was that the dudes from the Communist Party actually held sessions about the issue, and they talked about what was happening with Black women in terms of social oppression, rather than attitude problems or individual shortcomings. Note, that the organizer didn’t leave his white wife, though some men did. So I wasn’t offering that as a form of responsibility. By responsibility, I meant that back in the day, when these women cried out, the dudes didn’t get mad and blame them for speaking up. They didn’t tell them to figure out how to empower themselves. They didn’t tell them that they weren’t finding men because they were undesirable. These brothers, regardless of their personal romantic choices, saw the plight of Black women as something that affected them and demanded a response.

      So too, with Black feminists, we feel that the social issues which affect brothers matter. So anytime we discuss dating we talk about how the prison industrial complex, undereducation, and underemployment gut Black men’s life chances (and Black women’s) and make it hard to establish stable partnerships. We have never claimed that niggas-ain-t-shit. Unlike popular dating discussions, Black feminist always bring a social analysis to the discussion, which never rests on blaming individual Black men. Do we think male domination is a problem? Absolutely. But our position is that an unchallenged belief in male domination hurts both Black men and Black women. So before you bash feminism as male-bashing, you’d do well to actually consider that we are some of the few Black women in these discussions who think in broad ways about why we are all in this position, and we try to ground our claims historically and politically. That’s what I have tried to do here, and it sucks to be lumped in with folks who are content to just argue that brothers ain’t shit. Now, I’m done with defending feminism. :)

      • Darnell December 22, 2011 at 12:40 AM #

        Now we’re getting somewhere.

        However, comparing black men who date interracially today across the country to the black leaders of what was probably a relatively small political party is somewhat unfair. The communist party was, in the end, a political party. Socio-economic issues such as husbands and marriage would more than likely have been discussed anyway, especially given the climate in this country fresh off the civil war. I don’t see the “Al Sharpton’s” of today calling a national forum to teach men how to approach a woman. I would think, the expectation of such, on behalf of the women, would espouse the very male domination ideal that you’re against. Why can’t women call the forum and just lay out what it is they really want? I for one would much rather watch that than a Tyler Perry movie.

        Protection and provision are traditionally two things charged to the man. Without being in a position of authority, how does a man execute what a lot of women still accept as his inborn responsibilities? Also, what would then be the benchmark used to measure whether a man is deserving of the respect he reveres? In today’s two income household, I don’t think men or women have yet mastered the delicate balance between independence and interdependence. It’s easy to approach your boss and demand equal pay for equal work, but how do you come home and show the man you’re now equal to the same respect that you did the day before? What you risk having is man-hood being defined as the ability to meet a woman’s needs and expectations, while the woman reserves the right not to reciprocate only because of her ability to meet said needs on her own. The man at this point becomes the help-meet, and the very woman he aims to please could hold that against him in the long run. If we ever get to this conversation you suggest, include a dialogue about love, respect and the danger of men and women taking either for granted.

        Crunk – If the white men on your “he-can-get-it” list resemble the Green Bay Packer offensive line, and the men who have turned you down look like Bruce Bruce, then I understand your frustration. However, even though we all want someone who will want us for our character, at some point, you’re going to have to “model” what it is you’re trying to attract. With all due respect to DNA, health etc…, you can’t envision an ideal male physique and not be the female side of that coin.

      • crunktastic December 22, 2011 at 2:37 AM #

        A.) It was a historical example, not a one-to-one historical analogy. When women say what we want, we are told that we are being too picky. And would brothers really come to a relationship forum where a bunch of women said what we wanted? Probably not.

        B.) The key word for me is partner, not protector or provider. I provide for myself, and I’m not interested in a male breadwinner. I want someone who makes his own money, and pays his own bills, as I do for myself. 2nd, I’m looking for a partner and to be a partner; I don’t aspire to be a helpmeet, and I don’t want a dude who wants me in that limiting role. Yes, lots of women still tie their notions of respect to a man’s paycheck. That’s unfortunate. As a feminist, I do not. The last dude I dated was a school teacher; I made more than him. But I had great respect for him, and great respect for his profession, us both being educators. He couldn’t reciprocate that respect unfortunately. Just like your paycheck won’t make me respect you, it won’t make me not respect you unless you get it by less than respectable means. So in fact, I’m looking for a dude who has a more expansive conception of manhood than one that’s about providing and protecting or at least one who thinks more robustly about what providing and protecting mean. Protection means that you provide an emotionally safe space for a person to be. Providing might mean you make more money, but it should also mean that you share equally in parenting and household duties. I mostly want a dude to provide emotional support, be part of my cheering section, as I’m a part of his, and for us to manage household duties according to our strengths rather than our genders. So for instance, my mom is better with cars than my dad. She handles car issues. He cooks her breakfast every morning before she goes to work. His manhood is in no way diminished, and neither is her womanhood. It works for them, and they have crafted a relationship that frees them up to serve each other based on their strengths rather than on some limiting ideas about who should do what. I really dig that.

        C.) RE: size, I’m looking for a reasonably attractive, regular dude. I care more about intelligence, sense of humor etc, than I do about how closely a guy approximates Idris Elba. I think I’m quite realistic in my standards in the looks department. 2nd, The risk a woman runs of talking about being plus-sized is that folks always play the health card , though study after study show that you can be “overweight” and perfectly healthy, which is the case for me. The notion that beauty can only come in a size 8 and not a 14 or 16 or 22, is ridiculous, particularly since the average size is 14. This means that dudes have greatly restricted their own dating pool, since women below size 14, are not necessarily the norm. I’m not trying to make excuses. I believe folks should be a healthy weight, but beyond that, while we women are opening up to consider dating men “we normally wouldn’t” as you say, dudes could stand to do some of that as well.

    • nzinga December 21, 2011 at 9:47 PM #

      @darnell: I didn’t take that as a jab at black men in general. It was a jab at the black men who have been most visible, vocal and profiteering in the modern public discourse (in the media and in pop culture lit, among other spaces) about how dismal the state of black romantic relationships is. That would be the steve harveys, the ralph richard bankses, the jimi izraels, etc. Those bammas need all kinds of jabs and need to take all kinds of seats (I’m TOTALLY name-calling here, BTW :-P).

      • Darnell December 21, 2011 at 10:41 PM #

        Never read any of Steve Harvey’s books. Stopped listening to his show about a year ago. Therefore, I can’t really gather why you look down on whatever he’s doing. Please elaborate. Also explain why writing blogs of this nature is any different other than the author isn’t being paid.

  32. Burl December 21, 2011 at 4:32 PM #

    First, I am a white male, and I found the picture quite funny. For 12 years in my late teens until about age 30 I lived in a neighborhood that was ethnically quite diverse and went to church where I was one of two white men in the congregation. Being the “token white guy” meant being asked many questions about white culture. One of the questions that did come up was why black men wanted white women, but white men don’t (at least not in large numbers) reciprocate in wanting to date black women? Let me say clearly that I cannot speak for all white people any more than one can speak for all black people. In my opinion, it has nothing to do with what some of the previous commenters have eluded to that black women are loud and opinionated or other similar garbage. I have known plenty of loud and opinionated women of all colors and cultural backgrounds and have also known many shy and demure women with varying melanin levels and eye shapes. If I have to chose a reason it is this: society in general has portrayed the ideal woman as being slender and light skinned. Very white women have as much trouble attracting men as very dark women. Tan white girls or light skinned black women who are in good physical shape attract more men be they black, white, or hispanic. (I don’t know enough about the preferences of asian men to make a claim there.) If you are outside the parameters of the “ideal woman” then it sucks, but you have to find a man who will look deeper and fall in love with the you inside. Those men are out there. Don’t sell yourself short and settle for less.

  33. afrykan December 21, 2011 at 6:40 PM #

    I have read your article several times now and there seems to be a lot of focus on causation. I can’t seem to identify the “other solutions” aside from teaching my Caucasian counterparts how to Dougie. So let’s deal with some solutions since we have all clearly stated our unwavering positions.

    Your article focuses on black women and I can only assume was written from the perspective of one so I hope you understand why I am focusing on Black women. With that said, what literal roles/responsibilities do you feel black women should take in alleviating their own dating woes? I mean actionable solutions. I am asking everyone reading this btw (specifically black women) and not just the author.

    • crunktastic December 21, 2011 at 7:16 PM #

      My solutions are staying open, enjoying the life I have, and online dating.

      • afrykan December 21, 2011 at 7:22 PM #

        Are you a different color online? Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

      • afrykan December 21, 2011 at 7:28 PM #

        Seriously, I wasn’t trying to berate your solutions. I’m just a smart ass by default. Whatever works for you.

    • nzinga December 21, 2011 at 10:34 PM #

      @darnell and afrykan: You both state or insinuate that “solutions” to black dating woes are either non-existent or insufficient in this dialogue. That’s a fairly common-place reaction and I imagine that your request for solutions is well-intentioned. But the more I live, the less convinced I am that these public, anonymous spaces like the CFC blog are at all conducive for discussions about how to “solve” anyone’s relationship problems. Love relationships (like the people involved in them) are intimate, complicated and specialized…and so should be discussions on the real “how-to” work that needs to be done to make those relationships functional and mutually beneficial.
      Those kind of solutions can only be found through introspection and really pointed discussions with the person you’re in a relationship with (with insights from a therapist and/or spiritual advisor and from those select few HEALTHY friends/family who know you well and are invested in your well-being).

      These public spaces ARE good for other things. They are good for discussions on issues that center around personal growth, effective communication, etc that are GENERAL enough to speak to our humanity, regardless of how we identify. These public spaces are also great for using measured, reasoned analysis of history and social sciences to debunk damaging myths that are repeated so often in public discourse that they they gain traction as truth when in fact they are anything but. That’s precisely what crunktastic did with this original post.

      • Darnell December 21, 2011 at 10:46 PM #

        So I guess your other reply to me regarding Steve Harvey and those other two applies here? Okay.

      • nzinga December 22, 2011 at 12:17 AM #

        Yeah, this applies to the other response. But I think its important to note that on top of delving into the rather dubious field of “relationship expert,” the Steve-Harvey-types push “solutions” that are especially reductive and prescriptive (e.g. “Wait 90 days before you have sex with a man or he won’t really respect you”). Also, they traffic in a kind of superficially benevolent patriarchy and a myopic christian(ish) dogma that may be wrapped in jokes and bible verses but are ultimately ineffective for women who don’t fit into their prescribed box.

  34. afrykan December 21, 2011 at 9:19 PM #

    It just dawned on me that this isn’t about race, marriage or gender disparities at all. It’s more inherent to the human condition than that.

    Men don’t feel they should have to limit their choices based on any social norms because that makes it harder to achieve their own personal goals / ideals. Women don’t feel they should be subjected to social norms that have historically been counter-intuitive to achieving their own personal goals/ideals. No one feels they should have to do any more work than they are already doing to achieve their goals/ideals. This is all predicated on 2 innate human conditions: choice and laziness.

    Isn’t that what started all this in the first place? No one wants to pick their own cotton and once you start limiting people’s choices based on your own wants, you essentially dehumanize them regardless of race or gender.

    Intellects are typically enamored with discovery but it is most often the rudimentary lessons that need to be adhered to. As an example, If we all just ate right and exercised, we would minimize healthcare costs, the need for cosmetics, etc… But how many of us truly lead that lifestyle despite what we know (I damn sure don’t)?

    I tend to harp on personal responsibility because after all is said and done, that is the only factor we will ever have control over…somewhat… at least more control than any of the other variables i.e. gender, race, the actions of others, social norms, etc….

    I think the real crisis is choice.

    *back on the horse*

    P.S: One of my friends once told me “Love who love you”. You better stop playing and go give Morgan Freeman your #. Old dudes need love too ;-)

    • nzinga December 21, 2011 at 10:03 PM #

      Why it gotta be Morgan Freeman, though?!?!? If she has to go for an old dude, can’t you AT LEAST give her Harry Belafonte (*SWOON*) ?!?!
      :-P

      • Darnell December 21, 2011 at 10:47 PM #

        Morgan Freeman got game. Ask his granddaughter.

  35. Cal B December 21, 2011 at 10:02 PM #

    “We need and must begin to have conversations about how to have healthy partnerships, healthy single lives, and every iteration in between, without exalting marriage, disparaging singleness, centering heterosexuality, or demonizing Black women. It’s a tall order.” And let the movement say: A-WOMYN! Happy holidays y’all!

  36. Darnell December 21, 2011 at 10:49 PM #

    My 10:36 was @Fairfield

  37. rlb08863 December 22, 2011 at 1:05 PM #

    Let me start off by saying thank you to crunktastic for writing such a thoughtful and enlightning post. This obsession with the declining marriage rates of black women – which of course means the problem lies with black women – was at first irritating, then infuriating and it has become soul numbing. As a black feminist who is married it has been especially concerning that there does not seem to be more black married women and women shooting down the idea that marriage is the solution for the problems in the black community. Likewise the idea that interracial marriage is the answer is just as disturbing. Living with another person that you can’t legally kill when they piss you off is hard work. Even when both of you are committed to a feminist approach to partnership and parenting. So reading your article and learning how black LISTENED AND HEARD what black women’s concerns were and acted as allies rather than assholes was something that made me have a little hope for the future.

    @Darnell, your comment about Morgan Freeman was disgusting and completely unneccessary. If the allegations are true then he does not have game. He is an abuser. And before you come and say you were simply trying to say that older men can be good partners, I say you choose a piss poor example. And I say this as a woman who is married to a man who is 18 years older than she.

    • Darnell December 26, 2011 at 4:57 PM #

      It was sarcasm…for crying out loud.

  38. Lauren December 22, 2011 at 9:16 PM #

    “I understood the article just fine. Interracial dating is just one solution to the struggles black women face.”

    Really? I took this article to mean that black women’s dating options were limited largely in part because white men weren’t showing interest in them like black men were showing in white women. So the communist party, instead of telling black women to “fix themselves” worked on educating white men, (through the medium of dance) as a solution to the situation.

    As a phd in clin psych, I have seen several studies done showing that white men and higher levels of intolerance correlate the most. And that’s all across the board, -when it comes to sexuality, gender, religion, race, ethnicity, and physical impairments. Which makes sense, and for this reason, more black men date inter-racially than white men, thus narrowing the dating pool for black women.

    P.S. This is NOT a valid argument:

    Man: X group of women are “loud, bitchy, too vocal …etc.”
    Woman: No we’re not!
    Man: See, you just proved my point.

    • Darnell December 27, 2011 at 12:51 PM #

      But to parade is if those women don’t exist is an equally deceptive argument. If I said there weren’t any men over the age of 21 living at home with their parents with no higher education or “taxable income”, would you believe me?

      Anyway, what’s the difference between your understanding of the article and mine? We both basically quoted the author verbatim.

  39. familycourtmatters December 23, 2011 at 2:27 PM #

    (I love the photo!)


    If that HTML doesn’t produce a graphic, it’s the button from the No Wedding No Womb campaign, on Christelyn D. Karazin’s website at: http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/nwnw/?page_id=8
    ~ ~ ~ ~
    NWNW is one of the most idiotic campaigns around, and there’s a level of dishonesty in this one particularly that has me commenting on discussions like this one. I mean, think about it as a little math equation: NW=NW. The converse — which logically has to be true — is W=W. A Wedding gains a man a Womb.
    ~ ~ ~

    I have MUCH to say on this one — but it’s December 23, and the topic hits such a nerve, I know it wouldn’t fit in the comments field. I might be back to elaborate. I’m 58 this season, have no viable contact with children I raised in a hellish (dangerous) marriage, rebuilt from Food Stamps to Solvent within the time of a restraining order, and that’s not too shabby. It definitely helped that my father — who also grew up being locked in closets for crying when Dad beat Mom (Brooklyn) and I feel made plenty of place in life without that father (who I never met, and who later abandoned the family, thank God) in his life, my life, or anyone in my immediate family’s life. Maybe I will back and elaborate, or provide a link.

    One thing my father did for the family I really appreciate, and my mother, it was one of those nuclear type deals that we’re talking about here — to stay together long enough, enabling his career, her housing and access to basics of life, and more than — to get us girls (I have no brothers) through college, and not separate til the last was out of the house. Religion skipped this generation (probably the locking in the closet thing combined with a grandmother’s church related to this), but landed on me as a young adult, although not through church — through music.

    Now both my daughters have aged out of the horror of violence in the home, Mom (me) having filed a restraining order, and the courts — thanks to 1996 Welfare Reform and what I simply call the Jim Crow era of “feminism” of the 1970s — having stripped the family of its resources, and me of any respect for the legal system, churches in general, and a whole lot more — did I mention of contact with children, the ability to safely practice a profession I fought over two decades to protect from overt attacks on it, and (this is exact count) 5.1 decades engaged in, and happened to enjoy supporting the family with — I can legally talk about this without trying to retain complete anonymity.

    I have waded through unbelievable rhetoric in high and low places, specifically university institutes, think tanks (Brookings, etc.) and Congressional Record on all this theory that the way to stop child abuse is to basically eliminate divorce and promote marriage; that single women – especially single black women — are the scourge of the earth; they are too fertile and households without Daddy in them are producing the next generation of criminals (never mind the US record on per-capita-for-profit incarceration, etc.).

    When I saw the NWNW womb, I did my usual thing and looked up the author. First of all, as I said NWNW justifies W=W, which is not just stupid, it’s dangerous to women, children, demeaning to the relationship, and it is theocracy in motion. I am still Christian, but I steer clear of the kind of indoor worship places that push marriage. I have seen TOO MUCH.

    For more info, and unlike me, she’s black, see blog randijames.com. We blog parallel on some of these issues. But people should know that Christelyn Karazin and friends are if not in on the financial take (I got a snide email that she’s not), they are definitely on the bandwagon of the racist, sexist, and classist (i.e., corporations and foundations making sure that everyone else has low-paying JOBS while setting up franchises of THEIR products and information, incl. about marriage & abstinence, through the pre-existing distribution network of welfare and child support.

    Plus, a rapidly expanding network of canals ferrying these goods direct from the “yours truly” to the forcible, sometimes captive consumer, they are digging this one since 2001 at least through setting up (FAST!) at the state level, “Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives” in either a Governor’s office, through the Social Services office (SRS) and talking about flexible funding, etc. — to steer grants to each other, then spend the money and run. (See Ohio’s GOFBCI Krista Sisterhen).
    ~ ~ ~
    Apologies for the long format, but here’s part of the evidence. My marriage was hell, it was a nightmare, but what followed was worse. This turned me a little activist, and with a tendency, when on-line conversations are social and psychological in nature, of busting in with the information that, as social and psychological as things may be —
    ALL people need to be aware of just how political and financial the marriage-mongering has become. I’m talking money-laundering of public funds, perfected. Besides being the height of hypocrisy and insulting, it’s deliberately undermining even the concept of civil and legal rights for nearly Anyone who marries and has kids, and for taxpayers who support all this. Probably the html may not show as a link, but here you go:

    . . . . .
    “As to Christelyn’s and friend’s blogging campaign — I’m not finished answering, but people should know it didn’t just “happen.” This woman was seen along other ultra-conservative marriage mongers, including a Linda Malone-Colon from Hampton U.,(http://cecs.hamptonu.edu/facultystaff/bio/colon_l.cfm), David Blankenhorn (http://www.americanvalues.org/html/about_david_blankenhorn.html) (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-blankenhorn19-2008sep19,0,6057126.storyLATimes and several other IAV personnel, Wade Horn ( http://www.now.org/issues/family/law/HHSletter.pdf )( Deloitte Blurb: http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/f4ca87895e5fb110VgnVCM100000ba42f00aRCRD.htm ), and other Family Values people — at a secret meeting in Kansas — flown in at taxpayer expense — which a Democratic legislator found out by subpoena-ing the attendees. This is the article:

    Open records request prompts release of healthy-marriage meeting info: SRS paid travel costs for experts from around the nation (5/23/1, @ Kansas Health Institute news. If you read just one of these links — pick this one!)

    http://www.khi.org/news/2011/may/23/open-records-request-prompts-release-healthy-marri/

    ~ ~ ~
    In Kansas, the SRS set up a “Faith-Based” encampment quickly, and began dismantling parts of social services, and adding Town Halls where speakers such as Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector, explained how woman ought to marry their way out of poverty; and there appear to be plans to eliminate no-fault divorce.

    ~ ~ ~I have been in Oakland, CA in support groups where horror stories included plenty of Christian women who’s husbands were leaders in the church, whose leaders knew and did not even remove the person from his post. One decade later, I was in a conference and here’s a woman in tears — she has a nursing baby, forced onto a 48 hour on, 48 hour hour off schedule with the father (who had been beating on her also) and the church handled the protective order by welcoming him up front, and she could stay in the back room! Apart from recommending this woman find another church, she needs also to understand that this is a financial matter related to welfare reform, and we CAN change this.

    And there will be a contrasting W=/=W campaign soon if I have something to do with this. I can speak with authority, having come from a nuclear family, watched it, done all those things society says it wants people to now, like don’t have children you can’t support and have children within marriage. In return for this removal of a woman’s personal identity (not a man’s) allegedly for the good of the country, too many of us (all colors) are being treated like used up wombs when we say “No Deal!” to the abuse. And — does this remind us of another century? — if WE are let free, we still have to leave our children behind, or engage in a fight that may last the rest of their childhood, our lives, and potentially shorten those lives too.

    There has to be a better way, and for someone who really does appreciate the Bible (I’m Christian) to say that marriage is a raw deal, and that I regret so many years of sensible abstinence for the sham, I sure as hell don’t want to be funding more hell for future generations. Did I mention, my kids are daughters?

    Marriage probably would be a whole lot better, if it hadn’t become something with not only religion, but also government, basically in bed with the couple the moment someone conceives. This is getting ridiculous and I’m considering whether we might want to boycott giving birth. Doubt it’ll fly, but believe me, the idea has occurred.

    Along with an idea from a friend (and witness of 5 or 6 years of this horror) and colleague, who quipped (after this last new from Kansas): * * * * *

    ‘The solution is simple. We need to help the women in Kansas evacuate the state.”
    * * * *
    Recent nonprofit, bios include family law players who help remove kids from their mothers, particularly mothers who report criminal activity by fathers, or family court professionals.

    http://www.contemporaryfamilies.org/member-bios/johnson.html

  40. familycourtmatters December 23, 2011 at 2:48 PM #

    Wow. Well, that comment was a little painful to get out. Assuming it passes moderation, chalk that one up to PTSD related to holidays and still not knowing how I can force myself to choose economic survival over trying to address past wrongs and contact either of my alienated daughters. FYI, the word “alienation” is another business phrase in the family law glossary. It’s a one-way street; the cure to alienated fathers is to force the children to live with the “alienated” parents. That’ll show her. …

    Once this happens, there is no antidote to be applied for the father who simply continues to cut off all contact, or (and my girls’ father literally did!) simply abandons them; the point all along was to get even, not actually to get custody for the purpose of being a true father.

    More info at nafcj.net, who just added my link to its blog. This gives the basics of organizations & associations in the Designer Family Business – and my blog (since 2009) reports on further developments in how to waste tax dollars through “problemsolving courts” and other oxymoronic ideas. I name names and organizations, track funds, and hopefully track what happened.

    Recently I was following a Scranton, PA forum with the flag “expose corruption!” and apparently they were doing this. But in less than a month it became clear that the leader of this — who’d done some remarkable work, after which the FBI swooped down to the county courthouse and walked out with boxes of evidence on a Guardian ad Litem he’d filed suit against (standing, as a taxpayer) — was not just a misogynist, and proud of it, he was also going to try and discredit and derail the (valuable) information I was delivering, with comments indicating I needed to get laid and “shut the fvck up with your feminist drivel” (Said in my response to having to wade through — besides other verbal put-downs of ALL women, in general, a gravatar of a completely naked woman, on a forum which is supposedly about helping noncustodial mothers in the court stand up to abuse by court professionals. And, the guy was also cheating on his wife, openly.

    This was not a personal situation, it was a dog in the manger situation. Trying to drive information away from the forum simply because it came from outsider, and a female one at that. I stood my ground and next thing you know, his wife had filed a protection order with kickout (it was her house he’d been living in while teaching us adult women not to mess with adult men’s right to look at T&A while rescuing women). Then she took control of the forum, shut it down temporarily, and that’s about where I signed off. See blog, though!

    Thanks in advance if this clears moderation. Look up “CFDA” 93.086 on this database: http://TAGGS.hhs.gov for a clue of the size of the issue I’m talking about. It’s a grants database.

  41. Kandid December 24, 2011 at 8:51 AM #

    Wow. You are ON POINT. It’s said that when white people get a cold, black people get pneumonia. Same thing with marriage rates. Yes, marriage rates overall are low, but the black community has issues further complicating the prospects of marriage. You also provide some good historical context. Well done.

  42. Stacy December 24, 2011 at 9:31 PM #

    As a young black woman with a lack of dating skills, I fear that I may not have many opportunities to meet/date for the simple fact that I am a black woman and dealing with societal stereotypes of black women. Do you have any advice on what a young black woman can do to not feel that she may not have a dating life compared to other races? Thanks!

    • nzinga December 25, 2011 at 8:58 AM #

      @stacy: Relax. You are fine. Concentrate your time and energy figuring out what makes you feel good (and bad), what matters to you, where your passions lie, what your strengths and weaknesses are. Pursue things that are enteresting, fun and challenging. Seek the company of good people and make sure your inner circle includes black women who are well adjusted and content not because of what or who the have but because of who they are. Accept that disappointment and broken heartedness are inevitable; they are not signs of failure or doom but opportunities to develop deeper empathy and compassion and to learn some of your greatest lessons. Make grounded optimism your baseline. And, (my most recent maxim) only talk “relationships” with people who both really KNOW you and are invested in your well-being .

      • Stacy December 25, 2011 at 12:53 PM #

        Thanks!

  43. Judaye December 28, 2011 at 2:44 PM #

    This whole conversation about wanting and needing black men to care about the struggle black women are having finding loving, healthy relationships left me feeling sad, angry, and dissatisfied.

    Afrykan wrote that black men want peace and not power struggles. That is the exact same thing most black women or any kind of woman or man wants. To imply otherwise is spiteful and creates an environment of unnecessary acrimony.

    Most black men who marry are wed to black women, so black men are attracted to black women and I wish those men were a part of this conversation. I get so tired of the not so subtle put downs of black women.

    Men are strong and intelligent, sweet and sexy, good and full of love and energy, but for the most part men are a complete mystery to me. In my opinion all men are more alike than different, and very different from women.

    How does one get a serious conversation started without deliberately putting other people on the defensive?

    I started talking to my husband Wide Awake Jake about male/female relationships. This man is stubborn, but so am I.

    We need to proceed wisely, be willing to forgive one another, and think before we speak. Easier said than done!

  44. Elle est noire January 6, 2012 at 2:57 AM #

    Great post, but I am disgusted and dismayed to see that as usual the typical Black female-hating Black men have come here to spew their anti-Black female garbage.

  45. Tisha January 10, 2012 at 7:32 PM #

    This is the conversation that me and my mom have on a daily basis. I held out for black men as long as I could. Hell I was 29 when I got my first boyfriend! But in the end when I opened myself up I found love in the arms of a white man. Now I am not debating that my boyfriend is superior or inferior to a black man, but whenever I pictured my husband he was black.

    But though I consider myself a fighter, I was tired of fighting that battle. I was tired of trying to defend my blackness to black men. And that’s what I feel black men are trying to get us to do. To apologize to them and the world for being black.

    I was tired of trying to be the submissive, docile, freak in the sheets woman in the streets, Superwoman they were looking for. I was tired of trying to tone down my blackness and open my mind to the white side of life.

    I’m sorry, but I simply do not like anal sex and I shouldn’t have to be hit with the charge that “white girls do it and love it.” I’m not sorry if I like to go to the club and have a man buy me a drink. I’m not sorry if I like getting my education to one day make more money than you (not the purpose of my degrees, but money is nice). I’m not sorry that I liked to have my car door opened some nights and other nights I want to hop behind the wheel of the car I’m paying for. I’m not sorry that I don’t want to dress up as a French maid, and I’m not sorry that I do want you to lace a lyrical douche in my bush.

    I’m not sorry that when I get animated I got loud and rowdy. I’m not sorry that sometimes my temper runs away with me and I would rather settle an argument with a barrage of insults rather than calming words. I’m not sorry that when times got rough I had to take government assistance while it seemed like I was living large with my discounted Prada bags. I’m a flea market supporter by the way.

    I am not sorry that I am done apologizing about being the unique and wonderful black woman that I am. And I sure as hell ain’t sorry God made me black. That is the most beautiful thing about me.

    I am sorry that you allowed the world to tell you things about me before you got to know me.

    • Elle est noire January 11, 2012 at 2:37 PM #

      Great post gurl!

    • itzadundeal January 16, 2012 at 11:32 PM #

      Nicely said- I was impressed. I hope you have found the love that will last a lifetime & beyond. Happy 2012!

  46. Lizzy February 1, 2012 at 11:12 AM #

    As stated in the article society has typically blamed the black woman for relationships problems she might face. They categorize black women as in your face, loud and many times ignorant, however what is ignorant is the continuance by society to categorize black women this way. When I think of black women I see a strong woman, who has persevered though a lot in her life whether referring to a relationship or just every day struggle. The loudness could be associated with their level of confidence and love of life despite everything. And if you ask me the problem lays within men because who wouldn’t want a woman who processes these qualities. To comment off your sentence “We need and must begin to have conversations about how to have healthy partnerships, healthy single lives, and every iteration in between….” I believe that all women not just black women could benefit greatly from learning more about relationships and living healthy lives. Including having enough confidence to live a happy single life and not always needing to be accompanied by a man.

  47. Marlenni February 1, 2012 at 8:31 PM #

    I love this concept that you stated in your response. You write “That’s interesting bc the whole point of the piece invites black women and men to not let the media’s misrepresentations deter us from necessary conversations”. I hate when society acknowledges the ignorance that they see on TV shows. Many shows especially the housewives show a negative aspect of women in general which is not true should have never been used an example. I also hate when people see African American women and assume the worst not all women are loud and classless but people believe everything the media tells them. The media portrays people in a negative light only for ratings. I really wish black men and women could coexist and support each other instead of tearing each other down. Your blog is suppose to shed light on topics people have a hard discussing which I believe you have but some people have their own viewpoints and sometimes not sufficient amount to make their claim.

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