There's been a lot of discussion lately around the difficulties that successful, single Black (straight) women face in finding suitable mates. Comedians and TV stars (relationship experts?) have written books and hosted panels addressing this "issue" and countless articles have been written. According to all of these so-called experts, successful Black women are in dire straits when it comes to finding a man, entering a relationship, and of course the pinnacle of life as we know it (sarcasm injected here,) getting married.
In every discussion that I've heard, the focus is on what successful Black women need to do (read: change) in order to attract and keep a man. We've been advised to be open to dating outside of our race and socioeconomic sphere, becoming more approachable and less independent - the list goes on. I take offense to the assertion that Black women are somehow to blame for the current state of affairs (pun intended) and must be charged with fixing the problem. What has also struck me; however, about these discussions is the singular focus on the relationship challenges of "successful Black women." It's never been made clear to me exactly what criteria is being used to define "success;" yet, I imagine it to be based on external factors such as career and salary. Presumably my high-performing sisters can't find men who aren't intimidated by them because of their education/career/income/home ownership and a litany of other "successful" problems. So, is the assumption that the single Black female high level executive or entrepreneur, making a high five - six figure salary, and, of course, with at least one degree, is having a hard time in the relationship arena but your average Black woman isn't? When I hear this, I immediately think, "so what about the rest of us?"
For example, I can't imagine any man being intimidated by me - I'm just your average single mother, working a day job, trying to do my own thing on the side and going to school. I don't have a fancy title and my paycheck doesn't come with a lot of zeros. Some would call me a homeowner, but in reality, as long as I have to make these mortgage payments, Bank of America owns my home. Yet, wonder of all wonders, I'm single as well. In fact, I'm SNP - single with no prospects. So if the consensus is that successful Black women are finding it difficult to date because of all they bring to the table, conversely, average Black women should be OK, right? Men should be flocking to us because they can feel comfortable in knowing that we're pretty much on the same level. Yet, that doesn't seem to be the case for me or any of my friends. The media would have us believe that something must be EXTRA wrong with us. I reject that idea as insulting and outright ridiculous.
Let's face it, the dating/relationship scene is difficult for Black women across the board, regardless of status. We don't tend to be the group that any group of men prefers, Black or otherwise. So what are we to do? Well, we just have to keep on keepin' on. Let's not feel that we have to somehow alter or lessen ourselves in order to "get a man." Let's continue to live boldly and strive to be the best that we can be mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Only then will the right person enter our lives. I recently read a quote that said, " Don't chase. Be." I couldn't have said it better myself. I encourage all of my sisters to live by these words.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Tamara Rasberry is a native of Washington, DC, but far from a conservative politico type. A creative spirit with a passion for writing, Tamara is also an aspiring designer with special interests in graphic and interior design. As a self-proclaimed social media enthusiast, Tamara shares her thoughts on all that interests her on her blog, msrasberrysworld.com and you'll find her tweeting avidly as @msrasberryinc. Tamara can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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