Written By Cande M.
I have a confession… I do not respect Black men.
*Sighs* I have finally come to the realization of why I am so often approached by unstable black men (in terms of relationships). I would always wonder what I could do to improve myself in the physical realm in order to become a magnet for alpha black men with financial and emotional stability. I worked on building my own business, looking more appealing, and exuding more confidence in public spaces. I now realize that it wasn’t anything in the physical realm causing the disconnect in what I consciously wanted and what I kept receiving; the problem is my perspective and my internalized view of black men... Subconsciously, I feel that black men (as a collective) are immature, selfish, and can’t do anything right. I look down on black men and I see them as toddlers currently going through the “Mine, mine, mine!” and the “NO” stage of social growth. Over the years, I’ve noticed too many black men that seem to expect everyone around them to stroke their egos and support them, while at the same time neglecting the people that need them for security. Within the pro black community, I see too many of our men that refuse to be considered anything other than a victim. I know for a fact all black men do not fit these descriptions; however, witnessing a subset of black men taint the image of ALL black men is what has lead me to lose more and more respect for the entire group as I grew older? In response to my internalized views on black men, the universe has given me my fair share of the unstable ones… the abusive ones… the depressed ones… the helpless ones. Because subconsciously, I began to convince myself that, that was all I had to choose from. And that has A lot to do with the way I viewed myself to be completely honest. I feel bad about this new self discovery, which is probably why I have been in denial about it for so long. As a proud, black, Pan African woman, I do not feel comfortable openly admitting that, “I do not respect black men.” I love black men… Some of my favorite people in my life are black men… Many of my most dedicated supporters are black men... There are black male individuals that I look up to and seek leadership from… I have such upstanding and wise black men in my family and social circle. But these facts about the black men that I interact with, do not take away the fact that I have internalized a negative image of the general population of black men in America. I became the black female version of the white people that always scream, “I’m not racist! I HAVE BLACK FRIENDS!”
The Unfolding of the Revelation
On social media, I am known as the sister that is constantly pleading with black men to take accountability for the way they treat their families and women. I usually point out things that women need to work on as well, but several months ago, my brother from Philly pointed out that I disproportionately target black men’s downfalls and used more harsh language when addressing them. We actually ended up getting into an argument when he brought it up; I was still in denial about my disdain for black men so I was very defensive when he approached me about it. I just couldn’t believe he would actually accuse me of hating black men, when in my mind, I was only trying to hold black men accountable for their actions. Recently, while discussing a dilemma I was having with my significant other, my brother from D.C. called me out on my subconscious thoughts of black men as well. Although still slightly in denial, I was a little more receptive to what he had to say, because this time, it was starting to become a little clearer to me. Last week (actually the night after I spoke with my brother from D.C.), I started reading a book called “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. The beginning of the book consists of the author describing his and his wife’s journey with helping their son come into his own identity. Their son was not athletic, he was socially immature, and he did not do well in school; he was also teased by his peers and every time this would happen, his parents would come to his rescue. They did all they could to encourage their son to think positively and try his best to keep up with his peers, but none of their techniques would work. It wasn’t until the couple took a step back to examine themselves and their internalized view of their son, which they began to realize that they were the reason his self-esteem was being negatively affected. Although their intentions were to support and encourage him, they were doing nothing more than unintentionally communicating the fact that they felt he needed to be protected and was not capable of blossoming without their validation. The parents eventually came to the realization that they should focus more on their perspective and motives for parenting, rather than trying to mold their son into who they felt society would accept him as. They decided to stand apart from their son so they could gain a sense of his identity. The author goes on to say, “As we loosened up our old perception of our son and developed value-based motives, new feelings began to emerge. We found ourselves enjoying him instead of comparing or judging him.” Eventually, right before his parents’ eyes, the son began to gain a sense of self-worth and blossomed both academically and socially. He had finally began to gain a self-established confidence in himself, which was reflected through his accomplishments. By the time I reached page 13, I had already completely come to the realization that I do not attract stable black men because I do not have faith in their ability to achieve financial and emotional stability (as a collective). Even beyond dating, I now realize that my subconscious view were exposed through my Facebook posts about black men’s shortcomings; what I thought was holding our men accountable, were actually some pretty cruel venting sessions that may have hurt a few black men that actually value my opinions. I felt that they needed tough love, but that was not tough love; that was resentment. For that, I would like to make a public apology to ALL black men for my lack of faith in you and your ability to protect and provide for your households and communities. Me, as well as countless other black women need to take into consideration the views we have of black men and ask ourselves, “Is it possible that we are further contributing to the destruction of black males by not valuing them as they are in their current state (collectively)?” It’s definitely a question to ponder over…“How, exactly, are we contributing to the destruction of black men?”
Many black women are either being too hard or too soft on black men. Contrary to what we had all assumed, we actually need to back off of them and let black men breathe. Black men don’t need constant validation and praise, because it only makes complacency more comfortable for those that are not Self-motivated. Black men do not need to be beat down or nagged either, because that will further discourage them and confuse the more sensitive brothers into thinking that black women have become their enemy. black women, we have become too concerned with how black men treat us and not concerned enough about how we treat ourselves (as individuals). A large part of this mistake is contributed to expectations. We EXPECT black men to protect us because we are under the impression that it is collectively their job to do so. We EXPECT black men to provide for us because we are under the impression that it is collectively their job to do so. Even if it is their job to do so, we have to give them the opportunity to figure that out for themselves. Until more men come to a realization of their own roles in relation to us, we have to protect ourselves and establish security for ourselves. When we (black women) come to this realization, we will begin to see a complete shift in the daily interactions between us and them. In the beginning of my current relationship, I was not doing a very good job as a girlfriend. When we began dating, I did not value my boyfriend as he is, nor did I see any potential value. He could tell, but I could not admit it because I didn’t even realize it myself. When we would argue, he would say things like, “You need one of those nerdy ass college educated niggas.” I would give him the side-eye, but on the inside, I would laugh because he has no idea of the type of males I have dated in the past (HOOD!). But now that I think about it, the reason he would always accuse me of thinking I’m better than him is because I treated him like he would never be worth anything more than sex and cuddles. I treated him like he wasn’t capable of handling Business on his own. I began to willingly treat him the way I used to reluctantly treat my exes. As hard as it is for me to publicly admit it, enabling my man began to come naturally. With him being as intuitive as he is, HE REALIZED THAT and he was offended by it - as he should be. At this point, I know better and now we can move forward with our relationship while each holding our own weight.
What Black Women Can Do From this Point on…?
1. Stop enabling black men - the individuals and the entire group. Stop trying to validate
Their excuses in an attempt to make them feel comfortable in a position they know very
Well they are not comfortable in - oppression under a white male dominated society. This
Also means that we must stop marching for black men when they are shot down by
Police. We are not stopping the marches in an attempt to leave black men hanging, but
We are doing this because it is a battle that black men must stand up and fight to regain
Their dignity. We (black women) have never given the black men a chance to react the
Way they felt was necessary because we are the first ones to pull out our poster boards
And markers to flood the streets with our pathetic “hands up, don’t shoot” chants.
a. Another way we enable black men is by making individuals feel that
Unacceptable behavior is ok through our lack of action against it. For example,
Rape, assault, and molestation have been plaguing our communities because
Mothers and single women do not pay well enough attention to their children or to
Their surroundings. Either that, or women will allow certain things to happen in
Their households just to say she can “keep a man.” Now, I know some things
Happen that are out of your control, but instead of letting things slide, nip that
situation in the bud by making sure those individuals are punished for violent acts
Against you and your children. Period.
2. If you are in a relationship, love him for what he is in that moment or just leave him alone
Altogether. Trust me, this will be a healthy step for your mental health as well as for HIS
Journey of growth. When you are forceful in making him do what you want him to do, you intimidate him and you may possibly be causing him to suffer from anxiety - which is
Never good for someone seeking to make progress. Remember that love is a feeling for
Reactive people, but love is a verb for proactive people... a choice. We have to choose to
3. Lead by example for black men and love yourself first.
I mean TRULY love yourself in all
Of your entirety. When you love yourself, there are certain things you just will not put up
With; black men will notice this and adjust themselves accordingly. On top of that, when
You love yourself, you will not be bothered by noticing someone doesn't love you back.
You find it easier to love others as they are, because you don’t expect anything in
Return… you have given enough love to yourself and anything else would only be extra.
4. DO. NOT. COMPARE. BLACK. MEN. TO. MEN. OF. OTHER. RACES (especially not to Men of the Caucasian persuasion).
When you constantly compare black men to men of
Other races, you are putting pressure on them to fill shoes that are not for them to fill. We
Must give black men a chance to figure out their identity in America. Just like it is not
Their place to tell us who we should be, it is not ours to tell them who they should be. Just
Like we don’t like being compared to women of other races, our men do not like it either -
Even if you aren’t openly stating it.
I’m sure a lot of people will not agree with this perspective, nor will everyone comprehend the complexity of loving our counterparts. But I am sharing my experience with my sisters and brothers because I know that a few of you will apply this to their relationships and daily interactions with the opposite sex. If you are like me and have a history of dating helpless black men, this one is for you. Self-discovery is a never ending journey and can sometimes be very difficult, but once you break through the threshold of your old way of thinking, you become wiser, more patient, and one step closer to true enlightenment and happiness.