The dialogue continues…
Thanks for replying to my initial comments/questions. I seem to really enjoy your dialogue, which is surprising since I am not much into blogs and the like. However, I’m very interested in your viewpoint… good food for thought (as my father says). So, ok, here’s Round 2:
Recently, I had a conversation with a black male friend of mine and he made the most random statement. “Black women are so angry all the time, I rather be around [date] Latinas, they can be 6 babies deep, live 40 to a two bedroom house and still be happy. Still you find them out with their kids smiling, playing, and yelling Papi and Mami.” (don’t know if I spelled those correctly.)
So two things here: first, obviously I’m obsessed with finding out why black women are viewed in such terrible light. I mean some of it is obvious through observation. But there are statements like the one above that knock the wind out of me. Second, gee, have black women really dropped below Latinas in the ranking of ‘Who I’d date’ by black men?
I never thought of Latinas as being “happier” than black women. I never ever thought about that at all. I never even considered “happiness” a criteria for dating. I mean, yes, I’ve run across the militant black man AKA angry black man, but never thought he was unhappy per se.
I just don’t know what to do with or think about this one… happiness is such a HUGE and sensitive topic…
Where to begin… any thoughts?
If there’s one thing I’ve got it’s a hot mess o’ thoughts.
Thank you for the conversation. You’ve got challenging questions/insights/experiences. Keepin’ me on my toes.
When I’m obsessed with something, whether it’s a nearly clinical obsession or casual, I find that no matter how much I think about it, write about it or discuss it, it’s never quite done. You know what I mean? My mind is never done with it. I just keep coming up with new ways to understand, process and verbalize the issue in question.
I’m curious now, though. You’re a black woman. What do your friends think of all this? Or do they? And your interracial boyfriend?
Anyway, your friend actually said that? Out loud? Like, not in a thought bubble but out loud with his mouth? Bold.
My first thought is this: if your friend can pick up a woman of any ethnicity at will, tell him I want to subscribe to his newsletter.
Your friend doesn’t represent all black men, though, so I wouldn’t make any conclusions about rankings based on him. That’s a data point of one.
It’s interesting to me that black people seem to view dating/marrying within the race as a matter of loyalty or authenticity. I don’t see it that way. I’ve got rankings, but they’re based on shallow physical attraction to anatomical landmarks and not race/ethnicity.
I could tell you a few incidents of black women with all kinds of unnecessary attitude. I’m sure you could, too. Sometimes I see black women with a permanent sneer. Not a sneer, but you know the expression that comes right before the lip smack that comes right before “Nigga, please!” You know that look? I’ve seen black women whose default facial expression is that one.
Who wants to deal with that?
Happiness is a big word. Whatever it is, people with it are more appealing and magnetic. Or positive vs. negative. I can’t say that Latinas are more happy than black women, but they to seem to have a family of extended community. Out of necessity they have a supportive village.
I don’t know what your friend saw or where he lives or the experience(s) he had to make him reach that conclusion, but it sounds like he wants something more. He wants to be happy and to be with a pleasant, upbeat, supportive woman.
Where Credit is Due
I’m generalizing again, though. And so is your friend. It’s not fair. I know so many motivated, congenial, professional black women and they do not get the respect and admiration that they deserve. That you deserve. I spent some time recently with the Liberated Muse and Saartjie Project folks and they are priceless. So many talented, beautiful women.
To me that’s the essence of what womanhood, regardless of race, is about. Creation. And they’re so cool and down to earth. While waiting to perform a few times there have been acts on before us/them that were young white guys playing shoegazing rock. Loud-ass ethereal, blaring atmospheric rock. And these women are taking it all in, dancing when it grooves, applauding, being supportive. Just open minded people striving for artistic expression and affirmation.
When I think of black women these are the women I want to think about.
I do think there’s a lot of tension between genders and especially between black men and women. You’ve got the gender conflict plus external stresses. Everybody’s so bitter and traumatized. A lot of the famous African American female authors are famous for books about their pain. Pain at the hands of a racist society and pain plus the cruel betrayal of abuse by black men. Toni Morrison, Terry McMillan, Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, and so on. (And they aren’t pulling that angst out of thin air.)
But what can you expect when we think of each other as dogs and bitches. Pimps and ho’s. The animosity is in the language.
Then there’s the media. That don’t help.
So the reasons why black women have a bad rap aren’t a mystery to me. It’s not fair or necessarily accurate but I see it.
Also, as our society becomes more of a free-for-all relationships seem to not have the foundation that they used to. I’m amazed — and experience sour grapes — by how much extra-marital and extra-relationship-al screwing is going on. People just don’t care. Friends help to facilitate it. And others shrug when they hear about it. I feel like there’s something wrong with me for being upset about it.
It’s like we pretend that it’s no big deal, but all the bitterness and wounded-ness between us is very real.
One Last Thing
If we were sitting in a cafe having this conversation I would ask you why it’s so important to you?
What drives you to understand why black women are often reviled?
Do you feel like you’re getting pigeon holed as a stereotypically unpleasant black woman?
Or is it more of the hurt of being branded and shunned?
That’s a tough cross to bear. On one hand I want to introduce the world to all the amazing women that I know. It’s heartbreaking that the world thinks of African American women as some kind of uncivil obese pox on society. (On the other hand I want to avoid some of the women I’ve seen or interacted with.)
Black women are so strong and vital. I mean, all these women of other races and ethnicities try to bite your style and phsyique. To sing like you, dance like you. To represent like you.
Just imagine the impact if we were together, united, fit and focused.