Why Are Black Women Called Gold Diggers?

For once let’s examine this issue outside of the celebrity realm and put it into a cultural perspec...

For once let’s examine this issue outside of the celebrity realm and put it into a cultural perspective. It is only in black culture where women are unfairly labeled golddigger for expecting a man to be the provider. How dare a black woman have the same requirements women of other races traditionally live by?

I’m not talking about women who purposely only seek out ballers so they can live a life of luxury just because they are beautiful with a banging body and an expensive weave. I’m referring to the average black woman who believes in courtship and prefers her future husband to be financially secure, but society falsely accuses her of digging for gold.

Time and time again black women are told by other black women and men to lower their standards. Expecting a man to have financial security is almost as bad as wanting a man who dare I say, reads. Hill Harper expressed this philosophy best in the ABC Nightline Face Off segment where he shared the story of Michelle Obama seeing the potential in Barack. “That is dating potential,” Harper said.

Author/Activist/Journalist/Producer Pearl Jr. in her 2007 article “The Gold Digger Lie Leads to Black Male Failure” wrote:

“Labeling the Black woman as a gold digger has serious consequences that demote innate motivating factors for Black men to achieve and acquire. The gold digger lie is a deliberate distortion of gender roles and is another method to destroy Black love, which inevitably leads to Black male failure, and that is directly tied to Black race malfunctions.”
You see in today's time, Black men are confused as to their role in relationships. The Black man wants to acquire all that life has to give, but isn’t being motivated properly due to the promotion of the Strong Black Women, who can do everything by herself, which simply makes the Black man (eventually) feel inadequate and be a failure at doing what nature built him to do…

Tell Black men to spend every dollar he earns on meaningless items and White women, and he'll do that each and every chance he gets. Meanwhile, tell him if he spends one penny on a Black woman he is a fool and she is a gold digger, and he'll believe that even though there are no massive amounts of Black women living well from some Black man's money.

Most Black women live in the ghetto. Most White women live in big houses and are unemployed. I mean damn are they seeing the reality of life or believing the hype?Believing the hype about the Black gold digger simply stops the recycling of Black dollars and puts the money right back into the mans hands.”

Pearl Jr. is indeed making a gigantic leap from A to Z. However, there is some truth in her theory. Pearl goes on to explain that there are those black women who are living lavishly off some black man’s money, but the percentage is most likely five percent. Meaning 95 percent of black women are working, providing for themselves or contributing to the finances of their household.
“In reality, we Black women are the ONLY women that accept, love, give to, and have sex with men that have nothing. The proof is all around us. The single Black mother living in the ghetto is the woman that accepts Black men unconditionally.”
Pearl’s observation of black women being the only women who accept a black man for anything, yet have nothing in return, leads to the idea of this being a cultural issue exclusive only to blacks.

In accessing the golddigger phenomenon as a cultural issue I interviewed people of Asian, Indian, white, Hispanic and European descent.

Stuart McDonald, a white male, had this to say:
“Why do black women get such a bad rap for having standards? It seems as if they're almost expected to settle for whatever black man they can get (or go get them a white or Latino or Asian man). Having standards are a good thing; it's the having of baseless, hypocritical standards that are unhealthy.”
Riya Anandwala from Mumbai, India weighed in:
“From the standpoint of the Indian tradition, a family, even today, would want a very well-settled man for their daughter. The definition of well settled may differ from caste to caste, but the man has to earn well enough to feed the wife. To be entirely honest with you, my mother wants a guy who is well settled, earns a good salary, has securities such as a house, good savings. She will never let me get married to [a] man who doesn't earn "good enough." And I totally agree with her, because I want the same things. Now does that make me or my mother a gold-digger? No. This attitude of Indian parents and even children dates back to the old tradition of man being the head of the family.
They depend on their husband's salary, because that's the way it works. A lot of these women who want a good salaried guy also hail from a wealthy or upper middle-class family. But even if the woman's family is not that settled, they would want a guy better than what they are.”

German Vigil, a Latino male from El Salvador added:
“Black women are demonized as such “gold diggers” because of the materialistic needs that are imposed to them through the media. If you are good looking and have a great body like the video women then you should date a man that is a baller. Now the problem lies with black women, because they make it obvious that they are only with guys for money.
In my culture it is very necessary to provide for your family. It is the man’s sole responsibility. It is what creates him the head of the household. Ask yourself what woman does not want a man that can or have the means to take care of them. If you as a woman think you are so independent, would you date a man without a job or goals? But that’s another issue…”

So either we’re golddiggers or too independent. Got it.

Napoleon Harris (yes, that’s his real name), a black male chimed in:
“Brothers may very well be suffering from some Willie lynch shit, and for that reason be unconsciously drawn to other races. As a result sisters get unfair flack for trying to marry up. Also, some brothers may feel slighted if he isn't up enough for the sister to desire him. It is then that the self-hate may kick in and say well to hell with you any way... you gold digger. Whereas when an Indian woman or an Oriental woman or even a white woman does the same thing he feels like he just wasn't her cup of tea.”
Linshan Li from China added:
“Most Chinese women are under a lot of economic pressures and they are looking for a man who can provide them with some semblance of financial security. That does not equal to "material girl" who has insatiable desire for diamonds or Louis Vuitton purses, who treats her husband as a walking ATM machine. They do want to "dig" some "gold" from their future husbands, but only hoping to make sure that they'll have a decent life, that means to have enough money to buy a roof over their heads and enjoy some pleasures of life, to have enough money for their future child's education and their health care and retirement. It is common that a Chinese man has to provide a house/condo/apartment for the marriage before the girl he wants to marry says yes.”
Andrew Anderson from Sheffield, England shared his view on the topic:
“The idea of a woman marrying a man for money is fairly common, moreso than the idea of a man marrying a woman for the same reason (toy boy/kept man). The most famous example I can think of is Anna Nicole Smith, or Debbie Daniels in England. I can't say it is associated with race in England.

The concept of a woman marrying for money is far more prevalent, and I don't think it is viewed in a negative light. Marriage is traditionally seen as the coming together of two people who will be greater than the sum of their parts, rather than as something you do for love - love grows out of it, or at least respect.

If someone had come up to me in the street and said "which group do you most associate with gold-digging?" I would have said white, middle class women...or Jewish women.”
There you have it. Our men are the only ones who buy into the idea that if a man pays for a $30 spa treatment he is “tricking” and she is a golddigger for even asking for such pleasantries. Granted a spa is not a necessity, but it seems black folks are the only ones subscribing to the concept of women being a golddigger for wanting anything that causes a man to pull out his wallet.

Both black men and women have to deprogram our mentalities from all of the bull we’ve been taught that promotes the white hierarchy. The golddigger phenomenon may seem harmless, but it has tremendous affects on the way we view one another.

Why are black women typically labeled as golddiggers more than any other race of women? What is the difference between what Riya from Mumbai described or what Tanisha from the Bronx expects? How do we move past all the labels and reignite healthy black relationships?

- Bene Viera

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