I wish Steve Harvey would go sit down somewhere and smoke a pipe, because all he’s doing is blowing hot air. And Black women are lining up in droves for a turn on the hot air balloon. Just two nights ago a young undergraduate student asked in a panel on racial stereotypes, “Why can’t Black women find and keep a man of any race?” Sigh.
Tonight, Steve Harvey and Vicky Mabry will co-host a Nightline Face-Off: “Why Can’t A Successful Black Woman find a Man?” featuring Sherri Shepherd, Jacque Reid, Hill Harper, and Jimi Izrael.
As you can see, I’ve never been good at acting like a lady, and playing my position. So I’m gonna talk out of turn and suggest some of the things that I do and don’t want to hear in The Conversation this evening.
- We don’t need to hear that Black women’s issues are keeping them from getting men. Why? Because the statement assumes that Black women are more pathological than every other group of women, and any sound reasoning person knows that false.
- We don’t need to hear, Steve Harvey, about Black men’s need to profess, provide, and protect. Can we get a 21st century definition of Black masculinity already? One that “uncouples strength from dominance,” demands that black men do their own share of the emotional heavy-lifting in relationships, and one that frees everybody up from performing gender roles that are unproductive, stressful and unfulfilling.
- We don’t need to hear that the panacea for our dating problems is interracial dating. It’s an option that any woman should choose if she’s so inclined. But don’t tell me I should be so inclined until you’re ready to release me and all Black women from the unstated expectation that we hold down the crumbling Black family at all costs, including our health, safety, and mental well-being.
- We don’t need to hear black men tell us that they know what’s best for us, that they understand our plight better than we do. Like the Combahee Sisters told us, “We realize that the only people who care enough about us to work consistently for our liberation is us.”
And here’s what we do need to hear:
- We do need to hear that Black women “find love, sex, companionship and community” in a range of ways. And we do need, Sherri Shepherd, to write ourselves some permission slips to do so.
- We do need to hear that all “successful Black women” aren’t straight, and that queer Black women have their own challenges and triumphs when it comes to finding love.
- We do need to hear how amazing singleness can be. Cuz let’s be clear. Having time to think, to read, to travel unencumbered, to be in your own space and love and appreciate your own company, is the luxury of the single woman, and the necessity of the professional woman. Frankly, the more I like me and my life, the more I’m convinced this whole marriage thing is overrated. Do I want a man? Yes. Sometimes. For some things. But on other days, I simply want me, a good book, and maybe the company of some close girlfriends.
Watch the show if you want. I probably will, since I’m single and have nothing better to do. <Side eye> But I am gonna do myself this one favor. In matters of love, I gonna ACT like I’ve got the sense my mama gave me, and THINK for my damn self!