For more than a year I’ve watched a variety of media outlets focus on what’s wrong with Black women. We’ve been accused of having the highest incidents of new AIDS cases, being too educated and professional to be chosen as wives, being too obese, to have too many children out of wedlock, and to be the only race of women that our own men don’t want to “wife up.”
I’ve been thinking about writing on this subject for quite awhile, but was finally motivated to get off my ass after the Nightline faceoff “Why Can’t a Successful Black Woman Find a Man” aired on April 21, 2010 with Steve Harvey, Hill Harper and Sherry Shepherd. This broadcast follows the ABC December 2009 “Single Black Female – And Plenty of Company” which also featured giggle boy Steve Harvey.
Black men love to attempt to make Black women feel bad when she is winning an argument, puts him in check, or rejects his advances by saying “well, that’s why you’re single!” as if being part of a couple is a trophy to be won. Even the panelists expressed such trite beliefs to no one’s surprise. Why do Black men (and brainwashed women) feel the need to drag Black women down with statements that infer that in spite of our progress, we are still nothing and nobody because we can’t “get” a husband? Seems some people think our sassy, sexy, confident selves need to be brought down a notch or two.
Who Cares About Being Married Anyway — Marriage is for Suckas!
Marriage is basically a bullshit mind game played on women for generations. Women were trained to think that being married is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Until they are married and get first hand experience, most women do not understand that being a free maid, cook, breeding stock and social secretary is not a goal to strive for.
The oft-quoted statistics on marriage used to bash Black women with by ABC television and Black men certainly show a greater level of marriage amongst other races. However, those stats do not reflect how many of those marriages last, nor how many of those marriages are happy and fulfilling for the wife.
Isn’t that more important than just being married?
As I said, last week ABC’s Nightline presented a panel discussion which addressed the reasons why professional, educated Black women aren’t married like professional, educated White women are. The focus of the non-professional panelists were the reasons why Black men felt Black women didn’t know how to get and keep a man.
From the perspective of the panelists, Black women seemed to have a somewhat reduced value in the dating pool because (1) their expectations were too high; (2) their desires in a man unrealistic; (3) their refusal to settle for a man “with potential” the key reason for the high number of single Black professional women.
The panel’s tired solution concluded that Black women must lower their expectations if they wanted to ever be married. But why aren’t White and Asian women told to lower their expectations if they want to marry? Why is it that only Black women are told to expect little to nothing from a man?
Male/Female Socialization Kills Marriage Prospects for Everyone
From infancy women are socialized to become wives and mothers over and above anything else. Girls are given baby dolls and strollers and play makeup, while their brothers get doctor bags and microscopes and construction kits. Girls are encouraged to be dainty, nurturing and pretty, while their brothers are encouraged to be accomplished, brave and smart. Young black girls are dragged to church where they are told to cook and clean and to keep their legs closed but yet to dress and wear their hair in ways that will get them the attention of men.
The goal for this brainwashing is for a female child to learn to focus her energy and time on all things male so they can “have a boyfriend” and “get a husband.” At least two decades of a young Black girl’s life is spent with her parents, church leaders and society telling her to focus on finding a husband to settle down with, to put her needs second, and to do all she can to keep him happy.
Interestingly, young Black boys are not taught to please a woman or make her happy in a relationship or in any other way. If anything they are taught that a woman will try to trap them into marriage and children, and to avoid it at all costs by playing the field and not becoming vulnerable enough to fall in love. “Stick and move, stick and move!” is the mantra.
Boys are taught that marriage is about having a wife that is sweet and pure (no matter how many women he has bagged), a woman that is loyal, and a woman that is willing to be quiet and place his needs as a priority in her life. They call this being a “helpmeet.” At the same time Black boys are taught by older Black men to play manipulative mind and sex games, and do all they can to maintain the upper hand with and control over women by any means necessary. Who is teaching the “helpmeet” part of a marriage to men?
To me this is where the problem in adult Black relationships begins – childhood.
Many experts are quick to say the problem in Black male/female relationships is solely the fault of Black women. They point to the destruction to the Black family and associate single parent homes, out of wedlock births, racism which favors Black women over Black men, the war on drugs which locked up Black men in droves, Women’s Liberation which makes Black women too independent and not submissive, etc. and blame Black women.
Yet, not one of these experts has examined the impact of socialization and how much damage unaware, silly, toxic adults do to male and female children. Our young are taught to distrust each other, and to “get over” on each other almost from birth. Boys are taught to judge and condemn girls about everything, and freely label young Black women ‘hos, gold diggers, stuck up and more. They are taught that they have the right to touch women inappropriately, say inappropriately sexual things to them, and that women are there to please them. Even if a female must be forced to do so with threats or actual violence.
Our Black girls are taught that they have responsibility for everything, and Black boys are taught that they have responsibility for nothing. Even if he gets her pregnant, that is blamed on her because “she should have made me use a condom.” If a girl’s boyfriend beats her or sexually abuses her little sister, its her fault for “choosing the wrong man.”
Some parents (mine included) recognized this sickening trend decades ago. Fathers are especially important and influential in teaching their young female children to stand on their own two feet so they won’t have to depend on a man. By teaching their daughters to stand on their own and “do it herself,” these fathers enabled their girls to have the confidence and life skills to easily tell a weak or controlling man “I don’t need you!” and mean it.
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