Part 1- Dear Black Men: I was made to love you


Mixed coupleOn Monday, while at lunch with a girlfriend, I received a happy birthday text message from a male friend that I had not spoken to in quite some time. Since we were both out and about and had a lot of catching up to do, we made plans to talk later on that night. So when my phone rang at 9:55 PM, I couldn’t have been more excited to hear from him and to catch up, especially since so much had happened over the past year. The conversation flowed effortlessly from one topic to the next and it was as though no time had passed since the last time we’d seen each other.

Soon the conversation shifted to our current relationship statuses. I was glad to learn he’d finally ended a relationship that he never should have entered and was now seeing someone who made him very happy. But the call quickly took an unexpected turn when he said that he had something to tell me, and made me promise not to hate him once he did. I laughed and promised because I figured whatever he had to tell me, couldn’t possibly be as bad as he’d imagined.

He then took a deep breath and quickly blurted out, “I’ve jumped ship and I am no longer dating black women, ever again!”

I assumed he was joking, but unfortunately, I was wrong. Needless to say the conversation went downhill from there. But before I go any further, I want to make it crystal clear that I do not have an issue with him dating outside of our race. My issue is that he has decided to date all other races, except his own. I can’t begin to comprehend how a person decides that their own race is no longer suited for them.

Fighting the urge to curse him out and hang up on the phone, he immediately began to plead his case, stating he valued our friendship and my opinion. That he didn’t want to lose me…a black woman…as a friend. So, I allowed him to explain, like any reasonable person would do. As I tried to allow cooler heads to prevail, I attempted to be as analytical as possible, even though my heart was breaking into a million pieces. His words kept echoing over in my mind as he stated that women of other races appreciated, valued and supported him more than the black women he’d dated in the past. He continued on, stating that these women were just simply more fun and easier to get along with. He also felt that his current girlfriend, who is Indian, relates to him more so than any other woman he’s dated than ever before.

I probed deeper, asking him what lead him to this conclusion and upon hearing his answer, immediately started defending all of the black women he’d sworn off for life. Reminding him that despite his experiences, all black women are not the same and that a few bad apples should not ruin it for an entire barrel or in this case, an entire race. Not to mention that his mother is black and that if it weren’t for her, he wouldn’t even exist. In addition, it seemed as though he thought that women of other races didn’t come with their own set of issues. That they were somehow issue free.

We went back and forth for almost three hours about his stupidity, which only caused both of our comments to go left. Mine because I was hurt and his because he just didn’t care how ignorant he sounded. I soon began to realize that even though we’d know each other for several years, attended the same historically black university, worked at the same crappy job, which ironically is where we first met, and spent years growing our friendship, he’d become a stranger to me.

I remember his first day at work. I started my career in higher education shortly before him and we ended up in the same department. He’d recently moved back to Florida after a short time in Atlanta. To my surprise, he remembered seeing me around campus and we instantly bonded as we swapped stories about college and life thereafter.

As our conversation proceeded and he said one stupid thing after another, always ending it with, “Please don’t hate me,” it was starting to become hard for me not to. Our conversation shifted from relationships to race relations, and what he no longer liked about our culture. I actually agreed with him on somethings, like the type of music we listen to and create. Most of it has awful lyrics mixed over a dope beat. I politely informed him that I rode around campus blasting Maroon 5 and that on most days, I prefer the John Mayer or Michael Buble station on Pandora, which I am constantly teased about by family and friends. He said that he and I were different and not the norm. But it was becoming abundantly clear to me that he was lost. He was hurt. He was angry. And because of that, he’d bought into the lies that the media spews daily about black women being combative, unattractive, and hard to love. He’d excelled in the military and had reached a point in his career where he’d “made it”. Now the only thing that was missing was his non-black wife.

He’d accepted his position in society as the “token” black guy and was proud of it. While I on the other hand fought against being the token black girl after high school and refused to ever go back to being the polite, well mannered, smart, nonthreatening individual that I believe most people saw me as all throughout childhood and adolescence.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe in treating all people with respect but I refuse to be anyone’s black friend just so they can prove to themselves and the world that they are not racist.

Despite him trying to convince me that we are not like the majority, I told him that even though I was different, surrounding myself with positive, intelligent, ambitious and respectable black men and women became my norm after attending a minority recruitment event at one of the most predominately white universities in Florida. During that weekend, I was surrounded by some of the brightest people I’d ever had the pleasure of meeting and most importantly, they looked like me! They talked like me, they cracked corny jokes like me and they wanted more out of life, like me. They wanted to be doctors, lawyers, scientists and engineers. I knew I’d found my tribe. I knew more of these people had to exist outside of Polk County, where I’d lived my whole life, and was determined to find them. We were nerds and proud of it. I no longer wanted to be the exception. I wanted to be the rule. I guess I never asked him what made him attend FAMU and just assumed it was because he was tired of the being the exception, like me.

As we circled back around to dating and he mentioned that he’d always dated women of all races, even in high school, if that really counts. He preferred mixed chicks, his words, not mine, because they looked exotic. It made me wonder if he’d noticed me around campus because everyone always thought I was West Indian, until they heard me speak. But I didn’t ask what made me memorable, because at this point, emotions were running high, and quite frankly, it now seemed irrelevant.

I knew I couldn’t say anything to change his mind, at least not in one conversation. I’d actively listened to him and what I heard was that he was tired of not being accepted by black women because he wasn’t the “norm” by our culture’s standards. He’s 5’7, which isn’t very tall, he doesn’t listen to rap music, and he’s more into science than into sports. And it made me wonder how many other black men felt this way. Felt that black women wouldn’t or don’t accept them for being “different.” I thought about the countless conversations I’d had with my other male friends who’d expressed similar sentiments, but I’d always brushed them off since they still dated black women.

I tried to get him to see that I understood, accepted, and even liked him for being “different.” You see, it’s a beautiful thing when one soul recognizes another and I became his friend so many years ago because I saw something in him. I know people change and that growing a part sometimes happens. But as our conversation came to an end, he asked me again not to hate him, which I jokingly and half seriously replied that I’d consider it. We said good night and promised to talk again soon. Maybe we’d even Skype next time because he missed our face to face conversations.

I won’t lie, our talk left my head reeling for days. I am still processing all of the mixed emotions that I am feeling.  A part of me truly is happy that he’s happy, but another part of me is angry that he gave up on his own race because of the poor choices he made in women, which I’ll address in part 2. There is a disconnect between black men and women that is to be growing stronger by the moment, and it seems to me that more black women than men are trying to fix it, and it is truly heart breaking.

black couple in loveSo, in closing, I want every black man who has ever felt or is currently feeling under- appreciated, under-valued, or overlooked by black women because your pants don’t sag, you only wear a white t-shirt under a Polo, and speak in complete sentences, to hear me when I say you are appreciated. You are valued. You are loved and I see you because I was made to love you.

                

30 comments

  1. This really has me in a tail spin on so many different levels! But I will say this: the type of Black woman that he desires and would be compatible with him are NUMEROUS! Where in the HELL is he “fishing?”
    Secondly, being the “token” is a divisive mechanism that has been used for years! I remember being in school school as well and kids saying
    I was different because I read so much. I also remember talking to my mom about it and she said, “no, you’re normal.” That did two things for me: made me feel unashamed b/c I read voraciously yet humbled me at the same time so that I didn’t take on that “token AA” superiority complex…

  2. Trust me, I know how you feel. I’m still spinning.I’ll share more of the take away from our conversation and the roadblocks that so many of us face with dating.

  3. Well written, happy belated birthday. If he didn’t say “I’m not dating black women again, ever” would your feelings be the same? I agree that those words were poorly choosen and absolutely ridiculous. Without those words would you be happy for your friend in whatever relationship, with whomever he chose?

    • Thank you, Don, for reading, commenting and the belated birthday wish! I am happy for him, since he’s currently dating someone he feels is well suited for him. My issue is solely that he feels black women are no longer a good match for him. I don’t know how one fails or is determined to no longer see the beauty in their own race.

    • Thank you mom and dad for always being an example of what a positive and healthy relationship looks like. 😊

  4. Unfortunately many homes did not model the true values of respect ,love and honour for the marriage and family life. It is changing. In the forties there where only 3 families on the city block that had both parents. It is changing.

    • Thank you so much for reading my essay lol. Part 2 is available and I will be closing out with part 3 this week. 😍

  5. This is a beautiful read. I think it is sad when people choose to exclude their own race simply because they can’t find the person that God has designed for them. I’ve only dated in my race and I’ve kissed more frogs than princes, but that doesn’t mean that I would give up and say that I’m no longer dating black men because they are rude, lazy or less intelligent than other races. I’ll just pray for your friend.

    • I am so sorry to hear that, Kika! These issues run deep and we have to start doing the work to heal our relationships and that starts with self love. My friend is in denial about a lot of things, smh.

  6. Excellent article. If anyone (of any race),spoke those words to a doctor, I am certain the doctor would advise them, that THEY were suffering from self-esteem issues. Our men like to pass their issues on to us, and that’s the part that is sad. If he wanted to date out-side his race, he’s allowed – he’s a grown man. But – to make it our fault is rather silly, if you ask me. I agree with one of the responses above, that he obviously is the one doing the choosing, so HE is making bad choices. Yet, he (and others), have thrown the responsibility at the feet of black-women, and that – isn’t fair at all. I too, am an avid reader, sky-diving, out-of-the-box, free spirit, who is looking for new worlds to concur, and I will admit that the picking seem to be slim – but, I know (without a doubt) that there are honest, intelligent, hard-working men of color in the world, just waiting for me to find them. And I will. Can’t wait for the second part of your story.

    • Thank you so much for these words of positivity, they are truly needed. This series has broken me down and I definitely need some positive energy right now. I had no idea that this would reach as many people as it has
      I look forward to your thoughts on part 2 and I will be wrapping up the series with part 3 very soon.

  7. This article just opened my eyes to a lot of things. I’m from the Caribbean, my husband and I are professionals, we have 3 sons, the oldest is a young adult, the other 2 are 16 and 10. My oldest son has never dated a black woman and my 16 year old, even though he’s not allowed to date as yet, states that he’ll never date a black woman. They stated that black girls are mean. Now thinking back, I remember my boys are always saying that the black students at school make fun of them, calling them names like oreo, and making comments that they talk white because they speak proper English. I just realized that the way they were treated by their own race because they were “different” left a lasting impression in their minds. I’ve tried to convince them that not all black women are the same. I will show them this article. I raise my boys for survival in this society, to aim high and to never give up. This article is very interesting and eye opening. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Madge, for sharing the story about your sons. Please tell them that there are young black girls, like my nieces, who are all intelligent, well behaved, individuals with diverse interest such as science and fashion that are waiting to meet sons such as yours. They are too young to give up in an entire race of when. I too was called an Oreo when growing up. Our mother is a retired English teacher, so speaking improper English was not allowed in our household. My sisters and I are all educated women and only 1 of us is married, yet we all desire husbands of African decents. Please continue to be a positive example for your sons and hopefully when they go away to college their eyes will be opened and they will see that their are black women like them that are just waiting to be found!

  8. A very good read! I don’t understand how some black men don’t love black women. Black women may not be perfect but I know she is my natural partner. Black men aren’t perfect either and nothing scares this racist system more than black love. I will always support my sistas and uplift them. I can’t believe your friend would give up on black women. That’s insane to me! Black women are the most beautiful women on the planet. No other race of women come close. I would never turn my back on black women. Thanks for this very educational post.

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